Posted by: Ian | February 6, 2011

How to create a Garmin 800 Course

From a glance at the searches that have landed people onto our Garmin Edge 800 review it’s evident that there’s a lot of uncertainty regarding how to create and load courses. Here’s a step by step guide to how I do it…

I create my courses on BikeRouteToaster. In the past, Emily and I used BikeHike, which was very similar, but then they pulled the functionality to save and load courses, making the site useless. MapMyRide is probably similar but invalidates itself as a usable site by swamping you with ads. Garmin’s own BaseCamp software should be the best – but I find it miserably unusable.

The BikeRouteToaster site has four pages shown on these tabs:

Step 1. Create an account on the Courses tab and get logged in.

Step 2. On the Map tab find the start of your course. You do this by zooming out using the slider control (see picture on the left) to get your map view broad large scale enough and then click/drag it to get your start in view somewhere near the centre. Then zoom in (again using the slider control) to get the resolution you need to choose the roads for your route.

Step 3. Click on the place you want to start and then click on the roads (if you’re making a road route) to define your route. You will occasionally need to drag the map around to re-centre it. If you accidentally click somewhere and it adds a point you don’t want, simply hit Delete Last from the Edit panel to the right. If you’re using a trackpad and mac gestures like me you may sometimes find that the map suddenly zooms out massively. This just happens with Google Maps and (all) you have to do is zoom back in again.

Step 4. When you’ve finished your course (in my case this is normally by getting back to the start) click to the Summary tab. You’ll probably want to save it, which is when you’ll need to be logged in (see Step 1). You can make this public if you choose, which generates a link like this:

More importantly you’ll want to create a course file. Personally at this point I save a tcx file To File rather than directly To Garmin GPS. You can do either, and choose gpx format rather than tcx if you prefer, in the Download panel.

Step 5. Download Garmin Training Center if you don’t already have it. Forget the ANT+ agent and the legacy versions and download the version of Training Center that you want (PC or Mac) here.

Step 6. Fire up Training Center and open the file that you created in Step 4. You open the course file from File/Import… on the Training Center menu bar. On a mac it will be in your Downloads folder called something like course.tcx or course-3.tcx (depending upon how many times you’ve done it – the file naming is uninspired). The course then appears in the Courses folder in My Activities, as in the screen snippet here.

When you click on he course you just made you can see a representation of the course on a bad map and get a view of the Elevation profile (also available on BikeRouteToaster) and the gradient profile (which is simply the first derivative of the Elevation profile but still interesting). Here’s an example using the latest course I created, which I intend to ride next weekend:

As well as these panes, and this is important, you get to preview the navigation cues that you’ll see on the Garmin. These represents exactly the same data that you can see on the BikeRouteToaster Cue Sheet tab, apart from any text that you add there for creating and printing a paper Cue Sheet – these are not transferred over.

Here’s another important point: if you simply upload a gpx file from a website you may well not get these directions. You can check this by looking at the pane in Training Center where the Turn Right/Turn Left cues were listed above. For example, when I look at the course generated from the gpx file on the Glastonbury 100 MIler website here’s all I see:

There’s the bad map and the elevation/gradient profiles but no directions in the pane at the top. This meant that on the road when I did this event I was relying on the Garmin’s route rather than the actual course. If I hadn’t known better than to ignore this I would never have finished.

Step 7. Transfer the route to the Garmin 800. I do this by plugging in my Garmin to my computer using a USB cable and then choosing Send to device from the Device menu. I do this because I like having my activities and courses sync’ed up between my 800 and Training Center. If you’re not bothered about this you can bypass Steps 5, 6 and 7 and export the course file directly to your Garmin in Step 4.

Step 8. Check it on the Garmin. If you now look at your Garmin 800 courses you’ll find the new one listed. If you load the new course you’ll be able to find this page too:

This lists the same directions that you saw in the Training Center and on the BikeRouteToaster Cue Sheet. These directions are not created by your Garmin’s mapping software. You will see the same directions – e.g. Turn Right – appear on your Garmin as you approach (or, in my experience, as you pass) the relevant location on your ride. These are the directions you should follow – and absolutely not the Route directions created by the Garmin – if you want to stick to your course. You can see them before you get to your next junction by looking at the same page as you ride – then you’ll also see how far away the next turn is. When the Garmin buzzes and shows an “Off Course” message it’s because it thinks, usually rightly but occasionally wrongly, that you’re not tracking to the course.

If you want to get advance notice before you get to each junction you can tick the Add Course Point Warnings checkbox in the Download panel when you create the course in BikeRouteToaster. This creates a duplicate direction in advance of every actual one. The default setting, as you can see, is for this to appear 200 metres ahead but you can change this. You can see what this has done – simply a doubled up the cues – by comparing this Training Center snippet with the one above for the same course without warnings:

As I wrote before, the essential points are these:

  • The difference between a Course and a Route is crucial.
  • To stick to a pre-defined course you need to follow Course directions/cues. The Route will get you to your destination but will often misdirect you relative to the course.
  • Course cues are created before the Course gets onto the Garmin, not by the Garmin.
  • Many GPX files don’t come with course cues.
Here’s an UPDATE… To eliminate some of the occurrences of the Course diverging from the Route you can change some settings. Hit the Menu button then click on the Spanner picture. From the next menu choose System then Routing and then choose Avoidance set-up. So long as Highways – Avoid is set the Garmin will navigate you away from main roads, even if your Course follows them. This is very annoying so if you have a Course that uses main roads, set this instead to Highways – Do Not Avoid. It’s also worth considering how you want the other options on this page to be set.


  1. WOW just what I was searching for. Came here by searching for Private Profit Plus

  2. […] fundamental problem – and it is a problem – is an issue that I’ve written about before: the pernicious difference between a Course and a Route. You get a course when you upload a TCX […]

  3. […] ran to a very manageable 66 miles and I plotted it into the Garmin 800 in advance. En route, this threw up a few spurious diversions from the obvious path but got me […]

  4. The key to following a route using a GPX file in the Garmin Edge 705 is to go to settings / navigation/ and turn off re-navigation. Otherwise it will spend the rest of the day telling you to make a U-turn if you get at all off route. Used correctly the Garmin Edge 705 is awesome. A common problem with the 800 is that the unit does not instruct you until you are at the turn. This may be because they are using TCX files without the City Navigator SD card. I conclude that the Edge 705 with GPX and City Navigator is the best combination for following mapped routes in new areas. View my rides at

    • When I’m following a course on the 800 I usually have a page showing that gives Time to next course point and Time to next course point as well as ETA at destination. This gives me info about how soon the next turning is coming up. Used in conjunction with the page of upcoming turn cues, it’s quite a reasonable aide to following a course.

  5. Hello there,

    thanks for – at last! – a comprehensive guide on how to make GE 800-routes.

    I’ve been using the Garmin Edge 800 for more than a month and I kept getting annoyed by some ‘strange’ behaviour (‘off course’, etc). Now I understand why…

    Still, one question. Like you said: when I upload in BRT a pre-made route from a biker-website (gpx-file), the cue sheet is empty. Is there a way to make a cue sheet for an existing route?

    Re-draw track-points on top of the route I already see in the upload file – is that an option?

    Thanks for the good work!

    • Hi

      Apologies for the delay in replying. I’ve been meaning to write a post on some other course creation sites that might speak to this. I’m not sure that there’s a way to generate the cues screen automatically as you ask. The obvious way is to re-draw the course in BRT, though that can be a drag. In principle, I imagine you could add in your our course points anywhere you like by directly editing the TCX file and re-importing it. I illustrate the file format in the blog entitled “GPX, TCX, BikeRouteToaster and the Black Rat”. You would have to add entries. This might be even more of a drag than re-typing the course, depending upon how long it is and how many cues you want. Watch this space!

      Best, Ian

  6. Hi Emily, that was difficult – thanks to you I now have a list of turns on the 800. I’ll pop out tomorrow, if it’s not still snowing and see if the Guide Text comes up. I’ll let you know. Thanks a bundle. David

    • Hi David, Glad to hear you’ve had some success! I hope, snow-permitting, you have a good ride tomorrow and everything works with the G800.


      • Hi Emily, didn’t get out on bike: 3 inches snow, so 30 mins on turbo. Then I walked the first 200yds of my route which has 2 turns. Sadly no Turn Guidance appears on the Data (ie Speed, Av, Cadence, etc pages) although it does appear on the map page. Which incidentally is what happens with routes loaded via Base Camp although as we’ve found the turns list is missing as a page. I’ve got Turn Guidance ON and Guide Text “Always Display”. I hope i’m not taking up too much of your time but can you please add anything else to help me get there. David

    • Hi David, How annoying for you! To be honest I’m a bit stumped as to why you’re not seeing the arrows pop up whilst you’re on the Data pages. Especially as you can now see the page with the turns listed. When I’m next doing a long ride – hopefully next weekend assuming the snow has gone – I’ll play around with my G800 settings and see if I can find anything that might help you. In the meantime I’m not sure whether Garmin support might be able to help? Sorry I can’t think of anything more constructive right now. Emily

      • Hi David. For diagnosis, I’d be interested to know (1) Does the distance to the next Turn (say 0.7 mi in the photo in my post above) converge to zero as you approach the turn; (2) if so, when you get to the turn, and let’s say it’s a Right Turn as above, do you get a message flashing on the screen at or just past the turn that says “Turn Right”; (3) if you instead turn left or go straight, ignoring the direction, do you get an “Off Course” warning; and (4) as you approach the turn do you get a schematic map of the junction in advance with a big arrow showing you where to go?? If you can see the screen with list of turns (as in the photo) yet the answer to questions 1-3 is No, I’d be stumped. If they all work but the answer to question 4 (only) is No, then that’s another matter… I’m pleased that Emily has moved things along. My own G800 is still at the shop! Best, Ian

      • Hi Ian and Emily, well I got there eventually. I think the problem I had was probably due to a number of issues. Mainly the Turn Guidance in Settings on the New Course page seems to default to OFF at the slightest whim!! It baffles me that the 800 needs to have Settings in 2 places unlike 705. The other reason was that I was expecting a red banner like you get on the 705 not some “small” black label type of message. Now that I’ve got it working I’m disappointed particularly that the Turn Guidance often only comes up when I’ve passed the junction by a few metres – yes I know that with BRT lets one add a warning some metres beforehand but you would think that Garmin would fix this – the 705 is better. It’s particularly bad when the route is created on RWGPS as it has no warning feature. RWGPS say on their website that they are going to tweak their software sometime so that the Turn Guidance comes on before the junction not afterwards.
        I did all these tests with a borrowed 705 as well as the 800. Came to the conclusion that for many features the 705 is a much nicer tool. For one thing the screen resolution is so much better. The bench mark now in this area is Apple with the beautiful screen on the iPods and iPhones, the latter in 3G form not much more expensive than an 800. As I say I’ve got there now and I’m very grateful for your kind assistance. I need to think where I go from here. David

  7. hi, I have done all that you advise but when I open up training center / activities I can not find the saved file, I have saved it publicly as well. can you help me please.many thanks Ken.

    • Hi Ken. Before going to Training Center, can you see the saved file on your hard drive? Best Ian

      • hi Ian thanks for your reply, sorry to sound thick but can you tell me
        where to find the route in my hard drive.Ken

    • No worries. If you highlight the course you want to save in TC and then hit File/Export CourseName it will enable you to choose where you want to save a TCX file to on your computer. Hope this works for you. Best, Ian

  8. Hello Ian, I’ve picked up your site after upgrading, so i thought, from a 705 to 800. I was quite happy with the 705, created routes on BRT,downloaded gpx files straight to 705 and away we go. With the 800 it’s much more complicated I find and I’m still not getting the info I achieved with the 705. But following your very detailed guidance I now download courses in tcx to Base Camp and then transfer to my 800. First point is I cannot find the cue sheet info on the 800 although it’s there on the Base Camp page. When I navigate a course the map shows arrows overlaid at junctions but I’m not getting any warnings, beeps or anything. More important than the beeps is that the main data pages (Speed, cadence etc) don’t give any guidance at junctions. So to navigate a route I need to stay on the map page. Incidentally downloading the gpx file straight from BRT on the 800 doesn’t work at all. Could you pleae help. Regards.

    • Hi David, A few days ago, after failing first at the weekend as I wrote on my last post, my 800 completely crapped out and its hard drive is now unreadable. Everything is backed up on Connect/Training Center but I’m without it for a while so can’t check all my settings to give you the detail on how to ensure you get guidance at junctions. Does it work when you get the 800 to navigate you somewhere rather than following one of your own courses?
      Re the lack of a cue sheet, my guess is you’re not getting it because you’re transferring a GPX file rather than a TCX. Check out my post entitled “GPX, TCX, BikeRouteToaster and the Black Rat” for the details. I presume Base Camp, which I could never get on with, supports TCX too so try that and see if it works.
      Apologies that I can’t yet be more help on the first point. When (if?) I get my 800 fixed I’ll try to document the detail.
      Good luck!

      • Hi Ian, sorry about the fall – hope no damage to the bike. I have to use Base Camp as Training Centre is only compatable with Windows and I use Mac, but it’s similar I think as the Turns List is like you show on your webpage. And yes it was the tcx file i transferred which showed the Turns List in Base Camp but not on the 800. Spoke to Garmin Support and they’ve gone away to think about it. Beginning to think I should have kept the 705. Now away until Thursday and no doubt I’ll be in touch then. Regards, David

      • To get to the bottom of this, first you could open up the TCX file in a text editor (TextEdit, Word, Text Wrangler…) and see if the turn-by-turn directions are there. You could search for, say, to look for them. If they’re not there you have a problem with Base Camp. If they are there you have a problem with the Garmin. In the latter case, either it’s not reading the TCX file correctly or the directions are actually there but the G800’s byzantine menu structure isn’t helping you find them. In any case, you *can* use Training Center as an alternative to see if cues appear there and transfer correctly to the G800. I use a mac and don’t own a PC or Parallels or any other software that lets me run Windoze, yet I do use Training Center. I’m currently running 3.2.1. It’s okay – not fantastic, but okay. Good luck with the diagnostics!

      • Hi Ian, I’m certain now that there’s no problem with the tcx files. Using either BRT or RWGPS I end up with the cue sheet turns in Base Camp. I borrowed a 705 and downloaded a short test route. Scrolling through mode pages I find the list of turns; walking the route I get Turn Guides coming up on the data pages before junctions and at each junction – perfect. I download the same route to the 800 and I get the map showing the correct route but no page of turns like you show on your Guide above and walking the route I don’t get any Guide Text coming up when displaying the data pages. Garmin Support are still looking into the problem and promise to get back to me. Regards, David

      • Hi Ian, I see on latest Bike Radar newsletter a comment that the 800 wont generate turn by turn directions for routes created on Garmins own site (and presumably other sites) although it will when a destination is chosen. It’s ridiculous; I think I’ll sell my 800 to one of those souls out there to use the 800 as a heavy and expensive Cateye. Regards, David

      • Hi David, What a pain in the ass! I don’t know whether or not the G800 or any Garmin utility can actually generate the turn by turn directions but I do know that it can display them when they’re generated by BRT. I do this all the time, literally pretty much every week. As I say, mine is in the shop currently otherwise I’d try and do an even more detailed ‘How To’ checklist to see if we could find at which step your experience diverges. When these things go wrong they’re incredibly frustrating. Personally (and I have absolutely no affiliation to Garmin) I find mine incomparably more useful than my old Cateye. I use and like most of the 800’s features, although as you might have read I’m having trouble getting a reliable HR reading out of it. If you do stick with it let me know and I’ll try to help you diagnose your problems when I get my 800 back. Ian

      • Hi Ian, thanks for the prompt reply. I use BRT by preference and the turn guidance works fine for the 705 but definitely not with my 800 and I have more or less the same settings. The turns are there on the 800 cos they appear on the Map Page as nice arrows but not on the Data Pages as more or less confirmed by Bike Radar. So when riding with Data Pages selected I get no guidance at turns. When you get yours back let me know if it’s not too much trouble. I wont flog the 800 for a while yet. Regards, David.

    • Hi David, I’m a Garmin 800 user and the turn by turn directions can definitely be displayed on a G800. To see the page of turn directions (as per the photo in the post) try the following on your G800:
      1. Select Menu
      2. Select Courses
      3. Select an existing course
      4. Press the green Go
      5. You should see a page with a map showing the outline of your course. At the bottom of the display, in the centre, you’ll see a Menu button and on either side you’ll a left and right arrow. Press the right arrow.
      6. You will now see the page with the turn directions.

      This will only work with courses where you have specifically selected to include the course points when creating the course (e.g. on BRT). Make sure in the Course options you’ve got Turn Guidance set to On (I’m assuming you do, but never hurts to double check).

      Hope the above helps,


      • Hi Emily, unfortunately not on my 800 it doesn’t!! Pressing either of the arrows on each side of the menu button takes me into the data pages – which is what I would expect. You’ve read all my posts and clearly if you get the list I must be missing something. Tell me when you navigate do the Turn Guides appear on the data pages like they do on the 705? Last point: how do you get the route from BRT to the 800? via Base Camp or direct somehow? Your help is very much appreciated by the way. David

    • I think the reason you’re not getting the turn page may be due to your specific course(s) as opposed to an issue with the G800. I’ve got several courses on my G800 but only those that were created on BRT, specifically with the course points option selected, enable me to get the turn-by-turn directions. For example, I’ve got a course that was created on the GarminConnect site using the “Save as Course” option and this does *not* give me the turn page when I follow the steps above.

      I don’t have a 705 so can’t comment on how the turn guides appear on that vs. the 800 I’m afraid. The turn page I get is exactly the same as the one in the photo above though and when I’m actually cycling and following a course, the turn guides (arrows) appear on the G800 display as I’m approaching a turn point (or slightly before depending on the option chosen in BRT).

      When getting my routes from BRT to the 800 I follow the steps in Ian’s post above. I previously used to try and save directly from BRT to the G800 but often had difficulties and find that using Garmin Training Centre is a more reliable method.

      Here is a BRT course that shows the turn guides on my G800:

      If you follow the steps in Ian’s post to get this BRT course to your G800 (i.e. save as a tcx file on BRT and then import into Garmin Training Centre and from there send to your device) then when you follow the steps I outlined above you should see the turn page. It may be that you’ve got your data pages configured differently to me so you might need to keep pressing the right arrow (step 5 in my instructions) more than once to scroll to the turn page.

      I hope this works!


      • Hi Emily, the only difference that I can see is that I move the tcx course from BRt into Base camp rather than Garmin Training Centre. Since I received your email I’ve bee trying to download GTC into my Mac with very little success. I presume its an App. The GTC app when I open it is only one page for personal details non of those nice pics with maps and tables that you see on the App page. I’m stumped. David.

  9. hi i am getting to grips with my 800, got it last week. i have downloaded tcx files that are shown on the device. BUT how do I see the turn details on it as shown on insruction 8 in your guide

    many thanks


    • When you load the course (Menu, Courses, pick your course, hit Go) and return to the training pages you should come to the turns page as you scroll through. ok?

      • ian,

        thank you I “found” it#

        thanks for such a great site, without it i would really be struggling with my 800. but i am now mastering it.. well almost


      • Cool! Thanks. Enjoy!

  10. Hi and thanks for the wonderful instructions. One question though. I just upgraded from the Edge 705 to the 800 (in transit). For the life of me I could never get turn by turn directions with street names (turn right on main) on the Edge 705 and this is after I spent $80 for Garmin’s navigation map. Will I be able to do this with the 800? I’m going to pose this question to Garmin too but since I’m here maybe you would know.

    Thanks for a job well done!!


    • Glad you found the info helpful. Re your question, you can get the 800 to throw a map with street names when you approach junctions. I think this is even the default behaviour when you’re navigating. However, the “Turn Right”-style of prompt from your Courses cannot be enriched with street names, even though the Cue Sheet that you see on, say, BikeRouteToaster from which the prompts are generated does have that information. As far as I can see the TCX/GPX protocol that is used discards this additional info. Hope this helps. Ian

  11. This is very helpful, but there’s an issue I’m still grappling with. It has to do with the goal speed/pace for the course. I’ve found a few ways to create the CRS file with a constant speed. has a simplistic way to set a speed for flats and one for hills, but I can’t find a way to get more granular in setting speed goals. I’ve got a CRS for a ride I’m going to do this weekend, but I want to be able to set the target speed for flats, mild hills, steep hills, and downhills. Any idea on how to accomplish this?

    • Apologies for not replying to this sooner – I’ve been away. In any case, I’m not sure that I can help. If you read my post on the GPX and TCX file formats, which at the time of writing this is the third most recent, you can see that the xml protocols used specify the time arrived at each point defining your course. As you say, BikeRouteToaster only has two parameters for determining these (speed on the flat and speed up hills) but there’s nothing to stop you simply editing the files directly if you have an algorithm for specifying what time you think you’ll be at each one. On anything other than a short course this would be a nuisance to do by hand but would be simple to do programmatically or even with an Excel macro. (I’m not aware of a commercial tool that will do this for you.) The most direct (and non-programmatic) way to get the times you want at each course point would be to ride it at your target pace and save your ride/activity as a course, if/when you’re able to do this, though that won’t help you this weekend.
      However, this may all be irrelevant since the documentation on Virtual Partner seems to imply that it sets a target based upon a constant speed however the course is specified. I haven’t used it enough to ascertain exactly how it does work but every time I have used it I find myself making up time against the VP on the downhill and losing it on the up, even when I’m following a saved course, suggesting that it is indeed assuming the target speed is constant. If so, you’ll never get what you want from it.
      I’ll look into this some more over the coming weeks. Hope your ride goes well anyway.

  12. […] written previously about how to load a BRT route such as my one here onto a Garmin Edge 800. Recently, in comments […]

  13. Hi Ian Thank goodness I found your site. We brought a garmin just this week as my 18 year old son starts LEJOG this Monday! I brought it without maps and think I have managed to download Openstreet maps for the UK from Talkytoaster and have sent son out on a ride with a local route created on bike toaster. When you create a route do you use track point or course point and google maps or OSM maps? (and which maps do you use?) When I tried to save the file to the Garmin as tcx file it didnt work but the gpx version did and I dont know why?

    On standby to run out and buy some maps!

    A (desperate) question if you can help at all….I created all the daily routes for Lands End to John O Groats using memory mapping and exported them to my hard drive as gpx files ready for the arrival of the Garmin 800. From your blog it looks like it will be worth loading into biketoaster. Is biketoaster the best way to convert them to tcx files? If so anything I need to look out for in the settings?
    Have set the actual Garmin to stop autorouting
    many thanks for any help from a newbie
    Happy to share the LEJOG route -once we have tested it!

    • Hi Sue

      If you already have the daily routes as GPX files you’re probably fine. I don’t use Memory Map but I expect it will be as good as anything else.

      Regarding course points and track points, when you create a Course in BikeRouteToaster it shows you the Course points on the map. The Course points correspond to the places where you’re going to get a direction on the Cue Sheet. When you next try making a course watch how this works – add a new step on your course then watch BRT throw in the course points and see how it adds corresponding new directions on the cue sheet. When you look at the TCX file that you export for the course you’ll see all the track points at the top of the file, giving coordinates and altitude, then all the course points come at the end of the file giving you the Turn Left/Turn Right/Straight directions that will flash up on the Garmin. On GPX files I only see the track points, not the course points. I’ll write this up more fully in a blog post sometime. I feel more comfortable with the TCX format because it has this additional data but GPX appears to be a more widely used standard for mapping and navigation – your son should be okay with the files you’ve made without requiring them all to be converted. Moreover, since you’d only use TCX to gain additional data generated at the time of creating the course, there is no file conversion utility that would be worth running to turn your GPX’s into TCX’s as the extra data was never captured in the GPX’s and the only way to get it would be to re-define the courses.

      I use Google maps but only because it’s the default. I bet OSM is just as good. Again, I have more to write about OSM later.

      I hope your son has a great time on the LEJOG and I’m sure that the 800 will be a big help. He can count on a few times when the 800’s quirks will prove testing but the flaws are heavily outweighed by the benefits.

      Let us know how he gets on!

  14. Ian, thanks so much for performing your excellent research and then giving the gift of it to the world in the form of this article. Without your wisdom I was using my Garmin 800 like an expensive Garmin 500. After following your approach I am now getting the full value from the device. Thanks so much.

    • Thank you!

  15. Thank you so much. I’ve been trying to figure out how to premap my ride and get it uploaded into my new Garmin 800. Yours is by far the BEST step by step explanation I’ve come across and it actually worked. THANKS again.

  16. Ian your the man! this worked brilliantly only done a short ride so far but worked a treat.

    Once again many thanks, If Ihave any more questions i will be in touch.


  17. Hi Ian Had my edge 800 just 2 weeks now. I have only used it as it came out of the box so far. So after finding your how to guide I shall give it a go I must confess I am a complete novice. I will let you know how I get on, probably with loads of questions.


    • Good luck! Hope you get on well with it. Do let me know.

  18. Ian, GREAT information thank you. Much better then what Garmin could provide.

    • Thanks. It is a great unit but it would be so much better if there was a STTFC (stick to the course) option for navigation. I was out on Exmoor the other day and it tried to route me down to Porlock when I knew that my course was taking me a different way. Fortunately, I knew the area and stuck to the course and didn’t have to put in the extra miles. Then again, near home, it tried to navigate me in the long way round to avoid some more crumby roads that I happen not to mind.

  19. […] uploading to the Garmin. I struggled a bit with this initially, but fortunately with the help of Ian’s How To guide I got there in the end. As I set off from Bristol I was, therefore, not only following the little […]

  20. Ian – you, sir, are an absolute star for your ‘How to create a Garmin 800 Course’! I am a newbie owner and not particularly technical, and was really struggling until I stumbled across your guide. It worked perfectly first time – much appreciated!
    Rgds, Will

    • Thanks. Glad it helped!

  21. Hi Ian
    Great guide – thanks. As a newcomer to all things Garmin it really helped me translate my BRToaster routes into Courses on my 800.

    I have a couple of questions I’m hoping you can help me with;

    1. Where do I find the menu showing course directions at point 8 in your guide?

    2. On BRT the directions give the name of the streets at each course point – is this displayed ‘on the fly’ by the 800 as each point is reached?

    Thanks, and apologies for the daft questions!



    • Hi Alastair

      Glad you found it helpful!

      To your questions:

      1. When you have selected the course you’ll see a spanner icon near the bottom left of the screen. Touch this and you’ll see some buttons – the second one is Turn Guidance, which you need to set to On. Then when you hit Go to activate the course (if you haven’t already) scrolling through your display pages will take you to the page above. Let me know if it doesn’t.

      2. Not really. The course you define in BRT only defines the Turn Right/Turn Left/Straight directions (and a latitude/longitude location + distance for each one) and gives no supplementary map data such as street names to the Garmin. The “course” is entirely defined by this as you can see if you open up one of the tcx files in an editor. However, when you approach a junction your Garmin will usually give you “route” information, including a depiction of the junction. This route info comes from the Garmin’s own mapping and is completely independent of the BRT/course data. Hopefully they’re the same – but you can’t rely on it, as some of my other posts explain.

      Best, Ian

  22. Thanks! That’s a problem with bikeroutetoaster that I also ran into when plotting out the olympic road race route. BRT will let you re-cross a section of your prior route but not retrace it. Specifically, you can’t pin a point into a section of route that you’ve already made. The only idea I have is to plot yourself as close as you can up to the place where you want to retrace and then click on a point on the map just beyond where you started. If BRT’s navigation matches the route that you intend to take then it will take you home and you’re done. Otherwise you might need to interpolate a few slightly off-route points to do a piece-wise retracement, if you see what I mean. Let me know if this isn’t clear and I’ll post an example. Best, Ian

    • Thanks for that Ian, I’m finding my way around the 800. I have downloaded some .gpx for a few events I’m doing and the lack of course points is frustrating, I’ll just have to rely on the organizers paper arrows or the crowd!

  23. Hello, I’m having a problem when creating courses on biketoaster when the route ‘doubles’ back on itself, usually when I’m on the home leg and I try to go over a marker line I’ve already created. Have you any hints or tips? Great blog by the way!!


    • Andy, click just off the road/route you’ve already marked and if you’ve got the “Use Auto Routing” checkbox ticked, it will default to the nearest road. No, it doesn’t like you clicking on the route you’ve already marked going out.

      Ian – echo of everyone else’s comments – great “how to”! Just got my garmin tonight and taking it out in the morning for a ride. Ended up not being able to load the gpx from mapmyride, so had to do it all again in BRT. Got there eventually!! Got OS Map with me too – but hoping the garmin will do the job after the wonga spent!!

      All the best

      • Many thanks and have a great ride!!

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