A person with two watches is never sure

When I got my bike back in 2012 I took a look at several bicycling apps for Android, and settled after a while on Strava. Lately I decided to take another look at MapMyRide, and then added RideWithGPS to the mix. On today’s Cycle in the City ride I had all three running simultaneously.

I’m using the free plans on Strava and MapMyRide. On RideWithGPS I signed up for the $6/month (or $50/year) Basic plan, because it’s required to print maps and cue sheets.

On Strava you don’t have to pay for that, but you fail to get what you don’t pay for: at least if I click “Print” on a saved route the result is a tiny and pretty unusable map, and a not very well laid out cue sheet.

On MapMyRide you have to have their MVP membership ($6/month, or $30/year) to print a route, and I don’t.

I like the printed maps and cue sheets a lot better on RideWithGPS than Strava. Maps are full page, and the cue sheets are laid out in columns with step numbers, cumulative distances, and graphical turn directions:Also, there are lots of options to configure the cue sheets. (I found they layout better with 11 point instead of 12 point font.)

The Basic plan on RideWithGPS also gives you some more useful features, like turn by turn text-to-speech navigation and offline maps; is either available in Strava or MapMyRide? I don’t think so? There’s a Premium plan also, not of much interest to me.

Strava seems aimed more at people who want to make bicycling as hard on themselves as possible. They have a Premium plan described as “Premium is for the athlete who squeezes every drop out of their sport.” It doesn’t appeal to me either. Similarly for MapMyRide’s MVP plan: printed maps and cue sheets are the one thing I wish were free.

For today’s ride, the three ride reports are at https://www.strava.com/activities/1042815478http://www.mapmyride.com/workout/2270915333, and https://ridewithgps.com/trips/15400656.

Here’s some good news: They all agree I rode 19.2 miles. (19.18 per MapMyRide.) Less agreement on time: Strava says 2:18:11 elapsed, 1:51:30 moving. MapMyRide just says 2:19:18. RideWithGPS: 2:17:47 total, 1:46:28 moving. I guess there might really have been a difference of a minute and a half between stop and start times for the three. The five minutes difference in moving time is presumably different criteria for “moving”. MapMyRide doesn’t consider moving time at all, though, so it included about eight minutes of waiting to go at the start of the ride, as a result of which it reports an average speed of 8.3 MPH. Strava and RideWithGPS average only over moving time, and get 10.3 and 10.8 MPH respectively.

In fact MapMyRide doesn’t seem to acknowledge the possibility of stopping at all. Here’s the graph of speed and elevation versus time:

Notice it has me essentially stationary for about eight minutes… but descending about 30 feet. (Not that I noticed.) After that, it says I never stopped. On the other hand, RideWithGPS shows speed and elevation versus distance (not time) like this:and Strava like this:Strava throws in a uselessly  noisy graph of power too.

All three let you create ride routes, but Strava doesn’t seem to allow you to search routes created by other people — you can look at their rides, yes, but not their routes.

There are advantages to each, but at the moment I’m thinking I like RideWithGPS best, at least with the Basic plan turned on for the printed maps and cue sheets and the audible navigation. Are those actually worth $6 a month? The were today when I was leading a Cycle in the City ride. I’m not so sure about otherwise. I’ll tell you this: $6 a month is $36 or $42 during the six or seven months per year I’m likely to ride, so $50 a year is no bargain. If I stick with the paid plan it’ll be per month and cancel in the fall.



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