Step 2: Upload your route
I have not used ALL models of Garmin GPS units personally, but a quick look at the online instructions indicate that they all do use the same method for uploading routes.
Simply use a USB cable to connect your computer to your Garmin. Hopefully, you’ll be able to sail through those annoying “USB device not recognized” type errors and be able to see your Garmin Device as a folder on your system. All you need to do is copy your newly downloaded GPX or TCX file into the folder on your Garmin called “New Files”. Once it's copied over you can disconnect your Garmin, turn it off, and then back on (I believe the Garmin “unpacks” the folder on startup).
If you have a blue-tooth enabled Garmin (I think most in the last 5 years are), then you can upload with the Garmin Connect App. The best way to do this is to sign into your account on the Garmin Connect websiteand then navigate to Training > Courses. Here you can create a course but even better, you can import a course (small link below "Create a Course" button). Once you have named and saved a course in the system it will be available on the app on your phone and can be sent to your device from there.
Checking Your Uploaded Course
After you have allowed time for your course to upload, and also turned off and restarted your Garmin, you had better check the course is there before you start off. The course can be found in the training/files section of your Garmin.
Note: if you wish to use an existing recorded activity from your Garmin as a route to follow, then there is no need to upload anything. Simply view the route details on your Garmin device and select "convert to course".
Step 3: Using your route
Some of you may have maps on your Garmin, and if that is the case then you probably are already used to the navigation function. This guide is aimed at those that have simpler Garmin devices, riders that might not have even realised that they can use their device for guidance.
When you are ready to navigate, on your Garmin select the course file (found in the files/training section) and select "ride course". Usually, you will be asked "Navigate to the start of the course" and this is entirely optional. If you are already some way into the course area then it might be better just to go straight to the nearest part of the course rather than the start. This is where it might be necessary to zoom out so that you can see the course in its entirety and then you can easily head in the general direction of the course until your path intersects the course. Then your Garmin will tell you you've "found course" and you can start to follow it.
Here are the key things to note:
- Garmin devices without maps will display a simple line on the screen. Well two lines actually, one line being the course and the other line is your "breadcrumb trail" - where you have been.
- The use of routes is totally separate from recording an activity. You can start/stop route guidance at any time, or select a different route, without having any effect on the activity you are recording.
- Zooming in and out while navigating is an important part of the process. You may need to zoom out to see a course that is in your area or to get your bearings, and you might need to zoom in to ensure you are on the correct route at a complicated junction.
- The direction you travel on a course is important. You can easily do a course backwards - simply follow the course line, but if you want alarms if you go off course and/or alerts to left/right turns then you need to be going in the correct direction.