Garmin’s new Strava Route Sync – Komoot too
Love them or loathe them, routes are a mess. More precisely, route sharing and route creation are a mess…sometimes. OK, often. One vendor supports a particular feature, like TBT, and another platform doesn’t. Your friend sends you a route and your preferred platform explodes when it tries to import it. That kind of thing.
Sharing is caring. But route sharing is just another way to secretly send angst to your cycling buddies the night before a special adventure.
You probably have your own flavour of ‘what works for you‘, as do I. 18 months ago, or so, I finally arrived at my somewhat complex solution to all of this and I have slept soundly ever since.
- With my Hammerhead Karoo or Wahoo Bolt, it’s mostly a simple case of a new route just appearing over WiFi – if not it’s only a button press away
- Sure Wahoo works with both STRAVA and RwGPS but I often find that STRAVA rejects routes that friends send to me ie I can’t get them into STRAVA. Hammerhead and RwGPS’s online platforms are much more forgiving and so I mainly rely on those.
- Sometimes I can hear my friend’s chuckling in the next street as they email me tomorrow’s only slightly-corrupted GPX ride file. Little do they know that I now use Fit File Repair Tool and it fixes the GPX, adds in TBT and elevation too. Now, who’s chuckling?
- Even that doesn’t cover every eventuality. Sometimes I might want to explore on my own somewhere and want to stick to sensible routes that I create. For that, I head over to Garmin Connect for Garmin’s popularity routing. STRAVA’s route popularity might be technically better but I also significantly prefer the route creation tool in Garmin Connect to that from STRAVA, especially the finger-drawn one for the app.
- I still have a desktop folder full of ‘special’ GPX and FIT route files but I also use my cloud-based route catalogue on Hammerhead’s platform (it’s free, try it) and that can also secretly instantly grab many kinds of routes from URLs eg if I create a route on Google Maps, Hammerhead pretty much instantly converts the URL into a route.
Back to STRAVA and Garmin
Many of you guys and girls will have your Garmins (as do I) and maybe you only cycle with your club mates at weekends and it just so happens that you are all in the same club on STRAVA. With the existing STRAVA Routes CIQ app on your Garmin Edge 530, you are oblivious to routing problems elsewhere in cycleland as it all works pretty well for you guys as you share routes amongst yourselves to your hearts’ content. Of course, when ‘new guy’ joins the club you wonder why he never has today’s STRAVA route on his legacy Garmin.
Anyway, what Garmin and STRAVA have announced today should make my routing life and your routing life just that little bit easier. It’ll steer me to use the Garmin ecosystem a bit more in the future and you will no longer have to use the STRAVA routes CIQ app; plus that ‘new guy’ just might also find that he now gets the route files from STRAVA too. Oh! I almost forgot, if you had previously uttered a few expletives at one of STRAVA’s misdemeanours, claimed to have stopped your STRAVA Summit (premium) account and moved to Komoot then you will be happy too as this all works with Komoot!
How It Works
Well, that’s a fib for a start. This section is really called ‘How it should work’. I’ve wasted more than an hour with the STRAVA link to Garmin and it doesn’t work. In contrast, surprisingly perhaps, I created a trip/route on Komoot and had it sync to my Edge and Forerunner 945 within a minute or two just to prove that I’m not going crazy.
Step 1 – link STRAVA or KOMOOT properly to GARMIN
You already have STRAVA linked to Garmin Connect but that’s not enough; you need to also enable the ROUTE sync as well. You do the same kind of thing with Komoot and you’ll also find that RideWithGPS will have their new interface to Garmin working soon as well and you’ll do the same thing with them too.
Step 2 – Do something, anything in STRAVA or KOMOOT
If you star and unstar a route in STRAVA, or create a new one, then any such change to a route should trigger a route-sync straight over to your Garmin device. I created a new tour/route in Komoot and it was sent over as you can see below but, more correctly, it was sent over to all my compatible Garmin devices. Note: the starred routes in STRAVA were sent to my Wahoo, so I was probably experiencing a problem at the Garmin end of the STRAVA-to-Garmin sync.
- Looking at my routes in Garmin Connect: The Komoot routes were added but not as starred routes, nevertheless, they went directly to the 945 (they didn’t pass go and I didn’t collect $200 #MonopolyJokeSorry)
- Deleting a route in Komoot did not delete anything already sync’d to the Garmin environment. FYI: With Wahoo, the route is deleted on the Wahoo Elemnt if the source is unstarred in STRAVA (how it should be)
- There seems to be no way to direct a route to a specific Garmin device or, indeed, to stop it going to all devices
- I don’t know if routes created with TBT street names and an elevation profile would also have that data piped through. I’m guessing the elevation would be cool but not sure about the TBT.
Edit: The next day and everything miraculously works with starred routes being sync’d into Garmin Connect in a few 10s of seconds. Also, it’s interesting that one of my concerns about flagging the origin of the route is addressed in Garmin Connect. Nice job Garmin – see images below.
The wider thoughts here are that it is great that Garmin has opened up to 3rd parties the ability to easily get routes into the Garmin ecosystem with a programmatic API rather than requiring the creation of a CIQ app. As DCR points out this has the knock-on benefit of making new functionality available to supported legacy Garmin devices, which is always a good thing.
However, this announcement seems a little bit rushed to me. Maybe I made a mistake with the STRAVA sync, explaining why I couldn’t get it to work. Put that to one side and assume it will almost certainly be working by the time you read this – but what does stick out is the need for routes to be in synchronisation with the source routing platform ie one deletion or unstarring is carried through to Garmin.
Furthermore, I didn’t expect the route to be stored in Garmin Connect as well as on the Garmin device but I guess it’s good that it is stored there as you can then edit the route in Garmin Connect and Garmin’s editor is quite nice these days.
I keep my numbers of routes and number of registered Garmin devices under control but if you let either of those get out of hand then it seems to me that you will have a job managing which routes go where and it will soon all become a mess – which harks back to the first line I wrote at the start of this piece. Routing just seems to want to create a mess wherever it goes. It’s not Garmin’s fault or Strava’s fault per se…the whole routing piece is just hard.
Anyway. It’s a great step forward. RwGPS…your turn now please.