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Komoot: the route to success

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14 Aug 2019
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Planning a good route is arguably the most important factor in ensuring any ride is enjoyable. It’s not always easy, though. Technology often can’t differentiate the needs of a cyclist from those of a car driver, or a road cyclist from a mountain biker. If you’ve ever been face-to-face with a muddy track on a bike with 23mm tyres, you’ll understand the frustration.

Komoot is proving that with clever tech and well-curated community insights, you can remove the threat of the unknown while retaining a sense of adventure in any route.

Komoot already has 8 million users worldwide, and has proved an especially useful resource for those looking to plan routes into the unknown.

Whether it’s ultra-endurance riders like Josh Ibbett or Lael Wilcox choosing a route for an event or recceing a race, or even this very magazine when we rode through the gravel wilderness of South Africa, komoot puts everything you need to plan your route right at your fingertips.

But even road rides closer to home can benefit from the kind of flexibility komoot offers – the option to favour cycle networks or a perfectly quiet road, for instance, and the ability to tell between them, where other planners will easily mistake a route for cyclists over grass and mud for something suitable for a fast road ride.

Komoot begins any route-planning process with an option of three different types of riding – road cycling, road or gravel touring and mountain biking. You can detail your fitness and riding preferences too, and komoot will automatically map out a route that will suit your tastes.

Your komoot route is broken down by ‘waytypes’ and surface. Waytypes are the different options komoot uses to differentiate between busy roads, quiet roads, streets, paths, cycleways and singletrack.

The surfaces are broken down between paved and unpaved and all iterations in between, as well as sections which are totally unknown. So you can tweak the journey however you prefer – to take in a few more cobbles or a little less gravel, for instance.

Aside from its headline features, komoot also offers some clever details that set it apart from rival mapping services. ‘You can switch between komoot’s maps, Open Cycle Maps and Google road and satellite maps,’ says komoot’s Rob Marshall.

‘And what’s really handy is that if you hold down the ‘M’ key, it removes the actual route line temporarily so you can get a much better view of the path itself.’

Alternatively, if you haven’t got a set path in mind that you want to follow, the route can detach from roads altogether and be mapped out in straight lines over terrain, allowing you to create best-guess off-piste routes on the go.

That can add just the kind of excitement and adventure you’re looking for when riding a gravel bike. The route planning is highly intuitive, and brings with it a rich selection of local cycling nuggets generated by the community – be it a café or a good viewpoint. 

On the bike

The functionality of using a route, though, is also incredibly important. And komoot packs some nice features there too.

Komoot maps can be used with a GPS device, or simply using a smartphone, and routes can be downloaded to work offline. Syncing with a Garmin or Wahoo device is perfectly easy too.

‘Once you’ve downloaded and installed the komoot Garmin IQ app, whenever you sync your Garmin and phone it will automatically put komoot routes into the app,’ says Marshall.

‘Alternatively, you can even print the directions out if you want to follow them that way too.’

Anyone who has struggled to navigate back to a pre-planned route will be happy to hear that komoot allows rerouting on the fly without any issues, simply with a few taps on the app.

As much as komoot uses clever technology, the platform is really about the community. After all, there’s no better assurance that a route will be worth taking than a seasoned fellow cyclist telling you first hand.

Komoot allows all users to pinpoint highlights (recommendations) but also has specially selected ‘Pioneers’ for a region, who know it inside out and can recommend the best routes to users of a similar cycling level.

This community-based approach also means that as komoot grows, it will improve still further, with more users offering more information and a wider variety of route options. 

If you feel like a komoot adventure, sign up with our exclusive offer by visiting cyclist.co.uk/komoot and you’ll receive a free region bundle!