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I use apps a lot but I love a real map. In fact, when I got my new car the first thing I did was buy an atlas with a vinal protector because my old atlas was pretty shredded.
I also tend to pick up trail maps at ski resorts and for trail riding.
 

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For those with handlebar mounted mapping device - are you using it follow routes
Yeah. I use the tail forks map app as a... wait for it... map. :p

Same as when I pull over, take off my camelbak, get my phone out, try to memerize the next 3 or 4 turns to stay on, or get to the trails I want to ride. right right left? left right left left???
So instead I just glance down at my handlebar. Even if I have to zoom and move the map around, it's much more convenient to pull off the trail for 3 seconds and have a closer look than go through the above process.
 

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For those with handlebar mounted mapping device - are you using it follow routes, or just to have a map with your dot on it? Or is it also tracking your metrics?

I see a point of route following if I'm doing a bikepacking route and don't wanna burn time faffing with a map at every intersection. And I see the point of tracking mileage, elevation, etc with a gps. But when just riding, digital map on the bars doesn't compute for me.
My garmin goes on the bars. It's primarily for tracking, but I have topo maps and trails loaded into it for use in a pinch.

I can program routes into it, which I do occasionally, but usually not. My usual ride prep involves some planning work before I ever go anywhere, so most of the route is memorized, anyway. Though some of my local spots (the places I know well, and which also have lots and lots of options for parking and ride loops) are made up at the trailhead or even on the fly based on traffic and/or trail conditions. I only pull out a map (physical or digital) if I really need it. The screen my Garmin displays is almost always just a basic cyclocomputer screen that shows distance, time of day, elapsed ride time, temp, etc. It usually gets ignored most of the ride. It's small and unobtrusive, so it's not like its presence creates distractions or anything.

If I'm someplace new, I usually wind up spending more time with my maps out. I try to do most of this work before I start riding, but I've been enough places where the trail network doesn't really match the maps very well that I recognize that sometimes I need to toss the maps and spend some time reading the terrain. Some places don't have quality paper maps available, and even some digital sources are iffy. So my exact procedure can vary a lot depending on where I am and what's available. But either way, I never have the map "out" all the time.
 

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Is OP really allowed to ask a question then sit on the fence like that? Lol. I'm a both guy too.

I lean towards apps but I've been remote/no service and less traveled places where having paper saved me.
 

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UZZI 275
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I prefer best tool to achieve best result;
90% app are fine and provide more information and guidance and help and remaining part can be covered by paper


Cheers
 

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Discussion Starter · #28 ·
Is OP really allowed to ask a question then sit on the fence like that? Lol. I'm a both guy too.

I lean towards apps but I've been remote/no service and less traveled places where having paper saved me.
Haha, I'm here. I like them both for different reasons. I generally like to plan my routes on a physical map when possible, I find it easier to look at. Actually if the places I visit have updated maps, I prefer to use it on the trail too. The problem is many places don't offer maps or are always adding new trails and the maps are not up to date.

The apps become the solution. I think that Trailforks is excellent, and looking at routes other people are riding is a great way to help plan a ride. It is also nice to see your dot on the map to know where you are. I just find it annoying to keep taking my phone out to look at it.

I think the best way to navigate new trails is making friends with a local and following them around for the day and having a beer(or soda or gatorade) with them at the end of the day. Meeting new people with shared interests/passion/obsession is part of the fun.
 

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Honestly, at 60yrs old my eyes don't do paper maps real well and where I'm located, there are very few if any areas that my apps won't work. I also like the fact that I can use satellite images and zoom in on distinct landmarks such as dirt roads, sidewalks, creeks, watersheds, boggy areas etc etc. And with google maps "layers" showing cycling routes--
  • Trails (solid dark green line)
  • Dedicated bike lanes (solid green lane)
  • Bicycle-friendly roads (dotted green line)
  • Dirt/unpaved trails (solid brown line)

it's a no brainer for me.
 

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Apps because they are accurate and not wildly out of date like every printed map on the planet. Printed maps cost a ton of money to design and print so parks dont do it except every 10-20 years or so, they also arent going to include popular social trails making them even more confusing, its just a bad idea to use them for trails.
 
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