Last Updated: 19th August 2019

Exploring the Alps on two wheels

The ULTIMATE planning Guide

Welcome to Mountain Roads ULTIMATE planning guide using Garmin BaseCamp for Mac.



After you have completed this guide you will have the tools and knowledge to:


  • Plan rides by distance and time over multiple days.
  • Find petrol stations within your bikes fuel range.
  • Pre-book great hotels at reasonable prices.
  • Create realistic budgets.
  • Share with others across GPS brands



Basic computer skills

4Which hardware?


For the purpose of this guide we'll be using a Mac computer with a Garmin 590LM. You'll also need the USB connecting cable for your Garmin.


We cover sharing Garmin routes with Tomtom units in section 16 of this guide.

2Which sites will I need to register to?


Which software/firmware?


If you haven't already installed Garmin Express and Garmin Basecamp, go ahead with downloading and installing them now. Insure you register your Garmin, and update software, firmware and maps using Garmin Express.

1Watch the Walkthru


Tomtom for Mac guide.
(Planned for Late 2016)

MyRouteApp guide

(Planned for early 2017)



Because clicking on a main (1st tier) folder such "My Collection", will show you everything under that folder, it is prudent to organise your "Lists" with "List Folders". A "List" is the file you create your routes and define waypoints etc. A "List Folder" is a folder you keep specific lists, waypoints and tracks in


This can be done in a number of ways, and for the purpose of this guide, we will be organising Alphabetically, as this has given the best clarity.


For example a 2016 Alp trip, will be organised thus:

1st tier "List Folder" named "A"

2nd tier "List Folder" named "AlpTrip"

3rd tier "List Folder" named "2016"




All "Lists" created for the 2016 Alp trip will be placed in the 2016 3rd tier "List Folder"

01Garmin Basecamp - Need to know


The most important thing that you need to understand about Garmin Basecamp, is that whenever creating routes, tracks, waypoints, shaping points, etc, you are actually creating shortcuts. No matter which navigation tier you are on, an "original" version is saved in "My Collection".



03Delete vs Delete from collection


Deleting an item, deletes only that items shortcut in that particular "List". The item's original is still available in "My Collection".


Deleting an item in "My Collection" is the same as "Delete from Collection" anywhere else. The item is permanently deleted from "My Collection" and all "Lists"


04Copy vs Duplicate


When you copy item "A" you are making an extra shortcut version of that item. Copied "A" is automatically renamed "A 1". Item "A" and "A 1" are both shortcuts to the original item in "My Collection" Change in any version will be reflected in all versions.


Duplicating item "A" will make a new independent version. Duplicated "A" is automatically renamed "A 1" which is a shortcut to a newly saved original in "My Collection" Changes in "A 1" will not be reflected in "A".

Organising 05


So the scenario for this Ultimate Planning Guide we are going to the Alps for 9 days. So lets set up our workspace. We organise alphabetically so we create a 1st tier list Folder "A", 2nd tier List Folder "AlpTrip", and a 3rd tier List Folder "2016".Within 2016, we create a list "Guide".



Available soon

06Defining your Trip


We are finally at the stage where we can begin to think about the actual trip. What are your starting and finishing points? Which points of interest are there and how do we want to get there. We also need to think about our time frame. How many days do you have.


Ultimate Guide trip description

For this guide, we'll take a long weekend (Friday to Sunday) from Copenhagen to the popular biking ground of Hartzen. The trip will be a day to get there, a day to ride the area, and a day return. This means we will need a hotel for the first 2 nights.

07Activity Profiles


Before you start planning your trip, you will need to tell Garmin Basecamp how it will calculate your routes and adjust your riding speeds.


Even if you already have your Basecamp setup as you want it, it is recommended to have one more look at the preferences.


Pressing ⌘, simultaneously or in the Basecamp menu, choose "Preferences" then "Routing" tab.




08Creating a rough guide

A rough guide is simply defining all the Points Of Interest (POI) that we want to include in the trip. POI's can be anything physical, such as places or they can be wishes, such as furthest point you want to travel from home. Then we join all the dots together, and let Bassecamp come with a suggested route defined by your activity preferences.


Available soon

09Shaping the guide


With a rough guide setup, we start fine tuning the route by shaping as desired. At this stage we add starting times and dates.



10Finding fuel stops


There are few places where you really have to think about fuel. However sometimes stations are few and far apart, so planning fuel stops is always good practice.



11Finding hotels


This is a crucial stage of the planning and is where everything starts to come together. As terrain/road type varies greatly, affecting our average riding speeds, and factoring in a couple of hours stop time for lunch and fuel breaks we locate hotels by asking ourselves a very simple question. "Where will we be by the time we want to stop?"


The art of planning a great trip lies in answering that question correctly to within an accepted tolerance. This is why we have built in backup plans in section 09

We use time as our decider, choose a hotel in the area we think we're going to be in and fine tune the route accordingly.


12Splitting the guide into daily routes


Now its time to split our route into manageable daily portions.



13The Overview


Until now, the route in sections 8-11 have been in the form of a guide for the whole trip. In section 12, we dissected the guide to give manageable daily rides, and inadvertently lost our overview of the entire route.

We now create an overview of the newly created routes spanning over multiple days.




Remember: Your route is dynamic, and NOT an absolute


Planning your own route is great fun, saves you money, and tailored to your exact needs and wishes.

All you have to do is enjoy the fruits of your labour whilst your GPS guides you along your route. Having said this, your route is just that.. It's a guide and nothing else, in other words, your route is dynamic and not an absolute.  You need to give yourself the flexibility to breath. If you slavish follow your route, you're not going to be able to enjoy the experience as much. Fuel stops are only guides, as are your lunch stops. So if a planned road is gravel, muddy and up a mountainside... take a better road. You want to stop a few petrol station before planned due to the view... do it.


14Exporting routes


Before transferring your route to your GPS we'll take another look at preferences, this time focusing on transfers  ;)




16Sharing with others


Before we go further with this one, it must be said, that even though you have the same Basecamp map versions and syncronised activity profiles (covered in section 07), once transfered to your device, do not expect to have the exact same route showing on your device.

This is where loading your daily ride to the maximum allowed waypoints for your GPS unit as talked about in section 12.




15Creating a budget


So, how much is the entire trip going to cost? With a few variables, a couple of constants, and a spread sheet, we'll come with an educated guess of actual cost.



17Importing tracks


After you have ridden the route, there may have been some deviations. These deviations show up as sore thumbs when overlayed with the original route, and are much better roads than the planned roads. So lets integrate them.




UltimoBacking Up Data


You've planned and ridden your route, and you've even tweaked the bad roads for a couple of good ones, but now it's time to pack this route away. Backing up your route to an online service means that you will be able to retrieve it in the future from any computer with internet access.




Other note worthy trip planners


Honda Trip planner



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