Every Ride and Route on Ride with GPS can be downloaded to your computer as a TCX Course, TCX History, FIT Course, GPX Track, CSV, or KML. What do these all mean?
TCX AND FIT FILES
There are two versions of TCX files: TCX Course and TCX History; and FIT files can be exported as a FIT Course.
TCX Course and FIT Course files contain all the turn-by-turn navigation to use with your Garmin Edge series devices.
The main difference between the TCX Course and FIT Course files is that FIT Course files are smaller and may load faster, while some Garmin devices require FIT Course files and are not compatible with TCX Course or GPX files.
Premium and Basic subscribers can set a notification distance in meters for an upcoming turn when exporting a TCX Course or FIT Course file.
- While viewing a route, go to the left panel and click the More button.
- Select Export as file from the menu that appears.
- Select the file type you want to download
- Make sure that the checkbox next to “Notify before turn” is selected.
The default notification distance is 30 meters, but you can change this to to any distance you wish using the slider below.
- Move the slider to set the Turn Notification Distance in meters.
- Click the DOWNLOAD button to get the file.
This file will likely be in your computer’s Download folder but may vary depending on your browser preferences.
Three reasons you would want a TCX Course or FIT Course file over a GPX:
- You have a GPS unit that does not have mapping capabilities (Edge 305/500) but want turn warnings, or you have a GPS unit that has mapping capabilities (Edge 705/800) but you did not purchase the microSD card that contains the mapping/routing information which provides the nice GPS style turn guidance.
- TCX Course and FIT Course files contain the cuesheet generated when mapping a route using our planner.
- When you come close to the cuesheet entry, your Edge will beep and an arrow icon will appear on the map. An abbreviated 10 character description of the cue will also appear. Garmin’s are limited to 10 characters, so we attempt to strip out irrelevant text from the cue, leaving just the street name if possible.
- Often, the beep you get with the very simplistic turn by turn directions of a TCX Course or Fit Course file occurs as you are in the middle of the intersection, meaning it doesn’t happen in advance of the turn. That’s fine for most people, since it’s just a reference – most of the time you have an idea of where you are going and just need an auditory beep to make sure you don’t accidentally pass a turn.
- Your GPS unit has fancy maps installed, but you have custom cue entries like water and food stops. Using a TCX Course or FIT Course file will still allow your GPS unit to have the fancy turn guidance you get when you have a quality map installed on the GPS, however you will also get the simple beep/icon style navigation of the TCX. This allows you to get alerts when you approach your custom cues, while still using the fancy navigation capabilities of your GPS unit.
- You are interested in the training capabilities of TCX Course or FIT Course files, meaning, you want to export a route with a set speed, and you want to get alerts when you go above or below that speed. At this moment, we do not have the capability to export a *route* with these average speeds, however if you export a TCX of an existing activity that you have done, you can race against the speed you went when originally riding on that activity.
TCX History files contain the entire track of the recorded ride including sensor information like heart rate, cadence, and power if applicable. Export as a TCX History if you wish to transfer a ride to another service or application for analysis.
There are two kinds of GPX files: GPX Track and GPX Route.
GPX Track This file type contains the thousands of points used to draw the map. Your GPS will follow this track and is the next most common format we recommend for units that cannot use a TCX Course file.
GPX Route only contains the cuesheet entries, and relies on the GPS device to calculate a route between each of the cuesheet entries.
Since the maps inside the GPS unit are different than the Google maps used to plan the route, often times the route chosen by the GPS unit will be slightly different than the one planned using our site. Unless you know what you are doing, GPX Routes are not as useful and should be avoided.
Two reasons to choose GPX file:
- You have a GPS unit that doesn’t read TCX files. The eTrex, Oregon, Montana, and GPSmap series do not read TCX.
- You don’t care about riding a certain speed, and you don’t need the basic turn guidance offered by the TCX. If you have Garmin maps or OSM maps installed on a microSD card in your map-capable GPS unit, your GPS will provide native turn guidance and there is no need for the basic navigation offered by the TCX format.
Other File Types:
KML: Not used as an export format for navigation on GPS devices, but a useful export for viewing a route or activity in Google Earth.
CSV: Comma Separated Values, useful for importing into a spreadsheet program. This export option only includes the cues for printing and none of the navigation for GPS devices or the mobile app.
Need more information on your Garmin device?
We’ve shared our thoughts on some of the most popular devices here: Compatible Devicesby