Bicycle trip planning

Apparently we’ve reached the age at which going for a ride on our bicycles seems like a great idea to spend a weekend afternoon. And with the excellent bicycle infrastructure in the Netherlands, it’s actually an enjoyable experience. One of the ways that the infrastructure supports cycling for pleasure is the network of cycling ‘junctions’,which are all numbered. The routes between them are touristy and well-signed, and most junctions have a map with all of the junctions. Planning a route then means simply writing a list of numbers and riding from one junction to the next.
I like to plan ahead, so I use the Fietsknoop website (which is a brilliant name for the website, which you will recognise if you speak Dutch). We live quite close to a junction, and by clicking from junction to junction, I can create a route and see the total length.
But I also would like to have a navigation app running along on my phone while we’re riding. Because if you miss a sign, who knows where you’ll end up? I experimented with pre-configuring routes in Google Maps, but there is no way to activate that route while you are on the road. Someone tipped us for RideWithGPS, which has a great web interface for planning a route — but following that route on your phone requires a subscription that is more expensive than what we are prepared to pay for that functionality, especially over time.
And then I found Osmand. It uses the OpenStreetMap data, which it downloads (not that I have to be concerned about data use within the EU, but still) and it can also do routing. The free version is limited to seven maps (I think), and as every province in the Netherlands is a single map, we’re quite fine with that limitation for some time. The cool thing is that Fietsknoop allows you to export the route as a GPX file, and if you open that type of file on your phone, Osmand will happily open it and let you start the routing almost right away.
We tested it out last Saturday, and it works quite well. I did turn off the voice navigation (didn’t want a talking phone to distract me from the ride), but that did mean I almost missed a few turns — that will take a bit getting used to. But the result is really good, and I’m quite happy with it.

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