Ride With GPS Segments, Virtual Partner on Garmin Edge 800

  1. Background
  2. I consider Ride With GPS to be the best site for creating routes, planning cycling group activities, and analysing rides. I first signed up for a year's subscription to RWGPS in 2016 and have been doing so nearly every year since. The RWGPS segments feature can be used in a very special sort of way, as I will demonstrate in this article. The Garmin Edge 810 bike computer is capable of alerting you when you approach a Garmin Connect marked segment. Unfortunately, many segments that I created and sent to my device, do not work as expected. The alternative, Strava Live Segments, requires a premium Strava subscription. For one, you'll be financially supporting a company that profits from holding historical user data in ransom. Technical problems arise too, and, unlike the good people at RWGPS, the Strava and Garmin corporations are less invested in replying to questions when things do not work as expected. As I already invested in the Garmin device, I make the most of the poorly-maintained segment feature while it still exists. For those Garmin Connect Segments that will not show on my device, I use a course file. This method worked for me when my primary device was the Edge 800. This bike computer does not have the segment feature, but it does allow the loading of a course. If a selected course contains the necessary race data, a virtual partner screen will provide the same feedback as a Live Segment does. The only difference being the course will need to be loaded just before reaching the start point of the segment. I will now explain how to prepare a course file that will function similar to a Live Segment race.

  3. Identify and Mark The Segment on Ride With GPS
  4. You will need at least a free account on RWGPS. Create a Bike category. From the top left of the Dashboard, Jump To, More. Then from the bottom right corner, Add Bike. You could name it 'Segments'. When you upload your final file, you will select Segments. This will prevent mileage being wrongly added to your actual bike. Identify a segment from any ride on the platform. It can be your own ride effort, or someone else's.

    1. Mark the Segment
    2. To mark the segment, follow the instructions1 at RWGPS. I name these in a way that informs at-a-glance, even on the bike computer screen. I begin with a 4-letter code in uppercase characters, which identifies a district. Then a 5-digit code that identifies the hilltop or another landmark. The bearing and distance in km, elevation gain in km, average gradient and category of climb complete the name. You may want to take a look at a segment, by way of example2.

    3. Identify a PR (yours or another rider's)
    4. Now that you have the segment marked, you want to identify your target performance on the segment. This may be your personal record (PR), or the best effort by the rider appearing at the top of the leaderboard (KOM). The choice is yours. A few minutes after creating the segment, a leaderboard is generated by RWGPS. From your 'Dashboard' go to the 'More' link. Open the tab that says 'Created segments', and find the segment there. You will see the Leaderboard page. Find the target effort in the list.

    5. Download TCX
    You'll want to click on the "Go to ride" link, related to that target effort. When the page opens, you will see the complete ride by the person. I usually save the link to this ride for my own reference. From the "More" link at the top-left of the page, choose "Export as file", then select "Download .tcx file". The file would be named according to the date. I suggest adding the rider's name beside the date. At this point, scroll down the left and select the segment area (not the actual link to the segment name). The map on the right side will now display the segment region, in relation to the entire ride. Select the same type of map in RWGPS as the one shown in your map software. OSM map is usually the one you need. You will use this as reference when manipulating the course data in QMS.

  5. Trim The Ride
    • QMapShack

    I recommend installing QMS from your Linux software manager. If you must use another OS, you can find a link in the sources list below3. You may wish to plug your Garmin in to the computer and have the device show in the workspace of QMS. It makes sense to add a waypoint a few meters before the start point of the segment, save it to locations and transfer this to the device. As you are riding, this waypoint will remind you to load the course.
    1. File menu, Load GIS Data and point to the tcx file. The track name appears in the workspace.
    2. Trim the beginning and tail sections of the track/ride. Point to the position on the track, left-click, then click the scissor icon.
    3. Uncheck "Create a new track" and choose the first "Cut mode".
    4. Choose "Delete first part of the track and keep second one".
    5. Find the end of the segment, repeat the steps, but this time choose "Keep first part of the track and delete the second one"
    6. In the workspace, select the TCX track and Edit. Unlock the padlock icon and provide the name that will show in the Edge Device. Also add a description, eg. KOM by rider's name or PR
    7. In the workspace, select the TCX track and right click, Save as (only allowed characters for the file name). Now also save as GPX.

    Screenshot at 2023-03-12 20-31-45.png

    • GPSTrackEditor

    Use this software4 as an alternative to QMS. I have tested this procedure, but I can't vouch for it always working, as the software doesn't appear to be maintained.
    1. Open the TCX then set to display, in columns, the elapsed time.
    2. Set the start and end point to 'break' for all segments in the ride. In the lap view, save as name of segment (without special characters).
    3. Open the newly saved 'lap' and alter the date field to also reflect the segment name.
    4. Save the newly-named lap as gpx.
    5. In the lap view, save as name of segment (without special characters). Open the newly saved 'lap' and alter the date field to also reflect the segment name.
    6. Save the newly-named lap as gpx again.

  6. Neaten Up
  7. I am testing the use of Garmin's now discontinued Training Center software (final version and the update)5, to ensure the file is suitable and doesn't disturb the functioning of the bike computer during a ride. You can also upload the TCX or GPX file to RWGPS as if you are uploading an activity. Check that cadence, speed and other data is correct, then download to the Edge device. To do all of this, go to Jump to, Upload the TCX or GPX file. Name the ride. Add a description, a link to the KOM ride and add hashtags #KOM or #PR tags. The GTC approach means you will add your device to the software, then import the output file/s from step III above, into the Garmin Training Centre. Finally, send a single or multiple courses to your device. GTC provides a convenient and effective way to keep a track of your courses, IMO. The big downside being the need for a special virtual machine or dual boot running windows crapware.

  8. Download to Edge Device
  9. You are ready to Export the ride as a file. Once again, open the 'ride', from the More link, Export as a file, and this time select .fit file. Save this fit file to the 'GARMIN/NewFiles' folder. Allow your device to reboot.

    You can either delete the file from RWGPS or keep it there as a backup as well as for easy reference.

  10. Ride The Course

When you are riding, observing road safety, as you approach the segment start point, open the course. Do not select “ride to start” when you load the course on the bike computer, as this sometimes causes an error on the Garmin. The Virtual Partner will update. Now, all you have to do is give it your best shot!


  1. Help documentation, Ride With GPS Create segment
  2. Example of Segment bushgrad@RWGPS
  3. QMapShack Download Software
  4. GPS Track Editor Software Download Software
  5. Garmin Training Centre Download Software Initial installer, optional Web update

#cycling #sport #hack #garmin #rwgps

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