You may be asking yourself, what does software have to do with cycling? I use a variety of software for cycling. Here's the basic breakdown by functions.
Ride planning I often plan my route ahead of time. For that, I use a driving directions type program. I also like to plan out my climbing profiles. For that, I use topographic software.
Post ride analysis After my rides, I like to see what I've done. I download my GPS track logs and get relevant stats.
Ride logging I keep a diary of all my rides. I can see my progress over time and track service intervals for my bike.
Here are the applications I use. I have separate pages set up for details on each of them
- MapSource This is the mapping application for the Garmin GPS. The Legend C comes with basic maps (highways and some state roads) but detailed maps cost extra. I have the fully detailed maps and use them for pre-ride route planning (it calculates distance but not elevation). I can lay out a full ride, download it to my GPS and then get prompted directions during the ride.
- TopoFusion I use this application for two purposes. The first is for pre-ride elevation profiles. If I export a .gpx file for a planned route from MapSource and open it in TopoFusion, I can get an elevation profile for the ride. After a ride, I download the track log from my GPS and TopoFusion gives me all my stats. I can view my ride on a map and even race myself against previous rides.
- CycliStats After I have all my post-ride stats, I log them in this application. It's a great way to track my progress and keep tabs on what I'm doing.
Basic mapping If you're looking for something more basic (and free), try Gmaps Pedometer. This web site lets you lay out a track on top of streets on a Google Map and then export it as a GPX file. This is a great way to use a non-mapping GPS to follow a pre-planned route. I suggest this for use with a basic Garmin eTrex or the Garmin Edge line of cycling-specific units. Also, I use this when I'm not at my own computer with access to my maps.