Whether you’re narrowing your sights on your first Backcountry Discovery Route or you’re a well traveled BDR aficionado looking to tackle the next one like a Pro, REVER has some Pro features to make your trip go smoothly and let you focus on the riding and the scenery. While we can’t help you solve the age-old question (soft luggage or hard), develop a taste for Mountain House, or tell you how much camping gear to bring (from our experience; it’s less than you think), we’ll navigate you through the steps to maximize your adventure. I’ve compiled some tips from my experience as a REVER Specialist and ADV bike enthusiast, to optimize your BDR trip using REVER.
Preparing For Your Trip
You don’t have to be a trip planning wizard in order to set yourself up for success on a BDR. The routes are designed with appropriately spaced gas stops, camping/lodging options and restaurants or grocery stores to refill your provisions. But before you head out make sure you follow these 3 steps:
- 1. Go to ridebdr.com and buy the dang map. I know this seems like counterintuitive advice from a mobile GPS app, but they’re ~$15 and they make for a great souvenir even if you never end up using it. They are also waterproof and tear resistant, and may come in handy if something does happen to your mobile device. Plus it helps support the non-profit organization that creates and works to keep these routes accessible.
- Download the entire ROUTE to your phone. Open the REVER app and click on the Discover Tab > swipe to the BDR Logo at the top of the screen and click to highlight with a green circle > Pinch your map to zoom out over the state you want to select > Click the Green POI marker > slide the route up to expand > Click the download button on the right side under the title. Note: you may see several green POI pins, but find the marker in the starting location of the route. If you don’t know where that is, see step one (The BDR website has a lot of great information about the routes)
- Download MAPS for offline use. Go to the track tab > Click the Map Layers icon at the top left and select the map style you want to download > Scroll down to Offline Maps and click Add Offline Map Region. The zoom level you choose will determine the amount of detail in your offline maps. If you want more detail, download maps that are zoomed in closer. If you want to download less maps, zoom out further. Download as many map areas as you need to cover your route.
Pro tip: If you are only planning to do smaller portions of the BDR you can find individual sections by joining a BDR Community. Go to the Participate tab > Scroll down to Recommended Communities and click View All > in the search bar type “BDR” (all caps) > select the BDR logo for the Route you plan to ride > under Featured Rides you will find all sections and alternate options as well as any connectors to gas stations that aren’t on the route.
Preparing your bike
Use a Phone Mount:
This is not a sponsored post, but most of the REVER team uses Quad Lock with the vibration dampener. We’ve had some pretty extensive testing over the course of 3 ADV Fests and many off-road miles. There are other options as well, but the main take-away is to find something that is secure and easy to remove/replace your phone.
Whatever mount you choose, another thing to keep in mind is the height at which you mount your phone. I prefer to have it as high up as I can while still protecting it behind the windscreen so I don’t have to take my eyes off the trail to check which way to turn at a fork in the road. If you don’t have a taller bar to mount devices behind the windscreen, you can achieve the same result with a Ram mount on the handlebar and Quad lock ball adapter.
Make sure you can charge your phone:
Keep in mind that GPS apps do require more battery than most apps for two reasons; Constantly running your phone’s GPS and keeping your screen on. Even using REVER in airplane mode to conserve your battery may leave you with low power after a full day which is not ideal, so we recommend that you charge your battery while tracking/navigating. If your bike doesn’t have a 12v charging port you can find many aftermarket options For best results, use a charging cord that can handle 2.1 amps to keep up with the power usage. I also find that keeping my phone plugged in keeps the dirt out of the charging port.
Use Follow Route Line:
Turn by Turn directions are great for navigating across town or finding the quickest way to your destination. It can even be helpful navigating to the beginning of the BDR, but it’s not the optimal tool for navigating once you start your route, primarily because the app requires good cell service to provide live directions and can’t navigate on some off-road sections.
Follow Route Line was designed specifically for the type of riding encountered on a BDR. If you’ve ever explored a new trail in the backcountry you may have experienced anxiety about whether you are on the correct route. Using REVER as a heads up display will ease your mind. It's also a really good way to get a lay of the land, especially when you Render Map Style in 3D.
To get started, find your saved BDR route by going to the Rides tab > Click the dropdown next to My Rides and select My Offline Rides. This is also a good check to make sure you’ve actually downloaded the route for offline use. Click on the route and hit Ride It! Then choose Follow Route Line.
Making your ride count
Don’t lose your tracked ride because your phone died, or you accidentally swipe out of the app around the campfire. The best practice is to save your ride as soon as you get off the bike so you don’t forget and leave the app tracking overnight. If you don’t have service your ride will be saved to your phone and will need to be uploaded later.
Take photos throughout the day and then upload them and add notes about things you saw and experienced. You see so much on a BDR route that each day becomes a blur by the end of your trip. If you are tired and hungry, wait until you set up camp or find lodging and eat a meal, then take 10 mins around the campfire or before bed to finish documenting your ride. For me, this is a cathartic practice. Reflect on what you’ve seen and cleanse your palate for the next day.
If you also like to document your adventures on a GoPro or other action camera and upload it to the Youtubes, you can link your videos to your ride. REVER also makes it easy to share your ride with friends and you can even embed it in a blog.
For more inspiration check out the first day of my IDBDR trip. https://go.rever.co/qVBBOg5KJjb