Beginners Guide to Routing on the Garmin 705

A few people in the club have recently got Garmin 705 bike GPS systems and have struggled a little bit with some of the features.  It’s fair to say that the manual is not helpful.  So this post is a very quick and hopefully simple guide to basic setup and routing on the Garmin.

First up is how to transfer a route from a route planning site like bikeroutetoaster.  There are plenty of sites out there that do this sort of thing, including mapmyride and gpsies but they all follow a similar process.  I’ll use bikeroutetoaster in these examples.

bikeroutetoaster map page

If somebody sends you a link to a gpx file and you click it, invariably it will open in a screen like that shown above, with the route overlaid on a google maps interface.  Similarly, that’s what you’ll have if you have plotted the route yourself using the tools in the frames (boxes) on the right.  In the top left corner are 4 tabs.  Clicking on the Summary tab will bring the following screen up

bikeroutetoaster summary page

There are 3 frames on this screen showing the Course Details and the Elevation Chart, and also a Download frame.  In this one we need to type in a name for the course, and tick the box for Add Course Point Warnings.

Ready to download to the Garmin

Note, if you want to know about the different file formats above then here’s a good link, or you can find loads by googling it.

At this point your Garmin should be connected via USB to your PC or Mac and you would click the gpx line next to To Garmin GPS: This will give you this screen

Clicking on Write Course will transfer the file to your Garmin.  Now, I’m not sure if this is the same on PC as it is on Mac (which I use) so this may not apply to you.  The driver transfers the file to the Garmin as a file called course.gpx.  Which means it appears in my rides list as course.  And then if you try to download another it will try to overwrite it because that will be called course too.  So I have to change the name within the Garmin directory structure.  The Garmin will be shown as a volume in the folder structure on both PC and Mac.  Within the Garmin volume there is a directory called GPX.  Within that you will find all your saved rides – in this case course.gpx.  Rename that to the name of the ride and the job is done.

Finally you need to change a setting in your Garmin.

If you use the instructions above to follow rides mapped on a computer it is really important that you turn off Automatic recalculation of route.  There is a level of inaccuracy in the route planning software and within the Garmin GPS software so from time to time the 705 will suggest you are off route even when you aren’t.  Automatic recalculation will then try to find the shortest distance to the end – which is not likely to be the route you wanted.  So I set this to Prompted.  That way it let’s me know if it thinks I’m off route, but I get to choose whether it recalculates or not.  To do this click the Menu button, then Settings, then Routing and you will see the screen above.

I recommend this site for lots and lots of general info on Garmin products – well worth a read if you own a Garmin GPS product of any type



  1. Adam · January 10, 2011

    I like the 705 is so many ways, yet I also hate it. The route recalculation was one of my bug bears, together with the random lockups and resets whilst riding in unfamiliar places. Great bit of kit though.


  2. Pingback: Rufford Loop | Ade's Cycling Blog
  3. Steven Ball · April 3, 2011

    Ade I have encountered this while uploading a route in France, have you come across this and if so how did you fix it? Regards Ste Ball
    Error: File Path: String Stream, line: 1, char: 128372 Message: invalid character encountered

    Devices: EDGE705 (Unit ID 381…


    • Ade · April 3, 2011

      Yes I have seen this one. For some reason it happened for a short time but after a reboot of both the pc and the garmin it appears to be working again. However if it keeps doing it try downloading the gpx route to file (one of the options on BRT) and then moving it onto the Garmin, which should appear as a drive on the PC.


  4. Pingback: Garmin Allow Recalculation | Ade's Road Cycling Blog

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