Navigating on the Munda Biddi Trail

Please note: Buy the official Munda Biddi maps - my information is a compliment to them, not a replacement for them

Maps: The Trail is usually well marked with markers at regular distances eg 300-500 meters. I have found most markers are in place and are seldom missing, but you only need one turn marker to be hidden by a bush to cause you trouble. All junctions are usually marked, even when you need to keep straight on, but if they are not I always assume straight on. 

Often, usually on the earlier sections of the trail, there is a marker 30-50m after a change of direction marker, confirming you are on the right track.

You have to be paying attention while riding the Munda Biddi. I try and always be aware of when I saw the last trail marker, as they are usually 300-500 meters apart. If I don't see one for a while (I start worrying after 1000m), and there has been turn offs where markers may have been hidden/burnt/removed, I start back tracking and investigating the turn off trails. If you go down the possible turn offs, you should see a marker within 300m - 500m.

I also do check the maps regularly to have an idea of where I am and what is coming up. I usually find the MBTF maps do not have enough detail to show every track and junction, so trying to work out an intersection from the map is pretty hard. They do help with major cross roads, land marks etc so you have an idea of where you are.

You can also use my route sheet summaries which indicate distance and every change of direction. See the separate page for details.

Mobile Phones: You can use your smart phone as a GPS on all the rides on my website by using my .gpx files, or the file from the Munda Biddi Trail Foundation website here. My .gpx files are supplied by maps (for example, Map 1 is Mundaring to Jarrahdale). I also advise the diversions in place (if any) when I made the recording. You can also use other apps like Trail Forks ( a mountain bike trail database where users contribute data and then local trail associations can control, approve and curate the data) or the app (provides offline maps using OpenStreetMap data for Android, iOS and BlackBerry). The  whole trail is often stored the route in your phone and may not need mobile coverage.

I suggest that .gpx files loaded into your GPS or smart phone are not your primary navigational device. Use the Munda Biddi maps and the markers on the trail as your main navigation tool, with a hard copy of my route sheet summaries or GPS as a back up. My .gpx files should only be a back up - it will only tell you if you are on the Trail or not. It may not show any other Munda Biddi relevant info, especially if you load a file without mobile phone service (the details get filled in when in mobile range). Tracking your route on a smart phone may chew through the battery as well, so use it in flight mode for prolonged battery life. Maps don't need batteries.

To access, simply go to the "Route Sheets" tab, and select a ride then click on the "Download GPX file" and "Download Route Summary Sheet". You can also get gpx files from Department of Parks and Wildlife here.

Using your smart phone with GPS: Turn off all background apps and keep your phone in Airplane mode - you'll still be able to access the GPS. This will prolong the life of your battery.

To get the route on your smart phone:
Go on to my website using your computer and access the ride you want. If you use your phone it will automatically open the downloaded file and this will be harder to save.
Go to the "Route Sheets" tab.
Select the entire route e.g. Map 1.
Click "Download GPX File" button underneath the map. (For info on Route Summary Sheets, see separate page).
In your downloads file, select the downloaded files and send them to your phone - I usually attach them to an email that I send to my phone.
Once my .gpx email is open on your phone, tap on the .gpx attachment and save it in your navigating tool ( eg Cyclemeter). My iPhone asks me what applications I want to save it to, but I am not sure about yours. It is now saved in the "library" of routes.
When you want to cycle that saved route, in Cyclemeter I select the route from the "library" and it will load the route on the screen. The map will tell you if you are on the route or not. You are navigating from the MBTF map and route markers, and the GPS is just a back up, so you should only be referring to your smart phone occasionally.
Note - my gpx files are usually an amalgamation of several rides into one "map". Although I may label the file "Map 1" it may revert to the first ride name in the file when loaded e.g. Mundaring to Carinyah hut. You may have to relabel it when it is on your phone - a small hassle but not the end of the world.

See a short video on how to do it see the below Youtube clip I found on the Internet:

Please do not contact me with "how do I do...." questions in regards to apps and smart phones- I do not know. Please Google it. I just record the data on the trails!

Note: my iPhone will switch off if sitting in the sun on a hot day, because it has over heated. It last happened in Dec 2015, on a 34 degree day. Obviously, you want the phone where it is visible, which means it gets the Sun. But if it overheats, it is then useless. Similarly, when it starts to rain, you may need to keep the phone dry, whereas the MBTF maps are waterproof. Also, you can use loose/break your phone, leaving you with no navigational tools.

Power sources on the Trail: As there can be up to 3 days ride between towns, you may wish to use alternative power sources. These can include:
- Batteries - can carry 2 or more full phone charges
- Solar panels - I have a light weight fold out solar panel that can fully charge my phone in a couple of hours
- Dynamo hubs (like this) with USB outlets (like this) means you have power whenever riding, without the drag of dynamos from years ago.
Whatever you do, don't forget your cables to connect power source to device.

Remember, navigating with your smart phone will chew through the battery and it can be up to 3 days ride between power points. Be prepared, and always have maps as your primary navigational source. Especially as you can use loose phone - for some reason maps seem harder to loose!

Always check for diversions before you go - see here

Why use my .gpx files? Because I rode the Trail exactly and recorded the date and any diversions (if any) in place when I rode it. The .gpx files you get off the Net simply record where the last guy rode - you don't know if he cut sections out, got lost, rode a diversion or rode a different way for whatever reason. There are alternative GPX files you can look (such as the Trail maps website here or the WA Government's offical route here)

This page is the property of "Follow My Ride", a website detailing off road cycle tracks near Perth and in Western Australia.