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  1. #1
    Senior Member
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    Smartphone GPS on ur bike-anyone using?

    I have a Palm Treo 680/AT&T smartphone and Telenav GPS subscription for my car. This requires a separate $100 GPS reciever (GlobalsatBT-359) plus $9.95/month for unlimited trips= low setup cost since I have the phone anyway and carry it on bike rides.The reciever is quite small, only about the size of a larger cyclocomputer like Shimano Flightdeck. The gps reciever works by Bluetooth thru the phone and gives very nice voice directions and a pretty detailed color display onto the phone's screen. It should be easy to adapt this system to my bike and listen to the voice directions on speakerphone, but I'd like to find a solid secure phone mount for the bars. Suggestions? I like to ride in cities but having GPS in cities I'm visiting would be great. Has anyone tried this? Above system is also readily available for many other smartphones too.

  2. #2
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    I haven't tried it personally and I no longer own a Treo. I could barely see anything on my screen in direct sunlight with my Treo though.

    My Blackberry has a built in GPS. Unfortunately Verizon has RIM disable the GPS on all Verizon network devices so I can't use it. There's talk that it will be enabled and I doubt it, but if it ever does I would like to try it. I would need an anti-reflective screen I think though as most color LCD screen phones aren't that great in the direct sunlight in my experience.

  3. #3
    Senior Member
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    I have a work blackberry that has a GPS but is thru AT&T - not sure if it's covered BUT...

    I am using my personal RAZR on Verizon with http://www.bimactive.com/.
    The business name is Bones in Motion.

    My blog at the BIM site is:
    http://aliensporebomb.bimjournals.com

    Bones in Motion allows a GPS enabled cell phone to be used as a fitness/cycling GPS.
    It maps where you're at, tracks the data and uploads it to their website.
    Check their site for details on the service.

    This system is not perfect but it is great to track rides and view them in Google Earth
    and not having to manually enter my data at the end of a ride is great too.

    When I say it's not perfect some of the issues are related to the fact that
    some cell phones only update your position every 4.5 seconds and some
    update your position every 2 seconds. At 20+ mph this can mean that
    your actual route might deviate from what the GPS shows - and it
    is especially so if you are doing something like mountain biking with
    a lot of twists and turns. I am told the Garmin dedicated GPS do not
    have this issue - their GPS units update more frequently.

    In my experience, the route is accurate.

    However - as far as speed and distance:
    perhaps not as accurate as a wired cycle computer in detecting
    speed and average speed - maybe I think of myself as faster than I
    am but it seems that the speeds are a little less or my phone isn't
    as good as some of the newer ones (the KRZR and one of the LG
    phones updates GPS position more frequently with more accurate
    readings) the altitude ascent/descent however seems pretty much
    correct. I've found my bike computer (set up correctly) tends to
    show a bit faster average speed, maximum speed and longer distance.
    But the variances aren't so large that the data isn't useful - it is great!

    Generally it hasn't been a problem though and it sure beats paying $300
    for a dedicated HRM/GPS. The site also is capable of processing HRM data
    from Garmin units however. The log is free. The charge for using the phone
    as GPS is $10 per month.

    I suspect I'll eventually go for a dedicated unit, but since I already have
    the phone it's no problem. Also, I'm told the GPS tracks from these phones
    is smoother if it's a newer phone that tracks location every 2 seconds
    as opposed to older ones.
    Last edited by aliensporebomb; 08-15-07 at 01:09 PM.

  4. #4
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by ititchesrealbad View Post
    I haven't tried it personally and I no longer own a Treo. I could barely see anything on my screen in direct sunlight with my Treo though.
    What model Treo did you have? My 680 is somewhat difficult but I think usable. Even so, I think I'd like the voice directions I'd get but only check the visuals occasionally. Still trying to figure out mounting, though: I'll probably just carry the phone in my shirt pocket, or in a handlebar bag if the reception is OK. I can mount the GPS reciever unit with velcro on an old cyclocomputer mount on the bars. Any more thoughts? Thanks to everyone; interesting posts.

  5. #5
    Senior Member intrepidbiker's Avatar
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    I have a Sprint Motorola Razr with an "extended battery". I use it's cellphone-as-modem feature as my primary internet source now. I use its bluetooth feature to transfer songs, full-length movies and other videos onto it and remove photos and videos I take with the phone to put onto my laptop.

    I discovered "Google Maps" for cellphones a few weeks ago and absolutely love it. You can toggle between 2d maps and satellite images, look at traffic flow in select cities, plan routes, pan around maps, etc.

    However, it doesn't have GPS capability. Dammit.


    I am currently trialing a GPS map/route service (requires monthly subscription) on the phone. The trial lasts 15 days. So far, it has been decent.
    Nice features:
    1. Turns can be announced via speakerphone and easily heard. I prefer to use the Razr's stereo headphones.
    2. You can run the program with the Razr flipped shut. The display shuts down (saving batteries) and you can still hear directions via the speaker (or headphones).
    3. It has a "pedestrian" map feature... I haven't trialed this aspect yet, but I'm hoping that it might include bike trails.
    4. The GPS seems to work decently. I found one spot (under moderate tree cover) where it couldn't pick up location but has otherwise done fine.
    5. If you missed a turn, it would at first give an audible tone, then tell you to do a U-turn (where traffic appropriate). If you missed the u-turn, then the program would recalculate your route based on your current direction (i.e. it would recalculate your route, eliminating the one you passed by).

    Disadvantages:
    1. There is no easy button to push to have the program repeat verbal directions. You must open the clamshell phone to visualize the next direction.
    2. My first attempt at using it driving I had it set to find me the quickest route. It didn't. It pulled up the shortest route... which included a series of dirt roads with speedlimits of 25mph. A mile down the road was a highway with speeds of 55-65mph. I think this would actually be beneficial for biking... but I list it as a disadvantage because it didn't work as stated.

    All in all, very nifty setup. If they had a cellphone charger adaptable to a hub generator... I would consider using the GPS feature on an extended tour. I do wish the program was compatible with the iTunes feature... so I could play music and then have the songs interrupted by directions, but I can't see that happening for at least a couple of years.

  6. #6
    Senior Member john bono's Avatar
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    I did a tour of Eastern Long Island just last week and used Verizon's VZ Navigator as my primary means of navigation, with a relatively cheap Samsung A370 phone. It gives you a choice of bicycle, ped, car, and truck navigation modes, the ability to avoid freeways, hov, and toll roads. For rural trips it is very good at navigating, but in the city, not so much, due to its poor accuracy. For the bike routes, it tends to want to push you towards very busy roads, and not back roads, but it does adapt to changes to your route. However, cell phone GPS is a battery vampire, and had I not brought the energizer supplemental battery pack, the phone would have died in about two hours.(BTW, go with the LiIon batteries, alkalines die a hot and painful death when discharging into a cellphone)
    Ride a bike. It makes your legs stringy, and less tasty to our Kanamit friends.[SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

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