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  1. #1
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    Bicycle GPS System?

    Is such a thing available? If so, what would you recommend and what might I expect to pay?

    Lately, I have been taking longer and longer rides to/through increasingly less familiar territory. Sometimes I like getting "lost" as long as I don't actually get lost - something I've done a time or two - not so lost that I was in danger of never finding my way home, but, turned around enough that I didn't know whether to turn this or that way.

    On a bike, each wrong 'that way' can cost you tons of time if each wrong turn take you 3 or 4 miles to determine that you should have gone the opposite way.

    It's not a pressing issue, but a GPS unit would be a neat and fun toy.

    Caruso

  2. #2
    Senior Member dauphin's Avatar
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    Not sure if this is what you are looking for, but I read a lot about it on various threads here in BF.

    Garmin Edge 305 http://www.garmin.com/products/edge305/

  3. #3
    Geezer Member Grampy™'s Avatar
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    They (Garmin) also make an Edge 205 that comes without heart rate monitor or cadence. The 205 is quite a bit cheaper than the 305. They don't have mapping features but they will give you a virtual bread trail to follow your way back home or the have a "find" feature that will point towards you home (or starting point) and tell you how far away you are.
    I've got the 205 and love it. It gives you more info that you can believe. Such as:
    speed
    average speed
    max speed
    heading
    distance traveled
    time of day
    time of ride
    % Grade
    elevation
    sunrise
    sunset
    distace to finish

    It also has a virtual training partner that you can "race" against, or pace yourself.

    Pretty cool little units ....
    Carpe who?

  4. #4
    Senior Member dauphin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grampy™
    They (Garmin) also make an Edge 205 that comes without heart rate monitor or cadence. The 205 is quite a bit cheaper than the 305. They don't have mapping features but they will give you a virtual bread trail to follow your way back home or the have a "find" feature that will point towards you home (or starting point) and tell you how far away you are.
    I've got the 205 and love it. It gives you more info that you can believe. Such as:
    speed
    average speed
    max speed
    heading
    distance traveled
    time of day
    time of ride
    % Grade
    elevation
    sunrise
    sunset
    distace to finish

    It also has a virtual training partner that you can "race" against, or pace yourself.

    Pretty cool little units ....
    So, it gives % Grade? Is that an ever changing number like mph? Just curious how it is displayed or if it is given as a readout after a ride.

  5. #5
    Senior Member NOS88's Avatar
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    Cycling Plus (a British magazine) just did a review of GPS systems and concluded that no current system was really very well designed for cycling. They also indicated that they thought it wouldn't be long (1 or 2 years) before that changes.

    Edit 1-8-07 Got my first personal view of the Garmin 305..... Cycling Plus was wrong. This thing is pretty cool.
    Last edited by NOS88; 01-08-07 at 07:24 AM.
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  6. #6
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    I have the Edge 305 and you can set your starting point and it will tell you what direction to get back or you can bactrack your course but their is no mapping software. It is a great cyclometer with a lot of features but I also have the Garmin Etrex Legend http://www.garmin.com/products/etrexLegendcx/
    which sounds more suited for what you are looking for. You can put in your starting point, drive 50 miles, get lost and then tell it to route you back and it will give you turn by turn directions. You can get the bike clamp and it runs on AA batteries and gets decent battery life. It will give you basic functions like speed distance time and that type of info. If you need mapping software then this unit is pretty good and durable.
    If you want a nice cyclometer that you can use to give you the general direction you need to go then the Edge 305 is one of the best out there.
    Kenal0

  7. #7
    Geezer Member Grampy™'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dauphin
    So, it gives % Grade? Is that an ever changing number like mph? Just curious how it is displayed or if it is given as a readout after a ride.
    Yup, it changes all the time like your speed, but it's kind of a fun feature. At the end of a ride you download all the info into your compuer and it shows grade on a graph..... if you want.

    If I'm not mistaken you can get handlebar mounts for almost any Garmin unit and the units start around $100. The 205 can be found for $200-250.
    Carpe who?

  8. #8
    Senior Member dauphin's Avatar
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    I think I would find that more informative than gps...either that or disconcerting that my hills shouldn't be as hard as they are.

  9. #9
    The Improbable Bulk Little Darwin's Avatar
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    My personal thought was to go with a true GPS like the Garmin GPS Map 60 CSx It could help when you're lost, and also give you map data. It doesn't have the cycling specific functions, but it could also be useful in the car as well.

    From my limited understanding, the bicycle related "gps" systems are good as cyclocomputers and recording rides, but not good for keeping you from getting lost. I don't think they can display a map or directions...

    Garmin does sell a bicycle mount for several of their units including the GPS Map 60 series.
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    What's wrong with a good old-fashioned paper map? I have a basic GPS that leaves a crumb trail (no mapping), and I use it sometimes on mountain bike rides, but for road stuff, AAA maps are hard to beat. You get them free if you're a member, and the regional maps show a lot of detail without being too clumsy. The one I'm looking at, Central California, covers from Reno-Tahoe to the coast and from roughly Chico in the north to Monterey in the south. Larger scale city maps are available, but these show nearly all the secondary and tertiary roads between the cities. I've used them for years.

  11. #11
    Senior Member gear's Avatar
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    I use a Garmin venture CX. It has a moving map and a nice clear screen. I get speed and distance info as well as being anle to load routes from my computer and rides into my computer. I use it for road riding (speed and distance), off road riding (I have loaded topo maps nto it), city riding (I have city guides) and as a GPS in my car. Its great and the handlebar mount kits are perfect.
    Cycling Plus is the best bike magazine going and I don't know why they left this model out of their testing (maybe they didn't want to do two models from one mfg.).

  12. #12
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    If I use one at all I use the Garmin Etrex. But being the retrogrouch that I am I usually take a paper map of the area I am going to be riding in. Besides it is a good conversation starter...take the map and walk up to somebody...when I was younger I met some cute women that way

    Aaron
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by NOS88
    They also indicated that they thought it wouldn't be long (1 or 2 years) before that changes.
    "Long" depends upon your point of view.

    Caruso

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Velo Dog
    What's wrong with a good old-fashioned paper map?
    Nothing - except I cannot consult a paper map while riding, and I definitely cannot see it at night. That's why I'm interested in some sort of GPS system.

    Thanks for all the replies. Looks as though some useful units already exist. For a few hundred dollars, I'll probably spring for one of them and move on to something better when it comes out.

    Caruso

  15. #15
    Around now and then DnvrFox's Avatar
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    DnvrFox - still bicycling, swimming, walking and weight lifting at 74yo is participating a bit in BFN 50+.

  16. #16
    OnTheRoad or AtTheBeach stonecrd's Avatar
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    The garmin Edge and is a training tool for analyzing your ride after the fact and defining training programs and courses to follow. It can guide you if you have done the course before and recorded it. You can also create courses using various tools but if you really want to on the fly navigation a different device would be better. Here is some of the things you can do with the edge and SportTracks software.

    I can also highlight an area in the graph and see the corresponding place on the map that matches the data
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by stonecrd; 08-24-06 at 07:46 AM.
    The problem with the gene pool is that there is no lifeguard and the shallow end is much too large

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  17. #17
    Junior Member Bigburd's Avatar
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    I use an E-Trex Legend, very usefull, cycle or car. You can load maps, route & waypoints. They have a $30.00 rebate going on now and you can find a bundle with car mounts and map software.

  18. #18
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    For what you describe I would definitely go with a moving map display unit. I've been using an older Magellan unit for several years and like it. But I'm about to upgrade to color display, USB connectivity and memory card expansion. I have most of the software for Magellan units but am a little frustrated with creating and uploading routes that mirror the yearly ride across Wisc (new route every year). I considered the Magellan Explorist 500 (I prefer discardable batteries to rechargables), but I'm thinking I might like the routing capabilities in the SW for the Garmin Etrex color series.
    David Green, Naperville, IL USA "The older I get, the better I used to be" --Lee Trevino

  19. #19
    Senior Member dendawg's Avatar
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    Garmin GPS Map 60Cs

    Garmin 60CS is what I use in my car, my bicycle and when hiking. Its an awesome hand held gps mapping unit. I used a Garmin Vista before that but the battery life was terrible, the screen difficult to read in bright light, and it often lost satellite reception in heavy tree cover, or around cliffs. That said I just bought an edge 305, and love it for what it is, a training device and bike computer that uses GPS technology for speed and course calculations. But if you want a GPS for mapping and routing I love my GPS 60Cs.

  20. #20
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    Training Device

    The GPS has been a good training device for me as it is tracking my speeds on the various terrains. I have theForeRunner 205 and have found it very beneficial.

    I check out my route before I start; and take the attitude that I get lost; I get more exercise and more time enjoying the riding. Then I might come back and check out the change in performance while I am chyecking out the new areas that I am enjoying.

    So I use my GPS as a training device rahter than mapping software

  21. #21
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    Very pleased with the Magellan Explorist 600....I get about 18 hrs of use before having to recharge....have downloaded map of all of Florida from computer and all waypoints/notes, etc. for planned Nov 6 credit card tour from Ft Myers/Cape Coral to Daughter's in Jacksonville,FL......Ft Myers to Ft Pierce, then Adventure Cycling's route up A1A to Jacksonville...440 mi +/-...
    Magellan's use of SDI card overshadowed the negative of a proprietary battery...for me at least.....

  22. #22
    Senior Member RockyMtnMerlin's Avatar
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    If you get a Gramin 205 be aware that the % grade function is not reliable. Older GPS units are notorious for the elevation bouncing around a lot and this makes the % grade function shall we say "highly variable" and IMO not a good way to determine true % grade, espcially over short distances.

  23. #23
    GeoBiker / Mapper gps_dr's Avatar
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    Using a GPS has many advantages over a paper map:
    • No unfolding/folding of map enroute
    • It knows where you are and can show you if you are approaching or missed a turn.
    • You can zoom in to have higher detail or out for the bigger picture
    • It can record where you've been automatically in case you want to backtrack or use that trail again
    • Performs trip computer functions
    • Maps lie! trails, roads are offset from actual locations on maps for visual separation. This isn't required for GPS mapping.
    • Your trip can be shared and viewed with satellite photography backdrop Cool!
      Google Earth provides this capability.
      You can see a great example of trail sharing by visiting the GPSmapping tab of trailcentral.com
      My website GPS biking Denver has over 700 miles of mapped Denver metro bicycle trails (source of many trails on trailcentral.com).

    GPS selection:
    • Color allows for quicker identification of map features.
      A lot easier to determine if a line is a track, river, road etc
      Garmin color units have better battery life than their grayscale units (or most competitors units)
    • Sunlight readable display!
      Some color units are virtually useless in changing light conditions.
      (for non-mounted uses, this is less critical)
      Garmin wins this category easily
      Some grayscale displays are also easier to read than others
    • Larger screens can provide better map item separation, reducing eye time away from path
      e.g. Garmin 76 or 60 series, Magellan Explorist XL or Lowrance iFinder series.
    • Multiple tracklog capability to allow displaying trail networks
      Most newer units provide this, but beware of non-Explorist series Magellans
    • USB connectivity allows data to be shared on newer computers
      Most older units use serial data transfer protocol that is slower and requires an adapter to work with many newer computers.
      Some GPSs don't provide for any data transfer capability
    • Expandable memory (not strictly needed, but nice)
      e.g. Garmin CX models, Magellan explorist 400, 500, 600 & XL, Lowrance iFinders
    • Vendor support
      Garmin shines here too!
      They are #1 in consumer GPS sales for a reason
      Software & firmware fixes and enhancements flow freely and documented
      They have a variety of products to meet user needs
      Magellan (AKA Thales Navigation) was recently sold from it's parent company. There are hopes (and my recent experience) that they will become more responsive.
    • Ease of use
      Newer models have improved user interfaces as well as functionality
      Dedicated buttons simplify operations
    • Softare - for all practical purposes, only a GPS vendor's mapping software can be loaded onto a GPS.
      Lowrance & Magellan topo software provide 50' elevation contours. (Garmin provides this in their "National Parks" & "Canada Topo" products.) I expect Garmin to come out with something with better topo contours outside the national parks, there is money in it for them.
      The Garmin MapSource software also allows viewing your data via Google Earth.

    I own 2 Garmin & a Lowrance iFinder series GPS (all grayscale) and sell Garmin, Lowrance, Magellan & Cobra GPS where I work.
    The Garmin GPSmap 76 CSX is on the top of my GPS wishlist
    For hunting/hiking, i prefer the Lowrance Expedition C
    If you want small, try the Gamin eTrex Venture CX
    The Magellan Explorist 500, 600 & XL are very easy to use
    Happy GPS biking

  24. #24
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    Here's what I did for "on the cheap" GPS just for emergencies, especially since I tour long distance at night. I take a paper map anyway, but I just upgraded my cell phone to a Motorola RAZR, which is small and light and has GPS mapping capability that can be accessed under my cell phone plan on an individual instance or by monthly subscription. Under my plan it costs $4 a day (individually) or $9 per month for a subscription. So I figure if I'm ready to bonk, lost at night, it's starting to rain, and I REALLY don't want to be lost, $4 get's me un-lost. - and I like the idea of having GPS if I ever have to call 9-1-1. To date I haven't had to use either capability, but I take my cell phone with me for safety sake, and it only costed $69 for the RAZR when I renewed my plan. Other brands of cell phones are adding this capability as well.

  25. #25
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    I second paper maps. Paper maps make finding routes that likely have less traffic easy. You can find parks point of interest that a 1" screen would hide. My guess is that 1 gps costs the same as 30+ maps. I bet paper maps weigh less too.

    A GPS will tell you where you are instantly, a paper map would require a bit of thinking.
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