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    FOG
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    GPS- what has worked for you

    I have had good luck flying with a Garmin GPS 195. I think I'd like something for the bicycle. What has worked best and what problems have you encountered? Is glare a big problem?

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    I have used a GARMIN eMap for a fair while now. I have found that the original Garmin bicycle mount a total piece of crap (pardon the french). Obviously no-one at Garmin ever used it on a bike. I doubt it would be much use on anything faster than a pram.

    The problem with a GPS on a bike is the vibration. It is probably worse than on a motorcycle. I have found that RAM mounts are pretty good, but I have just broken one of theirs as well. My current mount looks as solid as anything, so it should be ok now.

    I ride a road bike (a Solo Softride) - so I am not even going off road at all. But vibration on a road bike can be horrendous.

    Glare is not really an issue for me.

    The other big problem with the eMap - I dunno about other models - is the RFI it generates. I have a Polar S710i - and I cannot put the GPS within about 6-7 inches. If I do, the readings on the Polar start going completely crazy. The Polars are extremely sensitive (a real pain, to be honest), but the GPS seems to be a bit noisy as well.

    It is hard to read the GPS at night - you cannot use the GPS backlight as it only comes on for a few seconds - and it flattens the batteries too quickly anyway. Also the back light is fairly poor anyway - not really that good when actually riding. I use a small white high intensity LED mounted to my helmet that illuminates all the coputers, GPS and the Polar. Works well.

    The other problem with the eMap is that it only stores 50 waypoints in any one route. This is fairly typical of most models. 50 points is not really that many - and it can be hard to enter a bike ride limited to this number. Again, this shows that the makers of these things do not use them like I do.

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    Originally posted by FOG
    I have had good luck flying with a Garmin GPS 195. I think I'd like something for the bicycle. What has worked best and what problems have you encountered? Is glare a big problem?
    I use a Garmin Etrex Legend. Works great. They have an attachment to the handle bars. This device can record the route taken, plan a route, record distance, max speed, current speed, time moving, time stopped, moving average, overall average, .... and much more.
    Robert Tankersley

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    Although I havent used a GPS on a bike yet, But I have the older Garmin GPS 3PLus (which was replaced by the 4 PLus).works great.backlight works great, and it will stay on to.
    Working on building a mtn bike right now.

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    Clydesdale, for now. belfast-biker's Avatar
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    Originally posted by FOG
    I have had good luck flying with a Garmin GPS 195. I think I'd like something for the bicycle. What has worked best and what problems have you encountered? Is glare a big problem?


    I use a tiny Garmin Geko 201.



    Obviously the geko is non mapping but its tracklog is a HUGE 10000 points....

    Routes and waypoint memory is well up there too.

    Plus it's WAAS-compatible and links to a PC or pocket PC with a cheap pfranc cable easily.



    Tiny. Green. Cute.







    I used to think they got the man with the biggest hands in the world for this pic - they didn't, it really is that small.

    Last edited by belfast-biker; 06-07-03 at 03:49 AM.
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    A silly question, buy why do you all use a GPS while biking? I have never used one and I have ridden well over 200,000 miles in the last 35 years, and rode in mountains, deserts, cities etc and never worried about getting loss. So help me understand the need for such a toy.

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    Clydesdale, for now. belfast-biker's Avatar
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    Originally posted by froze
    A silly question, buy why do you all use a GPS while biking? I have never used one and I have ridden well over 200,000 miles in the last 35 years, and rode in mountains, deserts, cities etc and never worried about getting loss. So help me understand the need for such a toy.


    There is no need.

    But then, I don't NEED my DVD player, I don't need my widesceen TV, my surround system, I don't NEED a bike costing more than a hundred bucks, really, I don't need my camera equipment, I don't need clipless pedals, I don't need my HRM, I don't need a very good printer, I don't need any more speed in my puter, I don't need <etc...etc...etc>


    Need? NO.

    Want? Find useful? Motivating? Measuring pace and running distance? Hiking? YES.

    Am I human? Do I want things beyond what is necessary to sustain life? YES.

    So, yes, it was indeed a silly question.
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    Senior Member Harry's Avatar
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    Originally posted by belfast-biker
    So, yes, it was indeed a silly question.
    The answer is brilliant, however!

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    Great explanation belfast-biker. I know that most people around me are ask me why do I need (or ride to work daily) a bicycle.

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    FOG
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    Originally posted by froze
    A silly question, buy why do you all use a GPS while biking? I have never used one and I have ridden well over 200,000 miles in the last 35 years, and rode in mountains, deserts, cities etc and never worried about getting loss. So help me understand the need for such a toy.
    Until you have used one of these you wouldn't believe how much easier it is to navigate. In aircraft they actually create a new risk of overreliance, they are so good. I have been lost on bike before, and one of these would have been a godsend. For a mere parting with mess'rs Franklin and Grant one can have an excellent navigation tool.

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    DEADBEEF khuon's Avatar
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    Originally posted by FOG
    In aircraft they actually create a new risk of overreliance, they are so good.
    I remember when dGPS ILS approaches were first certified at some airports. They suddenly found they needed to introduce a small bit of skew because airplanes were wearing holes in the runway at an extreme rate because they were all touching down on the same exact spot.
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    FOG
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    Originally posted by khuon
    I remember when dGPS ILS approaches were first certified at some airports. They suddenly found they needed to introduce a small bit of skew because airplanes were wearing holes in the runway at an extreme rate because they were all touching down on the same exact spot.
    With my landing skills there is no danger of wearing out the same spot in the runway.

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    DEADBEEF khuon's Avatar
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    Originally posted by FOG
    With my landing skills there is no danger of wearing out the same spot in the runway.
    Well, this was for cat-II and better systems.
    1999 K2 OzM 2001 Aegis Aro Svelte OCP Club Member
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    Again, I still pose the question why a GPS? I have been using plain old paper maps or computer maps when they came about when I when to regions I was unfamilar with, and I have never been or got lost in over 35 years. Heck I remember as a kid riding into parts of NW Ohio I had never been and didn't get loss even without a map. Maybe I have a uncanny sense of direction, but I do know I can read a map real well. I plan ahead on long trips or areas I traveled to but never rode a bike at by mapping out the area ahead of time then take the map along for guidance. It just seems to me we are too reliant on gadgets that cost over $100 whereas the map is only $2 unless you belong to AAA then their free or have a software map program.

    I would agree with the GPS if I were riding or hiking off road on trails in forest etc; but I am speaking of a road bike. Even when I have hiked in some wild places I never needed a GPS, but neither did hikers before GPS's came along. We found the North and South pole without GPS, we discovered America without GPS, heck we went to the moon without GPS!! In fact the entire Saturn rocket system that went to the moon was built with sliderules- and we haven't been back after we got computers-but that's got nothing to do with GPS! But we sustained life in all those adventures moreso then then we do now with GPS.

    So how does a GPS motivate me to ride a bike? It didn't motivate Sean Kelly, or Fausto Coppi or Jacques Anquetil or Eddy Merckx or Greg LeMond or Lance Armstrong, that I know of; and Chris Carmichael laughed at a meeting I was at 3 years ago when someone brought up the subject of GPS's.

    But hey, who I am I too say GPS's are stupid and needless. If you like the technogeek thing then get the GPS and have a ball.

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    Clydesdale, for now. belfast-biker's Avatar
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    Originally posted by froze
    Again, I still pose the question why a GPS?


    For reasons detailed above.


    We found the North and South pole without GPS, we discovered America without GPS, heck we went to the moon without GPS!!


    If they had GPS then, would they have used it you think? Such a poor argument.... Hey, you use coolmax? Why? Cotton was good enough 30 years ago? Cleats? What's wrong with clips? Good enough for guys before Hinault.


    In fact the entire Saturn rocket system that went to the moon was built with sliderules


    Do they still use sliderules, or do they use what modern technology gives them now?


    So how does a GPS motivate me to ride a bike? It didn't motivate Sean Kelly, or Fausto Coppi or Jacques Anquetil or Eddy Merckx or Greg LeMond or Lance Armstrong


    I'm not those people, never will be. Unfortunately.


    But hey, who I am I too say GPS's are stupid and needless.


    EXACTLY.


    If you like the technogeek thing then get the GPS and have a ball.


    Übergeek, please.
    Last edited by belfast-biker; 06-10-03 at 04:58 AM.
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    FOG
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    Originally posted by froze
    Again, I still pose the question why a GPS? I have been using plain old paper maps or computer maps when they came about when I when to regions I was unfamilar with, and I have never been or got lost in over 35 years. Heck I remember as a kid riding into parts of NW Ohio I had never been and didn't get loss even without a map. Maybe I have a uncanny sense of direction, but I do know I can read a map real well. I plan ahead on long trips or areas I traveled to but never rode a bike at by mapping out the area ahead of time then take the map along for guidance. It just seems to me we are too reliant on gadgets that cost over $100 whereas the map is only $2 unless you belong to AAA then their free or have a software map program.
    That works fine if you have the right map, and the roads haven't changed. A couple of years ago I drove another ski instructor with me to Vermont for a week. When we got back we had trouble finding her place because the state had realigined several roads. Second, you can start out with the right map, miss a turn and find yourself off the map. Third, a GPS with moving map display is cool because you don't have to stop to move the map around in the window on the handlebar bag. Fourth, if you are using a software program to navigate you either have a smaller computer than I do or a bigger handlebar. Besides, you could hook up the GPS to your computer if you wanted. Last, why do we have to rely on AAA for maps. How about LAB?



    So how does a GPS motivate me to ride a bike? It didn't motivate Sean Kelly, or Fausto Coppi or Jacques Anquetil or Eddy Merckx or Greg LeMond or Lance Armstrong, that I know of; and Chris Carmichael laughed at a meeting I was at 3 years ago when someone brought up the subject of GPS's.

    But hey, who I am I too say GPS's are stupid and needless. If you like the technogeek thing then get the GPS and have a ball.
    Those guys would also laugh at my gearing selections and my clothing. So what? I am not in the Tour De France, and not likely to get an invite until I weigh less than twice the lightest competitor.

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    Here are some of the reasons I (attempt) to justify a GPS on a bike...

    The GPS shows trip averages. All cycle computers I have seen only show a moving average. This is great for most bike riding, especially as it shows you a much higher figure. This is because it stops reading when you stop the bike. But often you need to maintain a minimum average speed (like on AUDAX rides). A GPS gives you this.

    It gives you a backup/check for your cycle computer. It checks that you have set the wheel size correctly, etc.

    It has a very accurate clock - many cycle computers leave the clock out.

    But as a replacement cycle computer, it is a bit expensive! So what else is it good for?

    Route directions
    If you are doing a short ride around the local park, then it is not much use. Where it does become useful is if you are doing a longer ride (at least 50km), and it becomes even more useful if time is an issue. How does this work?

    What I do is -

    Get the ride plan beforehand. If it is my ride that I am leading, this is easy. If it is not, then see if you can get the leader to email you the ride sheet. This usually lists out all the major turns at the very least.

    Enter the route into your PC mapping software. You get this with the GPS unit. Then download it to your GPS.

    Now the magic happens. Activate the route in the GPS. You will now be guided the whole way. I get a double beep about 200 meters from each turn, and a large arrow showing me the turn direction. You also get other information like distance to go, time, etc, but on a bike ride, all you really need is the large arrow.

    This saves a great amount of time. You NEVER have to look at the route map again. If you are racing, or trying to beat your last average, or something, then this time saver is unbeatable. And you try working out a route map at 2 am!

    I have my unit mounted on the handlebars - just next to the cycle computers. Very easy to read while riding. The battery life of these things is so great (around 12 hours continuous use), you can simply leave it on all day. You can even leave the backlight on for a long time - hours, in fact. Perfect for night riding.

    It is also a great "situation awareness" tool on long rides (ie 100 miles and the like). On these I put in the major towns I will be riding through. Thus I get the distances (and time) to the next town. I then know that the next stop is in 30km, or something. I find this very useful to keep me going on the harder stretches. This is especially so when the end is coming up - ie 4km to go, 3..2.1..etc. Since almost all my long distance riding is on empty country roads, there is very little else to tell you where you are and how far you have to go.

    After a ride
    Once a ride is finished, you can use the GPS to generate two things.

    Tracks - the GPS records everything it does in a breadcrumb track. You can upload these to your PC, and it will show on the map the exact route that you took. You can use this as the route for your next ride, but you can also use it to show others where you went.

    A height profile - like the breadcrumb track, the GPS constantly records your altitude. You can use this on the PC to generate a height profile map. Not terribly useful, but interesting all the same.

    My own personal main use is leading rides. I lead a lot of rides with my local touring club. These are mainly 50-100km rides that I plan completely on the PC, and with a little driving around the route in the car if possible. I enter the route into the PC, and then download it to the GPS. On the day of the ride, I simply start up the GPS, and off we go. Since I lead rides every few weeks (even a couple a week, sometimes), this saves me a LOT of time and money - and it saves me getting "lost" with 20 or 30 riders behind me.

    And while I never get lost in the true sense of the word, I can lose track of where I meant to lead the ride. And on two occasions the route that I had planned on taking was blocked (for roadworks or whatever). I could quickly work out from the GPS an alternative route to get around the blockage while still riding the bike.

    And my software can actually generate route maps for other riders. This is of the form "Turn right into xx St, etc). I rarely use this form anymore, but on longer rides (100+km) this is very useful. Saves me a LOT of work. I also get very accurate route distances.

    And I wish it only costs $100 as someone alluded to. Here in Australia it cost me over $1100 for my basic GARMIN eMap (including mounts, software, batteries, etc).

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    You know - there is a great business opportunity out there for someone that can go one better than the GPS.

    The GPS tells you where you are. What I normally want to know on a bike ride is where the Ride Leader is. Since I am often not as fast as the main pack, I can end up miles behind the group. On these occasions it would be a real bonus to know the rider leader's location.

    I guess we need something like a locator beacon that he wears. The rest of us (or the slower ones like me) would have advice that gives a bearing and distance to the leader.

    This sounds rather silly - but most of the rides we do in our local club are "one of rides". We simply do a ride that someone has decided to lead. It can be anywhere within 200km of Brisbane, and it can be anything up to 200km in length. A LOT of the time I am on roads I have never been on before, not even in the car. No-one knows the route except the leader, so the idea is to follow him (or her) and enjoy the experience. This is all very well as long as you keep up...
    Last edited by kneighbour; 06-10-03 at 08:18 AM.

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    I recently purchased one of the higher end Garmine models and can't wait for it to arrive. They sell software that can create way-points you can get the same information on Mapquest for free. I'll try that and see how it works.

    I've tried the map thing last year and was disapointed. The wind was constantly pulling the map left and right and I was frequently losing my place. Furthermore, the map after the end of the day was a wreck and I hated having to stop and open the thing again and again. If I carried it in my hand while riding, it created a dangerous situation as both my hands were not on the brakes. Instead of enjoying the ride, I spent more time looking at the map trying not to get lost. A simple device with an arrow pointing to the right location would have been a blessing.

    If you get lost in a car, you simply waste time and gas. If you get lost in bike, you waste time and energy. It's the energy lost that worries me as you simply can't stop at a gas station and buy more.

    Last month I was in Philadelphia at the folding bike roundup. Since it was a new town, I didn't really tour the entire city completely since I was afraid of getting lost. With my GPS, this won't happen anymore.

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    WELL THANK YOU KNEIGHBOUR!!! AT LAST AN INTELLEGENT ANSWER!!!

    Just so you know, I don't just ride around the park, I ride into remote mountain areas around where I live that takes me about 45 to 60 miles from home on the weekends and once a year I do a 158 mile trek. I like that map idea cordinating with a map software program then download it into the GPS-VERY COOL!!

    But as far as pacing goes, some bike computers do that as well plus most bike computers come with a clock (plus the one on your wrist).

    I think the GPS would be a great idea if I were touring across Calfornia of across America, which someday (when I retire) I plan on doing. But so far I never been lost even riding in unknown areas so the GPS at this point and time does not seem reasonable for me.

    But thanks for the great explaination Kneighbour, now I know what a mate means!

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    Here is a typical route map after a ride...

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    And a profile map

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    This is the sort of arrow that comes up on my GPS....but I rarely look at that - I simply listen for the beep. The system works out how far away the turn is - I guess it takes in account your speed or something...but it beeps well before a corner, even in a car.

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    Thanks for the pics Kneighbour. So if your planning a ride, do you first use a computer map to map out the ride then download it into the GPS? If so how long does that take to do? Or does the GPS already have a map built into it and you just prograrm where you want to go? And how long does that programming take?

    I see image 1 and 3 are both map images, are those map images that came with the GPS or did you have to download a map into it thus the reason for the above paragraph questions.

    Also what brand and model GPS do your recommend and what was the cost of it and any software you had to purchase to go with it. How do you update the map, because even as with paper maps they can become outdated can't they?

    Sorry for the ignorance but obviously I never owned one.
    Last edited by froze; 06-11-03 at 11:39 PM.

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    Originally posted by froze
    [B]Thanks for the pics Kneighbour. So if your planning a ride, do you first use a computer map to map out the ride then download it into the GPS? If so how long does that take to do? Or does the GPS already have a map built into it and you just prograrm where you want to go? And how long does that programming take?
    The GPS I bought (GARMIN eMap) only comes with a "base map". Most models are the same. This is a big, very basic map of probably the whole World. But it is virtually useless, and very inaccurate. It only shows major rivers and highways - and only in a very general sense. Not good at all for navigation - only as a rough guide to show you roughly where you are. Certainly no good for bike riding. I used it for a week or so until my software came in, and basically gave up on it. I honestly don't know what sort of users would find the base map useful - as far as I can see, no-one.

    So you need to buy the software for your area. There are a lot for the USA - you will need to buy the CD for your area/state or whatever. When you get the GPS, the shop will have a LOT of CDs of the maps you can use. You need to get the map that suits your GPS brand and model - they are all different. There are also a few maps for Canada, Europe and luckily, Australia. Mine is the Australian one, and it covers the whole country - and to extraordinary level. For most main towns I can go down to house number level. It shows every small village I go through (at least so far), so for me it is perfect. This software comes with the mapping stuff that you load onto your PC. On the PC you can look at the whole CD (whatever you bought). Your GPS though only has RAM for a certain amount of map segments - depending on how much RAM you ordered with your GPS. It is expensive, so you would normally get around 16 or 32 megs only. 64megs will hold the whole of Australia, for example. So you download to your GPS the parts of the map that you want to travel around. This is a fair bit - and you only need to do this once. In my case, this is the whole of Queensland and a lot of NSW.

    Planning a ride. There are two ways I do this. I can drive around the route in the car with the GPS on the dash. This records the whole ride as a "breadcrumb" track. I then upload this to the PC and then play with it using the map software. In fact, I basically convert it to a "route". This is very quick - takes about 5 minutes. This is ok if there are no bike paths involved.

    I can also just draw the route on the map directly. This is so simple - you just click on points and the software simply draws a line between the waypoints. Bascially, I just click on each turning point in the ride - ie each corner or major intersection. Takes a few minutes only. The part that takes the time is labelling the waypoints. I only do this if I want to generate a text route map for other users (ie, "Turn left a the corner of x and y"). Mostly I don't, so it takes about 5 or 10 minutes tops.

    I see image 1 and 3 are both map images, are those map images that came with the GPS or did you have to download a map into it thus the reason for the above paragraph questions.
    These were dumped straight from the screen of the PC. It is the mapping software that came with the extra map you buy for the GPS (ie Mapsource, in my case). When you upload a track (ie the breadcrumbs) from the GPS, it is placed exactly on the map. You can see in full colour where your ride took you. Extremely accurate - down to a few meters. You can even see where you pulled over to the side of the road, etc. Brilliant stuff.

    Also what brand and model GPS do your recommend and what was the cost of it and any software you had to purchase to go with it. How do you update the map, because even as with paper maps they can become outdated can't they?
    I use a GARMIN eMap. There are only a couple of brands around - and this is one of the major ones. Magellen is another one. I have no recommendation - except GARMIN seems ok. It cost me AUD$550 for the GPS and around AUD$300 for the map software. Then you need extra RAM (around $200 for 16 megs), then you need vehicle mounts, etc. You also need batteries - the normal AA batteries are useless - you need rechargeable NiMH plus a charger.

    The big disappointment for me is this - routes and plannng. When I was first shown the GPS software, I was shown an "autorouting" package. This is brilliant. You click on point A (ie your home), then your destination. Then the software works out and generates the whole route for you. Instantly. It knows about one way roads, etc. This is what I thought my eMap would do - but it does not. With mine - and all cheaper models - you have to work out the route yourself. This sounds ok - you are riding a bike after all, and you will most likely take some weird path anyway, and not the autogenerated one. But this is not the problem - with almost all GPS units, you are given a set number of waypoints that you can store/use. For my eMap, this is 2,500 waypoints. Sounds a lot? It is - but this is actually made up of 50 waypoints max in one one route, with a max of 50 routes. This is really very poor - and it verges on being almost useless. Why they did not give me 2,500 waypoints and be done with it beats me. Just imagine how many corners you pass on a typical bike ride - hundreds! So for even a short 30km ride, you must break the ride down into 2 routes - Out and Back, for example. Then you must limit yourself to 50 waypoints in each. It can be a stuggle sometimes. On a long car ride (ie Brisbane to Adelaide - 2,500km), you would have no hope at all. You would have to plan the trip using almost all of your 50 routes. This makes it almost unworkable.

    The thing with autorouting is that there is no limit on waypoints - no waypoints at all are used, in fact. So you are not limited to the piddly little 50 that they give you.

    So, when you are looking at the specs, look for the max number of waypoints allowed in any one route. 50 is minimum - a good number for bike riding would be 100, but I do not think any GPS does that. 20 (fairly common) would be pretty poor.

    The Mapsource software itself has been updated several times since I bought the thing. You just download patches from the website. This goes for the software in the GPS itself - you simply download patches over the web. As for updates to the maps themselves - it has never happened yet. I image this would involve a much bigger download - but as no updates have come out for the Australian maps, I cannot say. I doubt that they would update them very often.
    Last edited by kneighbour; 06-12-03 at 02:12 AM.

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