Another beginner GPS question
I've spotted a wristwatch size GPS at my favourite shop, Mountain Equipment Coop.
I'm considering replacing my odometer beacuse I find it is not accurate. My Cateye wireless rarely works below about 5C anyway.
Info suggests this GPS shows your speed and a bunch of other things I like. It's also quite cheap. Would this be suitable for touring?
You need a new bike
The forerunner has a 15 hour rechargeable battery so you will need to find a way to charge the battery every day or two. A non-wireless cylecomputer should be as accurate as you can measure the circumfrence of your wheel and should operate at least a year before you need to change the battery (maybe a bit less in Canadian winters!).
The forerunner is similar in capability to the basic eTrex. It will show waypoints that you program, has route capability, and graphically shows you where you are in relation to the waypoints. It does not support maps or any kind of road routing. It has it's uses, but I don't see it as an effective replacement for a cylcecomputer nor a serious tool for touring.
My Duty to Ride
GPS measures distance and speed along the horizontal - which means it will underestimate your speed on steep hills, and underestimate your distance in hilly terrain. The only thing it would really help with is speed on those
I hate to hijack this thread, but check tigergps.com before you buy. They seem to have the best prices on the internet (other than ebay).
I suggest you use a cyclocomputer for avg speed and such and get the Magellan eXplorist 300 for barometor, altimeter, etc...
Walmart bike rider
I used both a cyclometer (10 dollar Schwinn from Walmart) and a GPS on my tour. I used the GPS on a flat surface to calibrate my cyclometer. Since I like to use the GPS for more then just bike riding, I find both compliment each other. Like the previous poster said, the GPS measures distance horitzontally so you're lose a few pecentage of accuracy on steep hills. And in dense woods, the GPS can lose it's signal or get a weak signal which decreases accuracy. And also once in a while, the GPS will show you moving slightly even when stopped which will give false MPH average and false moving times. What I like about a GPS is watching my elevation climb or drop and seeing where I am on their map. I use the Garmin Etrex Legend which has a basemap.
It's nice to have a GPS but it is not a critical item. I love mine as you can tell by my nym on here. It was the most expensive item I took on my poorguy trip (worth more than the bike itself) but like I said, I use the GPS for more than just keeping track of mileage.
You need a new bike
On a 6% grade, the error would be only 0.2%. Close enough for (most) government work.
Originally Posted by dwightonabike
Yeah, exactly. I also use a Legend with handlebar mounts. Using a GPS for the sole purpose of keeping track of mileage is a COMPLETE waste of both battery power and potential. I cannot stress enough how useful it is to have uploaded detailed maps to mapping capable units - I do not think I need to explain why.
Originally Posted by gpsblake
But for more cheap units... even most of them have a "project waypoint" capability. That is, input the bearing and distance to a place you want to go and the GPS will take you there (albeit the only guidance you get is a birds-way arrow, but even this is extremely useful). So all you need is a degree measurement tool and a ruler, and even a coordinate-free map will do.
A bike computer may be fun, giving you the answer to "How fast am I going?" but a GPS gives you the answer to an, in my opinion much more important question: "Where am I?" Which can be a lifesaver on touring trips, not to mention it is just plain fun to know.
For those of you - specifically tourers - who haven't tried GPS-on-the-handlebar, I strongly recommend it. Hell no, it is NO REPLACEMENT for a paper map, don't get me wrong, but it is a VERY NICE complementary helper.