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Old 11-03-06, 08:01 AM   #1
kf5nd
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Anyone use handlebar-mounted GPS for navigation?

I generate my ride maps using Microsoft's consumer mapping software; and you can easily export the waypoint coordinates to a GPS.

Is it common to use GPS for long-distance tour navigation? I can see many advantages, so long as the units are rugged and waterproof, and you've got spare batteries, and some minimal kind of paper map backup.

It would be great to get a signal to turn left, turn right, just before you need to turn. Then you could pick really obscure, poorly-marked little roads that represent the shortest or most scenic distance, and not worry so much about getting completely lost.
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Old 11-03-06, 11:57 AM   #2
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The most basic gps just tells you where you are. The next step up is a mapping unit. You'll see your position on a moving map and maybe an "as the bird flies" bearing to your goal. What you want is the next step up: turn-by-turn routing. The only ones I've seen which would do this are much bigger, more expensive and power hungry than you'd pribably want to put on a bike. I would opt instead for a nice handlebar bag with a clear map cover so you can see the map at all times and the absolute lightest mapping gps unit you can find. I'd just leave it in the bag and only turn the gps on when I'm lost. These babies can really draw down the current. Then again, "geocaching" a tour could be very cool. Just my $0.02.
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Old 11-03-06, 12:22 PM   #3
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Good road maps have Latitude and longitude numbers printed in the margins. It's very easy to take a ruler and plot your position on a good commercially made paper map using your position obtained from the GPS unit. Most free maps available at rest stops or tourist information kiosks also have Latitude and longitude numbers as well. I use the cheapest unit available so if it gets stolen, lost, or destroyed I don’t feel as bad as I would if I had spent hundreds of dollars on an expensive unit. Even the cheapest GPS units have some graphic capabilities and you can see your position approaching the next waypoint "target". A cheap compass will let you know which direction to go for the next programmed waypoint.
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Old 11-03-06, 12:38 PM   #4
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I started using a Garmin Quest at the end of last season, and have used it on all my rides this year, which has incuded 5 centuries and 18 other rides of more than 50 miles. It beats having to stop and read dog-eared, wet, smudged paper-maps. The Quest comes with easy to use, great software.

- Wil
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Old 11-03-06, 02:32 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kf5nd
I generate my ride maps using Microsoft's consumer mapping software; and you can easily export the waypoint coordinates to a GPS.

Is it common to use GPS for long-distance tour navigation? I can see many advantages, so long as the units are rugged and waterproof, and you've got spare batteries, and some minimal kind of paper map backup.

It would be great to get a signal to turn left, turn right, just before you need to turn. Then you could pick really obscure, poorly-marked little roads that represent the shortest or most scenic distance, and not worry so much about getting completely lost.
Are you talking about "Streets and Trips"? If so, I would love to know how to export a route to GPS. I haven't seen that functionality in it.

Steve W.
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Old 11-03-06, 06:50 PM   #6
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I use the Garmin GPSMap 76C. It was very valuable on my tour of Italy. Plus it is great for just weekend rides. My European maps are older and do not route on the GPS only the PC. But the GPS will at least show your destination. You can use larger maps to plan the route on your own.

My U.S. maps can route on the GPS. It is great to go out for a ride and just get lost. The GPS will give your the best route back to your point of origin. The same type of maps are avliable for Europe, but I cannot justify spending the extra dollars for such limited us.
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Old 11-03-06, 08:20 PM   #7
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I use a Garmin GPSMap 60CS. I can program routes in from cue sheets and it will give warning beeps for upcoming turns. Love it. Uses 2 AA batteries that last all day (garmin claims 30 hours). And if you load in the local maps from their mapsource software you can pick alternate routes as you ride.
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Old 11-04-06, 09:25 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kf5nd
I generate my ride maps using Microsoft's consumer mapping software; and you can easily export the waypoint coordinates to a GPS.

Is it common to use GPS for long-distance tour navigation? I can see many advantages, so long as the units are rugged and waterproof, and you've got spare batteries, and some minimal kind of paper map backup.

It would be great to get a signal to turn left, turn right, just before you need to turn. Then you could pick really obscure, poorly-marked little roads that represent the shortest or most scenic distance, and not worry so much about getting completely lost.
Get the GPS ASAP. It really will change the way you ride and with the Garmin Legend selling for less than $150.00, there's really no reason why you have to buy one without a built in map. When you first start off, you'll have to type in the "Way Points" from Streets and Trips into the unit since both are not compatible. However, when you have the money, get the Garmin software because it really speeds uploading routes.

I never travel great distances without the unit. Don't allow the GPS to make routes for you or you'll end up on a highway! You'll have to spend time making routes and use plenty of "Way Points" which are coordinates at each turn so you don't get lost.

Buy 4 rechargable batteries and you'll never have to worry about going out to buy any more.
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Old 11-04-06, 01:13 PM   #9
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GPS with Palm

If you have a bluetooth capable Palm or other handheld PDA, you can purchase a bluetooth GPS unit and software. Advantage to this is cost -- for about $150 you can get a workable solution. Disadvantage is you typically map on a computer and transfer the route to the palm. Advantage is cost and you have your palm with you, which is often a good thing. Inexpensive mounting solutions are available to mount the palm to your handlebars.

I agree with the GPS solution in general. WAY better than paper maps or cue sheets. You dont have to fish around for the right piece of paper and you always know where you are.

I have a Delorme BlueLogger with StreetAtlas USA Handheld. The hardware is great; the software has some glitches but at $50 it is a bargain.
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Old 11-04-06, 03:09 PM   #10
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I have a Garmin etrex Vista and Mapsource map software that I love. To me what’s even cooler then no paper maps is the ability to upload or download routes from sites like Bikly.com. I was on a ride last weekend where they had the route up on gmap-pedometer.com and it was really nice being able to put that on my GPS and follow that rather then a cue sheet. And then I uploaded the whole adventure from home to ride and back again on http://www.bikely.com/maps/bike-path...e-Collage-Park .

For those of you who are missing the software to get stuff on and off your GPS try this link:
http://www.download.com/3120-20_4-0....armin&tag=srch

I have no experience with the software posted but in general I love download.com for finding software.
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