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Old 05-09-07, 10:08 AM   #1
konarocky
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Gps

Has anyone ever used a GPS system to help guide them during a tour? I don't even know if a GPS system would work on a bike...just wondering.
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Old 05-09-07, 10:21 AM   #2
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GPS will work on a bike, but unless you are navigating through lots of challenging cities I really fail to see the value in carrying something else that needs batteries. For my touring needs a paper map works just fine.
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Old 05-09-07, 10:45 AM   #3
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Ditto. I've used my gps receiver on my bike before, but just for fun to track my route and elevation profile. I'm not going to bother bringing it on my tour this summer. If you have poor navigation skills, maybe it would be of use to you, but a map should work and doesn't require batteries.
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Old 05-09-07, 12:31 PM   #4
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I toured with a guy who had one. It was fun having a running fix on your position ("Only half a mile to the top of the pass"). Aside from the novelty, I didn't see any advantage over a road map
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Old 05-09-07, 12:36 PM   #5
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bike computer + good map negates the utility of GPS IMHO
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Old 05-09-07, 12:52 PM   #6
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I have a Garmin Vista Cx and I plan on using it for some tours this coming summer/fall. The only limitation I've seen comes when I try to input a route based on intersections (as waypoints): there is a firmware bug that prevents me from using more than a certain number of intersections.

That said, I don't think a GPS can really replace a good map and pre-planned directions. Oh, and don't forget wits.
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Old 05-09-07, 12:53 PM   #7
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I think that it could be a replacement for maps and cyclocomputer, but still think that maps and computer are still easier and simpler to use.

That said I am considering taking a mapping gps for "off route" stuff on the transamerica.

If I could load all of the routes and waypoints at once I think I might use it. more, but it would need to be updated about 12 times on the trip to load waypoints and routes. If I decide to take a laptop I might rethink this and use the GPS as my primary method of navigation. I haven't ruled this out entirely since with a group of three sharing the laptop the weight penalty is less.
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Old 05-09-07, 03:22 PM   #8
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Absolutely! I had a GPS attached to my handlebar while on tour last summer. It definitely helped on the occasions that I got lost. It's also fun for having along for finding geocaches, and afterwards you can make a cool Google Bike Map with the data. chris

Last edited by chrisch; 05-16-07 at 08:06 AM.
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Old 05-09-07, 07:53 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by staehpj1
I think that it could be a replacement for maps and cyclocomputer, but still think that maps and computer are still easier and simpler to use.

That said I am considering taking a mapping gps for "off route" stuff on the transamerica.

If I could load all of the routes and waypoints at once I think I might use it. more, but it would need to be updated about 12 times on the trip to load waypoints and routes. If I decide to take a laptop I might rethink this and use the GPS as my primary method of navigation. I haven't ruled this out entirely since with a group of three sharing the laptop the weight penalty is less.
My Garmin Legend Cx can store 50 routes each containing 500 waypoints. That's enough to cover several states but if you really need more space, a PowerPC (handheld) would do instead of a laptop. You could also carry the original CD and load the program at a library. Then upload your files from that computer.
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Old 05-10-07, 12:36 AM   #10
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I use the GPS on bike tours always, but that doesn’t mean the device is turning on all the way, as well I don’t attach the system to the handlebars, it is possible though.
There are two ways I used my cheap Garmin Etrex, which has no option to download digital maps. For the most places where I made my vacation tours such maps weren’t available.

Sometimes we need to cross towns, which are on our route. And sometimes this is not a simple task especially in Europe with its dense road network and great amount of crossroads and curved streets in the ancient towns.
Arriving at such town, I turn on my GPS receiver, then determine my position on the paper map and make a waypoint in the GPS. I also know where the point is on the paper map, in which I leave the town. Using rulers and a protractor, I get necessary dates to project my next waypoint to leave the town and put one into the GPS.
It was funny when I was cycling across the town as if I have lived there all my life. And I can’t imagine how I would find the subway station in the outskirts of Prague to get to the center of the city without the GPS.
This is the first way I used GPS.

It was fine that I managed to get a paper map of Turkey for my last vacation tour. I scanned the necessary parts and calibrated them using Ozi Explorer program. So, I could use a PDA with the scanned map. The PDA was connected to my Garmin Etrex. The GPS was turned on all the time while we were riding, sometimes I turned on the PDA to look where we are on the map. Every evening I saved the day track and the waypoints to the PDA data storage. This is the second way of GPS using. That tour I spent approximately 30 batteries AA and have got all my tracks to analyse and to share with others, I don’t think this is too expensive.

Last edited by Alex L; 05-10-07 at 05:47 AM.
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Old 05-10-07, 01:21 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by konarocky
Has anyone ever used a GPS system to help guide them during a tour? I don't even know if a GPS system would work on a bike...just wondering.
Newer GPS receivers work well on bikes. Garmin makes some expressly for this application, but they are better suited for training rides than touring.

Adventure Cycling offers gps data for all their routes.

http://www.adv-cycling.org/routes/gps.cfm

I think battery replacement or recharging will be an big issue if you keep the receiver ON for the full ride.
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Old 05-10-07, 08:04 AM   #12
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If you have the kind of GPS that takes map data its great. The big advantage is in cities where with one glance you know where you are. I have Garmin etrex vista with 64MB microSd card for map data. Youhave to spend the money to get the garmin maps- so its pricey.

I use paper maps most of the time and just have the GPS on in cities to save battery power.
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Old 05-11-07, 02:07 PM   #13
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i just bought a garmin etrex vista with the microsd slot. loaded with a 1gb card. i am not worried about having the garmin maps. its easy enough to use a google maps hack (bikely is great), and if you go anywhere off the beaten path, the garmin maps are worthless anyway.

gps devices are the future. in ten years we will all have them.. if we survive that long.

the thing im most excited about doing is just deliberately getting lost somewhere beautiful, while letting the gps plot my coordinates. then it helps me get back home and i can load my route onto google maps and see where i was. edit it up a little, then load it back onto the gps and doing the ride a second time. yeah.
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Old 05-11-07, 06:57 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ephemeralskin
the thing im most excited about doing is just deliberately getting lost somewhere beautiful, while letting the gps plot my coordinates. then it helps me get back home and i can load my route onto google maps and see where i was. edit it up a little, then load it back onto the gps and doing the ride a second time. yeah.
Getting lost is actually fun with a GPS. I no longer have to worry about direction because it always points me in the right one.

Before I could read train maps and schedules, I would ride to the station and boad any to the last stop. I would then spend the entire morning getting back home but now I build routes to make things easier. Sometimes, massive highways and interstates can make getting back home somewhat difficult without a good route and that's why it takes quality time building one. Once created, uploading these routes are easy.

I tried maps before and gave up. I never really knew where I was and having to pay attention to street signs was a distraction. I hate having to look for street signs when the GPS can do this for me! ;-) A lot of street signs are hidden, difficult to read or just plain missing. Having to unfold this huge paper, locate where I was and then fold it back was a waste of time.

The GPS tells me (when I create a route) exactly each turn and how many feet to the next one. When it rained, the map was a mess and was discarded but my GPS was working like a charm still giving me direction during a storm! There's no turning back.
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Old 05-11-07, 07:37 PM   #15
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Garmin Vista Cx + City Navigator + Adventure Cycling downloadable routes = the best method for me.
Garmin sells an easy on/off bike mount for about $10. All their stuff is propriatary and expensive but well worth it to me. I am horribly geographically impared.
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Old 05-11-07, 07:56 PM   #16
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For those that use GPS, is it equally as helpful in Europe as the U.S. - Garmin specifically?
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Old 05-11-07, 08:44 PM   #17
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I used MetroGuide in Europe and it was very helpful. MG even has the bike trail I used to get to Pavia. I would imagine the updated City Navigator is even better.
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