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Old 07-18-11, 02:36 PM   #1
Daneli
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What GPS do you use for touring?

I think I am about to buy a Garmin Edge 800. Mainly for planning routes on back roads and following others previous tracks.

Thanks
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Old 07-18-11, 03:02 PM   #2
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I use a Garmin Legend Cx loaded with the OpenCycleMaps from velomap.org.
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Old 07-18-11, 03:24 PM   #3
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I think I am about to buy a Garmin Edge 800. Mainly for planning routes on back roads and following others previous tracks.

Thanks
There is an active thread on this topic at http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...Bike-computers.
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Old 07-18-11, 04:06 PM   #4
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i think i asked about gps units before got loads of advice on them but mostly jargon of which i know nothing about.
so how hard can it be to say buy any sat nav (GPS) tell it were you want to go and surly it will guide you there.
isn't that what there supposed to do.
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Old 07-18-11, 04:47 PM   #5
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I use an Ipad with one of the many GPS apps. It's not a functional as a dedicated GPS unit, but it's also more flexible and is good enough. This is a backup. I refer to paper maps first.
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Old 07-18-11, 05:51 PM   #6
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I think I am about to buy a Garmin Edge 800. Mainly for planning routes on back roads and following others previous tracks.
If you want to pre-plan your routes at home and have a GPS unit guide you along them, the Garmin units work great. I used my Edge 705 when I rode from San Francisco to Los Angeles and it was much easier than trying to navigate with a paper map.

That said, I would only rely on the GPS unit's built-in routing functions in an emergency. If you just plug in a destination, the route you'll end up with is often far from optimal. The Edge, at least, is only smart enough to keep you off of interstate freeways and unpaved roads. It won't take hills, car traffic, or other factors into account which can lead to some pretty miserable riding...
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Old 07-18-11, 07:27 PM   #7
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That said, I would only rely on the GPS unit's built-in routing functions in an emergency. If you just plug in a destination, the route you'll end up with is often far from optimal. The Edge, at least, is only smart enough to keep you off of interstate freeways and unpaved roads. It won't take hills, car traffic, or other factors into account which can lead to some pretty miserable riding...
And sometimes it tries too hard to be a nanny. I was on a ride where I knew I was only a few miles from my destination. It was a hot a miserable day so I wanted to know EXACTLY how far to my destination. So I picked my destination and had it do it route. It came to something like 35 miles!

It was trying to protect me from a mile or two of road that it thought was too busy for me to travel. When I knew all to well that that section was perfectly safe. What is crazy is that it was taking me on a road, far busier then the one I was on!

What I don't like about the GPS is the screens are far too small to see where the GPS wants to take you. Even the larger screen on my GPS AMp 60 is a bit small. That is why I am considering moving to a tablet PC with on board GPS and mapping software.
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Old 07-18-11, 10:39 PM   #8
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I use my Garmin Etrex Legend. I bought it originally for hiking, but they sell a bike mount, so it works fine.

ETA: It does require a bit more advance planning, because it's harder to mess with the gps on the bike. But that's probably a good thing for me.
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Old 07-19-11, 04:43 AM   #9
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Personally on road tours I leave the GPS home.
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Old 07-19-11, 06:36 AM   #10
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Garmin GPSMap 60 csx. I 've had it for about 5 years now and it has functioned in rainy days on my motorcycle, hiking, snowshoweing, and of course biking. I plan most of my routes on the PC or get them from ridewithgps.com, and then load them into the GPS unit. The one feature I think is important is that the unit use AA batteries. I can pick those up anywhere and not have to worry about charging some internal battery that some units use.
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Old 07-19-11, 04:03 PM   #11
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Map and compass...$20....batteries don't die,But you must use brain.....
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Old 07-23-11, 08:21 AM   #12
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I have a Garmin Vista HcX. I've taken it on two tours. One was on the road, on the Lewis and Clark route. One I just finished, on the Montana portion of the Great Divide Route, on dirt roads and trails.

On the road ride it was of very limited value, as much because of my lack of knowledge of how to use it as anything else. On the Great Divide it was very valuable. It confirmed the positions and turns we got from using the maps.

It could be much easier. One of the problems is the way the programmers designed the software. It doesn't seem intuitive at all. For me there was a pretty steep learning curve. Another issue is the size of the screen. I can see the purple route and the triangles for the waypoints and for my position. For everything else I need my reading glasses. I can't stop to put on my reading glasses every time I want to see something!

Another problem is that the waypoints that you download from ACA's site are all given obscure, arcane names. You can't tell what anything is from its name. Furthermore, the process of taking ACA's routes and using them to create your own is a pretty lengthy, tedious one. I started a week before I left and only managed to get the first 14 days done.

Another issue with Garmin's mapping software is that if they don't have a road on their map, you can't go there. A few times I had two waypoints that were close together, but Garmin didn't know that there was a way to get between them, so it would backtrack a long way to go around via roads it knew. And this was on the topographic map, which is supposed to allow you to go offroad!

Since I paid the money for the unit, I'm going to continue using it, and continue trying to learn to make it more useful. I'm not going to give it a ringing endorsement. If you have the money and the patience (and perhaps the eyesight) you may find it very useful. If not, the maps are much more useful, as long as you do a few things to make them useful, e. g. figure out each day's mileage to the turns, campsites, etc. from your starting point, accurately calibrate your bike's computer, and pay attention. (This last was partly why I bought the gps. Several times I spaced out or didn't figure the mileages right and missed a turn or a campsite. When I did my "due diligence" this didn't happen. The ACA maps are pretty good.)

One last thing. When I had the streets map loaded, the Garmin was helpful in finding restaurants, motels, etc. I could use it just like the gps in my car. I didn't have to preload anything; all the points of interest were there, including phone numbers. When I used the topographic map this time, none of that information was there. I'm thinking next time I might bring two microSD cards with me - one with the streets software and one the topo.
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Old 07-23-11, 10:53 AM   #13
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Another problem is that the waypoints that you download from ACA's site are all given obscure, arcane names. You can't tell what anything is from its name. Furthermore, the process of taking ACA's routes and using them to create your own is a pretty lengthy, tedious one. I started a week before I left and only managed to get the first 14 days done.
When I rode down the Pacific Coast, I found the ACA's data files to be relatively useless. It was much quicker for me to map the route myself using Bicycling the Pacific Coast and the ACA maps as a reference than to try to use ACA's data. I think it took me one long evening to plot my entire 550-mile route down the Pacific Coast...

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Another issue with Garmin's mapping software is that if they don't have a road on their map, you can't go there. A few times I had two waypoints that were close together, but Garmin didn't know that there was a way to get between them, so it would backtrack a long way to go around via roads it knew. And this was on the topographic map, which is supposed to allow you to go offroad!
I've never tried to use Garmin's software. The online mapping software I use generally has a setting which forces your route to stay on-road. You have to turn it off if you want to go "off-road". Some of the better sites will automatically follow bike paths and trails if you enable the right settings.
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