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Anybody Know Anything About GPS?

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Anybody Know Anything About GPS?

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Old 10-29-04, 04:09 PM
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kellercrew2
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Anybody Know Anything About GPS?

Does anybody out there have a GPS unit they've been using for their commute? Has it been beneficial? What units are you using and why do you like it?
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Old 10-29-04, 04:37 PM
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I'm about to say something so totally anti-geek, I may be drummed out of the corps!

Personally, I think GPS is a great idea, but they are too expensive. Get a book-style map of your area or region, and use that.
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Old 10-29-04, 05:43 PM
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I think it would be pretty pointless. Even if you're on a long tour, I can't see a need for one. It would be much simpler (and self-sufficient) to have a decent map. Maps don't need batteries.
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Old 10-29-04, 05:44 PM
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I just re-read the post, and for a commute I must say that GPS would be a total waste of time. Even on a long commute, there isn't anything a GPS could tell you that your bike computer cant, with one exception: altitude. If you must know altitude then go for it, otherwise just concentrate on riding
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Old 10-29-04, 05:47 PM
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I would rather have a GPS than a cycloputer. Hell, I'd get an iQue and mount it to the handlebars; attach a wireless car or a GPRS card and recieve email on the ride. Of course, I am super geek.
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Old 10-29-04, 05:51 PM
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Originally Posted by kellercrew2
Does anybody out there have a GPS unit they've been using for their commute? Has it been beneficial? What units are you using and why do you like it?
You only need to post your question on ONE forum...Also, try doing a search on the topic because there has been lots of discussion on GPS in the past.
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Old 10-29-04, 06:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Mtn Mike
You only need to post your question on ONE forum...Also, try doing a search on the topic because there has been lots of discussion on GPS in the past.
What Mtn Mike said. Please don't spam the entire board with the same question.
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Old 10-29-04, 06:33 PM
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I see no reason to use a GPS on a commute, unless maybe it's your first time or two and you are riding a very different route than you drove.

Other than that, you should certainly know where you are so the GPS is not needed for location. A cycle computer will tell you how fast and how far you have gone as well as a GPS will for cycling purposes and will keep track of total mileage, ride time, average speed, better than a GPS will. A GPS is a big power user and will need to have batteries replaced or recharged every week or two. GPS takes up more room on the bars than most computers which is an issue in the winter when you have to mount a light up front as well.

I have a GPS and bike mount for it. It has come in handy now and then, but generally for touring in unfamiliar areas. Otherwise, it's just extra weight.
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Old 10-29-04, 09:16 PM
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he's not asking about gps for commuting, as he has also posted the same question in 4 other forums.
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Old 11-01-04, 07:31 AM
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I dont think this is a wasted question by any means!

I have a Garmin GPS 60 CS with color screen mounted to my bars. I didnt buy it for my bike. I have had it for almost a year.

I bought it to use on some large lakes that I fish at in order to mark specific spots and to aid with navigation. I intentionaly bought a PORTABLE unit so that I could also use it in my motorhome when making long trips.

It just happens to be handy for the bike also.
The mph reading is REAL!!!
the distance traveled (odometer) is REAL!!!
and, if I DO make a wrong turn, I dont have to worry about finding my way back.

It would be SILLY for me to by a bike computer when I already have a GPS.





With that said.... for bike use only, I would buy the bike computer. Although it is not as accurate as a GPS, it IS considerably cheaper.

And before any of you guys flame me... if you think the mph/distance reading on your comper is dead on accurate you had better look at it real hard.
Mount a GPS AND a computer, and SEE the difference.
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Old 11-01-04, 07:41 AM
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With all due respect to those who say to only post in one forum I disagree to some extent. I sometimes post a similar thread in, say, Touring and Commuting because people don't visit every forum but equipment needs can be similar. I tend to visit Commuting, Singlespeed and Fixed Gear regularly, and occasionally Road Bike Racing, Bicycle Mechanics, and Touring. It's just a matter of time.
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Old 11-01-04, 07:53 AM
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Originally Posted by philrush
It would be SILLY for me to by a bike computer when I already have a GPS.
Considering that I got a bike computer from an Xmart for about $10, I would feel SILLY using a GPS for local riding on familiar streets.
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Old 11-01-04, 09:09 AM
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Originally Posted by philrush
I dont think this is a wasted question by any means!

I have a Garmin GPS 60 CS with color screen mounted to my bars. I didnt buy it for my bike. I have had it for almost a year.

I bought it to use on some large lakes that I fish at in order to mark specific spots and to aid with navigation. I intentionaly bought a PORTABLE unit so that I could also use it in my motorhome when making long trips.

It just happens to be handy for the bike also.
The mph reading is REAL!!!
the distance traveled (odometer) is REAL!!!
and, if I DO make a wrong turn, I dont have to worry about finding my way back.

It would be SILLY for me to by a bike computer when I already have a GPS.





With that said.... for bike use only, I would buy the bike computer. Although it is not as accurate as a GPS, it IS considerably cheaper.

And before any of you guys flame me... if you think the mph/distance reading on your comper is dead on accurate you had better look at it real hard.
Mount a GPS AND a computer, and SEE the difference.
I love that unit and my next GPS will be a color Garmin with a built in map!

That said, if someone needs a GPS to commute, power to them! It means that

a: Their commute must go through some complex street or bridge crossings
b: Large wooded area not supported by maps

I love my GPS and will not go back to using maps. I get to locations much faster than using a map once I set up a way point. I could care less about average speed, total distance and number of miles. This information is trivial. What's critical is NOT getting lost and wasting time and energy.

This summer, I would have spent about $50.00 dollars buying maps to cover all the locations in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania or about half the price of what I spent on my GPS!

I don't waste any time trying to find my exact location on a map and I always know my exact location. I ALWAYS know where I'm at and batteries are not an issue because they are rechargable. I can't explain the peace of mind you get knowning exactly where you are all the time without having to depend on maps is incredible. Furthermore, I don't have to worry about which map to bring because ALL the maps are inside my unit. I don't have to worry about the map getting dirty, wet and just plain fall apart. Paper maps on my handlebar fly all over the place while my GPS is sturdy and readable.

Often times, I'll bolt out the door not knowing where I'm going. I'll board a train not knowing where the stops are or where I'll end up. I actually look forward to getting lost! It never happens. The GPS always takes me back home safely. I have gone into wooded areas where there are NO roads and the device was still tracking my location! Try that with a map!

Here's the beauty of the device. I'll set up a way point as a final destination with no routes in particular. I'll turn on the device and just head in that direction. I'll make up a route as I go along avoiding hi-speed roads and highways. Instead of focusing on street names trying not to get lost, I'll just spend my time admiring at the scenery with the "arrow" on my GPS leading the way. Incredible.

Some people do complex functions with the GPS but I rather keep things simple. That's the beauty of the device.

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Old 11-01-04, 09:43 AM
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www.geocaching.com website and forums has good explanantions on uses and how they work. My LBS told me some of the new bike computers will have a gps built in. The bike computer responds faster with speed etc for the most part since it is basically a mechanical measure of wheel diameter and revolutions and the gps can be slow in providing read outs when there is a lot of overhead cover and the sat signals are blocked.
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Old 11-01-04, 10:18 AM
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I have a GPS I bought for military training. I used it a couple of times just to confirm distance. I don't use it on a regular basis.
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Old 11-01-04, 10:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Kayakado
www.geocaching.com website and forums has good explanantions on uses and how they work. My LBS told me some of the new bike computers will have a gps built in. The bike computer responds faster with speed etc for the most part since it is basically a mechanical measure of wheel diameter and revolutions and the gps can be slow in providing read outs when there is a lot of overhead cover and the sat signals are blocked.
This weekend, there were heavy clouds all over the tri-state area. My GPS was not able to get a signal but then I noticed the batteries were weak. I purchased a fresh set of Energizer batteries and was able to pick up signals even though there was a lot of overhead cover!
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Old 11-01-04, 11:02 AM
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Originally Posted by kellercrew2
Does anybody out there have a GPS unit they've been using for their commute? Has it been beneficial? What units are you using and why do you like it?
There are a lot of GPS threads already. GPS is not for everyone. I have a Garmin Vista that I bought for Travel in Europe and love it. I was at REI and found they make a handle bar mount, so I put it on the bike. The only info I can’t get from it is what gear I’m in, heart rate or watts. I use mine for altitude tacking and also to chart the course. I have used it to make maps for local rides and to program my CompuTrainer with my favorite rides. Kind of cool to know that the last Cyclocross had 400 foot of climbing per lap and the one before that only had 200 feet.

Is it right for everyone? I can’t say. What is it you want it to do?

My flight deck and a paper map in my pocket is fine for most things. If I didn’t have one…would I buy it for biking only…I don't think I would.

But as a geek it is cool to play with. On a road trip to a race, with the touch of a couple of buttons, I could tell “ I just drank a big gulp and I have a tiny bladder …I need to stop” that the next rest stop was only 4 miles up the road.

GPS $350…..stopping the whining priceless!

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Old 11-01-04, 11:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Dusk
GPS $350…..stopping the whining priceless!

Cheers,
Dusk
I purchased mine for $87.00 dollars (Etrek Legend) used on Ebay.

Priceless!
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Old 11-01-04, 12:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Dahon.Steve
I purchased mine for $87.00 dollars (Etrek Legend) used on Ebay.

Priceless!
Good price for a Etrek legend. Now if I find a Vista for that I would really be happey.

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Old 11-01-04, 09:25 PM
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I consider my GPS one of the best purchases I have made. I use while biking, driving, and hiking. I have detailed maps loaded in mine which rules for traveling. If you can get one that uses sd memory cards like I did then you can load unlimited amounts of maps in it. I use the Magellan Meridian Color which has a very good base map (16mb worth) to begin with, but with a 256mb sd memory card I can load up some very detailed maps. A couple weeks ago I found myself in a new area on my bike and not sure where I was. So I just took a look a the GPS and everything was crystal clear again. What I really like is when I finish my ride, I take the gps and hook it to my computer and upload my ride to the computer and then print out detailed maps of everywhere I went that day. I also like to e-mail my friends and show them a detailed map of the ride I took, especially when they start talking about not believing how far I went that day. It rules for driving trips in the car too, because I don't have to do anything other than turn onto whatever street it tells me to until I reach the destination. The only down side is the price, but if you use it for more than just biking like I do, then it's easier to justify the price.
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Old 11-01-04, 09:55 PM
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Originally Posted by philrush
And before any of you guys flame me... if you think the mph/distance reading on your comper is dead on accurate you had better look at it real hard.
Mount a GPS AND a computer, and SEE the difference.
Don't get me wrong. I like GPS. I have been using it for well over 15 years when I started using it for flying. However, if you think the mph/distance reading on your GPS receiver is dead-accurate, then you better look at it real hard. Start by looking at the accuracy indicator on the receiver itself.

Refer to this past thread for further discussion on GPS accuracy.
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Old 11-01-04, 10:09 PM
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I've been using GPS on my touring bikes for a couple of years and love it. But I don't see any point taking one on a training ride or commute when you know exactly where you're going. Computer for training; nothing for commutes.

But you just can't beat a GPS for exploring new territory. When you're trying to get through an unfamiliar subdivision, the GPS map shows you exactly what route you want. On my last long trip a bad fresh battery left me without the GPS for an afternoon and I really missed it (everyone else had maps). I use the Magellan SporTrak Pro that RadioShack used to sell. I like it a lot. I've seen the SporTrak Color in a Heartland America catalog for $279, and the SporTrak Map for $129.

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Old 11-01-04, 10:34 PM
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When I started commuting a few months ago, I already had the GPS (Etrex Vista) but didn't have a bike computer. Why duplicate functions? I bought the handle bar mount for the price of a simple bike computer and there are no wires. I use the GPS instead of a bike computer, and as has been already stated, works great except for a few specialty functions like heart rate and cadence.

I rarely or never use the mapping function, only the speed, moving average (very useful for tracking training progress) and total ride time. Time of day is also useful when commuting. It lets you know when you are about to be late.

It also tracks max. speed (which is a surprise sometimes) and altitude gain and other functions you'd never get from a bike computer. I also download the track into my PC occasionally to see how much elevation gain I made on a non-commuting ride. The only downside is that I have to change batteries every 15 to 20 hours of riding, but I use rechargable NiMH so it isn't that big a deal.

For me, it was matter of using what I already had rather than buying yet another specialty cycling item.

BTW, who cares if he posted it in other topics. He's getting different perspectives. I look primarily at the commuting forum, so I probably wouldn't have seen it otherwise.

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Old 11-02-04, 04:52 AM
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GPS is cool but for your commute? Where's the need to have meter-perfect mapping of a route you ride every day? A ten-buck bike computer will do all the speed and distance magic you need and is way less stealable.
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Old 11-02-04, 05:15 AM
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Originally Posted by jcfergus
BTW, who cares if he posted it in other topics. He's getting different perspectives. I look primarily at the commuting forum, so I probably wouldn't have seen it otherwise.
Not trying to hijack the thread or anything, but we do care. I am sure none of us would like to see same questions repeated in all forums, even if they were there just to get different perspectives. We have a "General" forum for multi-perspective discussions.

That is why I linked the other, cross-posted GPS-threads to this thread (this one had most answers at that time) and then closed them.

If anyone has questions on this, please PM me.

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