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Tracking Me On Tour

Old 09-08-16, 08:49 PM
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Bassmanbob
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Tracking Me On Tour

I'm planning a short solo tour in January that will take me through some suburban and rural areas. My wife is nervous about my safety and wants to know if there is some kind of tracking device she can use to keep track of me while I'm touring. I realize that such a device won't prevent me from a traffic accident or being eaten by a passing bear, but she's asking. If it'll ease her mind, I'm willing to use it.

I was looking at the Garmin 820 anyway. Will this do it? Do I need a website for the GPS to send the information or is there an app she can download on her iPhone?

Thanks.
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Old 09-08-16, 09:30 PM
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There is a smart phone app called Glympse but its pretty intense and uses battery power. Another app called 'Find my Friends' is pretty good and easy to use.
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Old 09-08-16, 10:05 PM
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from the RUSA spring 2014 newsletter:
The Garmin Edge 510 and 810 models come with an automated GPS based tracking tool and include an iPhone/Android app that connects to the Edge unit via Bluetooth. It broadcasts updates every 30 seconds or so. The user specifies who can see it from the phone’s contact list. There are also options for Twitter and Facebook. It sends the watchers a link to a web page. The web page includes a map, overlaid with a trace of your progress, and a select set of values of ride performance, including average speed
I have a SPOT tracker. The advantage of the spot is that you don't need cellphone coverage. It's amazing how often you don't have cell coverage. Also, the current version doesn't use batteries very fast and you can use just about any AAA battery.
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Old 09-09-16, 03:38 AM
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Is your wife concerned about tracking you in case you don't report in on schedule and may have been lost or injured and unconscious?

That SPOT Personal Tracker may do the trick. I'm going to check into that sort of device for my mom, especially on her powered wheelchair. Depends on whether the SPOT device has a fully autonomous mode that doesn't rely on user input or pressing a button.

I see a zillion specialized GPS devices on the market, including for hikers and mariners, but the devices that may be better suited to tracking family members who may become unable to communicate are probably marketed for folks with dementia or Alzheimer's. I've checked into a few for my mom, in case she has another episode of wandering and getting lost, but I don't know the range. I know these are fine for local/regional use, but I don't know whether they're suited to long range tracking. And it needs to be completely autonomous, not something the user has to activate. When my mom has episodes of memory loss she can't even remember how to turn on her tablet or use her cell phone. Anything more complicated than a big red panic button is too complicated. And even then it would depend on the user being conscious.

But it occurs to me those might be adaptable to folks doing long distance solo biking or hiking, as a backup for family or friends in case the traveler doesn't report in for a day or so.
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Old 09-09-16, 08:52 AM
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A couple people in this thread have recommended a SPOT or other SEND (Satellite-enabled notification device) but these are overkill for your purposes because your tour is going through urban and suburban areas. Also SENDs use private sat networks like Iridium which means you need to pay a fee to use them.

Originally Posted by Bassmanbob View Post
I was looking at the Garmin 820 anyway. Will this do it? Do I need a website for the GPS to send the information or is there an app she can download on her iPhone?
Yes. The 820 comes with an app for your phone; you tell the app you want to do a "live tracking" session, and give it your wife's email address. It will send her a link to a map with your current location (and heart rate and speed). If you lose reception for a moment, it will pick up when you get it back, and it will show the route you took while you didn't have coverage. I use this all the time with my Fenix 3.
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Old 09-09-16, 09:43 AM
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As mentioned above, if you will be within cell phone coverage and you both have iphone's, you can use the Find My iPhone/Friends apps for minimal cost. If you want tracking outside of cell coverage, then look into the Satellite services, but they come with usage fees. I use a Delorme Inreach (primarily for solo motorcycling/backpacking) which is more expensive than SPOT, but has global 2-way text message communications. Both have tracking and PLB (call for S&R) functionality, but I require 2-way comms that are not of an SOS EMERGENCY nature - like "Honey, I bent a wheel, send a cab to xxxx."
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Old 09-09-16, 07:35 PM
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SPOT costs $150 a year for basic tracking. You have to pay more than $150 a year if you want it to work for more than 24 hours at a time, they figured out they could charge for this because so many people complained about the previous version having this limitation.

I think for a short tour it wouldn't be worth it, but it would be nice for a long tour.

I edited because they don't have the $100 service plan any more, just basic tracking

Last edited by unterhausen; 09-09-16 at 07:41 PM.
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Old 09-09-16, 08:15 PM
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You might try Life360, free and available for iPhones and Android. I use the Android version with my wife.

https://play.google.com/store/apps/d...IofimAHnibLQCg

We're also checking out Strava's Beacon, it's in beta testing and available to premium users. When you start out you can send a text to whomever. It has a link to Google maps and they can follow you. My wife likes it better than 360. I need to take a little trip with both our phones to see what shows on hers.
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Old 09-10-16, 04:16 AM
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
A couple people in this thread have recommended a SPOT or other SEND (Satellite-enabled notification device) but these are overkill for your purposes because your tour is going through urban and suburban areas. Also SENDs use private sat networks like Iridium which means you need to pay a fee to use them.



Yes. The 820 comes with an app for your phone; you tell the app you want to do a "live tracking" session, and give it your wife's email address. It will send her a link to a map with your current location (and heart rate and speed). If you lose reception for a moment, it will pick up when you get it back, and it will show the route you took while you didn't have coverage. I use this all the time with my Fenix 3.
Actually, I said suburban and rural areas, but I can test the cell coverage next weekend. I was going to drive the trip (to the Orlando area), on my way to Clermont. Hey. It's my first tour, and my wife is very nervous about me going solo. And I'd like there to be as little surprises as possible too. Next weekend, I'm going to Clermont to check out the extent of the hills for the Horrible Hundred in November.

Can more than one person track me with the 820, or is it limited to only one? I have some other family and friends who want to track me for fun.

Last edited by Bassmanbob; 09-10-16 at 04:27 AM.
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Old 09-10-16, 04:19 AM
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So in review, the Garmin 820 will work with my iPhone as long as I have cell phone coverage. If I don't have coverage, then I need a paid satellite tracking device.

Thanks all for your input. Keep it coming if there is more to add.
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Old 09-10-16, 07:50 AM
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The way tracking works with a Garmin, you (or somebody you love) get a link that goes to a page showing where you are on a map. You can send it to your wife, to your kids if you have any, to your neighbors, etc. It's just a web link. The way the app is set up is a little funny, it will email that link to a list of people for you, and it can tweet it or post it on facebook. But once you start, there's no way to actually get the link. Pro tip: I always include myself on the list of emails. Mostly ignore them. If I ever need to, I can forward that email to somebody. Good habit to be in.

Sat devices can be great, but they're really overkill for bikes. In my opinion. I have a PLB and Beth makes me take it on backpacking and climbing trips, but I don't think I've carried it on a bike ride. Here's my thinking: access to that sat network is expensive. The chances of really needing it on a bike ride are much lower than on a 4 day solo trip through the wilderness. There are a lot of areas without cell coverage around here because of the Cascades, and a lot of rides I do go in and out, so I leave my plans with Beth, and tell her when to expect me home. If I don't at least call or text her by that time, she'll call for help and know where to send them.

With that said, if you decide to get one, Delorme's InReach might be the way to go. You get two-way communication (so your wife can confirm that she got your messages) and you can record a bread-crumb trail through the satellite network. That means if a car or gator gets you, and you don't see it coming, the bread-crumbs will lead them to your body. Which at least gives your wife closure. Sorry to be morbid, that's an important consideration for a lot of hikers and climbers who buy them, so it's worth pointing out.
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Old 09-10-16, 08:09 AM
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DeLorme got purchased by Garmin last Feb. as BTW

Maybe expect some merging of the products.

Garmin Signs Purchase Agreement to Acquire DeLorme Innovators in Satellite Communication and Mapping
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Old 09-10-16, 01:09 PM
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Originally Posted by preferdownhill View Post
Another app called 'Find my Friends' is pretty good and easy to use.
This works pretty well.
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Old 09-11-16, 04:26 AM
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I use the road id ap. It's free and my wife feels better knowing where I am. I does need cell service though.


Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
Yes. The 820 comes with an app for your phone; you tell the app you want to do a "live tracking" session, and give it your wife's email address. It will send her a link to a map with your current location (and heart rate and speed). If you lose reception for a moment, it will pick up when you get it back, and it will show the route you took while you didn't have coverage. I use this all the time with my Fenix 3.
So this live tracking can be done with a Fenix 3?
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Old 09-11-16, 12:46 PM
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Since you're going to have your cell phone with you, download the free RoadID app. It will do what you want and won't cost a dime. I use my iPhone 5c as my bike computer and I have ridden in both the Orlando and Clermont area and cell coverage is excellent. Never had a problem with GPS signals either. I was using the RoadID app on all my charity rides to let my wife know where I was at any time during the ride. I now use Cyclemeter which I can set to notify her by time or distance. Works just as good as Garmin Live Track.
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Old 09-11-16, 12:51 PM
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Get Strava .... it has a new feature called Beacon .... it's very good:

http://singletrackworld.com/2016/08/...g-with-beacon/
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Old 09-11-16, 08:16 PM
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Originally Posted by John_V View Post
Since you're going to have your cell phone with you, download the free RoadID app. It will do what you want and won't cost a dime. I use my iPhone 5c as my bike computer and I have ridden in both the Orlando and Clermont area and cell coverage is excellent. Never had a problem with GPS signals either. I was using the RoadID app on all my charity rides to let my wife know where I was at any time during the ride. I now use Cyclemeter which I can set to notify her by time or distance. Works just as good as Garmin Live Track.
I'm traveling from the Treasure Coast to the Orlando Hilton, right near Sea World. I'm planning on going up the east coast, then taking 192 west until I get to St. Cloud. Then I'll take back roads and the Florida Trail. The area between Melbourne and St. Cloud is rural, and I'm not sure about cell coverage there.
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Old 09-11-16, 09:17 PM
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I will second the Glimpse recommendation for live tracking: it offers reasonably accurate location information as well as your speed and track. I find that it does not use that much battery on my iPhone se. It sends an email to my wife and then she sees a map showing location, course, and speed. You have nothing to loose by downloading the app and using it on your test drive. I am less enthused with the information from find my friends, but that may just me ........
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Old 09-12-16, 06:05 AM
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Originally Posted by Bassmanbob View Post
I'm traveling from the Treasure Coast to the Orlando Hilton, right near Sea World. I'm planning on going up the east coast, then taking 192 west until I get to St. Cloud. Then I'll take back roads and the Florida Trail. The area between Melbourne and St. Cloud is rural, and I'm not sure about cell coverage there.
Haven't ridden between Melbourne and St. Cloud but I do an annual ride between Ormond Beach and Tarpon Springs and it's pretty much back roads and some rail trails. No issues with cell service. I'm with Verizon so I don't know if that makes a difference or not.

The route we take leaves Ormond Beach on SR 40 to Deleon Springs and then goes down to Sanford on back roads. Day 2 is from Sanford to Ridge Manor using SR 40 through Mt. Dora and up to Nobleton where we pick up the Withlacoochee Trail to Ridge Manor. Day 3 is even more back roads with not much civilization until we hit the Suncoast Trail. I set Cyclemeter to send an email every 10 miles and my wife was able to follow me without ever losing a mile. If there is a spot where cell service is poor or unavailable, your mail app will send the email as soon as it detects a strong enough signal. The RoadID app should handle what you want to do without having to jump through hoops by downloading maps and leaning how to use the features of the app. With RoadID, it's simple - you set it and forget it.
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Old 09-12-16, 09:11 AM
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Originally Posted by John_V View Post
Since you're going to have your cell phone with you, download the free RoadID app.
But he plans to buy a Garmin 820 anyway. Why download another app (potential security hole in your phone) and use it to run down the battery with GPS, when the Garmin solution is better? With LiveTracking, your phone's GPS never comes on because your watch or bike computer supplies that data, preserving your battery. In case you need to use your phone for something.
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Old 09-12-16, 09:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Cheese Head View Post
So this live tracking can be done with a Fenix 3?
Yeah. I use it for pretty much every ride I do. Also for longer runs. Sometimes I run errands on foot (because it's hard to find parking in Seattle) so I use a Live Tracking session when I walk to the store. Then Beth knows when to expect me. She'll send me out to get an ingredient for dinner and use the map to time it so it's ready when I get home.
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Old 09-12-16, 01:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Bassmanbob View Post
So in review, the Garmin 820 will work with my iPhone as long as I have cell phone coverage. If I don't have coverage, then I need a paid satellite tracking device.

Thanks all for your input. Keep it coming if there is more to add.
If you have a smartphone that it can connect to, there's not really a reason to buy a separate unit (well unless you're just looking for an excuse to buy one anyways). Just use one of the numerous smartphone apps suggested. No matter what you use, you'll need to have a connection to the internet (either cell network or satellite network) and that means paying money for it. With your cell you're already paying for it (and tracking uses very little data).

Battery life is going to be a concern for any live tracking device, but you can buy an external battery to hook up to your cell phone for around $25. Like here's one suggestion that's 10,000 mah (the built in battery is usually 2,000-3,000mah) -
https://www.amazon.com/Anker-10000mA...ds=usb+battery

You hook it up to the usb port on your phone and it keeps it charged.

I would mention one other safety device that I've seen a lot of people mention before - a highly visible helmet camera. Here's one suggestion that's orange and highly visible:
https://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/con...=REG&A=details

No activity is risk free, a house near where I work had a gas leak and the entire house blew itself up. It was crazy. Every day you get into your car you could get hit by a semi. Nothing is without risk.

Sometimes you run into the small number of people who are just ********, who want to hassle cyclists. Having a helmet camera makes them a lot less likely to act on it knowing that you'll be able to show the video of what they're doing to the cops or in court. If you're looking for a safety device, I would skip buying a garmin (use your cell phone instead) and buy a visible helmet camera.
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Old 09-12-16, 04:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
Yeah. I use it for pretty much every ride I do. Also for longer runs. Sometimes I run errands on foot (because it's hard to find parking in Seattle) so I use a Live Tracking session when I walk to the store. Then Beth knows when to expect me. She'll send me out to get an ingredient for dinner and use the map to time it so it's ready when I get home.

Good to know, thanks! I bought a plain Fenix3 about a month ago. I haven't even began to look into what it can do other than the basics. I'm going to check this out. Maybe I can eliminate using RoadID for the wife. One less draw on the cell's battery!
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Old 09-13-16, 01:21 AM
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Those external USB batteries are great little doodads. A Jackery 6000 mAh single USB port battery is much smaller than my iPhone 4s and can recharge my iPhone, my small USB helmet lights and keep my video camera running for hours until the 32 GB card fills up, all on a single charge. Some colors run as low as $15. I've had one for a month, based on another cyclist's recommendations. Works great, no problems.

The 6000 mAh Jackery and similar batteries is the largest I'd consider for mounting on a helmet alongside a helmet mounted video camera. It'll add some weight, though. But the shape will nestle into the air vents on typical road helmets if absolutely necessary. Might compromise crash effectiveness, but so would the camera itself, lights, etc.

If you go for the larger capacity batteries be sure to get one with dual USB ports to run or recharge two devices. If I get another I'll use it to run my video camera continuously while having another port available for the phone to record much longer, or to recharge my lights.

If you don't mind running long USB cords you can run some video cameras continuously off external batteries. Put the battery in a jersey pocket, backpack, handlebar bag, etc. None of my rides are quite long enough to need that yet.

Last edited by canklecat; 09-13-16 at 01:24 AM.
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Old 09-13-16, 08:56 AM
  #25  
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Originally Posted by Cheese Head View Post
Good to know, thanks! I bought a plain Fenix3 about a month ago. I haven't even began to look into what it can do other than the basics. I'm going to check this out. Maybe I can eliminate using RoadID for the wife. One less draw on the cell's battery!
In Garmin Connect Mobile (on your phone), there's a hidden menu that slides out if you touch the top-left corner, where the three lines are. Scroll down in the menu until you see Live Tracking, near the bottom, then you just give it an email address.
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