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GPS Tracker for Road Bike

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Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

GPS Tracker for Road Bike

Old 01-31-17, 11:14 AM
  #26  
kingston 
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I have a piece of paper in my jersey pocket with this written on it:
Wife
Home: ###-###-####
Cell: ###-###-####
It's in the waterproof case with my cell phone. I don't see the value of GPS tracking if you're concerned about safety. I could easily enable GPS tracking on my phone if I thought it was a good idea. If I fall or get hit by a car there's nothing my wife will be able to do about it. Better for her to talk to the EMT or ER doc on the phone than watch a moving dot on the computer. What happens if I stop to go to the bathroom? Will she think that I've fallen and can't get up? No sense in upsetting her unnecessarily.
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Old 01-31-17, 11:21 AM
  #27  
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If your rides are always within good cell coverage, your existing cellphone location can be reasonably well triangulated by your cell provider, but only through the police via a missing person case (need not wait 24 hrs)... we've used it with good results before. That, coupled with some pre-agreed text/phone check-in intervals (use phone/watch alarm to remind), might be suitable piece of mind for both of you - no addition devices/plans needed.

If out of cell service, you'll need satellite (as mentioned). One-off PLBs are low cost/no service plans, but you'll need to be conscious to activate them. Satellite messengers/trackers can leave breadcrumb trails, but require service plans.

https://www.rei.com/learn/expert-adv...r-beacons.html
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Old 01-31-17, 12:05 PM
  #28  
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Originally Posted by kingston View Post
If I fall or get hit by a car there's nothing my wife will be able to do about it.
I don't know how accurate the trackers are, but if she were able to see that you were far off a road and had not moved for a while she could alert first responders or at least call you to check on you.


It happens. A few years ago a guy I used to ride with crashed while riding alone in CA. He fell down the side of a hill, could not be seen by passing motorists and was unconscious for some time. After he came to he was able to claw his way back up to the road. A passing motorist then called EMTs. Sadly, the guy died a few months ago during a warm up lap of a CX race. Lost control and smashed his face/head into a tree.


With all that said, there is the possibility of creating undue worry/angst over something as simple as an extended stop to fix a flat. I would hope any wife would have the good sense to call the rider first rather than going directly to emergency services.



But what I find difficult to fathom about this is the idea of someone frequently checking a device to ascertain my whereabouts during a ride.
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Old 01-31-17, 02:32 PM
  #29  
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Originally Posted by Dan333SP View Post

SNIP.

I was in Pinehurst over Christmas and all the rides I took involved spending at least a mile on 501 before turning onto Juniper Lake or McCaskill rds. The back roads are pretty empty but drivers on 501 were not friendly. I actually updated the frequency of my location updates to my wife while I was riding down there.
I have ridden somewhere in the 20 to 25,000 mile range since getting back onto my bike in early 2014. To the best of my recollection I have ridden a total of maybe 500 yards on Highway 501. I just won't do it. OTOH, portions of Highway 211 have a WIDE shoulder and are super fast. Highway 73 is a good ride as well.

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Old 01-31-17, 02:33 PM
  #30  
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FWIW, the safety aspect of this is primarily 'safety as viewed by my wife' where she is concerned that I could crash into a ditch somewhere and not be found for ....

dave
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Old 01-31-17, 02:44 PM
  #31  
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Originally Posted by DaveLeeNC View Post
I have ridden somewhere in the 20 to 25,000 mile range since getting back onto my bike in early 2014. To the best of my recollection I have ridden a total of maybe 500 yards on Highway 501. I just won't do it. OTOH, portions of Highway 211 have a WIDE shoulder and are super fast. Highway 73 is a good ride as well.

dave
I'll have to find you on Strava to look for route ideas next time I'm down there, my sister-in-law lives there and they just had a baby so we'll be making semi-regular trips over the next few years.
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Old 01-31-17, 02:56 PM
  #32  
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I don't routinely dump my rides onto Strava - just when there is a segment result I am curious about. But there is typically enough up there to get a feel for where I ride. There are miles and miles of great roads in the Jackson Springs, Emery, and Norman areas.

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Old 01-31-17, 02:59 PM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by Kopsis View Post
There are some 3G wireless services (eg. Freedompop) that will sell you a SIM card ($10 one time charge) that provides a small amount (200 MB/month) of free data service. Pick up a basic used GSM smartphone on Ebay or Craigslist, pop in one of these SIM cards, use any of the free tracker apps, and you're all set up for about $50 and no monthly fees or long-term contracts.
I am curious about this. Who provides the 200BM/month service for only the price of a single $10 SIM card? Why would anyone do that? It surely sounds attractive, but ....

Thanks.

dave
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Old 01-31-17, 04:05 PM
  #34  
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Originally Posted by DaveLeeNC View Post
I am curious about this. Who provides the 200BM/month service for only the price of a single $10 SIM card? Why would anyone do that? It surely sounds attractive, but ....
The one I have first hand experience with is https://www.freedompop.com/home.htm (that's the main page, not a referral link). Seems too good to be true (unless you've seen how cheap wireless is in Europe), but I've been using them for years with no complaints. https://ringplus.net is another one I've heard of (only 25 MB free data) but I've never used them.
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Old 01-31-17, 04:09 PM
  #35  
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The cost of a cheap smartphone and a small data plan is so little that you're spending more time and effort trying to get around having one than it would take just to cough up the <$500 a year to get the most efficient solution to your problem.
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Old 01-31-17, 05:29 PM
  #36  
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Originally Posted by RPK79 View Post
The cost of a cheap smartphone and a small data plan is so little that you're spending more time and effort trying to get around having one than it would take just to cough up the <$500 a year to get the most efficient solution to your problem.
When I looked at the Smartphone stuff (in a broader context than just this application) I was unaware of options like Freedompop (limited myself to the options from the big providers out of ignorance). This is a new ballgame and may well be the right answer (for reasons beyond GPS bike ride tracking).

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Old 02-01-17, 07:35 AM
  #37  
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I have done a bit more research into Freedompop - some new info. Unfortunately there are many 'potential red flags' here.

1) The free plan offer seems real and exists as a loss leader to their other paid plans.

2) 1G of data at $20 per month is a go for me (assuming that this thing would actually work where I need it to work).

3) I clicked on the "Support" link - I have yet to find anything that resembles customer support, but maybe it is out there. I would expect to encounter something slightly better than "USSR level customer support".

4) They do have a moderately active community forum.

5) From all that I can tell they have a CDMA network, yet there is one path through their website that I found that still offers GSM phones (**********?).

6) I finally found a coverage map. It is of the entire US and is a fixed image (and small). I have no idea what kind of coverage I might get where I ride.

7) It sounds like they use the Sprint network, but their 'coverage map' indicated zero coverage in much of the western US. So I have no idea really.

8) While I have never seen this explicitly stated, this appears to NOT be a cell phone but a internet connected device using VOIP (Voice Over IP).

BTW, not all of these are big issues for my specific application (per this thread) but all are POSSIBLE issues if I view this a upgrade to my existing (dirt cheap) AT/T cell phone.

dave
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Old 02-01-17, 08:24 AM
  #38  
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Originally Posted by DaveLeeNC View Post
3) I clicked on the "Support" link - I have yet to find anything that resembles customer support, but maybe it is out there. I would expect to encounter something slightly better than "USSR level customer support".
I have had reasonably good response to email support queries. Not lightning fast, but my expectations are low when I'm getting stuff for free.

5) From all that I can tell they have a CDMA network, yet there is one path through their website that I found that still offers GSM phones (**********?).
When they started, their devices were all using Sprint WiMAX (a failed precursor to 4G). A couple years ago, Sprint started shutting down WiMAX service so they could reclaim the frequency bands. Freedompop moved their "branded" devices to Sprint 4G LTE. Now they're offering GSM SIM cards and devices, so it's unclear exactly who they have MVNO (mobile virtual network operator) agreements with.

7) It sounds like they use the Sprint network, but their 'coverage map' indicated zero coverage in much of the western US. So I have no idea really.
Primary carrier coverage maps usually include 3rd party regional networks they have roaming agreements with. Those roaming agreements don't always transfer to MVNOs. There is a zoomable coverage map with address search here: Free Wireless Internet | Free Internet | 4G Wireless Internet - FreedomPop . It's definitely thin out west.

8) While I have never seen this explicitly stated, this appears to NOT be a cell phone but a internet connected device using VOIP (Voice Over IP).
I believe that's correct. I've only ever used their service with data devices (I use a more conventional service for my phones).

If you're considering paid service, there are quite a few MVNOs that offer more conventional service at the $20 - $30/mo price point. Airvoice Wireless (https://www.airvoicewireless.com/unlimited) has a $20/mo plan on AT&T network with unlimited voice/text (not using VOIP) and 100 MB data. Cricket Wireless (https://www.cricketwireless.com/), also on the AT&T network will sell you unlimited voice/text and 1GB data for $30/mo. Similar options are available on other networks (I've only researched the AT&T MVNOs). The expansion of wireless choices in the last 5 - 10 years has been great for bringing down cost ... not so great for adding confusion to what was already an unnecessary confusing service.
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Old 02-01-17, 08:42 AM
  #39  
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Kopsis - VERY helpful. Thank you.

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Old 02-01-17, 06:11 PM
  #40  
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For Kopsis (and anyone else with enough knowledge to answer).

If I were to buy (outright) a phone from Freedompop (which works on the Sprint network), do I have what is basically a 'network locked phone' that would work with a Sprint subscription if I decided to drop Freedompop?

And would a Sprint network locked phone work with Freedompop?

Thanks.

dave
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Old 02-02-17, 09:45 AM
  #41  
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Network locked actually means carrier locked ... the phone won't accept provisioning from another carrier, even if they're using the same network. I suspect the Freedompop devices are unlocked, but I don't know for sure.
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Old 02-13-17, 04:00 PM
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I ended up buying a "new" Galaxy S5 from Freedompop and now actually own a functioning smart phone. This thing runs off the Sprint LTE network and 500MB of data, 500 text messages, and 200 minutes of calling are all free. It is a 'weak' cell phone (really kind of like audio only Skype) but for either $4 or $10 per month (not sure) you can upgrade to a real phone. I am treating this like a $150 experiment to see what more I might want or need here. From a phone call perspective I still use my ($100 per year) AT/T cell phone (for now).

I am using the App "FollowMee" for tracking purposes, but the options appear endless once you enter Smart Phone country. I'll update my experience with Freedompop once I have more than two days under my belt.

dave
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Old 07-18-17, 08:51 PM
  #43  
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Turtler GPS

how about Turtler? whether it can be used for bike? I only know it can be used for school bus.
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Old 07-19-17, 10:23 PM
  #44  
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https://www.bikeforums.net/road-cycli...ers-bikes.html
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Old 09-12-17, 05:26 AM
  #45  
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Old 09-12-17, 06:02 AM
  #46  
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Originally Posted by kingston View Post
I have a piece of paper in my jersey pocket with this written on it:
Wife
Home: ###-###-####
Cell: ###-###-####
It's in the waterproof case with my cell phone. I don't see the value of GPS tracking if you're concerned about safety. I could easily enable GPS tracking on my phone if I thought it was a good idea. If I fall or get hit by a car there's nothing my wife will be able to do about it. Better for her to talk to the EMT or ER doc on the phone than watch a moving dot on the computer. What happens if I stop to go to the bathroom? Will she think that I've fallen and can't get up? No sense in upsetting her unnecessarily.
I think this post nails it.

Since you've already got the phone now and you'd still like to enable some type of tracking for your spouse, simply using the "Share Location" feature in Google Maps is a really good option. I've done that before, and your wife can see your movement real-time.

https://support.google.com/maps/answ...DAndroid&hl=en
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