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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 01-30-17, 04:38 PM
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DaveLeeNC
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GPS Tracker for Road Bike

I do a lot of countryside riding and my wife would like to be able to find me if I fell unseen in a ditch and was not able to dial my cell phone. She knows the general area and distance I am going to ride, but that leaves a lot of uncertainty that a GPS tracker might solve.

BTW, I am NOT a Smartphone guy. My ANNUAL cell phone bill is $107 and (so far) the cost/benefit for a data plan isn't there for me. There are many devices out there. Does anyone have suggestions and/or real experience that might help me make a choice? I am assuming that whatever I buy would give my wife periodic internet map views of my location (like once a minute or something).

Thanksl

dave
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Old 01-30-17, 04:43 PM
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You could use a SPOT Messenger or InReach without a cell phone plan. Those are satellite messengers, used by mountain climbers in remote wildernesses, etc. They go through private sat networks so they'll cost you more than a cell plan and you'll get less for your money. But it's an alternative for you.
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Old 01-30-17, 04:45 PM
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You will need a data connection for the device to relay your coordinates to your wife. Garmin Livetrack or Strava Beacon will be the easiest to use for all parties
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Old 01-30-17, 05:01 PM
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I suggest you review your cost/benefit analysis.
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Old 01-30-17, 07:19 PM
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Kid GPS tracker might be something to look at?:

Best Kid Tracker 2017 - GPS Devices for Locating Your Child
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Old 01-30-17, 07:54 PM
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Get a dog tracking implant.
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Old 01-30-17, 08:12 PM
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Originally Posted by mercator View Post
I suggest you review your cost/benefit analysis.
This might well be the application that changes that analysis (which so far is proper in my case). I am assuming (but do not know for sure) that all the "GPS Tracker Things" out there have a subscription fee.

dave
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Old 01-30-17, 08:47 PM
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Some modern GPS units call/text when the bike falls over or decelerates rapidly.

I think Garmin calls it "Emergency Detection/Notifications" or something like that.
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Old 01-30-17, 09:13 PM
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Originally Posted by DaveLeeNC View Post
This might well be the application that changes that analysis (which so far is proper in my case). I am assuming (but do not know for sure) that all the "GPS Tracker Things" out there have a subscription fee.

dave
GPS is a passive receiver. It's like the radio in a car from the 1950s. Bunch of satellites up in orbit, broadcasting some info that your GPS listens for, and uses to figure out your position. It's read-only.

Once you have your position, you need a way to communicate it to your wife. Basically you have two choices on a bike:

(1) Use the data connection in a phone to send your GPS coordinates out regularly, or
(2) Use satellite communications

You can get a prepaid phone plan for very cheap. I pay $30 or $35 a month for unlimited. This is the better option, as long as you ride in areas with cell coverage. In a pinch you can check your email on it too.

Or, you can get a SEND (satellite enabled notification device) which is going to run closer to $50 a month. It'll send out your coordinates regularly, let you send/receive text messages, and allow you to call in the cavalry, all of those from anywhere on the planet. (Although coverage above 50* lat can be spotty with some of them.) This isn't the better option for most people.
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Old 01-30-17, 09:18 PM
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Here's an InReach. Garmin just bought Delorme, who made it. This is the best non-phone option.

https://explore.garmin.com/en-US/inreach/#subscriptions

It costs $0.10 per tracking point at 10 minute intervals on the $12 to $15 a month plan. If you want every 2 minutes (because bikes are fast) it's up to $99 per month. There's a lot of in between, and the pricing is pretty copmlicated. The device itself costs $300+.

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Old 01-30-17, 09:43 PM
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Originally Posted by RShantz View Post
Get a dog tracking implant.
Interesting that at a glance this would appear to be the cheapest solution. Interesting.

dave
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Old 01-30-17, 09:55 PM
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Dog tracking systems are limited to about 10 miles. If you ride further than that, you need another solution.
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Old 01-31-17, 02:52 AM
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i would recommend you to try using Trackimo 3g GPS tracker..but still you can google more gps product that suits you best.
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Old 01-31-17, 05:42 AM
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What's wrong with the kid GPS?

The Trax is $99 for the device and then only $4 /month.

Pretty darn cheap if you ask me, it's very compact (can fit easily in a jersey pocket or saddle bag) – and it functions exactly as you described wanting.
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Old 01-31-17, 07:19 AM
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
Dog tracking systems are limited to about 10 miles. If you ride further than that, you need another solution.
I looked at the marketing material of one dog tracker and (pretty much like all of them) there is no really good technical description of what is going on. What is it that limits you to 10 miles? Are they actually emitting some kind of signal that you find directly somehow? In the 'normal' (as I expected it) implementation of read/interpret the GPS satellite data and talk to something via a cellular connection - just seems odd. 10 miles from where?

Thanks.

dave

ps. I guess if I was doing a dog tracker I would have a 'home area' and the tracker would not emit a signal while it was 'home' (burning expensive battery power on cell communications). So maybe it is related to that.
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Old 01-31-17, 07:23 AM
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Originally Posted by velociraptor View Post
What's wrong with the kid GPS?

The Trax is $99 for the device and then only $4 /month.

Pretty darn cheap if you ask me, it's very compact (can fit easily in a jersey pocket or saddle bag) – and it functions exactly as you described wanting.
That one did appear (as described in marketing materials) to do what I want at a reasonable cost. But I am always cautious of decisions make purely on the marketing stuff.

dave
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Old 01-31-17, 07:30 AM
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Originally Posted by techno5 View Post
i would recommend you to try using Trackimo 3g GPS tracker..but still you can google more gps product that suits you best.
In my brief search this is one I had missed and looks promising - thx.

dave
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Old 01-31-17, 07:38 AM
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Originally Posted by DaveLeeNC View Post
I looked at the marketing material of one dog tracker and (pretty much like all of them) there is no really good technical description of what is going on. What is it that limits you to 10 miles? Are they actually emitting some kind of signal that you find directly somehow? In the 'normal' (as I expected it) implementation of read/interpret the GPS satellite data and talk to something via a cellular connection - just seems odd. 10 miles from where?

Thanks.

dave

ps. I guess if I was doing a dog tracker I would have a 'home area' and the tracker would not emit a signal while it was 'home' (burning expensive battery power on cell communications). So maybe it is related to that.


I thought you could get the collar type trackers that transmit continually via GPS. I was obviously picking about the implant, but I thought the collar system may work???
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Old 01-31-17, 08:57 AM
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Lots of poor information going around here so, for the record, you cannot communicate with GPS. You need three things to meet your needs:

1) A GPS tracker device: If you are looking for the cheapest solution and you don't want to use your smartphone (because you don't have one?), then this device is the cheapest I am aware of: TK102

2) A method of communication: If you use your (new?) smartphone, then you have cellular comms. If you use the TK102 you will need a sim card (GSM) and a low cost data plan to get the location messages routed to the server of your choice. If you use something like SPOT or the Orbcomm devices, that's included and will work worldwide.

3) A server to log the messages and report your position to your loved ones. You can use garmin or google, or various other businesses that may or may not respect your privacy. Alternatively you can set up your own service and restrict access to the data however you like. Here are a couple of options for that.
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Old 01-31-17, 09:25 AM
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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.
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Old 01-31-17, 09:50 AM
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Originally Posted by TimothyH View Post
Some modern GPS units call/text when the bike falls over or decelerates rapidly.

I think Garmin calls it "Emergency Detection/Notifications" or something like that.

It is Incident detection. But it still requires a smartphone and the Garmin app, and therefore not really available to the OP.
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Old 01-31-17, 09:56 AM
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Originally Posted by DaveLeeNC View Post
I looked at the marketing material of one dog tracker and (pretty much like all of them) there is no really good technical description of what is going on. What is it that limits you to 10 miles? Are they actually emitting some kind of signal that you find directly somehow? In the 'normal' (as I expected it) implementation of read/interpret the GPS satellite data and talk to something via a cellular connection - just seems odd. 10 miles from where?
I don't know the details, but I assume it's a private radio network, and that's as far as the signal goes.

I've seen people hiking with these. A guy had a pack of basset hounds, he'd take them out to the woods, set them loose, they'd run around as much as their stubby little legs would let them, and then he'd find his exhausted, happy dogs. Garmin bought some kind of dog tracking system, and put functionality to use it into my watch. I have a cat, not a dog, so I would have preferred for their dev team to put better features into it, but I was curious and looked around when it happened.
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Old 01-31-17, 10:05 AM
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Originally Posted by DaveLeeNC View Post
I do a lot of countryside riding and my wife would like to be able to find me if I fell unseen in a ditch and was not able to dial my cell phone. She knows the general area and distance I am going to ride, but that leaves a lot of uncertainty that a GPS tracker might solve.

BTW, I am NOT a Smartphone guy. My ANNUAL cell phone bill is $107 and (so far) the cost/benefit for a data plan isn't there for me. There are many devices out there. Does anyone have suggestions and/or real experience that might help me make a choice? I am assuming that whatever I buy would give my wife periodic internet map views of my location (like once a minute or something).

Thanksl

dave
I know you're not a smartphone guy so it doesn't apply, but I have my iPhone running Cylcemeter which can send email updates to anyone you choose either on distance or time intervals, and the updates include GPS coordinates and current speed.

I figure if I get hit by a car (knocking on wood), she'd see me stationary for some length of time in the same spot and know where to find me.

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.
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Old 01-31-17, 10:22 AM
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
I don't know the details, but I assume it's a private radio network, and that's as far as the signal goes.
That'd be obscenely expensive for such a niche product. Either they're just a beacon and you have a directional antenna on a receiver to get location and a guess at distance or they're transmitting directly to the receiver and you're limited by (radio) line-of-sight if they're not using the cell network.


There's no money in replicating the intense infrastructure of the cell system, which is why most of these widgets require a SIM card of some sort, satellite, or have extremely limited range.
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Old 01-31-17, 10:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Dan333SP View Post
I figure if I get hit by a car (knocking on wood), she'd see me stationary for some length of time in the same spot and know where to find me.
Happened to me October of 2015. I was doing hill repeats. BAM! Full day in the ER/ICU. Had a LiveTrack going so Beth would know my whereabouts in case anything happened. She wasn't just sitting at home watching the map thinking happy thoughts about me, though, she found out about it when her phone rang.

I stopped thinking of it as a safety thing like she'll send help if I need it, it's more of a where to look for the body thing.
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