What gps do you use for navigation - CycleBlaze

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What gps do you use for navigation

Rachael Anderson

My husband and I use a garmin 64s which has worked well because we can load free open street maps and tracks.  Also you can change batteries when needed.  My issue now is it gets in the way of my GoPro camera and it’s getting harder for me to read.  I’m looking at the Garmin edge 830 and 530 because they also allow you to load free maps and tracks an they are more compact and won’t get in the way of the camera.  Please let me know if you’ve had experience with either of these.  Thanks!

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3 weeks ago
George HallTo Rachael Anderson

I suppose I'm old-fashioned, or maybe I'm just an old grouch.  I use GPS on bike tours only as a secondary backup - I rely on paper maps with cues on where to turn as my primary navigation.  If I found myself in need of GPS I would just use my phone.  On my 2015 Transam I only recall once when I used the phone GPS - and then it was only at the end of a long day when I was within a block of the hotel but couldn't spot it!    But I know other cyclists - even some of my age - who couldn't circle a block without use of their GPS. So each to their own I guess - ACA wants folks to use BOTH paper maps and GPS, and perhaps that's the best way.  

To me, part of the charm & challenge of a bike tour is navigating by following the map and cues. But, in the interest of full disclosure and honesty; I did use my phone GPS twice in 2019 in Germany when I managed to get myself "lost" while touring along the Rhine River on weekends - though usually not completely lost,  I was pretty tired after riding all day and wanted to take the shortest route back to the apartment so I consulted the phone GPS/map - but this was only at first when I was unfamiliar with the routes.

Oh, something of interest - did you know your GoPro has GPS?  It's everywhere these days - big brother can read your GoPro and construct a log of your recent travels.  One of my former lifetimes was as a Forensic Engineer, and "black box" data is all the rage in forensics. 

Sorry I wasn't of any help for your direct question,

Buddy

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3 weeks ago
Scott AndersonTo George Hall

Interesting.  I felt much as you do for many years.  I love maps, and am sorry that it’s harder to find the kind of quality maps that used to be available everywhere.  Every tobacconist in France seemed to have a rack of Michelin maps prominently displayed when we first started out with overseas traveling.  I still have nearly all of the maps we bought along the way from our first tour of Europe 30 years ago, with our Route inked on to them.  They’re among the few possessions I felt it worth cramming into our small storage unit when we sold our home.

We started carrying a GPS on our tour of Japan in 2007, when we decided we would get hopelessly lost without one since we couldn’t even read the maps, much less translate them.  We were right, too.  Our gps devices failed to load our maps at first because of a user error - the micro SD card had become dislodged.  We decided to get by with the hard copy map we were also carrying - and an hour later were chagrined to find ourselves staring at the same inn we had started from.

I like them now partly for the convenience, but mostly for the improved ride quality.  We spend a lot more time on higher quality, low traffic side roads than we used to, safe in the knowledge (usually, at least) that they not dump us at a dead end and a lengthy backtrack.  And I especially like it for what it offers Rachael, who’s one of those who is prone to getting lost circling the block in a strange setting.  It’s pretty liberating for both of us - she feels secure knowing she can always just backtrack when she’s out on her own, and I worry less for her too.

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3 weeks ago
Jacquie GaudetTo Rachael Anderson

Hi Rachael

I've been using a Garmin Edge 810 since I bought it in 2013.  I chose it specifically for its navigation features; at the time, it was unique.  I decided to get a bike computer because my phone battery wouldn't last a full day if it was tracking my ride and I wanted to be sure I had an operating phone if I needed it.

Al got his Edge 810 a year or two before I got mine and his became unreliable last year.  He replaced it with an Edge 830 and says it's even better.

The big difference between the 530 and the 830 seems to be the touchscreen on he 830.  We've used that feature on our 810s to get them to plot a route when we find ourselves out on the road searching for a destination.  I don't know if you can do that on a phone with no service...

Jacquie

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3 weeks ago
Wayne EstesTo Jacquie Gaudet

GPS gets its information directly from orbiting satellites. It doesn't require a cell phone network to determine your location. It's easy to download maps to your phone, allowing you to see maps when there is no wireless network.

I have never owned a standalone GPS unit so I don't know how it compares to my smart phone GPS. My routes mostly have simple navigation, so I seldom need to refer to GPS. I'm happy with RideWithGPS.com which allows me to plan a route on my big computer screen, then download it to my smart phone for offline use during a tour.

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3 weeks ago
Mike AylingTo Rachael Anderson

Australia is a large country with comparatively few roads so once out of the cities I have no need for an on bike navigation device. Having said that I use RidewithGPS on my desktop for route planning to get an estimate of distance and then use it on my phone to record where I have been for the day. Before I got my camera that can make phone calls I used a Garmin Etrex 30 to confirm which intersection I was at.       I can now check that on my phone.  

Mike

  

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3 weeks ago
Rachael AndersonTo Wayne Estes

I have used a phone for navigation using the ridewithgps app but to get a map I needed a had to pay a monthly fee so that I could do offline navigation.  This brought down map information for the area covered by the route but if you didn’t stay on the route you didn’t have a map.  How did you navigate?

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3 weeks ago
Rachael AndersonTo Jacquie Gaudet

I just bought an edge 830 at rei which I can return if it doesn’t meet my needs.  I’m trying to work through adding a OpenStreetMap to the device and am having problems with my laptop.  I hope I can figure it out.  We definitely need that feature.

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3 weeks ago
Wayne EstesTo Rachael Anderson

I don't know how big a map area is downloaded to my phone when I download an offline route from RideWithGPS. I see road details many miles from my route, though. It appears that I would have to pedal very far off the planned route to go off the edge the downloaded street map.

I don't use my phone for turn by turn instructions. Other people say that function works well but my routes have so few turns that I just don't need that function. I also don't use RideWithGPS to record a track of the exact route I pedal each day.

I merely use my smart phone as an electronic map of my planned route, with a "you are here" feature.

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3 weeks ago
Jacquie GaudetTo Wayne Estes

It wasn't that long ago that I didn't have much of a data plan for my phone.  I kept it off unless I needed it for something.  If I was out and about, away from wifi, it could tell me its (and my) location and show me on a map, but it couldn't direct me anywhere (not with Google Maps, anyway).  I learned this the hard way, having to turn it on to get directions when I was in Spain--I blew through my prepurchased roaming data plan in the first week.  I didn't know how to buy a travel sim card back then, or maybe it wasn't so easy.

Battery life is a separate item.  I started using my phone to track my rides while I decided whether to get a phone mount or a computer, but the battery didn't last.  I bought my Garmin then and am still using it.  In the same time span, I've gone through 3 phones.

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3 weeks ago