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Old 06-25-21, 04:10 PM
  #51  
rumrunn6
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Originally Posted by djb View Post
hey rumrunner--important stuff first--so did you get your sorry keester thrown in the slammer for riding through the "restricted zone" ?
Enquiring minds want to know.
no but I heard several gunshots ;-)
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Old 06-25-21, 05:56 PM
  #52  
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Originally Posted by dirtydozen View Post
Hello everybody,

I love to travel by bike, but navigation can be quite a pain sometimes, i would like to buy a device that would help me with navigation.
I'm looking for the least expensive options, and i'm not necessary looking for a GPS bike computer, could be a watch or maybe something else.
Believe it or not i've been doing google researches but couldn't really find an article or something listing the cheapest options.

Reasons why I need this :
- I can't use my phone because the screen is not visible enough for me, i've also tried to use google maps, put the volume at maximum in my rear pocket and listen to the instructions.
But it's not working out, how many times i've been stuck in small paths full of rocks, having to walk (i"m using a road bike).

- I usually write all the towns i need to go by on a piece of paper and stick it on my frame, and I would just follow the signs on the roads. That's cool but it's easy to make mistakes, and when you do quite big stages it's annoying when you know you have to cycle back a couple of km's because you realized you made a mistake.

Thanks!
I think of bike navigation in two parts;
The first is the planningThe second is the navigation.

It looks like a part of your problem is the planning. No GPS unit will make a bad route good.

Google Maps is not good for route planning.*

https://cycle.travel/map is excellent for planning routes, especially in Europe. You can download a gpx or tcx file to use in a gps device and/or cue sheets and pdf maps. Depending on the distance you want to cover a cue sheet and map may be all you need.

A useful app for your phone is Osmand. A bit clunky to get a hang of, it has many useful benefits especially the ability to plot a route totally offline. Its altitude information is excellent. It is also easy to create a gpx file and transfer to a gps unit if you get one.

You could take a route prepared in cycle.travel and navigate it using Osmand. Osmand has voice instructions but you would really need at least one headphone/earpiece. It will also reroute automatically if you go off course.

*Google Maps has one advantage for travelling - the ability to save areas in advance (if you have a Google account) These saved areas will "remember" any places you have saved as well as the usual Google Map info like Hotels etc.
Even offline Google Maps can create a route - but only for cars. That may not be helpful.

The "cheapest" gps unit you buy will the the one that does what you want it to do rather than buying anything at all and then finding out it doesn't suit you or your style.
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Old 06-28-21, 12:04 PM
  #53  
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I call it a map.
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Old 06-28-21, 02:35 PM
  #54  
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If you get a holder to attach your phone to handle bars, you could hear it better. There are also various bike GPS apps.
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Old 06-28-21, 02:37 PM
  #55  
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Originally Posted by DCwom View Post
I think you've already tried the cheapest options, a written queue sheet and using your existing phone, and as you've discovered they have limitations. GPS Bike computers attempt to solve some of these limitations, albeit at a cost. I went through the same decision process and ended up with the Garmin Edge Explore, which still isn't cheap, but I'm pretty happy with it. There are other brands and models, but if you do a lot of exploratory riding, I think a dedicated GPS nav system is probably what you want.
Or a phone with a better screen. Phone can really function as a GPS....or at least a map folder to hang on the handlbars.
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Old 06-28-21, 04:25 PM
  #56  
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The great thing about opinions is that everybody has one. Or more.

Originally Posted by njkayaker View Post
  1. Downloadable maps for phones are cheap or free and get updated regularly. They work at various zoom levels and occupy much less space.
  2. With a little bit of care, one doesn't need service for routing on phones. There are quite a few apps that do this.
  3. Given that service is spotty, I'd rate it as some sort of "doing it wrong" if one relies on something that requires service.
  4. The rerouting of using anything (the internet, on-device routing, and even paper maps) may "be suspect".
  5. One doesn't have to use the phone in a way that requires keeping it running all the time.
  6. Dedicated GPS units have their advantages but "everybody" already has a smartphone. It might make some sense to investigate using that first (the phone is also a useful addition to a dedicated GPS).
  7. An $8 plastic pouch solves the water resistance issue.
Let me count the steps a potential user has to take to use their phone as a GPS:
1. Pick and install an app.. (The right app!)
2. Learn how to use that app.
3. Download maps for every area they might ride.
4. Update those maps periodically.
5. Learn how to use the phone and app while turning it off when it's not needed.
6. Buy the $8 waterproof pouch.

Six steps so far, right? but don't forget
7. Buy a cell phone mount for your bars (assumes you don't want to stop to look at the map)
8. Buy a cache battery for cell phone and figure out how to mount it.

So it can be done. One of my daughters would probably take this route to use her phone. I'd pay for the dedicated GPS. Other daughter is probably in between us. As with most "which is best?" questions, it comes down to a choice; in this case is your time or your money worth more to you?
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Old 06-28-21, 05:37 PM
  #57  
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Originally Posted by pdlamb View Post
Let me count the steps a potential user has to take to use their phone as a GPS:
1. Pick and install an app.. (The right app!) <Not that hard. maps.me (free) is a good place to start. Osmand is a reasonable choice but it's a bit more complicated. I like guru maps but it's a bit expensive. An app is a useful/cheap backup too.>
2. Learn how to use that app.<not that hard. you have to learn how to use the device too. It's a useful backup too.>
3. Download maps for every area they might ride.<easy. It's a useful backup too.>
4. Update those maps periodically.<easy. you have to update the maps for your device too. It's a useful backup too.>
5. Learn how to use the phone and app while turning it off when it's not needed. <easy.>
6. Buy the $8 waterproof pouch.<Which you should have anyway/regardless. The alternative is to spend $200+ or more on a separate device.>
Originally Posted by pdlamb View Post
Six steps so far, right?
There are similar steps for some of these for a separate device. Some of the others you make out to be a bigger deal than they are.

Also, since it's much, much easier to view maps on a phone, an app is a useful and cheap addition to a separate device!

Originally Posted by pdlamb View Post
Six steps so far, right? but don't forget
7. Buy a cell phone mount for your bars (assumes you don't want to stop to look at the map) <Sure, the mount is an extra thing but it's still cheaper than buying a dedicated GPS!>
8. Buy a cache battery for cell phone and figure out how to mount it. <The batteries are cheap (they might already have one) and not that hard to use. I did it for a dedicated unit.>
Originally Posted by pdlamb View Post
So it can be done. One of my daughters would probably take this route to use her phone. I'd pay for the dedicated GPS. Other daughter is probably in between us. As with most "which is best?" questions, it comes down to a choice; in this case is your time or your money worth more to you?
Sure, it can be done. It's cheap and not as hard as you make it out (and people routinely consider the dedicated devices as being "too complicated"). It's also an enhancement to a separate device. It's a cheap backup too.

I won't presume to decide "which is best" for anybody.

If the OP can't afford a decent dedicated unit (one with map), why shouldn't he use what he has?

I use a dedicated device on the bike but, in other situations, use an app on my phone (which I nearly always have).

Last edited by njkayaker; 07-08-21 at 10:17 AM.
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Old 07-07-21, 08:16 AM
  #58  
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Originally Posted by stevel610 View Post
I was going to suggest good ol' fashion maps...albeit with much more sarcasm than you😁.
What is the clip you're using to hold your map? That looks like the exact thing I've been looking for.
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Old 07-07-21, 09:01 AM
  #59  
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Originally Posted by kombiguy View Post
What is the clip you're using to hold your map? That looks like the exact thing I've been looking for.
Not mine. Just googled bicycle map holder.
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Old 07-07-21, 12:01 PM
  #60  
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Originally Posted by kombiguy View Post
What is the clip you're using to hold your map? That looks like the exact thing I've been looking for.
https://www.cyclingabout.com/life-ul...ke-map-holder/
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Old 07-07-21, 06:22 PM
  #61  
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What a bunch of B S , most of the answers are... JMO... If you have a phone, the solution is in your hands... If not, then a map and compass is/should be in your hands... It is that simple...
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Old 07-08-21, 07:50 AM
  #62  
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fwiw - (before getting a modern smart phone) I've tried an old style battery operated auto GPS strapped to the bars. it works of course but not ideal. I later just kept it strapped to my rear trunk & just turned it on when I needed a directional tip. the battery doesn't last long. it doesn't have unpaved bike trails. but it can get you back to your car if you can find a road & have saved the location where you parked your car. I also tried using it to help me navigate the 22 miles from home to a new office. but really, the best way that I learned the route, was plotting it w/ google maps then repeatedly driving it with my car in both directions, even tho that wasn't the preferred driving route (which uses the highways). anyway, it was a fun experiment for a while

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Old 07-08-21, 08:27 AM
  #63  
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I enjoy the lengths people will go to in order to avoid using a purpose-built GPS cycling computer.
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Old 07-08-21, 10:24 AM
  #64  
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Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
it's good to have a phone w/ a full charge in case something happens, like an injury or mechanical failure & if I have to stay overnight waiting for rescue. if I use my phone all day long I won't have a full charge
You can bring a small external battery too. You also don't have to "use your phone all day long". And you don't need a "full charge" either. You used the example of riding in Cape Code. That's not really a place that you'd need to "stay overnight waiting for rescue". If that was a regular risk, then one wouldn't choose to use a phone continuously (and the cost of a dedicated device would be moot/unimportant). In such places, it's not unlikely at all that you wouldn't even have cell reception. You are making these things bigger deals than they really are.

Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
I later just kept it strapped to my rear trunk & [b]just turned it on when I needed a directional tip.
??? But somehow you are required to "use your phone all day long".

Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
...sometimes feel bad for ppl on the side of the road in bright sunlight squinting at their tiny phone screens.
This is silly.

Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
I also don't have to worry about cell service w/ a paper map
That this is necessary is a common misconception. You really don't want to use a mapping app that relies on cell service.

Last edited by njkayaker; 07-08-21 at 10:35 AM.
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Old 07-08-21, 10:54 AM
  #65  
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"cheap navigation" is a sorta funny idea to begin with. like "discount surgery."
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Old 07-08-21, 11:09 AM
  #66  
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Originally Posted by njkayaker View Post
whatever
thank you for your kind insult! ;-)
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Old 07-08-21, 11:45 AM
  #67  
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Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
thank you for your kind insult! ;-)
You made some interesting comments about paper maps and then imagined/exaggerated problems with using phones.
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Old 07-08-21, 12:52 PM
  #68  
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Originally Posted by njkayaker View Post
You made some interesting comments about paper maps and then imagined/exaggerated problems with using phones.
sorry my reply was rushed, I was goofing off at work, then my boss walked in & handed me some work. you have valid counterpoints to my positions. surprised no one else latched on to them. only took slight offense to calling my concern for fellow cyclists on the side of the road as silly. I realized they are probably in heaven using their devices. in fact, today I put a Garmin 530 on my wish list. I tried to reply/quote each point you brought up but I couldn't figure out how & bossman was waiting ... I do loose cell service, especially out on "the Cape", I do turn off my phone to preserve battery life. it seems to really use up battery when it's out of service. wonder if it uses more power searching? but you brought up something maybe I forgot. do cell phone apps not use cell service? meaning, is there an actual satellite GPS transponder thing in my iPhone 5S? I know there is a compass. how wold a mapping app know where I was on a map, if not with cell service? or maybe I didn't understand your point: "You really don't want to use a mapping app that relies on cell service."related: recently read an article about a woman who crashed her car into some woods, didn't know where she was & 1st responders pinged her phone to locate her. were they using cell towers? I have done some dumb things & have been caught off guard, on the Cape, at night, during the winter. I was able to walk out & flag down a car & hitch a ride to a police station to get a tow truck, but others, in other parts of the country (or abroad) might not be so lucky. I know I can carry an extra cell battery, but thanks for the reminder

normaly a phone keeps it's charge all day. those stand alone auto gps batteries do not
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Old 07-08-21, 01:21 PM
  #69  
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Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
I do loose cell service, especially out on "the Cape", I do turn off my phone to preserve battery life. it seems to really use up battery when it's out of service. wonder if it uses more power searching?
Not surprised. Cell service is more spotty than many people realize. Phones can use more power out of range of cell service. You can use airplane mode (turn off the cell transceiver) to save power.

Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
but you brought up something maybe I forgot. do cell phone apps not use cell service? meaning, is there an actual satellite GPS transponder thing in my iPhone 5S? I know there is a compass.
Yes, your smartphone has a GPS receiver in it (and that does not need cell service). (It's a GPS receiver, not a transponder.)

The phone is a computer with memory. There's nothing really forcing an app to need cell phone service. Indeed, for navigation, I recommend people not use an app that relies on a connection.

A cell phone is/has: a computer, a screen, a cell phone transceiver, a GPS receiver, a compass (maybe), and a barometer (maybe). The cycle navigational computer (generally) lacks the cell phone transceiver.

Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
how wold a mapping app know where I was on a map, if not with cell service?
The GPS receiver that every smartphone has. The phones can also determine location using cell towers and WiFi network but these are much less accurate than GPS.

GPS is very accurate but takes a while to warm-up. Using the cell-towers is very fast but not accurate (this is used to get an approximate location to warm-up the GPS faster). WiFi is based on a database of WiFi names and locations determined (by GPS or cell-towers). This works indoors (unlike GPS).

Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
recently read an article about a woman who crashed her car into some woods, didn't know where she was & 1st responders pinged her phone to locate her. were they using cell towers?
The phone determines the location (either using GPS or cell towers but has to transmit that location to responders (this part requires a cell connection).

Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
I have done some dumb things & have been caught off guard, on the Cape, at night, during the winter. I was able to walk out & flag down a car & hitch a ride to a police station to get a tow truck, but others, in other parts of the country (or abroad) might not be so lucky.
You'll need a cell connection in "other parts of the country (or abroad)". (I don't usually pay for cell phone coverage when I'm abroad.)


Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
...those stand alone auto gps batteries do not
These devices are intended to be used plugged-into the car battery. The internal batteries for these are designed to keep the device operating over short interruptions of power.

Last edited by njkayaker; 07-08-21 at 03:35 PM.
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Old 07-08-21, 01:23 PM
  #70  
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Originally Posted by njkayaker View Post
A cell phone is/has: a screen
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Old 07-08-21, 01:24 PM
  #71  
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Yep. If you start recording a ride on your phone (let's say with Strava because that's what I've done) and then put your phone on airplane mode it will still record your ride, then upload it once you re-enable network services.

I've done that as a backup on long rides just in case something goes haywire with my cycling computer.
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Old 07-08-21, 01:39 PM
  #72  
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Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
There isn't a huge difference between a smartphone and a cycle computer like the 530. (The first is more focused on short/high-performance use and the second is designed for continuous use.)

(I added more info to that post.)

Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
I realized they are probably in heaven using their devices. in fact, today I put a Garmin 530 on my wish list
The phones are a useful and cheap addition to a cycle navigation unit.

The screen on the 530 is a bit small for navigation and its lack of a touch-screen makes doing some navigation stuff (like panning/zooming the map) harder (or impossible).

Last edited by njkayaker; 07-08-21 at 01:47 PM.
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Old 07-08-21, 02:43 PM
  #73  
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I have had my phone battery last for 3 days and still have it on for the GPS for navigation and monitoring my ride with ride with GPS app... You just need to put the phone in airplane mode... and I carry a small external battery about the size of a deck of cards with which I can charge the phone 8 times...
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Old 07-10-21, 11:09 AM
  #74  
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How did I get around the US and Europe without any electronics back in the seventies and eighties? Actually, I don't think I want a device that will tell me exactly where I am. I like to figure it out by myself, with the help of a map.


BITD I used to study a map before I set out on a tour, or a hike. I tried to visualize my route and the terrain I was traveling through and then tried to remember some of the important landmarks .


On the topic of navigation there are a couple of interesting books: Wayfinding: The Science and Mystery of how Humans Navigate, M.R. O'Connor, St. Martin's Press; and From Here to There: The Art and Science of Finding and Losing our Way by Michael Bond, Belknap/ Harvard University Press (to be published in August); and Nature ShockGetting Lost in America by John T. Coleman, Yale. It's an interesting subject. Animals, including our ancestors, have been navigating for millions of years without a GPS.
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Old 07-10-21, 08:11 PM
  #75  
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Originally Posted by ironwood View Post
How did I get around the US and Europe without any electronics back in the seventies and eighties? Actually, I don't think I want a device that will tell me exactly where I am. I like to figure it out by myself, with the help of a map.
Well, no one is suggesting you should do anything different.

​​​​​​​
Originally Posted by ironwood View Post
Animals, including our ancestors, have been navigating for millions of years without a GPS.
They also all managed without bicycles too.

Last edited by njkayaker; 07-10-21 at 08:16 PM.
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