Author Topic: Not finding the ideal GPS for cycling  (Read 3070 times)

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Offline GoinCycling

Not finding the ideal GPS for cycling
« on: January 04, 2006, 03:20:19 pm »
Hi Folks,

I have been looking for the ideal GPS unit to take on a 3 month cycling tour abroad.  The closest fit has been the Garmin ForeRunner 101, but it lacks certain features I'd enjoy.  In a nutshell, here are my core requirements:

1> COMPACT and light for cycling
2> Runs on REPLACEABLE BATTERIES (no room for charger).
3> Captures and records a history of ALTITUDE.

As for other features, I expect the basic features to be available but do NOT necessarily need mapping.

Is there anything out there which fulfills these 3 requirements??

Thanks in advance for any advice!
Mike

Offline Fred Hiltz

Not finding the ideal GPS for cycling
« Reply #1 on: January 05, 2006, 08:45:14 am »
Hi Mike,

I'd consider Garmin's GPS 60. Small, rugged, waterproof, stores 10,000 track points with altitude, and runs on two AA cells. Regardless of the unit you choose, you will need a small PC or a PDA to offload your tracks during your three-month trip.

If the countries you are visiting have good maps, the extra money for a mapping unit really adds to the utility. But you probably know that already .

Also try the GPS Discussion forum. You might get a broader audience there.

Fred


Offline GoinCycling

Not finding the ideal GPS for cycling
« Reply #2 on: January 05, 2006, 08:14:23 pm »
Fred,

Thanks for the tips.

If you don't mind, I'm curious about one thing.  The history of Altitude - is that something recorded with the recorded routes or something I have to explicitly mark for each track point?  Since I will be cycling, I need a unit that will record altitude on its own as I travel.

Thanks again,
Mike

Offline FloridaRon

Not finding the ideal GPS for cycling
« Reply #3 on: January 05, 2006, 11:31:15 pm »
I have a Garmin 76CS, and I like it a lot.  

It's a fair amount larger than the Forerunner, but anything with a built-in altimeter is going to be way larger than the Forerunner.

It does have mapping, an altimeter that captures both current elevation as well as a climb/descent profile and # of feet climbed, and a built-in compass so it displays the correct direction even when stopped.  It does have mapping and gives turn-by-turn directions.  I've used it in several countries outside the US plus here.  There is an available bike mount for it, and it uses 2 AA cells.  Battery life is in the 20 hour or so range for a pair of batteries.  Nice big easy to read screen, even in bright light.  

I'm hard-pressed to think of any negatives right now.

Note:  don't confuse this with the Garmin 76 or 76C.  Neither of those has the altimeter.

They're in the $350 range (last time I checked).

Good luck!

Ron
 


Offline Fred Hiltz

Not finding the ideal GPS for cycling
« Reply #4 on: January 06, 2006, 08:11:53 am »
The way it works: each track point stores the latitude, longitude, altitude, and time. You can set the unit to record a point at a chosen distance interval, time interval, or "automatic" with five choices from least often to most often. On automatic, it watches how far you have deviated from a straight line connecting the last two points, which results in more closely spaced track points on curves.

Ron's comment about the altimeter is important. All GPS receivers can read altitude from the satellites with typical error of < 100 feet, 95% confidence. Some units  also contain a barometric altimeter, which gets the error down to perhaps < 20 feet. If more precise profiles are important to you, then the extra cost and small extra battery drain may be worthwhile.

I'd like to recommend http://gpsinformation.net/ where you can find a wealth of information about consumer GPS. Jack's two lead articles,"My First GPS for Hiking" and "My First GPS for Automobile Navigation" are excellent starting points. You can hybridize them for biking.

Fred


Offline GoinCycling

Not finding the ideal GPS for cycling
« Reply #5 on: January 06, 2006, 03:01:49 pm »
Ron and Fred,

Thank you both very much for the information.  I finally feel like I have some serious clues to nibble on.

Mike