Author Topic: What can GPS do for you?  (Read 15830 times)

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Offline bentcrasher

What can GPS do for you?
« on: October 08, 2003, 10:18:59 pm »
Glad you guys added forums!!!

I've heard about using GPS on bikes, sometimes in lieu of a
cyclecomputer, and I'm curious but I have some questions.

Can a GPS give me speed, average speed, max speed? Or
is it stricly a navigation tool? Do the batteries run long
enough for all-day use when touring?

Thanks!



Offline sglum

What can GPS do for you?
« Reply #1 on: October 09, 2003, 01:11:36 am »
Yes, a GPS can give you pretty much the same information as your cyclometer can - present speed, average speed, trip time, maximum speed. (The main reason I bought a GPS was that I wanted the same information I got from my cyclometer for cross-country skiing.)  Some models have an altimeter and can give you minimum/maximum elevation, total descent/ascent, vertical speed, plus plot your elevation on your trip.  Also the GPS will leave "bread crumbs" of your route, so you can see the outline of the course that you've ridden.

The downside of using a GPS is that it tends to lose satellite signals under heavy tree cover.

GPS units use up a lot of batteries, but one set should last for at a day's ride.  Regular alkaline batteries last for at least 10 hours.  Rechargable NiMH batteries last for at least 6 hours.


Offline bentcrasher

What can GPS do for you?
« Reply #2 on: October 09, 2003, 10:49:06 pm »
Sounds good. Raises a couple more questions. (Just
because it's $300 or whatever. If it was $50, it would already
be on my bike.)

Do all of them display current speed?

Do you need to run them all the time, or can you just fire them
up when you want the info?

Are the ones that are good for bike also OK for car? I want to
use it to find my way around on business trips, too.

Thanks!





Offline sglum

What can GPS do for you?
« Reply #3 on: October 10, 2003, 10:25:50 pm »
I think all of them display current speed.

If you want to collect total trip distance information, you need to leave the GPS unit on all the time.  If you only want to know your current speed now and then or just want to see how far you are from a location you set the GPS unit to navigate to, you can turn the unit off until you want the information again.  It does take a few minutes for the unit to "find itself" each time you power back on.

As far as car use, if you just want mapping capability, the GPS you use for the bike would work for the car.  That's the type of GPS unit I see mostly used for bike/car use.  If you want to be able to enter in a street address and then have your GPS unit tell you when to turn left/right, the much more expensive mapping models are used for this purpose.  I don't think the GPS models that are designed for car use have a bicycle mount adapter available, whereas you can buy an adapter to mount your GPS on your bicycle handlebars on the models designed for bike/car use (and they also have adapters to mount the GPS on your car dashboard as well).


Offline Ted

What can GPS do for you?
« Reply #4 on: October 12, 2003, 05:07:57 pm »
My wife and I use a Garmin Vista handheld GPS. It does give you miles-per-hour, average speed, maximum speed, altitude, position and much more. The GPS is extremely accurate and quite rugged, we've had ours for 4-years.  

It has helped us out of a few "I'm lost" episodes. This particular unit allows you to upload local maps from Garmin's map program.

The 2-AA batteries last about 9-hours of continual use. Normally we only use the GPS occasionally throughout the day but we have used it for several hours at a stretch.

I hope I've answered some of your questions but if you have more E-mail me, I'll be glad to help... Ted  



Offline biker_james

What can GPS do for you?
« Reply #5 on: October 22, 2003, 11:49:50 am »
I would like the elevation feature, but am not sure what else I would gain from GPS on the road. Backwoods travel it would be nice to help get you out if you're off trail or just lost. I know some areas here have so many old logging roads it would be easy to get mixed up on your route. The price is still a deterrent to me, but it is really cheap for the amount of technolgy you can put in your hand.


Offline Fred Hiltz

What can GPS do for you?
« Reply #6 on: October 25, 2003, 02:20:16 pm »
I agree with Biker James that it's most useful in the back country, but I use mine on every road trip too. With the relevant maps loaded, it replaces the paper map (which I take along for backup, of course). It is comforting to have that omniscient "thumb" on the map showing where I am, particularly at intersections where the road is unsigned or has changed its name. No more re-folding maps in the rain, either!

Fred


Offline JayH

What can GPS do for you?
« Reply #7 on: January 07, 2004, 07:38:41 pm »
If you lose satellite coverage, you'll also lose your trip odometer and stuff so it's not as good as a cyclocomputer. And you can get wireless cyclocomputers with a barometric altimeter for about $150 and it'll have more altitude functions that most GPSs, at least more than my Etrex Vista. I have a Cyclosport CM-434 which is a pretty funky tool.

Plus, using the GPS for a car is tiny, if you're trying to drive and look at the same time. Save that for a passenger if at all. The basemap on my Vista is fairly broad anyway, it'll only have county roads and lack details. You'd need the MapSouce CDs that Garmin sells separately.

Jay


Offline peter

What can GPS do for you?
« Reply #8 on: July 02, 2004, 04:45:36 am »
I first supplemented my cyclometer with a GPS over 5 years ago.  When the cyclometer batteries died I didn't bother replacing them and have since removed it from my bike since I much prefer the GPS.  Yes, it sometimes loses satellite lock momentarily but not enough to cause problems with the odometer.  OTOH, I always have the moving map display in addition to the normal cyclometer functions (speed, av. spd, max. spd., dist., altitude) and it keeps a record of the ride that I store on my PC so I can always print a map of my rides and review data about elevation gains, speeds, times, etc. Very useful when later creating a cue sheet for other club riders.  
On organized group rides I find it nice to see exactly where we're riding rather than just following the arrows on the pavement. But it's been most helpful when touring.  I use the detailed Garmin MetroGuide maps in my eMap and they include the locations of restaurants, motels, grocery stores, etc.  It also lets you enter a street address and shows you where it's located so I can look up bike shops or other stores in a phone book and then ride to the nearest one.  Despite the "MetroGuide" name, I've found it to have detailed street information in even the smallest rural towns and to include all country roads.  

Offline bogiesan

What can GPS do for you?
« Reply #9 on: August 13, 2004, 06:55:53 pm »
Compared to other consumer technologies, GPS is remarkably
aggresive, offensively unforgiving, and difficult to use. The receivers
have all been designed for engineers, not bicyclists. I find them
exasperating and classic examples of the Way Stupid Interface.

Some people can figure them out but the data is rather heartless. And,
frankly, I have never met anyone who knows how to use more than
about 25% of their unit's capabilities; stuff that could make their trips
more interesting and might make them feel much better about their
investments.

Before you invest in what could turn out to be a $150-$800 clock, buy
-- or check out from your library -- the three or four "for the rest of
us" books on GPS.

bogiesan

go, ristretto, FCP/AE
"Read the manual."
I play go. I use Macintosh. Of course I ride a recumbent

Offline Fred Hiltz

What can GPS do for you?
« Reply #10 on: August 15, 2004, 11:15:41 am »
Right on, bogiesan! I just re-read your post, substituting "personal computer" for "GPS." It felt strangely familiar.

Everyone who reads this on a PC has overcome an interface that considers "user friendly" to mean pushing the Start button to make it stop. Yet we find this most awkward appliance to be useful and even enjoyable.

The lesson: like the PC and the automobile, expect to spend a few hours with GPS before it too becomes useful and enjoyable. I put it somewhere between programming a VCR and using a PC.

And by all means investigate before you invest. Get a book; look for courses at school, outdoor store, or Scouts; or find someone to give you an introduction and let you run around with a GPS receivr for a while.

Fred

PS What are heartless data? F

This message was edited by FredHiltz on 8-15-04 @ 7:16 AM

Offline TwoWheeledExplorer

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What can GPS do for you?
« Reply #11 on: August 15, 2004, 05:35:30 pm »
Well, it gets me back to the car! (I use the "backtrack" feature a lot.) Conceptually, I have been mapping trails to download to my Delorme 5.0, but reality is that DeLorme software is so proprietary, that I have yet to succeed. Eventually, we will be getting a better mapping program (National Geographic/Topo!-Anybody have any experience with interfacing Garmin e-Trex with that program?) and a better GPS, but until then, it gets me back to the car. I use a Cateye cyclometer for the distance stuff.

William Clark never had a GPS, yet his maps were so accurate that after 4000 miles, when the Corps of Discovery reached the Pacific, he was only off by a mere 40 miles! (Must've been an SA problem!)

We proceeded on.
Hans

Hans Erdman, WEMT
Backcountry Trail Patrol-MN
www.trailpatrol.org
The Two-Wheeled Explorer: Ride the River
www.twowheeledexplorer.org
"Every person has a river to ride...you are to Ride the River."--Pr. Larry Christenson

Offline Fred Hiltz

What can GPS do for you?
« Reply #12 on: August 16, 2004, 11:39:57 am »
Hi Hans. This review http://gpsinformation.net/etrexlegend.htm claims it works. Here is a somewhat dated review of Topo!: http://gpsinformation.net/main/wildflower.htm

Fred


Offline TwoWheeledExplorer

  • World Traveler
  • *****
  • Posts: 302
  • "I am well, thank God, and in high spirits"
What can GPS do for you?
« Reply #13 on: August 20, 2004, 01:11:27 pm »
Well Fred, maybe it works in theory, but in reality I still am not getting it to function. I'll just store the data until we get Topo!

Thanks,
Hans

Hans Erdman, WEMT
Backcountry Trail Patrol-MN
www.trailpatrol.org
The Two-Wheeled Explorer: Ride the River
www.twowheeledexplorer.org
"Every person has a river to ride...you are to Ride the River."--Pr. Larry Christenson

Offline giantrider

What can GPS do for you?
« Reply #14 on: December 13, 2004, 03:11:53 am »
Bein a geocacher, I often carry my inexpensive and simple Garmin e-trax on the bike. I find it to be a poor substitute for a cyclecomputer, but a great suppliment to it. Geocaching and especially benchmarking can be great fun and can be done on a bike. I received the etrax for a gift and found very little use for it until I discovered geocaching. see  www.geoching.com for details.