Author Topic: How to maximize ease of staying on course of an ACA route  (Read 453 times)

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Offline Gordon02

How to maximize ease of staying on course of an ACA route
« on: February 01, 2016, 08:29:09 pm »
I am planning to ride across the US this coming summer.   Last summer, while traveling east in Maine on the northern tier, I found that I needed to look at my map every mile or three, which was tiresome.  Might the eTrex 30 or another GPS unit make map checking less frequent/cumbersome?   
With thanks,  PH

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: How to maximize ease of staying on course of an ACA route
« Reply #1 on: February 01, 2016, 10:10:30 pm »
With luck, a GPS with routing and turn warnings may let you ride without looking at the maps.  If the route is correct, if the batteries are working, if the GPS doesn't lock up.

Are there enough wiggle words in there?

I've ridden brevets where my GPS stopped working, and took a fair bit of fiddling to get it back on track (vs. giving me "get on the interstate to get to the finish" routes).  I've seen GPS wars -- two different units, even identical units, give opposite directions, until you get off route and see the infamous "make a U-turn" direction.  I"ve gotten confused between the route I should be on and the bright road marking of the major road I was on.  On the other hand, with a unit that's running well and fully charged, night riding is even more pleasant, since it alerts you coming up to a turn.

Get a GPS, if you wish, and give it a trial.  Plan a long training ride, preferably on some roads you're not terribly familiar with, and see how you and it get along.  Does it alert you in time to make the turn without overshooting?  Does it tell you not to go down a farmer's driveway where the road turns?  Bottom line, do you think it'll work for you?

Offline staehpj1

Re: How to maximize ease of staying on course of an ACA route
« Reply #2 on: February 02, 2016, 09:45:22 am »
I have generally found the AC routes to be so easy to follow that I leave my dedicated GPS home.  I do sometimes use my smart phone for directions to a particular stop, service, or attraction.

I have used an etrex for an on/off road tour and it worked out well.  Personally though I found it a lot more trouble to program in the route, deal with batteries, and so on than it is worth on most routes especially if you will be on the road only.

Offline johnsondasw

Re: How to maximize ease of staying on course of an ACA route
« Reply #3 on: February 02, 2016, 11:39:27 am »
I have generally found the AC routes to be so easy to follow that I leave my dedicated GPS home.  I do sometimes use my smart phone for directions to a particular stop, service, or attraction.

I have used an etrex for an on/off road tour and it worked out well.  Personally though I found it a lot more trouble to program in the route, deal with batteries, and so on than it is worth on most routes especially if you will be on the road only.

I have never used GPS.  I like Pete's advise.  Use maps, intuition, ask the locals  (although they rarely know anything about their own area!), get lost on occasion; it's all part of the adventure.  I really think many of us are way too hung up on gadgets and electronics.  I'm such a dinosaur that I still don't use my own earphones at the gym or out on a walk, etc!
May the wind be at your back!

Offline staehpj1

Re: How to maximize ease of staying on course of an ACA route
« Reply #4 on: February 02, 2016, 11:55:05 am »
ask the locals  (although they rarely know anything about their own area!)
That reminds me...  It is kind of amazing how often local folks have no idea of distances.  Ditto for elevation changes and whether on not there is a ride-able shoulder.

Big rig truckers and farmers on the other hand seem to provide accurate and detailed info.

Local, "It is exactly 20 miles and flat the whole way".

Trucker describing the same road, "Don't hold me to this, but it is about 27.3 miles.  It is flat for the first 10 miles or so, ten rolls for a while and finishes with a two mile climb."  They might even add, "There is a swimming hole about 12.5 miles out at the red river."

Typically the trucker will be spot on down to the tenth of a mile.

Offline John Nelson

Re: How to maximize ease of staying on course of an ACA route
« Reply #5 on: February 02, 2016, 04:23:22 pm »
I do not use a GPS, but I certainly would if somebody gave me one and I could figure out how to put the route into it. I do find that it is a bit of a stress worrying about where that next turn is, and I've missed it more than once.

My non-GPS mitigation is to make notes on a 3x5 index card each day identifying what mileage on my bike computer will be at each turn. At least that way I know how far I am going before I need to worry about looking for the next turn. It's not perfect, but it helps. At least I don't need to read every road sign for miles and miles in case it is the turn I want.

Offline DanE

Re: How to maximize ease of staying on course of an ACA route
« Reply #6 on: February 02, 2016, 04:35:02 pm »
" I've seen GPS wars -- two different units, even identical units, give opposite directions"

This is usually a result of having different selections in the setup. One unit could be set up to navigate based on shortest distance and the other set up to navigate based on shortest time. It could also be what type of features one has selected to avoid in navigation such as avoid highways. Different maps can also produce slightly different routes as well, such as someone might have the Garmin maps and another unit has something like Openfietmap or some such. Unfortunately, modern items can make things easier as well as making them complicated.

Offline Gordon02

Re: How to maximize ease of staying on course of an ACA route
« Reply #7 on: February 03, 2016, 12:07:50 am »
Thank you all for your replies.  I am inclined to follow HD Thoreau's advice thanks to you.  A man's wealth is directly proportional to the number of things he can leave alone.  Getting lost will be part of the journey, however welcome.   
« Last Edit: February 03, 2016, 12:10:18 am by Gordon02 »