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Messages - SFGary

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General Discussion / Re: My TA has begun
« on: April 26, 2012, 07:39:10 pm »
Hi Tim,

Don't be Mr. Superman, take care of yourself, you need to complete the ride.


Fred: Very strange! I can see them. Maybe its in a cache somewhere on my PC, I'll redo it

Modified with photobucket link: Lets see if this worked  ::)

Hi Fred

It works! I attached the Garmin 2595LMT to the RAM mount on the bike and turned it on in the Golden Gate Park in SF. As soon as it was operational and I could see the location at the Velodrome in the park, I plugged in the Gomadic charger (both were fully charged btw.) The GPS went into data/charge mode and in about 30 seconds came back into Navigation mode. I put the Gomadic in the small handlebar bag (see pics) and rode down to the Great Highway along the beach. Except for the fact that the GPS screen is a bit washed out due to the bright sunlight, it was visible, working and the RAM mount held it firmly.

As you can see from the two pics that I could attach, the ext. battery (Gomadic brand) is in the bag, attached by its cable to the Garmin. I don't know how long it will last but I sort of estimate 2.5 hours for the GPS when it is fully charged and I would probably add another 2 -3 hours with the battery. More than enough for 6-8 hours on the road if used sparingly. What I did note was that I bent the USB connector on the cable when I tried to feel around in the back of the GPS for the USB port after it was on the bike, luckily it still works. So that is a bit fragile. I'll get a backup and maybe use a zip tie to hold it on the handlebar so the cable does not move around on a highway and break the USB connector.

OK Fred, here's what I have so far to see if a Garmin car GPS 2595 LMT will work on a bike: I bought a RAM mount for my bike handlebar, a Jef Jones H Bar: and a Gomadic battery for a Garmin 2450 (closest to the 2595:) ). I checked on the Garmin site for voltage, amps etc but there's precious little info. But if you look at the wall charger info you find that the same wall charge works for several models. So I went ahead and bought the Gomadic battery even though it was not for this model. It came in today and was half charged so I attached it to the Garmin and turned it on. Initially it goes into the charge model and eventually the Nav screen came on. Oddly enough I noticed in a different battery that if you toggle the power switch a couple of times the Nav screen comes on (read this on a GPS forum somewhere, can't explain it). The explanation accd to the Gomadic tech support is  that Garmin adds a resistor to the USB cable and somehow that allows their own car cigarette lighter charger to work. So these guys emulated that system. In any case it seems to work. I'll test it out on the road tomorrow, the mount is on the bike so I am all set. If it works then I'll get a waterproof soft case to take along on the trip. Interestingly, the RAM mount, since its designed to go on a motorcycle handlebar is way better and more solid than the fragile holder that comes with the Garmin GPS...more after the ride. Some pics to show the battery and the GPS plugged in

Gear Talk / Re: Cars and bike racks
« on: March 28, 2012, 03:10:10 am »
I did not want a permanent hitch on my car so I went with the Saris Bones 2 trunk rack: I have got to a stage where I can take the rack out of my trunk and put in on in less than 5 minutes and take it off in less than 2 minutes. So far it is very solid and the customer support is very responsive, caring and fast. But this is not a rack where you can put on yr. bike and leave it unattended because it cannot be locked. But Saris does make other trunk racks that can be or hitched as well.

Hi Fred

Thanks for yr. post and the late reply. I forgot to turn on notification for replies n the forum...

Since I already own a car GPS, the 2595LMT and don't plan to go off-road, I thought I'll get a bike mount and an external battery and see if it works on the road. If it does not then I'll get one of the eTrex ones and based on yr. experience I'll skip the ones w/altimeter, compass features.


I know the Garmin line best, but perhaps someone will add suggestions about DeLorme and Magellan.

The eTrex Legend HCx sounds like a good fit to me. Equipped with the City Navigator map set, it will take you through the 50 states and most of Canada. Buy the maps on DVD, not the preloaded SD card, and put them on the Mac for your trip planning and reloading the receiver with maps, routes, and waypoints. City Navigator does not include elevation data. The ACA maps show contour lines at large intervals, and their GPS waypoints include elevations in mountainous terrain. You could buy the Topo US 100K map set for full elevation coverage.

Having the Mac eliminates the need for huge map storage or waypoint storage in the GPSR. You will probably load maps every few weeks of riding. Other features of more expensive models: magnetic compass and barometric altimeter. The Legend shows your direction as soon as you start moving, but not when stopped. Its GPS altitude is less accurate than barometric, about +- 50 feet vs. +- 20 feet. Both are fine for cycling.

Use the free RoadTrip software to manage the maps, load them, take your daily tracks and waypoints, and plan routes.

Accessories you are likely to want: handlebar mount, 4 rechargeable AA batteries and an AC charger, MicroSD card (probably 2GB size), and card reader for the Mac if it does not have a slot. If you get a camera that uses AA batteries, it can share the charger and probably the card reader.

This unit does distance and speed, but not cadence nor heart rate. (The Edge series does, but it is not suited for touring, being specialized for training.) No temperature, either, but a keychain thermometer does as well.

I still use a bike computer beside the GPSR, mainly for cadence and as backup for distance. GPS eliminates the mental subtraction exercises that we all did when estimating the next turn.

GPS takes some practice to use well. Plan to spend an hour in an easy chair with receiver and owner's manual, then take it on local rides to see how it does on routes you know. A few hundred miles will give you a good idea of what it can and cannot do.

Finally, be sure to have paper maps and a keychain compass along. Electronics gets lost and broken too often to not have a backup. I think of the GPSR as an adjunct to the ACA maps. It is a good navigator, but lacks the cycling knowledge built into those maps.


Fred, thank you, you stopped me from an expensive mistake, I almost bought the Edge 800.  Are the Electronic Compass and the Barometric altitude features on the eTrex Vista HCx worth the extra $50? Also I bought all the maps I need for my ride, does the GPS date from ACA cost more?

For that matter why not the eTrex20/30. They seem to have a higher res screens with all the same features except for "Outdoor GPS" games and I can't see myself doing that...


John, I am removing the constraints one by one :) except that I have to be in DC around the 10th ~. If I use part of the Western Express, I'll go to the Sierra foothills and then get over by renting a pick up truck/Amtrak/flying and do the same in the Cedar Breaks/ Rockies. Strange way of doing it but my time of proposed departure is not compatible with using the Western Express route. I might consider the Northern route or with Lucas/Bikefreak's (thanks for the info, Lucas) recommendation do a southerly route and join up with the TA in Kentucky.

I am still curious if anyone has done a non-ACA route from SF to Pueblo using a southerly route to avoid the closed passes etc. Should I continue in this post or ask it separately?

Thanks for the reply, John and thanks much for your patience, this is all new to me. If the passes in the Sierras, Cedar Breaks and the Rockies are snowed in in mid-late April and Early May is there way to get around them? You suggested going north to Lewis and Clark and the NT and litespeed suggested the southern route. Since I have to get to DC by June 10th or so I am willing to hitch a ride/Amtrak etc around these impediments.

Having said this, is there a way or have you heard of a way to rejoin the TA at  Pueblo, CO via these alternates:

SF, CA - Bend, OR - Missoula, MT - Pueblo, CO (Approx 2100 mi)

or SF, CA -  Phoenix, AZ - Pueblo, CO (Approx 1600 mi)

Sorry for these amateur questions, there may not be a straighforward bike route using the cities I cited. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks for the quick reply John and litespeed. I suppose litespeed answered the internal question I had about whether I underestimate myself about climbing. Its a fear of the unknown. The Southern Tier is probably not an option because of the heat and the SF - Northern Tier - E Coast would probably be a bit much for me.

Q to both of you: So if I use the std route of the Western Express joining up with the TA in Pueblo, what would the weather be like in the Rockies in mid to late April/early May? Would it be snowing and can you ride in the mountains during that time? and how many days does it take to cross, typically? Thanks in advance

Hi All

A new older, member here and am probably asking an impossible question but: I am planning an SF to Washington DC ride for a cause starting early April. I am a bit on the, OK a lot on the heavier side (don't ask) and am not sure I can do major climbs like in the Sierras and the Rockies (have driven in both areas in Fall/Winter so it worries me) because of the extra weight, average knees and a hip injury from an old rowing accident.

I would also like to avoid or minimize Desert riding if possible. The cold, fog and the rain don't bother me. To compensate for these limitations I am willing to do extra mileage. I just ordered the Transam from Pueblo to Yorktown maps from ACA but with all the accumulated knowledge and experience in this impressive forum I thought I would also ask here if I can get from SF to Pueblo by avoiding the mountain ranges and the desert. Part B of the question is that can I do it without any camping? i.e. staying overnight in motels all the way? I am reading through Suzanne Stack's blog who is doing the same type of a ride,, but she and her husband started from Astoria, OR...

Any help would be greatly appreciated or I foresee a lot of pushing a loaded bike uphill. Thanks in advance


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