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Messages - HobbesOnTour

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Routes / Re: Northern Tier map set issues
« on: July 16, 2021, 09:50:29 pm »
I can understand your frustration. Map updates, paper or gps should be clear.

I'm sorry, it's not clear to me what the real problem is though.

Are you waying that your Bolt can't read the file?
(The advice is to open the file in RWGPS or similar, save it in that app then export or sync to the device).

Perhaps an alternative to new paper maps is to consider their app. Logistically this will be easier and I believe these have the same information as the paper maps (showing stores etc )

Good luck!

Routes / Re: What's a good first tour?
« on: July 13, 2021, 06:19:42 pm »
This is all such good information.  I think I prefer to ride on my own but being able to meet up with familiar faces in the evenings would be awesome. Especially since camping alone is still one of my things to get over. I don't yet know how many miles I  would do on average but some of it depends on how hilly it is that day.

I'll check out Crazy Guy on A Bike. So far during my training I've found that meeting others has been one of the best parts and look forward to that continuing.

I hadn't considered getting to the start and riding back. Interesting concept.

I am finishing gathering the rest of what I need and hope to start within 2 weeks - or less if I can.

Is using Ride with GPS enough for navigation or should I buy something like the Garmin Edge?

As a solo traveller I have never had a problem meeting friendly people along the way or in campgrounds. I think a single person on a bike is far more approachable to a lot of people. I often think one of the most important things to pack is a smile.

As regards navigation perhaps start a new thread as there are lots of different opinions and experiences and this thread title suggests routes.

I'm sure you could use RWGPS exclusively but be aware of the limitations. It cannot reroute you if offline. Battery life can be an issue, especially if using the phone to take photos (powerbank?). Attaching the phone to the bike, especially for bumpy surfaces is important. Display can suffer or be damaged (sun and rain). Phone charging sockets are not usually designed for the bouncing a phone can get on the road so topping up could damage your phone. Finally, for the solo tourist there is always the question of a fall or crash and the need for a phone. A phone on the handlebars may not survive.

If you go down the gps route I'd advise you to have a good think about what you need and how you will use it. People are different, units are different. Remember, a bike gps unit is not the same as a car unit. Most units work best with a separate planner, like RWGPS, since a unit rarely has the capacity to plan a good route. Depending on where you go and the road options that may not be a big deal.

It's not clear how long you are going for, but based on not having a route I assume you will need to create routes "on the road". For that you will probably need an internet accessing phone, tablet or laptop for the planning to send to the unit. (Osmand, an app will work totally offline).
Wahoo units work with a phone app.

If it sounds complicated, sorry. It's really not when you can figure out how you will use it.

If you're leaving in two weeks I wouldn't bother too much. A couple of weeks on the road will tell you a lot about what you want and need. No reason you can't pick up a unit on the road if you decide you want one.

There are a couple of advantages for a unit -
Dedicated, weather proof and decent battery life.
For me, a huge advantage is the ability to record my daily journey, add photos, comments etc. and have a great memory of each day. Great fir family and friends to follow too. Also possible to do on your phone (RWGPS & Strava).

Good luck!


Routes / Re: What's a good first tour?
« on: July 13, 2021, 08:33:28 am »
What are you interested in?
Plan a tour around that/those?

Are there places you want to go?
Link them together and cycle there.

While a route, be that a Trans America etc. can be appealing at first glance, it's a line on a map that someone else has drawn. Much more interesting to draw your own lines on a map and follow those.

Much easier to stay inspired when the destination at the end of the day or week is a place you really want to visit.
Depending on where you go, though, it may require a bit more research.

It strikes me that you seem to have the one thing most cycle tourists would give their eye teeth for - time! You have the chance not just to visit and see places but to really absorb them. Local festival at the weekend? Hang around and get a feel for somewhere different. Ask locals what you should see and visit.

European, I've done tours following rivers, WWII cemeteries, Belgian breweries, military advances, Normandy invasion. Town cemeteries are a popular spot for me. (I'm really not so macabre!)
Where I have followed "official" cycle routes I have almost always tacked on my own added destinations. But they always had a time constraint.

In the US I arrived in Virginia, satisfied a long held urge to visit Charleston then set off to Nashville then Texas on a musical pilgrimage.
Cycling into Music City, USA - now that's s thrill!

Where are your thrills?

Good luck!

Edited to add:
If you're not aware have a look at It has a treasure trove of journals from all over the world and a really good search/map function. Great for inspiration and information.

(I'd strongly suggest staying away from the fora there, though).

General Discussion / Re: Buying a bike in the EU on a budget
« on: July 11, 2021, 05:13:55 pm »
Supply problems around Covid mean that websites are often misleading because even the manufacturer does not have bikes.
Waiting lists are long and common.

Also, this is a (mainly) US forum.
You might get more optimistic information on cycling fora in Europe.

GPS & Digital Data Discussion / Re: Phone GPS app
« on: June 28, 2021, 10:07:25 pm »
Be careful with Komoot, my experience with it is that it is unreliable.

It can alter imported routes to fit it's own maps (most planners do this, but Komoot has had the most errors).
It's own planning can be poor. It has brought me to dead ends and put me on incredibly dangerous roads.
Despite advertising "Global Maps" they are (or were) nothing of the sort.

While easy to use with bells and whistles aplenty what is under the bonnet is lacking in my opinion.

GPS & Digital Data Discussion / Re: Phone GPS app
« on: June 25, 2021, 11:56:16 am »
Offline Google maps?
I don't think so.

Try Osmand. It will take your gpx file and give TbT (and voice) instructions.
It will also plot routes totally offline (so long as the relevant maps have been downloaded in advance).
It has many handy features such as Points of Interest, Favourites etc
It's not the easiest to get a handle on but is well worth the effort.

Free to try in local area, small one off fee for worldwide maps. You can also correct map info if incorrect or out of date if that's your thing.

Just remember, a phone as a navigation device brings its own issues;
Weather (rain/sun)
Damage in accident


International / Re: Chile - Lakes and Volcanoes Region
« on: June 19, 2021, 04:19:46 pm »
Just an update - I am booked for this trip through Puelo Adventures (in November):

Crazy cheap - $750 (plus a $150 single upcharge) for 6 nights lodging (with breakfast), bike and pannier rental, route planning and maps, and transportation to/from the airport.  Should be a nice adventure!

I am heading to South Dakota the week of July 4th for a five day self-supported ride on the Mickelson Trail (with side rides to Mount Rushmore and Custer State Park).  I planned this trip mainly as international options were limited, but the more I research about it and the towns where I am staying, I think this will a lot of fun!  I have never been to SD/Black Hills before.



Best of luck!
I might even see you down there!

GPS & Digital Data Discussion / Re: Is gpx info working on my Bolt?
« on: June 13, 2021, 06:35:41 pm »
Thanks, all, for your quick responses!

It's my understanding that the ACA files are route files, not track files.
I just looked again and the ACA files are track files.

The link you provided is for general gpx/tcx files.
I checked this, too, and the ACA files are gpx, so it should work without going through RWGPS.

I guess I’ll give it a shot and hope that it works . . . . . paper maps being my backup, of course. I’ll plan to post an update here in a couple weeks, since our first few days are off route.

Many thanks!

Make sure you read this thread
Especially reply #10

GPS & Digital Data Discussion / Re: Is gpx info working on my Bolt?
« on: June 13, 2021, 05:12:13 pm »
The link you provided is for general gpx/tcx files.
My understanding is that you need to import the ACA file into a third party app/site such as RideWithGPS and then sync RWGPS with your unit. I believe Komoot will work as well, possibly Strava.

(I have no idea why it is done this way)

I would not expect your unit to show campgrounds etc. just the route.

There is no need to worry about trackpoints or route length. I had a 12000km route on my Elemnt (bigger Bolt).
(No disrespect to John)

Since the Bolt has no route creation options I can suggest Osmand (an app) as an offline planner that allows you to
Create a route
Save the Route
Open in your Wahoo App
Operate on your unit.
Clunky to learn and needing maps downloaded in advance it is a good companion to your Bolt, especially on tour for navigating to a store/campground.

Unfortunately, if you are far away from the route it is next nigh to impossible to zoom in on a Wahoo unit.

If you're not familiar with RWGPS or the other options post back or have a look on Youtube. I believe that you won't need a RWGPS sub to do what you need, just to set up an account and link it to your Wahoo account/app.

Good luck!

International / Re: Chile - Lakes and Volcanoes Region
« on: June 11, 2021, 09:54:41 pm »
A quick Google throws up

Both claiming to offer self guided options.
(There are more).

To be honest, I wouldn't be keen on tackling that part of the world on someone elses bike. But that's me.

I'd imagine it wouldn't be that difficult to organise luggage transport on a daily basis, especially if you know in advance when and where you will be staying. Simply ask the hotel to organise it. All kinds of things get transported by public transport in that part of the world.
I'd imagine that you have a fair bit of time to organise this and being stuck in the Spanish speaking world I'd strongly urge you to have a go at learning Spanish - it really enhances interactions. I recommend Duolingo as a good, fun base.  You may surprise yourself what an hour a day can do! is excellent for grammar and the like.

Mucha suerte!


International / Re: Chile - Lakes and Volcanoes Region
« on: June 11, 2021, 06:49:21 pm »
Sorry, it's not clear to me what it is that you need.
Routes? Logistical support? Getting there?

RideWithGPS is a good place to look for routes.

Are you familiar with CGOAB?


Lots of people have done solo trips down there and in nonCovid times it's normally common to meet other cyclists.

Good luck!

Routes / Re: Munich Germany to Vienna Austria
« on: May 12, 2021, 05:28:02 pm »
In that part of the world Eurovelo routes are actually composed of joined up local routes.
There are lots of ways of doing what you want to do. is a great resource for European bike routes.

It's a beautiful part of the world. Good luck! 

I'll throw in a few penniesworth from the perspective of European vs American experiences.
I haven't done the transam, by the way. I wandered from Virginia to Texas before dropping in to Mexico.

1. Distances between supplies can be very long by European standards. Google Maps (saved) is your friend to mark off likely stores.
2. Weather can be very extreme by our standards and quick to change.
3. Not all campsites are campsites! Some RV parks have no toilet facilities etc and will turn you away. If you can, sign up for State/National Parks before you leave. Online reservations are the norm and it can be a PITA trying to do that on the road. While I was never turned away from a (real) campsite, just showing up was not appreciated, in the main.  I found camping, in the main, to be quite expensive. But some of those parks?? :D
4. Cell phone coverage can be scarce outside of urban areas. If buying a local SIM card, make sure you understand how to top it up. They wouldn't accept my (Dutch) credit card online (T-mobile).
5. Dogs. Nearly ruined my tour! Never had so many problems so regularly. I kept a squeeztly bottle of water as a repellant.
6. Bridges can be hell! Minimal shoulder, often full of debris. Not pleasant.
7. I strongly recommend a mirror. Saved my life a couple of times. Some drivers can be very aggressive.
8. Fresh food can be scare and expensive. Lots of junk food available in stores but if you want to camp and cook (other than noodles or pasta) that will need planning.
9. Shoulders can be important and seem to be the domain of counties. Cross a county line and the shoulder can disappear.
10. Don't put all your faith in ACA maps. I thought I "have maps will travel". helped me a lot. For long sections cross country it chose routes that were far superior.

None of that is meant to put you off (or annoy the American cousins!)
I loved my time in the US.

Good luck!

If you are talking about creating an entire route then I can see the merit in a laptop or similar. However, if you are talking about a "get me outta here" type of route then I think a laptop/tablet is overkill.

Remember too, that app interfaces can differ from web interfaces. Things you can easily do on a computer at home may not be so easy on an app.

Of more importance is what software you use for creating the route. And if it will work offline (in the emergency scenario).

Osmand is an app that will work offline (with downloaded maps). Clunky to get a hang of but worth it in the long run. It will save a gpx file that you can send to a gps unit (if compatible). It has many other advantages too for a long distance bike tourist.

Honourable mention to, a uk based website. It has got me out of many holes in the US (on my android phone) although it needs internet to work and is not great at finding some US addresses.

Good luck!

Gear Talk / Re: Kickstand love it or leave it?
« on: April 05, 2021, 02:41:09 pm »
There's a school of thought that a kickstand can damage the frame, depending on the placement of it. The theory is that the chainstays are the weakest point - exacerbated, I presume on a loaded bike.

In practise, a kickstand is usually unnecessary for me - except for when its not.
Loading up after stealth camping or in some campgrounds can be very difficult without a stand.

I use a click stand (look online). Very light & strong, although made to measure for each bike. Not cheap, though. Can double up as a dog repellent or clothesline or a prop to keep a tent door open.

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