Author Topic: GPS bike device for the Trans Am  (Read 2529 times)

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Offline dacrazyahn

GPS bike device for the Trans Am
« on: March 12, 2017, 12:56:31 pm »
Dear Forum people,
planning on doing the TransAm this year starting in Oregon Mid June. I have read about bike computers and the sheer abundance of them is just too much. Any good advice on GPS trackers for bikes (not cell phone in GPS mode) or watches that do the trick? All I want is to record the single everyday tracks so I can put together the puzzle at the end of the ride. I am all for mobile phones GPS apps but would prefer some Garmin device with a good battery life. Have a Powerpack and could charge it every day.
Thanks!
*Sometimes I wonder whether my bike is thinking about me, too*

Offline walks.in2.trees

Re: GPS bike device for the Trans Am
« Reply #1 on: March 12, 2017, 04:18:47 pm »
If you have a newer Android smartphone or tablet, they're much more efficient than they used to be at conserving battery if you leave the GPS receiver turned on but don't light up the screen. Since all you care about is tracking, you can turn on the history feature of Google Maps and it will track you and use hardly any battery. My old Galaxy smartphone, I had to turn off all of the receivers or it would be nearly dead overnight... My newer Galaxy Tablet though, without ever turning off any of the receivers, will only have used 2% of battery overnight, and if I don't need to use it for work, it'll still be over 95% after work too.

I just think it's silly to carry two devices that do the same thing, especially if you're going to have to charge them both anyway when you stop. Plus, as far as that goes you can bring a Goal Zero Nomad7​ and charge while you ride on sunny days... Granted that's more weight to carry, and it's only useful while the sun is out, but the option is there. The was a similar kit mentioned by someone else once, and you should be able to find it if you search the forum for my previous mentions of Goal Zero

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Offline Nyimbo

Re: GPS bike device for the Trans Am
« Reply #2 on: March 12, 2017, 05:16:31 pm »
I'll jump in on your topic once again.  I'm having a different thought with the previous writer in this specific case.  I agree with using my phone for so many things.  I left my iPod, my mini recorder, my portable radio my compact camera, my penlight, and so on all at home and use my phone.  However, for the bike computer I like to use it on the handlebar on its garmin mount, where I can see the mileage and speed and hours traveled at all times as I go.  I did one week trip with my son a couple years ago and I let him borrow my computer the first day so he could get the sense of how far we travelled and how far left to go.  He wouldn't give it back and it drove me crazy to not have my little computer on front and center I was so used to it.
I did use the ride with GPS app on my phone and it worked great in the background but still seemed to use more battery with the GPS on and I couldn't see the screen as I rode and to force the screen to always stay on  isn't battery friendly at all and it isn't particularly safe to constantly turn on while riding.

So, on the TA last year I used the most basic Garmin the Edge 200. all the screen display shows is miles/k's ridden, time ridden and speed. But when home and plug into computer it gives you the GPS mapping you want inc route mapping and elevation etc.   I don't think they still sell it. I think the basic model is now the Garmin edge 20.  (About $100) As you mentioned there are many models and offer many great features if you want to invest in and use them but the edge 20 will do as much as you require according to the original post.
« Last Edit: March 15, 2017, 02:42:48 pm by Nyimbo »

Offline walks.in2.trees

Re: GPS bike device for the Trans Am
« Reply #3 on: March 12, 2017, 07:49:31 pm »
I'll jump in on your topic once again.  I'm having a different thought with the previous writer in this specific case.  I agree with using my phone for so many things.  I left my iPod, my mini recorder, my portable radio my compact camera, my penlight, and so on all at home and use my phone.  However, for the bike computer I like to use it on the handlebar on its garmin mount, where I can see the mileage and speed and hours traveled at all times as I go.  I did one week trip with my son a couple years ago and I let him borrow my computer the first day so he could get the sense of how far we travelled and how far left to go.  (He wasn't in touring shape) anyway he wouldn't give it back and it drove me crazy to not have my little computer on front and center I was so used to it.
I did use the ride with GPS app on my phone and it worked great in the background but still seemed to use more battery with the GPS on and I couldn't see the screen as I rode and to force the screen to always stay on  isn't battery friendly at all and it isn't particularly safe to constantly turn on while riding.

So, on the TA last year I used the most basic Garmin the Edge 200. all the screen display shows is miles/k's ridden, time ridden and speed. But when home and plug into computer it gives you the GPS mapping you want inc route mapping and elevation etc.   I don't think they still sell it. I think the basic model is now the Garmin edge 20.  (About $100) As you mentioned there are many models and offer many great features if you want to invest in and use them but the edge 20 will do as much as you require according to the original post.
Yes some people feel as you do— but the OP indicated that they only wanted it as a trip route diary. I'm guessing they're comfortable traveling without GPS generally, or primarily will be using cycling maps.

And everyone is different. I know some people that couldn't find their way out of a paper bag if a GPS wasn't there to tell them where to go. In fact, if the GPS told them to drive around in circles (not even kidding, I've had to stop this once), they would follow it blindly.

Me personally, it depends on my goal.
When I'm driving for work, or I'm trying to meet some at and I'm shooting for a specific arrival time, or if I'm benchmarking my cycling abilities (which I do randomly a few times a year) I like to see my progress... But if I'm on a trip, relaxing, exploring, taking my time, smelling the roses, the last thing I want is a constant reminder to rush.



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Offline staehpj1

Re: GPS bike device for the Trans Am
« Reply #4 on: March 13, 2017, 07:58:54 am »
I have used a handheld GPS in a bracket for one off road tour where I needed the GPS to stay on a confusing route and it worked out okay.  I used regular alkaline batteries.  Last time I shopped for a GPS the handheld ones were easier to deal with wrt battery life than bike specific ones.

That said...  I'd reconsider using a separate GPS and consider using the phone.  They really work well these days and battery life is quite good if you turn off the features you are not using including the cellular coverage, basically use airplane mode with the screen off and the GPS on.  You can take one or more extra phone batteries and maybe a power wallet if you will be going far between charging options.

BTW, I found that you can find phone batteries for a fraction of the cost of the ones the service provider or phone vendor sells.