Author Topic: advice for tablet or laptop for planning (rerouting) while on tour  (Read 4925 times)

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Offline jkbrooks

Hello!
I'm a pretty frequent user of RWGPS. Far from advanced but functionally literate. Probably have 10,000 miles of routes planned & executed.

I typically plan my overall route then break it down to "daily" routes which I load on my garmin. I then also run the rwgps app on my phone (in my jersey pocket) so I can hear the audible input as well as see what the garmin says. Obviously, none of this stuff is perfect but I find the two together help me maintain my sanity when I'm making my way.

I was on a 10 day tour recently and discovered I'd routed myself onto a freeway . . . HW101 in SoCal; parts of it are ok to ride on and parts are not. I routed onto a part that wasnt. Needed to hole up and recalibrate a route. I was fortunate that my buddy was hauling his laptop so we could sort a better plan.

I'm resistant to hauling a laptop (weight.) I've tried monkeying with my ipad mini but without a keyboard/mouse, it's pretty rough. I tried an addon kb/trackpad but it's pretty awful (cant hold the click button down & move the mouse.) Wondering if folks have found a small/light Surface or something they are able to reliably plan routes on rwgps and dont mind hauling. I'm a comfortable mac/ios/windows person but have't spent any time on android. If android is the right answer, that's fine. I just dont have any experience there.

appreciate your thoughts and help!

Offline ray b

Re: advice for tablet or laptop for planning (rerouting) while on tour
« Reply #1 on: May 09, 2021, 12:23:24 am »
 :)
Just loaded up my new Microsoft Surface Go, which sports a 3400 mA-h battery (an easy recharge) and a micro SD card reader  (where I have a high capacity card loaded with everything I don't need, but might) in addition to the internal solid state memory (I went for 126 GB).

It links to my phone - which is my primary unit for GPS/directions/ACA maps - takes photos, has a nice keyboard, and I use a light blue tooth mouse that folds flat.

The single USB port is a C - which is nice for rapid charging off my battery block, but which requires an (inexpensive) adapter for USB-A input from my Garmins.

The detachable keyboard on the Go is slightly smaller than standard, but easy to adapt to.  I'm using it for this note.

All that said, I do a lot of work on the road, so I can justify the modest extra weight. When I took an 8-day trip last summer, to get away from work, I took only my phone - a Samsung Note 8, which is large enough to do mapping, read my novels, yet small enough to use as a mounted turn-by-turn direction device.

Lots of ways to spend your money. Enjoy figuring out what you need and don't need.

« Last Edit: May 09, 2021, 08:12:04 pm by ray b »
“A good man always knows his limitations.”

Offline HikeBikeCook

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Re: advice for tablet or laptop for planning (rerouting) while on tour
« Reply #2 on: May 09, 2021, 08:14:55 am »
I will second the Microsoft Surface tablet line. I ran an IT company for 32 years and my Surface Tablet is the only computer that I use. It also acts as my home desktop using the docking station and adding 2 24" monitors and a wireless keyboard and mouse, Jabra speaker and mic and logistic external camera. A great trip planning to but also use it for video calls, run webinars, everything a full size computer could do.
Surly Disc Trucker, Lightspeed Classic, Scott Scale, Klein Mantra Comp. First touring bike Peugeot U08 - 1966

Offline jkbrooks

Re: advice for tablet or laptop for planning (rerouting) while on tour
« Reply #3 on: May 09, 2021, 11:29:45 am »
Thank you guys. That's helpful. Sounds like you're advocating for a legit laptop in lieu of just a tablet. Makes sense but it's disappointing. I was hopeful I'd sort out some sort of tablet approach (that I could actually use for route planning on rwgps AND read my kindle books while out on the bike.) I had a gen 2 surface a number of years ago (I was selling to Microsoft so needed to be part of that tribe ;) ) I liked it just fine (as much as one can really like a "hammer" or a "screwdriver".)

I'll take another look at the Surface . . . thank you for sharing your thoughts. Very helpful!

Offline HikeBikeCook

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Re: advice for tablet or laptop for planning (rerouting) while on tour
« Reply #4 on: May 09, 2021, 11:39:46 am »
A Microsoft Surface is a tablet running Windows with the power to function as a laptop.
Surly Disc Trucker, Lightspeed Classic, Scott Scale, Klein Mantra Comp. First touring bike Peugeot U08 - 1966

Offline jkbrooks

Re: advice for tablet or laptop for planning (rerouting) while on tour
« Reply #5 on: May 09, 2021, 12:28:55 pm »
Thank you HikeBikeCook. I get it. I owned a Surface 4+ years ago (probably still have it someplace.) Was just hoping to find something a little smaller/lighter. Sounds like that's a misguided aspiration unfortunately. Appreciate the guidance from you guys; thank you!

Offline HikeBikeCook

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Re: advice for tablet or laptop for planning (rerouting) while on tour
« Reply #6 on: May 09, 2021, 01:00:41 pm »
If you are willing to go Android Samsung has a pretty solid line. https://www.samsung.com/us/tablets/At my age the extra 10 ounces are worth the bigger screen :). Also the Surface GO, which was suggested above is a smaller unit I believe and weighs 1.2 lbs.
https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/p/surface-go-2/8PT3S2VJMDR6/JVTL?OCID=AID2100838_SEM_78e45e5f17f311f7e9403ec7038d58c4%3aG%3as&ef_id=78e45e5f17f311f7e9403ec7038d58c4%3aG%3as&s_kwcid=AL!4249!10!79645960444233!4583245515066334&msclkid=78e45e5f17f311f7e9403ec7038d58c4&activetab=pivot%3aoverviewtab
Surly Disc Trucker, Lightspeed Classic, Scott Scale, Klein Mantra Comp. First touring bike Peugeot U08 - 1966

Offline jkbrooks

Re: advice for tablet or laptop for planning (rerouting) while on tour
« Reply #7 on: May 09, 2021, 01:12:49 pm »
Surface Go looks like it might be perfect! Thanks for the suggestion HikeBikeCook!

I'll look at the Samsung Tablet as well :)

Offline driftlessregion

Re: advice for tablet or laptop for planning (rerouting) while on tour
« Reply #8 on: May 10, 2021, 03:31:40 pm »
I would never take a laptop on tour, but is just me. I use RWGPS then transfer to paper maps.

Offline HobbesOnTour

Re: advice for tablet or laptop for planning (rerouting) while on tour
« Reply #9 on: May 10, 2021, 08:35:14 pm »
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 cycle.travel, 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!

Offline Nyimbo

Re: advice for tablet or laptop for planning (rerouting) while on tour
« Reply #10 on: May 11, 2021, 04:12:04 pm »
You mentioned the keyboard/trackpad on the iPad, I wondered if you have tried an Apple Pencil with RWGPS?  I don't know if it works - I'm just wondering/

Offline jkbrooks

Re: advice for tablet or laptop for planning (rerouting) while on tour
« Reply #11 on: May 16, 2021, 01:25:14 pm »
Just to circle back on the question; I ended up buying a Surface Go 2 with a keyboard/cover & an arc mouse (that folds flat.) Computer, keyboard & power supply total slightly under 2 pounds. It's 9 5/8" x 7" so small enough to fit snuggly in my Ortlieb handlebar bag. I a believer in the idea I shouldn't haul more crap than I need to (which is a corollary to the "try not to make myself slower than I already am.")

I ran into a cul de sac with my ipad mini. Couldnt get it to work. Might have been the keyboard version I got but I suspect it's a fundamental issue with what IOS is designed for.

I saw the bit about changing apps. I've no doubt there are more, better, faster apps out there than rwgps. Unfortunately, because the clubs, groups, rides, etc that I do all use rwgps, rwgps is my church. For better or worse.

We'll see if I actually opt to haul it with me. My next couple trips are fairly short and are in areas I have some familiarity. Emergency rerouting less likely. Regardless, I really like the petit size of the Surface Go, that it's a legit computer, light weight. Honestly, I think I could survive on this thing day to day. I'm mostly a mac nerd but frankly, I've been in technology for 30 years so there's not much romance left in any of this computer stuff. Yet, I'm pleased . . .

appreciate everyone's help and great thinking here! If you find a Surface Go laying by the side of the rode while you're out on a ride, you can assume the love affair ended and I decided I hated the thing so much I refused to wait for a garbage can to get rid of it! :)

John

Offline ray b

Re: advice for tablet or laptop for planning (rerouting) while on tour
« Reply #12 on: June 05, 2021, 01:51:38 pm »
Just to circle back on the question; I ended up buying a Surface Go 2 with a keyboard/cover & an arc mouse (that folds flat.) Computer, keyboard & power supply total slightly under 2 pounds. It's 9 5/8" x 7" so small enough to fit snuggly in my Ortlieb handlebar bag. I a believer in the idea I shouldn't haul more crap than I need to (which is a corollary to the "try not to make myself slower than I already am.")....

John
My set-up and philosophy on all counts.

Just got back from central OH where the Surface Go2 and fold-flat mouse worked flawlessly.

I currently charge off the C port to save on wires. I don't carry the dedicated converter/charger.

One of the beauties of the C-port is rapid charging off a big Anker power bank.

Will be leaving soon for a 3 month trip, where the Go 2 will fill the role of heavier gear in years past. I'll set up a note to post feedback, if my thoughts change.

The only glitch was finding the Garmin InReach mini topo maps are for Android and iOS apps..., and not Windows 10.

That said, even if I don't like being told where to go, I love maps, and have plenty of forms of back-up including the InReach Android App on my phone, Etrex 32, paper, maps ACA phone app, etc. 

Meanwhile, I'll keep an eye out for a second Surface Go 2 along the side of the road....

Have fun out there.
“A good man always knows his limitations.”

Offline canalligators

Re: advice for tablet or laptop for planning (rerouting) while on tour
« Reply #13 on: June 05, 2021, 10:07:43 pm »
All that I need for “get me outa here” is a map, common sense and observation.  Worst case is you backtrack and find a way around.

I understand that figuring a route from a map yourself, i.e. not having a computer do it for you, may not be in a lot of folks’ skill set.  But you’re leaving yourself open to risk, if your electronics let you down.  Kinda like starting a tour without knowing how to fix a flat.

Just my opinion.

Offline ray b

Re: advice for tablet or laptop for planning (rerouting) while on tour
« Reply #14 on: June 05, 2021, 11:24:19 pm »
All that I need for “get me outa here” is a map, common sense and observation.  Worst case is you backtrack and find a way around.

I understand that figuring a route from a map yourself, i.e. not having a computer do it for you, may not be in a lot of folks’ skill set.  But you’re leaving yourself open to risk, if your electronics let you down.  Kinda like starting a tour without knowing how to fix a flat.

Just my opinion.
Agreed..., so it won't surprise you that I carry patches, glue, tire boots, spare tire, pump, and CO2... Paper and compass are the back-up for cloudy days or nights in areas I don't know;; everything else is for efficiency and fun at the local diner or coffee shop.

And of course, some of us still have to work every once in a while even when on the road or trail.... So....
“A good man always knows his limitations.”