With a GPS unit to navigate the bike is easy, because always know exactly where you are, even in the rain and in the dark. A technical marvel, however, is only a complement, not a replacement map.
Advantages of a GPS device
Along the way you always know where you are exactly. Also unclear at road intersections can be recognized based on the GPS device much more quickly, where it's at. It is not plying with large map sheets at any crossroads and looking for the right way. You can also see on the GPS map immediately, if you get lost. And orientation in the dark is due to the lighted displays a breeze.
Besides, it provides a lot of useful data eg Speed, current altitude above sea level, mileage, travel time, time, average speed, etc. It can indeed replace the normal speedometer on the bike. You can also purchase a cadence sensor as an accessory.
We lack, however, a function for the parameters of a multi-day tour. Granted, that our speedometer has not, but he comes up with a thermometer.
If you go do not know what to do with boredom in it (do not worry, it comes with never before children), then you can search for geo-caches, small hideouts, sometimes with little surprises. Ideal as treasure hunt for children. The coordinates of the caches invites you imagine the tour of the site geocaching.org down to the GPS device.
Disadvantages of a GPS device
A GPS device is therefore not a replacement card, because without fresh batteries or without a working power supply or a defect pretty stupid standing there when a "real" maps it has.
On the small screen you can not get a overview. To tour the way GPS devices are good not as long as the screen is so small.
At sunshine can the screens on GPS devices read pretty bad, this is especially true for devices with resistive touch screen (Garmin), because of the contrast of the image is suffering because of the added touch sensitive film. The backlight must then be set to the maximum, resulting in higher power consumption. Nevertheless, the visibility of the map is not good.
Another disadvantage is the energy consumption of these devices. The Garmin Oregon consumes just over 1 watt. This is in comparison with other devices already rather little. Nevertheless, calculated by time, in a AA battery, at best, 3 watts are saved, two of which are placed in the unit, so how far can you get without reloading. But you can run a GPS device right on the hub dynamo.
Such a great device needs space on the handlebars of course. With two brake handles, bell, shifter, handlebar bag and the kids hands of the rider on the saddle for children need special solutions ago. Luckily, there are those called to New Germany "Barextender" said parts with which you can gain more space on the handlebar.
With sunshine allows GPS devices resistive touch screen (eg Garmin Oregon, Dakota) off badly. Pictured is a Garmin Oregon, which is attached to a so-called Barextender Topeak so our son Jannis also can touch the handlebars.
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Although fairly expensive purchase cards are based on the Garmin topographic maps and are therefore completely. But in terms of accuracy and timeliness of the added information such as bike routes and accommodation, the purchase cards have not met our expectations. There are hotels listed that no longer exist for many years, and vice versa lacks many hotels ideally located for cyclists recent. In addition, the bike routes are just as freaky track stored and not reprocessed, they appear partly many tens of meters apart from the actual path.
Due to the massive editorial effort is not expected, however, that within the next five years to change the quality of the additional information is essential.
From many parts of the world there are free map data for many different uses (biking, hiking, etc) for download to Garmin devices. Particularly to heart you as cyclists of the cards VeloMap.org for use on a computer or as a fully rendered files to copy directly to Garmin devices (here the mirror Download) are. They are all based on the openstreetmap project and therefore are not always fully. Test first – might get there to purchase tickets is a must.
Like most projects on the Internet and the openstreetmap project is a relatively recent. Within a few years, thousands have Active considerable amount of data collected. Just like wikipedia has been mixed the range of reference books, there will also be some changes in the map area. We are eager to see where the project is five years.
Digital pre-and post
If one of the tour against a rough track at gpsies.com distinguished, and this will download to your GPS device, you can see the road immediately, where it's at. I change but on the way the planned route (eg due to flooding, accident), the pre-recorded track is obviously no help.
After the tour, I transfer the tracks recorded on his home PC and they can be postprocessed with the free Java program Prune. This is what we have done with the tracks of our bicycle voyage along the North Sea Cycle Route in Norway – check it out.