Bicycle Sat Navs

General cycling advice ( NOT technical ! )
ukdodger
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Re: Bicycle Sat Navs

Postby ukdodger » 10 Dec 2012, 3:17pm

BeeKeeper wrote:
Drake wrote: So i was "encouraged" to purchase a sat nav(tom tom), and i must admit my views on this technology has changed .
So this has made me wonder how good cycle sat navs are . Are they similar to motoring varieties . . i.e with similar displays etc.


I too have found car SatNavs excellent for many purposes, for example they excel at finding a hotel or business address in the middle of a city I have not been to before and best of all, they allow me to focus on driving and not have to drive with one hand while reading a map with the other. (Which of course I never did Officer...)

For getting around locally I don't bother as I know better routes.

However, I am not aware of a SatNav for bikes which you can use in the same way and that is because choice of route on a bike is not just more difficult but also to a large degree a personal thing - I would avoid busy roads like the plague but others seem happy to ride along, for example, the A38 through Devon. So even where the device can plan a route for you it may not take you along roads you are comfortable with.

To the best of my knowledge to get the best out of a GPS enabled device on a bike (assuming you want it to take you somewhere as opposed to you just riding along and the device recording where you have been) you have to pre-plan your route on a PC using a variety of tools, including free websites such as bikeroutetoaster. The screen on bike-sized GPS devices are just too small to see anything other than a tiny section of the route or in some cases they don't show a map at all.

Once you have your pre-planned route you can upload it to your GPS and then either through a moving map or turn-indicators it will do its best to guide you to where you wanted to go. However, as with car GPS devices, be prepared for the thing taking you down a blind alley, so to speak. You can't switch off your brain as roads can alter faster than the maps.

For what it's worth, I uses a SatMap Active 10. These have come down in price a lot recently but as they seem to be all sold out that is not much help I guess! It has a proper moving map (in this case 1:50K OS mapping) and can both record details of the journey but also, and very importantly for what I want it for, accept a pre-planned route and display it as an overlay on the map. It came with a proper bike mounting and has proved very robust and weather-proof. It uses buttons for control which are much easier to use when riding than a touch-sensitive screen as you can find them without having to look down once you are familiar with the thing.

Image


I've done about 4000m using the 60 csx. In all that time it only took me up one road as a mistake and the mistake turned out to be mine when making the breadcrumb trail.

hexhome
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Re: Bicycle Sat Navs

Postby hexhome » 10 Dec 2012, 9:19pm

Ayesha wrote:PS. Garmin eTrex and Edge series units are NOT SatNavs. They are 'GPS enabled bicycle ( or exploring ) data loggers.' If recording where you've been and working out your performance is your thing, buy a Garmin.


This is not accurate. Etrex 20 and 30 will 'satnav' with a suitable map installed. These are available free. The result is a satnav in which you can enter a destination and the Garmin Etrex 20/30 will navigate there!
There may be an argument as to which solution is better, and that is always going to be the opinion of an individual rather than a definite fact. But a Garmin Etrex 20/30 is a satnav by your definition.

Reigncloud
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Re: Bicycle Sat Navs

Postby Reigncloud » 10 Dec 2012, 10:37pm

The whole satnav on a bike thing has been done quite a few times before on this forum. My two cents here:

viewtopic.php?f=16&t=46919&start=45

Drake
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Re: Bicycle Sat Navs

Postby Drake » 11 Dec 2012, 7:39am

Ladies and Gentleman . When i first posted this thread,i thought it was a fairly simple request . . but it doesn't appear to be so .
I was always under the impression that GPS and Sat Nav systems were one and the same . . obviously not,or have i got that wrong .
So perhaps you can understand that when i said i'm a "digital dummy",i've never said a truer word .
Obviously with car systems,you can type in a post code and the sat nav guides you there,and that seems to work very well . I only have experience of the Tom Tom system and their screen displays,which gives clear information as to where i am ect ect .
So i get the impression that bike systems are not the same format . . that you have to down load maps of the area you wish to travel in,and the GPS indicates where you are in relation to that map . . would that be a fair assumption ?

binsted
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Re: Bicycle Sat Navs

Postby binsted » 11 Dec 2012, 8:11am

Ayesha wrote:PS. I'm taking the title of this thread at face value. "Bicycle Sat Navs". There aren't any. The closest is Garmin Edge with OpenCycleMaps, with VERY carefully arranged settings.


As a new owner of a Garmin Edge can you elaborate on "very carefully arranged settings"

Ta

hexhome
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Re: Bicycle Sat Navs

Postby hexhome » 11 Dec 2012, 8:25am

Drake wrote:Ladies and Gentleman . When i first posted this thread,i thought it was a fairly simple request . . but it doesn't appear to be so .
I was always under the impression that GPS and Sat Nav systems were one and the same . . obviously not,or have i got that wrong .
So perhaps you can understand that when i said i'm a "digital dummy",i've never said a truer word .
Obviously with car systems,you can type in a post code and the sat nav guides you there,and that seems to work very well . I only have experience of the Tom Tom system and their screen displays,which gives clear information as to where i am ect ect .
So i get the impression that bike systems are not the same format . . that you have to down load maps of the area you wish to travel in,and the GPS indicates where you are in relation to that map . . would that be a fair assumption ?


The problem is that the subject tends to get too technical. The simple answer is that if you want to enter a postcode and be navigated there, a TomTom or similar is the only current out of the box solution. Many of us enjoy a similar standard of navigation from more cycle specific GPS's such as Edge 800s or much cheaper Etrex 20/30s but this requires the installation of a mapset such as http://www.velomap.org/ to achieve. Not difficult, but not out of the box!

hexhome
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Re: Bicycle Sat Navs

Postby hexhome » 11 Dec 2012, 8:26am

binsted wrote:
Ayesha wrote:PS. I'm taking the title of this thread at face value. "Bicycle Sat Navs". There aren't any. The closest is Garmin Edge with OpenCycleMaps, with VERY carefully arranged settings.


As a new owner of a Garmin Edge can you elaborate on "very carefully arranged settings"

Ta


Read http://www.velomap.org/velomaporg/autorouting/ whilst this is specific to Velomap, the explanation concerning the use of cycle specific maps and routing may be helpful. In practice, if autorouting with an edge 800, it will not need anything other than tweeking for your own preferences. Possibly, people like to twiddle a little over much.

michael42
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Re: Bicycle Sat Navs

Postby michael42 » 11 Dec 2012, 9:51am

Drake wrote:Ladies and Gentleman . When i first posted this thread,i thought it was a fairly simple request . . but it doesn't appear to be so .
I was always under the impression that GPS and Sat Nav systems were one and the same . . obviously not,or have i got that wrong .
So perhaps you can understand that when i said i'm a "digital dummy",i've never said a truer word .
Obviously with car systems,you can type in a post code and the sat nav guides you there,and that seems to work very well . I only have experience of the Tom Tom system and their screen displays,which gives clear information as to where i am ect ect .
So i get the impression that bike systems are not the same format . . that you have to down load maps of the area you wish to travel in,and the GPS indicates where you are in relation to that map . . would that be a fair assumption ?


The trouble is, the criteria for cycling is typically more complicated than for driving. If you're happy to cycle on any road, you'd probably find a cycling satnav as good as a car one. Well, it'd be the same :) Just say "whoops officer, I must have had my car stolen! The bike was on the roof rack a few minutes ago and now I'm cycling it! Heh. Have you seen a blue Astra with a wife and 2 kids anywhere on your travels?" when you get stopped on the M42 :) Even if you remove these obvious faux pas roads, one cyclist's perfect road or cycle path is another's nightmare that he wants to avoid at all costs.

Another thing is, often you won't notice or care if a car satnav goes slightly wrong or something happens to change your route, whereas on a bike you will. e.g the other day I cycled to within 20 minutes of my home, and having just done a large stretch that was downhill with a trailing wind was met by 2 police officers saying 'you can't go this way, the road's closed there's been an accident" - I kind of pointed out that I could walk past on a bike without an issue and even pick the bike up and carry it across the field at the side if the road really was completely blocked, but they weren't having it.

So instead of a 20 minute cycle home down this road and then a trip along the canal, I either had to find a new unplanned diversion, or turn back and go backwards around the loop I was doing, up the hill, against the wind as the temperature was dropping and I was rapidly losing light. Had my GPS sent me down the wrong road and made me turn back like that, I might have been cursing it for sending me awry. On a summer day at 3pm I might have turned back and gone up and down the hill twice anyway, out of choice. The point is, all the cars being sent packing didn't really have any issue, except a few extra miles on their route.

The problem is, cycling sucks as a means of transport and incidents can sometimes happen to remove the thin layer of stuff we do to hide the suckage and make it appear like a sane way to get somewhere. One of those incidents that happens sometimes is satnav routing.

Hence, the best idea for navigation means planning your route beforehand (or getting someone else to, and downloading their route from one of these routing sites), loading it onto the unit and following the breadcrumb trail. And then the route most likely doesn't suck. Until there's a 6 car pile up on the road you want to go down.

From there, you have to decide whether you want "fitness" features in addition to navigation, and whether you need or want to see the map for the trail you're following or if you're happy just with an arrow and a squiggly black line showing where the route goes. Both of which bump the price. I tend to use my dakota 10 by uploading a trail, and then setting it to display 'track up' (rather than north up) so basically I'm the arrow at the bottom of the screen and I can see the direction the trail goes in the middle of the screen, and the top displays the speed I'm moving at. All very easy (and safe) to see at a glance, like looking at a dashboard on a car. Although there's a map it's not really key to the navigation.

Trouble is, I really want the fitness info and it niggles a bit that I've got something that does everything else I need and I have to spend £200 to get something else that feels like it has less features overall albeit a few useful ones I don't currently have.

The other thing to consider is, most bike mounted GPS devices have screens that are so small the map is pretty useless to use to plan a route on or to read that well.
You may be as well using a smartphone that's kept in your pocket if you ever need to look at a map (assuming, like most of the population, you own a smartphone anyway, it's not really additional expense) or carrying a paper map that folds out. What's the edge 800 resolution? 160x240 pixels? It's not exactly HD ready mapping is it? :)

Openstreet mapping works well and is cheap ime. Other mapping is overpriced imo and questionable how good it is for cycling. It tends to be stuff aimed at ramblers, Ordnance Survey, or cars, City navigator.

But I would say, Dakota 10 / 20 is pretty good for bike mounted navigation - so long as you don't need the cycle stuff. For cycling GPS, the edge 500 seems like it may be great for a fitness device, and if you load a planned route as trail, but it's not a navigation device. The edge 800 seems very expensive. Especially when you see car satnavs going for well under £100.

I'm wondering which one to get myself, albeit I'm coming more from the fitness / speed / cadence / HRM info side. To me the edge 500 potentially looks fiddly and possibly a bit fragile (although I've never seen one in the flesh perhaps they are better than they look and size and those flaky looking buttons suggests) Similarly, I wonder how well the cadence sensor fares - reading forums its performance seems a bit of a mixed bag. It's as though they made its primary feature the size, because of what some professional tour de France riders wanted. Whereas the edge 800 seems way overpriced. I think if the edge 500 was £100 I'd get it, I wouldn't care if it had a few foibles. At £200? I just wish it didn't look like a £25 bike computer in photos - and I'm wondering if I'd be as well sticking a £25 bike computer on the handlebars next to my dakota)

I'm tempted to get a NOH (which is garmin's acronym for factory reconditioned units) 705, which is about the same price as the edge 500 now.

I notice other people more or less copying the edge devices with their own takes on it. From what I saw they all seemed to lack some feature (or even just a field) that I wanted. Most of them seem to be using
openstreet mapping.

hexhome
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Re: Bicycle Sat Navs

Postby hexhome » 11 Dec 2012, 10:07am

michael42 wrote:Most of them seem to be using
openstreet mapping.


Which renders most of your post inaccurate!

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philg
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Re: Bicycle Sat Navs

Postby philg » 11 Dec 2012, 10:45am

Other mapping is overpriced imo and questionable how good it is for cycling

£45 for Street Maps of Europe is not over-priced! (IMO; YMMV)
(or £25 for UK only)

Ayesha
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Re: Bicycle Sat Navs

Postby Ayesha » 11 Dec 2012, 11:31am

Advantages of a motorcycle specific SatNav.

Operates in the same manner as a car SatNav.
Can accept regular map updates from the manufacturer.
Is loaded with thermal insulation for use in cold weather.
Has Bluetooth earpiece for spoken directions.

Disadvantages of a motorcycle specific SatNav.

Does not record time on the log file.
Does not display 'Average speed' for the entire trip, only moving time.
Heavy. 250 - 300 g.
7.5 hours battery life.
Looks like a TV set on the handlebars.
Does not have a bicycle icon.
You have to make your own bicycle handlebar mount if you wish to save 300g of RAM mount.


I am telling you more bad things than good because I wish to remain the only Audaxer in the UK who uses a TomTom Urban Rider :D

PS. If you go here http://www.aukadia.net/gps/ TomTom doesn't get a mention, so I'm kinda safe in my loneliness. :wink:

hexhome
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Re: Bicycle Sat Navs

Postby hexhome » 11 Dec 2012, 11:39am

Ayesha wrote:Does not have a bicycle icon.


One of the many nice things about TomTom is that you can create your own icon and install it.

Creating your own
If you want to make your own it is a simple process
Locate a suitable image or take a photo of your own bicycle. The best cursors are those that are viewed from the rear but slightly above the bicycle rather than from directly behind.
The image size should be re-sized to 80 x 80 pixels.
TomTom automatically sets any part of the image that is red (RGB 255,000,000) to transparent
For optimum results a continuous 1 pixel white border should be added around the cursor.
The image should be saved as .bmp (bitmap).

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RickH
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Re: Bicycle Sat Navs

Postby RickH » 11 Dec 2012, 12:07pm

I think Michael42 says some useful things.

A couple of things to add from my experience.

I don't know how quick other devices are at recalculating when doing "Satnav like a car device" but, if you pass a turn but my Edge 605 is somewhat glacial (much slower than the Muvi in the car - probably because of the design for extended battery life outweighing processing power). In an urban area it is best to stop & let it do its stuff before continuing as you are quite likely to have passed the recalculated turn before it has finished, causing it to recalculate the route again by which time... (you probably get the picture). OTOH I've used it in North America as a car satnav for navigating quite happily (the cheapest way I could find, at the time, to have satnav for the car we hired - it wasn't a cycling trip - was to take the 605 & buy the North American map SD card over there).

The openstreetmap mapping has come on in leaps and bounds. A couple of years ago it seemed that it had major omissions. Now, for UK at least, it seems to be pretty much as complete as any other source of mapping (apart possibly from the mental map of familiar territory that many of us will have in our heads). I would be wary of relying on that mapping in other parts of Europe for now - more because of lack of completeness rather than accuracy (which I have no knowledge of).

My preferred option for navigating with the Garmin (with City Navigator Europe mapping) is to plot a route (usually on bikehike.co.uk) and use that as a "course" - a fixed route that shows as a pink line on the map. If I deviate from that route I use the mapping (plus where needed, in the UK, OS mapping on my Smartphone - the joy of having the all of the OS 1:50,000 maps on me at all times 8) ) & my navigating skills to get back onto the line at a suitable point. If I am on an organised (by someone else - tour, audax, sportive) trip with route sheets the mapping on the Garmin supplements the instructions (held in a map trap) well (especially if you set up the map screen to display elapsed distance which most sets of instructions seem to use).

Rick.

Ayesha
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Re: Bicycle Sat Navs

Postby Ayesha » 11 Dec 2012, 12:10pm

hexhome wrote:
Ayesha wrote:Does not have a bicycle icon.


One of the many nice things about TomTom is that you can create your own icon and install it.

Creating your own
If you want to make your own it is a simple process
Locate a suitable image or take a photo of your own bicycle. The best cursors are those that are viewed from the rear but slightly above the bicycle rather than from directly behind.
The image size should be re-sized to 80 x 80 pixels.
TomTom automatically sets any part of the image that is red (RGB 255,000,000) to transparent
For optimum results a continuous 1 pixel white border should be added around the cursor.
The image should be saved as .bmp (bitmap).


I use the pale blue VW Beetle icon.

The playing card in the rear spokes sounds just like one.

niggle
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Re: Bicycle Sat Navs

Postby niggle » 11 Dec 2012, 3:03pm

al_yrpal wrote:
Ayesha wrote: Both ways send me round and about miles further than I would have ridden by local area knowledge. It had weird ideas of what a 'Highway' was and weird ideas of roads suitable for cyclists.



Yup, that's exactly what is wrong with ALL satnavs that I have seen. The Garmin in my 1 year old car is rubbish and every other one I have tried has been pretty rubbish too, they all take you out of your way. On a bike its easy to stop and have a peke at a map to work out a sensible route i.e. Avoid that major road with all those stinking lorries, take in that stunning view, get closer to that church or windmill, or "that might be a nice pub". The best one has been Google Maps and with that, because it sucks power from your phone, you have to preload with maps in advance of your journey because there may not be a phone signal where you are. The only times I use them as a sat nav is when I am very close to my destination and confronted by a mass of unfamiliar streets, or when I am lost and want to know exactly where I am. If you love doing extra miles on busy roads, get a satnav!

Al

Re using a smart-phone, I have an HTC Wildfire S which has a fairly short lived battery at the best of times, so wondering about using an external battery pack, but am hopelessly out of my depth with this sort of thing, would these work: http://www.businesstechsavers.co.uk/ver ... 298.html#1 or http://www.ebuyer.com/391750-powerocks- ... m=products
Phone battery is marked 3.7VDC, 1230mAh, 4.55Whr, OEM mains charger output is marked 5V, 1A

I have downloaded a free ap called Maverick https://play.google.com/store/apps/deta ... lite&hl=en which is just about functional, though the display is always with North at the top, which is a bit confusing when heading south, and you have to manually scroll along the route, which is hard with gloves on or phone wrapped in something to protect from the elements. I have tried a few gpx type routes, and found them OK and although I don't have any stored mapping on the phone I have found that for a day ride the phone will store the mapping if I scroll round the course whilst connected to mobile internet or WiFi. Other issues are finding a good mount, durable weatherproofing that will still allow touch screen operation, and visibility in bright sunlight. The phone also has Google Maps, which refuses to talk to Maverick, and Google Maps Navigation, which works quite well as Sat Nav, but I don't think I can add a gpx. route to that? All suggestions welcome!

EDIT: What about this bad boy: http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/20000mAh-Univ ... vi-content 6x18650 Li cells, shame I am not a techy who could possibly make a converter for my Magicshine batteries somehow.
Last edited by niggle on 11 Dec 2012, 3:19pm, edited 1 time in total.