Route planning

Cycle-touring, Expeditions, Adventures, Major cycle routes NOT LeJoG (see other special board)
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Route planning

Postby pammortimer » 29 Jun 2020, 9:36am

Help! I go touring in Europe with paper maps. I need to get some sort of navigation device, and put routes onto it. I have no idea where to start. Can you help?
Please consider my technical ability is minimal and I am 70 with Parkinsons!

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Re: Route planning

Postby NUKe » 29 Jun 2020, 9:54am

things I think to look at are Garmin, I like the etrex series. Not cycle specific but they do sell a bike mount. there are the 22x and 32x if you prefer button control or the 25 and 35 if you prefer touch screen. ther main advantage is they take AA batteries, so you can use normal Alkaline batteries on tour. price on these is very reasonable main disadvantage is the smaller screen. so plaaning on the device whilst possible is abit of pain

Another Garmin to loo at would be the Oregon. Bigger screen more expensive and needs a charger.
there are a range of Garmin cycle specific ones as well.

other devices are SatMap has more detailed OS mapping but tends to cover Specific regions and you need to buy Maps if touring other areas. but

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Re: Route planning

Postby HobbesOnTour » 30 Jun 2020, 1:57am

For ease of use I'd suggest looking at Wahoo.
Your mobile phone acts as a controller for the unit, and links seamlessly with the main route planning sites such as Strava, RideWithGps, Komoot although I prefer

GPS units can be quite complicated at the start to figure out and they are not all the same. They are not really like car satnavs because they do not have the same processing power or memory. In other words, people typically use a website or app to plan their trip and then follow it on a specific device.

Using a smartphone is an option too, although power hungry and weather and road surfaces can cause issues.

I'm assuming you won't be going on tour for a while so you have lots of time to figure it all out.

The best advice, I think, is to try to make contact with someone local who can actually demonstrate a unit or two to let you see what's involved. A local cycling club, perhaps?

Also, depending on where you are going touring you may not even need maps. Many routes are well signposted and easy to follow without a GPS.
You could also do what I did a lot of - following rivers or the coast - very easy navigating :D

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Re: Route planning

Postby pammortimer » 30 Jun 2020, 9:03am

Thanks very much for your help. I'll give it a go.

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Re: Route planning

Postby ANTONISH » 30 Jun 2020, 9:40am

pammortimer wrote:Help! I go touring in Europe with paper maps. I need to get some sort of navigation device, and put routes onto it. I have no idea where to start. Can you help?
Please consider my technical ability is minimal and I am 70 with Parkinsons!

I use Garmin etrex 30. I was older than you when I started using it and there is a steep learning curve.
On the AUK ( audax) website there is a lot of information to be found - I think it's by Francis Cooke - extremely helpful.
I always carry a paper map for the big picture but the Garmin can give very detailed street details such as you can't find with a paper map for touring.
The etrex uses replaceable batteries which I find give up to 22hrs use. I use rechargeable at home and standard long life when touring, so I carry a few spares.
The etrex uses push buttons and a small joystick - I don't know how that will work for Parkinsons. If you know anyone with such a device it would make sense to try one first.

In the past for long tours I took to photocopying map sheets from a Michelin 1/200,000 map book or other appropriate.
I would work out a route mark it on the sheet and cut it out so I have about 5km either side. I typed up some instructions audax style to go with the route and merged them onto a set of sheets about 10cm wide which fitted onto my usual audax route sheet carrier - enabling me to read instructions and see a map. The instructions can be laminated or put in a clear plastic.
The etrex is somewhat easier ! - either method enables you to avoid standing in wind and rain trying to read paper map.
Also the etrex has illumination levels enabling it to be read in the dark and it's waterproof.
Putting a route onto the etrex is a bit of an art. Garmin has an application called Basecamp which is a bit clunky but useable.
Riding with GPS is good but for full use there is a subscription (my club has subscription)
I think some people can download Google map routes - I've never tried.
One feature I've found very useful is the "where to function"- it's possible to put in a town name and the etrex will give you a route with instructions from where you are.
There are other free services - I don't know much about them - I've downloaded some free maps (I always give a donation).

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Re: Route planning

Postby Tigerbiten » 30 Jun 2020, 10:08am

Another etrex 30 user here.

I use paper maps to decide where I want to go.
Then I plug my route by selecting various roads around 2.5 miles apart in the garmin map and getting the device to join the points together to generate the route.
But with the artistic way the garmin has of joining some points together means it may take me 2-3 goes at picking the right points to get a 100% correct route.
It's something to do sitting in my tent while cooking my dinner.
But being able to run off AA is not so important if you credit card tour.

Luck ............. :D

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Re: Route planning

Postby simonineaston » 30 Jun 2020, 10:37am

My tuppence. As someone who's struggled for a long time to use a gps device successfully (argueably still haven't... & I work as an IT professional, albeit with databases!!) I'd so still those paper maps with me when I went on one of my pre-planned tours.
ttfn, Simon in Easton
(currently enjoying a Moulton TSR & a nano Brompton...)

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Re: Route planning

Postby ANTONISH » 30 Jun 2020, 7:12pm

It seems the consensus here is take a paper map even if you are using GPS - I concur with that.
I'm a credit card tourer ( is that a bad thing? ) - I used to enjoy camping but not so much these days - and I'm very slow at packing tent, sleeping gear etc.
Hats off to anyone who does all that and buys and cooks food.

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Re: Route planning

Postby ossie » 30 Jun 2020, 7:33pm

Garmin etrex 20 (£100) and this site

Plan your route on cycle travel which will take you on cycle friendly routes, you save it to your hard drive and then transfer it to your then follow the pink line .

This is my idiots guide (for me- an idiot when it comes to this stuff)


edit...I see you have Parkinsons, there are five buttons on the etrex, can be slightly fiddly, not sure how you would be with that ?