Thursday, 7 September 2017

Navigation On Tour

Maps or GPS? Which do you use? Which do you prefer?

On this next mini-tour, I am taking the plunge and attempting to use my Garmin Edge 810 for navigation*!

I have used the GPS before (on our July tour in Europe) just to watch our position on Garmin's pre-loaded map and of course I use this device all the time to record ride data (where I've been, distance, speed, etc). And I've used my phone at times for navigation, which isn't too difficult (though I don't have a phone holder so always have to stop if I need to check the route).

I do use Ride With GPS to plan our routes. (This is my responsibility and is my favourite part of pre-tour preparation.) Adam then checks the routes over, as he has a much better concept of elevation, gradient and sheer difficulty than I do. He is also much better at identifying sand or gravel segments! He loads the routes onto his SatMap device and uses that for navigation. As we go along, we stop and consult but generally he is in charge of on-the-road navigation. 

But I have been wanting to get more involved in the navigation as we travel along, at least so that I know where we are, how far we have to go, where the nearest water/lunch/coffee/toilet stop may be, etc. without relying solely on Adam. 

So it's about time I gave the Garmin a go at what it's designed for, eh?

Uploading the routes from Ride With GPS was a doddle, thanks to RWGPS's very useful how-to guide. 

Opening the route up on my Garmin also went without a hitch. (I admit it, I was holding my breath.)

So far, so good!

* Of course, I am also carrying paper maps. Lovely Ordinance Survey maps, carefully folded in my waterproof case on top of my bar bag.  Which will be most useful? How frustrated will I get?!


  1. For the first time, on my last two tours (very mini) my husband loaded the route onto my Garmin 200, so that I wouldn't have to keep consulting a map, or list of directions, and I have to say it made life a lot easier not having to keep stopping to see where to go. I still take paper maps though - I like maps! - and also an old smartphone with OS Memory maps on and from these I take my GPS bearings if need be. So I've got all bases well covered! I do have to make sure that I actually look down at the Garmin though and not go sailing gaily on and miss
    turnings! I also just enjoy looking at the map sometimes just to get an idea of my surroundings. Although it was my husband who had loaded my route onto the Garmin, it was me who had created the route on Strava, and in one or two places I hadn't been very accurate, and then my Garmin was telling me I was "off course", so the map was useful in confirming that I wasn't really.

    Because I cycle alone (my preference) I can have my coffee/tea stops whenever I want, and these I plan beforehand.

    1. Your approach is much like mine. The Garmin added a new dimension to my navigation on this trip. I'd like to tweak a few settings (particularly how much in advance I get turn instructions) but on the whole I found it very helpful and will use it again.


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