Do I need a Garmin?

by jasecd   April 4, 2014  

Hi,

I'm just recovering from knee surgery following an injury that has kept me off the bike for six months. I should be out riding in early May and I'm keen to get some kind of navigational assistance.

Up until recently I have always ridden "blind" or printed out a little cheat sheet to keep in a jersey pocket, but I'm a bit sick of getting lost. Question is do I need a Garmin? They look great but are relatively pricey. I have an iPhone and I hear good things about open source mapping apps.

Does anyone have experiences or recommendations either way? Also, what is the best smartphone mount you have found?

Thanks in advance..

Jase

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I bought a Garmin 800 last year and honestly think its the best thing I have bought for the bike. I like you rode blind before buying it but now using it has opened up many different options and keeps rides interesting as I tend to train/ ride alone being a shift worker.
I now use several websites (strava, ride with GPS and plotaroute) and enter routes into the device which is very easy to do to be honest.
Plotaroute.com allows you to put your start point and mileage in and will give you 10 routes of around the distance requested.
Navigation is really easy to use so feel its a no brainer, go on buy one you wont be disappointed!!

Chadders x

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posted by chadders [71 posts]
4th April 2014 - 15:15

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I'm with Chadders here. The Edge 800 has been great for me, and allowed me to find routes other people had blazed the trail for and then download and follow them. Great fun. I use OSM on mine which is free - and another nice feature, especially post injury, is that you can always rely on it showing you the quickest route home whenever you get sore or have had enough. I'm moving back to NZ soon, and although I know my local area reasonably well I'm anticipating a lot more possibilities this time around with the Edge. The battery life is a lot better than using your phone, and it's fun to track your progress over time. I've got about 8 years of Garmin files now from all over the world to look back on - nice to have the maps to fit with the memories!

Big Grin

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posted by davecochrane [87 posts]
4th April 2014 - 15:35

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You HAVE to get a garmin,its a cycling must have

posted by Shanefutcher [109 posts]
4th April 2014 - 16:02

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I ride purely for pleasure (and commuting) and have a Garmin Etrex which I bought primarily for mapping on long distance rides. Whilst I'll occasionally look at what a rides stats are during or at the end of the ride, its unusual for me to upload the data. Mine is therefore acting as both map and bike computer and does both very well. My Etrex leads a double life off the bike as a geocaching device to make sure the kids stop playing video games occasionally.

Nobody needs one, but there are various reasons for getting one.

My eyes prefer Celeste, my bum prefers titanium.

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posted by Jack Osbourne snr [304 posts]
4th April 2014 - 18:11

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i use a garmin edge 200 ( now about £90) and ridewithgps to map rides. it is easy once you work it out. write the map on the website. save as a tcx. upload into " new files" on the garmin. follow the arrow on your ride. the display also gives you warning of turns both audibly and visually ( although the beep can be late!), lets you know when you are off course and directs you back to the course, has a very small electronic compass indicating north, and divides your ride into 1/4s so you cab gauge your progress. i dont flick between screens, but you can analyse your ride afterwards- average speed etc, if you are interested in that sort of thing. battery life is good, enough for a whole days ride. display is visible in full sun. it comes with 2 mounts so you can swop between bikes. the only downside i have found is the garmin has a limited memory, meaning you cannot save multiple routes in it, eg if you were doing a trek/holiday. however, i would overcome this by taking a usb stick and cadging a pc connection overnight to charge the thing and put the new route on.

i love this device. i have cycled all over cornwall, suffolk and norfolk using it.

posted by philtregear [72 posts]
4th April 2014 - 19:21

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I'm with Phil. I also use justgoride.co.uk to create routes, and sometimes bikeroutetoaster.com to convert to tcx where you get the turn warnings. Its great for tuesday night chaingangs to keep you on the route if you get dropped, or saturday morning bimbles where you want to explore new areas. Theres always the option of 'return to start'. If you want maps built in, you need a 500/800. If you just want to be directed, a 200 is fantastic.

posted by edster99 [147 posts]
4th April 2014 - 19:27

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NO …. but that isn't the real Q. I don't need ti bikes and a steel tourer or a garmin edge or a fenix for kitesurfing / running. Do we really need anything but the N+1 rules applies.
Plotaroute.com sounds interesting though ….

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posted by richdirector [52 posts]
4th April 2014 - 19:39

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Viewranger app. Paired with OpenStreetmaps which you download to the phone for offline use anywhere in the world, or you can purchase OS maps on a sheet by sheet basis or bundles of parks/counties etc. VR is free, 4 1/2 stars from 383 reviews on iTunes. It works, and works very well.

With VR you can use it totally free, using very detailed OpenStreetmaps (choose to download the 'street level' tiles of your desired route). You plan your route online, then sync it with the app - others can download the route as a GPX as well or view it online. I do this twice a week for our club, and it just works.

This thread pretty much covers the 'debate': http://road.cc/content/forum/108899-smartphones-and-long-rides-strategy - basically, with a tiny bit of mobile battery management you can have turn-by-turn navigation on your handlebars lasting 8+ hrs without needing a recharge. And you can still use your phone as a phone.

Re mount, you can go cheap but perfectly functional with the Bikecityguide Finn, or swanky with the Quadlock. Everything else is butt-ugly plastic faff IMHO.

Cue posts from Garmin owners saying how their £300 was better spent than £0 Smile

I was told there would be Cake. Luckily there's http://TestValleyCC.org.uk

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posted by KiwiMike [437 posts]
4th April 2014 - 22:34

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my mobile cost £15, the battery lasts a week. my garmin cost £90., the battery lasts all day.go figure.

posted by philtregear [72 posts]
4th April 2014 - 22:42

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philtregear wrote:
my mobile cost £15, the battery lasts a week. my garmin cost £90., the battery lasts all day.go figure.

Wow! Can you tell us all what mobile you have that has GPS, heart rate, cadence and will last a week whilst measuring all of those? And is only £15?

Or are you comparing apples and oranges?

posted by Pauldmorgan [159 posts]
4th April 2014 - 22:48

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I think this topic can be summed up in two questions

Do you need a Garmin? No
Do you want a Garmin? Yes

If not true for the OP, it was for me.

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posted by Redvee [56 posts]
4th April 2014 - 23:08

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Used mine for mapping (off road) and I do rate it, they do take some playing with (settings) though to get the best out of them. They are a great tool and would not go out without mine.

posted by Shep73 [137 posts]
5th April 2014 - 8:46

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not being a data obsessive i dont need all that stuff. my phone makes phone calls, it even sends and recieves text messages ( amazing!). my garmin provides routing. that's all i need. each to their own, but im only interested in the utility of gadgets, not their bells and whistles. Im guessing your smartphone, plus straps, apps and meters costs upwards of £200 per year and the battery lasts a few hours when out riding. plus you cant see the screen in full sunlight. correct??

posted by philtregear [72 posts]
5th April 2014 - 9:23

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It's the only 21st century thing I have on my bikes, just the 200, it's all I need to pace and record my runs.

All Campag

posted by Flying Scot [454 posts]
5th April 2014 - 10:36

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As Redvee said, if you want a sat-nav then just buy one or use one of the apps on the mobile.

But if you merely to avoid getting lost why not use a map? Plan a route and learn to find your way around your own locality or wherever you're based. I always decide my route before I set out. I keep an old road atlas in the drawer. If I may be riding on unfamiliar roads I take the local page folded up in a polypocket in my jersey pocket.

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posted by Simon E [1902 posts]
5th April 2014 - 10:57

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philtregear wrote:
Im guessing your smartphone, plus straps, apps and meters costs upwards of £200 per year and the battery lasts a few hours when out riding. plus you cant see the screen in full sunlight. correct??

Let's debunk some popular myths: Phone was/is free - you already own it. Most people have an Android or iPhone. No straps needed, but if you do, they are the same cost as for Garmins or other devices. Apps are free. Meter are in the apps. Maps are free, worldwide (OpenStreet/Cycle maps). Battery can last 12hrs+ in flight mode, or 8hrs+ in phone mode. Extra batteries are dirt cheap for Android and external batteries likewise for iPhones. Screen is perfectly visible. Waterproof mounts that fit any bike can be had for a tenner. A phone is perfectly capable of navigating a 230km 14hr route non-stop in all weathers.

Nothing at all to do with being 'data obsessive' (although the apps log as much info as you could eat). Knowing where to go, without having to carry a load of maps in your pocket and stop at every turn is a big bonus.

Hopefully that clarifies things. When will this zombie factoid about phone batteries not lasting die?

I was told there would be Cake. Luckily there's http://TestValleyCC.org.uk

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posted by KiwiMike [437 posts]
5th April 2014 - 11:19

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I do like my garmin and would recommend it over a smartphone but one of the best things I ever bought for navigation was Tracklogs mapping software for the PC. You can plot routes on OS 1:50k and print them out so there's no need to carry a full map with you, just the bit you need

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posted by joemmo [773 posts]
5th April 2014 - 13:05

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Redvee wrote:

Do you need a Garmin? No
Do you want a Garmin? Yes

Yep, that pretty much sums it up then. Thanks all for your input.

JaseCD

posted by jasecd [141 posts]
5th April 2014 - 16:54

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Do you need Garmin - No.
Do you want Garmin at this stage - No.
Do you want or need any cycling computer at this time - No.

What you need is to not be seduced by numbers and the need to achieve goals or levels. What you need is to go out for a ride. Spin your legs and listen to what your body is telling you.

Later when you start to get your fitness back then think about cycle computers.

Best of luck! Big Grin

posted by levermonkey [326 posts]
5th April 2014 - 21:17

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levermonkey wrote:
Do you need Garmin - No.
Do you want Garmin at this stage - No.
Do you want or need any cycling computer at this time - No.

What you need is to not be seduced by numbers and the need to achieve goals or levels. What you need is to go out for a ride. Spin your legs and listen to what your body is telling you.

Later when you start to get your fitness back then think about cycle computers.

Best of luck! Big Grin

Ummmmm.....the OP's point was he was sick of getting lost/printing out long route sheets - nothing to do with hitting targets. Just sayin'.

I was told there would be Cake. Luckily there's http://TestValleyCC.org.uk

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posted by KiwiMike [437 posts]
5th April 2014 - 22:00

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i find the garmin far better than maps. it takes me down routes and roads( occasionally off them!) that i would not easily follow by map ( i would have to keep stopping to check turns etc). it is kind of fun feeling lost but not, just following the little black line. i then check out the places ive been through on google maps. it failed once, it got confused and i stupidly followed it against my instincts.i have bought a bell with a compass in the top to get me home ( £1 off ebay).
i will stick to my PAYG mobile ( less than a tenner last year) and garmin 200, cheaper than a year on a smartphone contract, more fun than a map!

" What you need is to go out for a ride. Spin your legs and listen to what your body is telling you."

thats precisely why i use this set up. it takes me to places i would otherwise never see. the 200 is not much more expensive than a computer, a computer is useless for mapping.

posted by philtregear [72 posts]
5th April 2014 - 22:38

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I've got a Garmin Edge 200, I love it. It's stopped me getting lost - that's the main advantage - it's small compact and the battery life is better than my legs, so what more could I need. No it doesn't have fancy maps, nor does it do cadence or power or whatever. The route finding is fine, and works really well for road riding.

posted by Bokonon [20 posts]
6th April 2014 - 0:28

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KiwiMike wrote:
levermonkey wrote:
Do you need Garmin - No.
Do you want Garmin at this stage - No.
Do you want or need any cycling computer at this time - No.

What you need is to not be seduced by numbers and the need to achieve goals or levels. What you need is to go out for a ride. Spin your legs and listen to what your body is telling you.

Later when you start to get your fitness back then think about cycle computers.

Best of luck! Big Grin

Ummmmm.....the OP's point was he was sick of getting lost/printing out long route sheets - nothing to do with hitting targets. Just sayin'.

Wasn't Jase saying that he was recovering from knee surgery? Isn't that a little more important than getting lost or the inconvenience of having his route on a sheet of paper? Wink But I do take your point.

If it's just navigation then I would use the mapping and route finding aps you can get for smart phones. Just make sure it knows your on a bike!

posted by levermonkey [326 posts]
6th April 2014 - 16:03

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levermonkey wrote:
KiwiMike wrote:
levermonkey wrote:
Just make sure it knows your on a bike!

Totally agree. The Viewranger app lets you plan for 'car' ie on-road which means including A-roads and motorways or 'bike' which includes bridleways. It requires a little bit of nouse but not much Smile

I was told there would be Cake. Luckily there's http://TestValleyCC.org.uk

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posted by KiwiMike [437 posts]
6th April 2014 - 16:24

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levermonkey wrote:
Just make sure it knows your on a bike!

Totally agree. The Viewranger app lets you plan for 'car' ie on-road which means including A-roads and motorways or 'bike' which includes bridleways. It requires a little bit of nouse but not much Smile

I was told there would be Cake. Luckily there's http://TestValleyCC.org.uk

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posted by KiwiMike [437 posts]
6th April 2014 - 16:25

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If you don't mind spending a few minutes "caching" the route with Google Maps Street View, go for the Garmin 200 or 500. Otherwise I'd agree with the advise for Garmin 800, although I don't have one myself.

Garmin 200, 500 and similar GPS units feature a breadcrumb trail navigation. Some better, some less perfect. I have a Bryton Rider 35, and while not perfect, it does give you a good indication where to turn and visa versa.

The main problem with breadcrumb trail is if you get off route. Then it can be quite tricky to find your way back on the route again due to the nature of breadcrumb trail navigation.

Before I brought my Bryton, I'd also rode "blind" as you, though didn't have any problems getting lost. Now I get lost quite often by (not) following the GPS breadcrumb trail Smile

posted by longtimejones [5 posts]
11th April 2014 - 16:59

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Depends what you want out of cycling, you could go out and just ride or stick with your cheat sheets. Moreover, it depends what your disposable income is.

posted by southseabythesea [65 posts]
11th April 2014 - 17:04

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I get lost like crazy and find a combination of ridewithgps, either exporting interesting routes as a tcx file or creating my own route with it and then exporting it as a tcx file, to a free smartphone app called Co-Rider that will act as a cue sheet & expandable map as well as a speaking turn-by-turn gps (complete with Arnold Schwartzeneger accent!) very useful. The voice prompts are available in Danish, Dutch, English & German. I think it was made by a Dutch guy but his accent English is better than my Dutch so there you go. However, I have no interest in KOMs or most cycling stats as it's all about enjoying the ride for me so I don't need the non-mapping functions of a Garmin.

Melancholy is incompatible with bicycling. ~James E. Starrs

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posted by movingtarget [127 posts]
12th April 2014 - 5:35

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If a newbie in cycling asked me to give some advise in one word then I would say "Garmin".

posted by Marauder [237 posts]
12th April 2014 - 12:21

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slightly off topic but how do you delete old rides from your garmin.
when ever i try to upload a ride to strava it takes for ever??

someone said delete your old rides and it will do it quicker.
currently have a garmin 500 and have loaded all rides up to garmin connect.
is it something in the settings

posted by mpt68 [101 posts]
14th April 2014 - 1:40

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