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What GPS to use?



 
 
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  #1  
Old July 29th 03, 04:49 PM
Jim Sherman
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Posts: n/a
Default What GPS to use?

I have never used a GPS before but would like to get one to calculate
elevation, grades etc especially on hilly routes. My cycle computer
already has speed distance etc. The Garmin Etrex seems to get the most
positive reports. But that's from the general public. How about bikers?

I'm not too interested in preprogrammed routes (though I probably will
after I get it). More interested in downloading data to a computer
after a ride to get a visual display of what I have done. Will it do
this? I expect it must update your position extremely frequently or
even constantly otherwise a slow climb followed by a fast descent would
give a strange readout.

Possible with the GPS or with add-on software?

Mountable on a bike? Can you just carry it in your pocket?

I read someone's post about how he had to edit his route after
downloading as it included his car ride home! I would expect it to have
some kind of mark feature to mark beginning and ends of routes.

Since I'm brand new to these things any advice is welcome. Thanks.

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  #2  
Old July 29th 03, 05:22 PM
Bob M
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Posts: n/a
Default What GPS to use?

On Tue, 29 Jul 2003 16:14:59 GMT, Alan Acock wrote:

I don't have anything to contribute other than a question. A friend has
one
of these (I don't even know the brand), and it seems to give wildly
inaccurate elevations (below sea level in the hills). Do some do a better
job of elevation and do any have a useful slope gauge?
Alan
"Jim Sherman" wrote in message
...
I have never used a GPS before but would like to get one to calculate
elevation, grades etc especially on hilly routes. My cycle computer
already has speed distance etc. The Garmin Etrex seems to get the most
positive reports. But that's from the general public. How about
bikers?

I'm not too interested in preprogrammed routes (though I probably will
after I get it). More interested in downloading data to a computer
after a ride to get a visual display of what I have done. Will it do
this? I expect it must update your position extremely frequently or
even constantly otherwise a slow climb followed by a fast descent would
give a strange readout.

Possible with the GPS or with add-on software?

Mountable on a bike? Can you just carry it in your pocket?


Yes, they sell bike mounts.

I read someone's post about how he had to edit his route after
downloading as it included his car ride home! I would expect it to have
some kind of mark feature to mark beginning and ends of routes.

Since I'm brand new to these things any advice is welcome. Thanks.




Mine does have features to stop and start routes and to mark "waypoints"
during the route. I don't know about elevation statistics, as I generally
don't look at these.


--
Bob M in CT
Remove 'x.' to reply
  #3  
Old July 29th 03, 06:18 PM
Jim Spencer
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Posts: n/a
Default What GPS to use?

On Tue, 29 Jul 2003 11:49:31 -0400, Jim Sherman
wrote:

Most any of the hand held GPS units should work for you. They all
will record your current track giving you location, time and some also
record elevation. I have an older Garmin Model(GPSIII) that I use on
my bike. It will record up to 1900 points and I can set the interval
that these points are taken based on any time or distance. Normally I
use .05 miles(95miles total) but you could use a smaller interval.
When I get back the track can be downloaded to the computer to be used
with any mapping program. Even if your GPS doesn't record elevation
some of those programs that have topographic maps will calculate total
climb and generate an elevation profile for you.

Also, except for cadence, a GPS will do everything your bike computer
will do and a whole lot more.

  #4  
Old July 29th 03, 06:58 PM
Rick Onanian
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default What GPS to use?

On Tue, 29 Jul 2003 11:49:31 -0400, Jim Sherman wrote:
I have never used a GPS before but would like to get one to calculate
elevation, grades etc especially on hilly routes. My cycle computer
already has speed distance etc. The Garmin Etrex seems to get the most
positive reports. But that's from the general public. How about bikers?


I use an Etrex Venture. You can get a handlebar mount for the Etrex
series, though you won't find it in stores anymore, you should be
able to get it online or from Garmin. The handlebar mount is light,
onobtrusive, and very secure.

I'm not too interested in preprogrammed routes (though I probably will
after I get it). More interested in downloading data to a computer after
a ride to get a visual display of what I have done. Will it do this? I


The Etrex Venture even comes with the computer cable in the box.
Other Etrex models don't (at least, cheaper ones).

expect it must update your position extremely frequently or even
constantly otherwise a slow climb followed by a fast descent would give a
strange readout.


Again, score for the Etrex Venture. The Etrex line includes at
least two levels of breadcrumb-resolution. You won't find that
in any marketing literature, but I stumbled across it while
looking for some mapping software. Some Etrex models don't
breadcrumb very often, but the Etrex Venture is pretty quick.

Still, if you do a fast descent followed by a short climb, it
might miss the valley. Even while dropping multiple breadcrumbs,
it may not have a strong link to the satellites -- this is
especially true under heavy tree cover (another score for the
Etrex Venture, which supposedly handles tree cover pretty well).

Possible with the GPS or with add-on software?


Absolutely.

Mountable on a bike? Can you just carry it in your pocket?


Any Garmin Etrex series is mountable, via the handlebar mount
I mentioned before. It's never come off accidentally, even
after X amount of crashes. It does unclip easily when you want
it to.

Carrying a GPS in your pocket is a problem because the antenna
is directional; it has to face up. The Etrex antenna (probably
similar for all GPS) looks aesthetically like a largish computer
chip with a sticker on it, and the flat surface must face up
without excessive obstruction.

I read someone's post about how he had to edit his route after
downloading as it included his car ride home! I would expect it to have
some kind of mark feature to mark beginning and ends of routes.


You can always mark waypoints; that person forgot to do so.

Additionally, you could [gasp!] turn the gps off when you're in
your car. I only turn mine on when I actually want to use it.

Also...with the Etrex Venture [and probably all other Etrex as
well as most other GPS at all], you can tell it NOT to drop
breadcrumbs at all; then it just shows you where you are and
allows you to manually mark waypoints.

Since I'm brand new to these things any advice is welcome. Thanks.


I've quite a bit of experience using mine on my mountain bike.
I'm lost without it...literally.

--
Rick Onanian
  #5  
Old July 29th 03, 07:02 PM
Rick Onanian
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default What GPS to use?

On Tue, 29 Jul 2003 17:18:13 GMT, Jim Spencer wrote:
Also, except for cadence, a GPS will do everything your bike computer
will do and a whole lot more.


I find that the readings from my bike computer are more accurate
and useful than those from the GPS, and easier to reset without
losing important data; but the GPS in combination with the bike
comp (which has cadence, I wouldn't do without it!), makes a
great team.

Now, integrate them, add a heart rate monitor, and let me write
scripts for it (maybe run Linux on it) and I'd be in heaven.

Power to the data! Data to the people!

Seriously speaking, though, that makes me think of this question
I have:
Is there a heart-rate monitor that takes constant readings without
requiring a chest band? Why haven't I seen any that read it from
the wrist? Aside from chest bands, I've only seen the ones that
read it from your fingertip, which is only useful when you've
stopped.

I've got enough things chafing and sweaty, I don't need to add a
damn chestband.

--
Rick Onanian
  #7  
Old July 29th 03, 07:59 PM
Jim Sherman
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default What GPS to use?

Thanks for your input Rick.

A few more questions. Does the Venture calculate elevation? The
comparison chart shows that only the Vista has a barometric altimeter.
Or is that just an advanced version?

Does the Etrex come with any software for downloading (even a basic
program) or is that an add-on?

Are these "breadcrumbs" marked by time or distance?

Jim

Rick Onanian wrote:
On Tue, 29 Jul 2003 11:49:31 -0400, Jim Sherman wrote:

I have never used a GPS before but would like to get one to calculate
elevation, grades etc especially on hilly routes. My cycle computer
already has speed distance etc. The Garmin Etrex seems to get the most
positive reports. But that's from the general public. How about bikers?



I use an Etrex Venture. You can get a handlebar mount for the Etrex
series, though you won't find it in stores anymore, you should be
able to get it online or from Garmin. The handlebar mount is light,
onobtrusive, and very secure.

I'm not too interested in preprogrammed routes (though I probably will
after I get it). More interested in downloading data to a computer
after a ride to get a visual display of what I have done. Will it do
this? I



The Etrex Venture even comes with the computer cable in the box.
Other Etrex models don't (at least, cheaper ones).

expect it must update your position extremely frequently or even
constantly otherwise a slow climb followed by a fast descent would
give a strange readout.



Again, score for the Etrex Venture. The Etrex line includes at
least two levels of breadcrumb-resolution. You won't find that
in any marketing literature, but I stumbled across it while
looking for some mapping software. Some Etrex models don't
breadcrumb very often, but the Etrex Venture is pretty quick.

Still, if you do a fast descent followed by a short climb, it
might miss the valley. Even while dropping multiple breadcrumbs,
it may not have a strong link to the satellites -- this is
especially true under heavy tree cover (another score for the
Etrex Venture, which supposedly handles tree cover pretty well).

Possible with the GPS or with add-on software?



Absolutely.

Mountable on a bike? Can you just carry it in your pocket?



Any Garmin Etrex series is mountable, via the handlebar mount
I mentioned before. It's never come off accidentally, even
after X amount of crashes. It does unclip easily when you want
it to.

Carrying a GPS in your pocket is a problem because the antenna
is directional; it has to face up. The Etrex antenna (probably
similar for all GPS) looks aesthetically like a largish computer
chip with a sticker on it, and the flat surface must face up
without excessive obstruction.

I read someone's post about how he had to edit his route after
downloading as it included his car ride home! I would expect it to
have some kind of mark feature to mark beginning and ends of routes.



You can always mark waypoints; that person forgot to do so.

Additionally, you could [gasp!] turn the gps off when you're in
your car. I only turn mine on when I actually want to use it.

Also...with the Etrex Venture [and probably all other Etrex as
well as most other GPS at all], you can tell it NOT to drop
breadcrumbs at all; then it just shows you where you are and
allows you to manually mark waypoints.

Since I'm brand new to these things any advice is welcome. Thanks.



I've quite a bit of experience using mine on my mountain bike.
I'm lost without it...literally.


  #8  
Old July 29th 03, 09:26 PM
David Storm
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default What GPS to use?

Depending on where you live, you can buy the handlebar mounts
at REI or Fry's electronics to name two retailers. I have an Etrex
Legend which has a built in map of major streets and trips in
the US and you can probably buy it with other parts of the
world depending on where you live. I use my GPS in concert
with Delorme's topographical software, Topo. With Topo
I can lay out a course on my desktop computer for a coming
ride or tour and download the route and waypoints to the GPS,
and whalla, I have the routes directions with turns and distances
in the GPS. You can go the other way too by going on a ride
and have the GPS track your course during a ride. You can
then upload the course to Topo and generate a route and
elevation profile in Topo. I have found the GPS very handy
when touring new and unknown roads and areas.

You can also purchase Garmin software which allows you to
download more detailed maps of streets and roads to the
GPS.

"Rick Onanian" wrote in message
news
On Tue, 29 Jul 2003 11:49:31 -0400, Jim Sherman

wrote:
I have never used a GPS before but would like to get one to calculate
elevation, grades etc especially on hilly routes. My cycle computer
already has speed distance etc. The Garmin Etrex seems to get the most
positive reports. But that's from the general public. How about

bikers?

I use an Etrex Venture. You can get a handlebar mount for the Etrex
series, though you won't find it in stores anymore, you should be
able to get it online or from Garmin. The handlebar mount is light,
onobtrusive, and very secure.

I'm not too interested in preprogrammed routes (though I probably will
after I get it). More interested in downloading data to a computer

after
a ride to get a visual display of what I have done. Will it do this? I


The Etrex Venture even comes with the computer cable in the box.
Other Etrex models don't (at least, cheaper ones).

expect it must update your position extremely frequently or even
constantly otherwise a slow climb followed by a fast descent would give

a
strange readout.


Again, score for the Etrex Venture. The Etrex line includes at
least two levels of breadcrumb-resolution. You won't find that
in any marketing literature, but I stumbled across it while
looking for some mapping software. Some Etrex models don't
breadcrumb very often, but the Etrex Venture is pretty quick.

Still, if you do a fast descent followed by a short climb, it
might miss the valley. Even while dropping multiple breadcrumbs,
it may not have a strong link to the satellites -- this is
especially true under heavy tree cover (another score for the
Etrex Venture, which supposedly handles tree cover pretty well).

Possible with the GPS or with add-on software?


Absolutely.

Mountable on a bike? Can you just carry it in your pocket?


Any Garmin Etrex series is mountable, via the handlebar mount
I mentioned before. It's never come off accidentally, even
after X amount of crashes. It does unclip easily when you want
it to.

Carrying a GPS in your pocket is a problem because the antenna
is directional; it has to face up. The Etrex antenna (probably
similar for all GPS) looks aesthetically like a largish computer
chip with a sticker on it, and the flat surface must face up
without excessive obstruction.

I read someone's post about how he had to edit his route after
downloading as it included his car ride home! I would expect it to have
some kind of mark feature to mark beginning and ends of routes.


You can always mark waypoints; that person forgot to do so.

Additionally, you could [gasp!] turn the gps off when you're in
your car. I only turn mine on when I actually want to use it.

Also...with the Etrex Venture [and probably all other Etrex as
well as most other GPS at all], you can tell it NOT to drop
breadcrumbs at all; then it just shows you where you are and
allows you to manually mark waypoints.

Since I'm brand new to these things any advice is welcome. Thanks.


I've quite a bit of experience using mine on my mountain bike.
I'm lost without it...literally.

--
Rick Onanian



  #9  
Old July 30th 03, 01:01 AM
Mark Weaver
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default What GPS to use?

I've been using a Magellan Sportrak Map on my bike recently. Kind of
overkill, but it has a moving map display which is actually pretty
nice--combined with street / topo maps. I can come back later and download
the tracks, which is mostly a curiosity, but I suppose I could actually make
my own trail maps that way. Altitude encoding isn't great, but it's not too
bad--I can look at a an altitude profile of my tracks after the fact. It's
surprising how well it does in tree cover--sometimes I lose the signal, but
it seems to hold it better on the bike than when walking. My guess it it's
somehow a kind of 'window fan' effect.

Anyway, here's a GPS track from riding the 'Potowatami Trail' (southern
Michigan) on Saturday. The straight line throught the lake is where I lost
the signal in dense tree cover:

http://www.fototime.com/C232670A6C1B8F0/orig.gif

Mark


"Jim Sherman" wrote in message
...
I have never used a GPS before but would like to get one to calculate
elevation, grades etc especially on hilly routes. My cycle computer
already has speed distance etc. The Garmin Etrex seems to get the most
positive reports. But that's from the general public. How about bikers?

I'm not too interested in preprogrammed routes (though I probably will
after I get it). More interested in downloading data to a computer
after a ride to get a visual display of what I have done. Will it do
this? I expect it must update your position extremely frequently or
even constantly otherwise a slow climb followed by a fast descent would
give a strange readout.

Possible with the GPS or with add-on software?

Mountable on a bike? Can you just carry it in your pocket?

I read someone's post about how he had to edit his route after
downloading as it included his car ride home! I would expect it to have
some kind of mark feature to mark beginning and ends of routes.

Since I'm brand new to these things any advice is welcome. Thanks.



  #10  
Old July 30th 03, 01:59 AM
Steve
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default What GPS to use?


"Jim Sherman" wrote in message

I have never used a GPS before but would like to get one to calculate
elevation, grades etc especially on hilly routes. My cycle computer
already has speed distance etc. The Garmin Etrex seems to get the most
positive reports. But that's from the general public. How about bikers?



Some useful sites to go along with all the useful posts.

http://joe.mehaffey.com/

http://mywebpages.comcast.net/ibikea...atingbygps.htm

Steve B.



 




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