Do I need a navigation device?

5Thumbs
5Thumbs Posts: 88
edited October 2012 in Road beginners
I'm just about to buy my first road bike after years of mountain biking (not switching permanently just want to improve my fitness).

I tend to ride local trails on my MTB about 20 miles and generally know where I'm going. I imagine that with a road bike I'll go much further afield and explore various quieter roads where possible, hence greater chance of getting lost!

Do people tend to use some kind of device such as a garmin edge or whatever or should I just stick a map in my jersey pocket? Any recommendations? This is all a bit new to me - I never imagined there could be so many different considerations between on/off road biking :)

Comments

  • Pross
    Pross Posts: 40,416
    Work out where you are going to go before hand. We have pretty good road signs so as long as you know what towns and villages to look for you'll be fine even if you do somehow get lost. Take a map if necessary. Explore a bit as you can find some excellent, quiet roads taking the attitude 'I wonder where this goes'.
  • Never had a Garmin or such like. When going on a long ride on unfamiliar roads I just take a photo copy of the Collins/AA road atlas. Thats fine.

    TBH fella, getting lost on occasion is fun and good for finding new routes.

    Welcome to the tarmac brigade, enjoy. :D
    Tail end Charlie

    The above post may contain traces of sarcasm or/and bullsh*t.
  • CiB
    CiB Posts: 6,098
    You'd be doing well to be so far from home that you can't recognise place names on road signs. If all else fails stop at the next shop, pub, church, WI meeting etc and ask which way to ...

    For long rides I take a list of place names if I haven't been that way before, and if there's a chance of getting lost in a town centre a print out of the place from Google maps in the back pocket does the job. Never been so lost that rescue was needed.
  • Mad_Malx
    Mad_Malx Posts: 5,000
    Buy a cheap road atlas - they are often sold for £2. Cut out relevant pages and mark route with highlighter pen. Stuff in pocket for when you get lost/bored with busy road/tired.

    Or spend money on a toy that costs more than training wheels. I have to pursuade myself I don't need to do this every few weeks. If I do go down this route it'll have to be something topend, with expensive OS* mapping (I know about open source, but still can't wean myself off my love of OS features).

    Edit: *OS as in Ordenance Survey
  • Buy an Ordnance Survey Landranger map of your area and spend evenings in front of the telly learning all the roads and lanes in your vicinity. Worth their weight in gold.
    I'm not getting old... I'm just using lower gears......
    Sirius - Steel Reynolds 631
    Cove Handjob - Steel Columbus Nivacrom
    Trek Madone - Carbon
  • Mikey23
    Mikey23 Posts: 5,306
    I have a garmin but not for navigation purposes but to record rides and do strava. i enjoy working out routes and trying them out and seeing what road connects with what. i think its what ive got a brain for. of course you can do and many will speak in their favour. it depends what you want to spend your money on
  • alihisgreat
    alihisgreat Posts: 3,872
    I just plan the route before hand.. look at any tricky bits on google maps/streetview and I'm good to go.

    Getting lost is healthy anyway -> if you're lucky you'll come across some nice new roads.. if not I just whip out my phone for google maps and I'm back on track again.
  • StillGoing
    StillGoing Posts: 5,211
    If I do a 100 mile route it's one way passing through different counties. I don't know the towns or road names along those routes and using back roads as I do, you can easily end up going in the wrong direction. For this reason I use a Garmin 705 and it has been invaluable.
    I ride a bike. Doesn't make me green or a tree hugger. I drive a car too.
  • Hoopdriver
    Hoopdriver Posts: 2,023
    Never had a Garmin or such like. When going on a long ride on unfamiliar roads I just take a photo copy of the Collins/AA road atlas. Thats fine.

    TBH fella, getting lost on occasion is fun and good for finding new routes.

    Welcome to the tarmac brigade, enjoy. :D
    I do just the same and yes, getting lost occasionally is interesting and can indeed lead to cool new routes.
  • marz
    marz Posts: 130
    Weird, I never found a navigation device necessary on the road, with all the handy road signs and all. But offroad I've found them essential when trekking +50miles across the middle of nowhere.
  • marz wrote:
    Weird, I never found a navigation device necessary on the road, with all the handy road signs and all. But offroad I've found them essential when trekking +50miles across the middle of nowhere.

    How does that work? 'At the middle of no where, take the third exit to no where else'
  • Anonymous
    Anonymous Posts: 79,667
    NOWHERE

    Now entering the middle

    "This just goes from bad to worse"
  • stueys
    stueys Posts: 1,332
    Thnk it depends how far your ride and whether you vary your routes. Personally I like to try to ride on holiday, ie unfamiliar places, and also mix it up where I can when I ride at home. Love the garmin 800 for that, I never worry about getting lost, can vary my route mod-way through and planning routes in new places is a doodle. I wouldn't not have one but it all comes down to how you ride.
  • I have a Garmin Edge 200 which I use simply as a bike computer and to upload my ride afterwards to Garmin Connect. In my mind a keen cyclist should over time have built up a good knowledge of virtually every road and country lane within a 10 mile radius of their house (not counting city dwellers of course). Long rides can be ridden without venturing too far from home. The Ordnance Survey maps are ideal for this. Nobody should ever be lost. Misplaced yes. But not lost. If you haven't a clue where you are simply retrace your steps.
    I'm not getting old... I'm just using lower gears......
    Sirius - Steel Reynolds 631
    Cove Handjob - Steel Columbus Nivacrom
    Trek Madone - Carbon
  • MichaelW
    MichaelW Posts: 2,164
    An OS map should suffice. Compared to a handheld navigation device, you get a much bigger screen and longer battery life.
    You can get route-planning software but for me, route-planning is part of the fun.
    If you need to consult a map frequently, a handlebar or barbag mapholder makes life much easier. This is probably the one advantage of lectronic maps, they are on your handlebar and move to the right place.
    The only time I need a compass is for navigating forest trails or for riding in the dark. On the road, you usually have sufficient indicators (churches, the sun, mossy trunks, and other country-lore).
  • Anonymous
    Anonymous Posts: 79,667
    before garmin noone did bike rides
  • 5Thumbs
    5Thumbs Posts: 88
    Thanks for the replies- useful info
    before garmin noone did bike rides

    To clarify, I am pretty good at map reading as I do a lot of off road biking (Lakes, Dales) and walking (lakes Scotland). The reason for asking the question is that as I start road biking (i.e. I'm brand new to it) I suspect I will travel much further than on my MTB and probably take the opportunity to explore quieter roads which may turn up en route and look rather inviting. The down side of this of course is that I could end up 30 miles from home and heading in the wrong direction!

    So my original question really was not particularly well phrased. Should really have said based on experience would people recommend a GPS as opposed to carrying a map (not will I get lost and die without a GPS!). I think I've had some good replies on here illustrating the relative benifits of both so thanks to all.
  • rolf_f
    rolf_f Posts: 16,015
    marz wrote:
    Weird, I never found a navigation device necessary on the road, with all the handy road signs and all.

    Road signs are handy but they don't necessarily tell you the way you want to go - road signs give you the shortest route between places; not the nicest routes to cycle.

    As to GPS - it depends really. I now use a Bryton - mostly I just use a small one with breadcrumb trail navigation but I do have one with full mapping as well. I like the the navigation as I have terrible memory so when I take a map, even on roads I previously have ridden, I tend to have to stop at virtually every junction to check I'm still going the right way. The Bryton means I stop a lot less often.

    But of course the only really essential thing is the bike!
    Faster than a tent.......
  • 5Thumbs wrote:
    I'm just about to buy my first road bike after years of mountain biking (not switching permanently just want to improve my fitness).

    I tend to ride local trails on my MTB about 20 miles and generally know where I'm going. I imagine that with a road bike I'll go much further afield and explore various quieter roads where possible, hence greater chance of getting lost!

    Do people tend to use some kind of device such as a garmin edge or whatever or should I just stick a map in my jersey pocket? Any recommendations? This is all a bit new to me - I never imagined there could be so many different considerations between on/off road biking :)

    I said this...I havent picked up my mountain bike since. Apart from one day where my roadbike was in the shop and needed to ride to work.
  • marz
    marz Posts: 130
    marz wrote:
    Weird, I never found a navigation device necessary on the road, with all the handy road signs and all. But offroad I've found them essential when trekking +50miles across the middle of nowhere.

    How does that work? 'At the middle of no where, take the third exit to no where else'

    'Cos a good GPS will give you lat-long and a compass heading to reach a destination off road where 'take the next right' makes (of course) no sense.
  • lakesluddite
    lakesluddite Posts: 1,337
    My two penn'orth - I try and get the OS map out the night before and commit to memory, but that method is getting more and more flawed the older I get! Photocopying sections of the OS has worked on the odd occasion as well, although my photocopyer is one of those that doubles as a printer and scanner (so should that be triples...?), so not that readable when the paper has been scrunched up in a sweaty pocket for an hour or so.
    If I'm really unsure of the route, I'll wear a small backpack and stick at least one map in there, but I'd prefer not to.

    I reassure myself that my Iphone will get me out of any real problems, with the GPS function, but inevitably whenever I get lost, it's the middle of nowhere and therefore no bleedin' signal.

    I suppose there are many methods, going down the 'tech' route will be very accurate but expensive, carrying a map is good but that's as long as you don't cycle off the edge (of the map, obviously, not the planet), and you can fit it into a pocket. Relying on road signs is good unless you're on smaller country roads that might not have them at every turn. There are pitfalls with every system, you'll probably find your own way (ho ho) by trial and error.