gps, routes, smartphones, garmin etc

danedan679 Posts: 65
edited May 2013 in Road buying advice
I hate getting lost. So I always end up doing the same route at the weekends, up through Epping, Harlow, Bishop's Stortford and tend to panic so come back along the same route. I want to broaden my horizons but will struggle to get to club run on a sunday morning.

I have a Garmin 200, which can navigate fairly well through London if I know generally where I'm going, I got from Hackney to East Ham last week and it did ok. But I'm not sure how confident how I'd feel over a longer run. Does anyone use this to navigate over longer distances?

I also have a Samsung Galaxy s2. The battery is pretty rubbish. Does anyone use their phones to navigate? Can you get a usable mount for it? And are phones generally accurate to navigate with?

I've also been thinking about a Garmin 800, or Bryton 50, but have no interest in HRM or cadence. If i don't want that extra info, will they be overkill for me? I would be interested in downloading rides of people who have more imagaination than I do, could I do this? And as I said, I hate getting lost. Are they reliable? I was reading someone on another messageboard from last year saying the Bryton, since Google Maps was updated, gives a lot of errors. Is this right? Also, are the supplied maps with the Garmin or Bryton ok? And is there another unit I should be thinking of?

Believe me, I don't have me heart set on spending 2-300 quid on a gadget, but would do if that was the best way of getting more interesting rides without getting lost. So any help would be appreciated.


  • Your Garmin 200 will get the job done i use mine to navigate with all the time. You can create courses on the Garmin Connect website and send them to your Garmin, or alternatively you can create courses using CGTK GPX generator and drag and drop them from your computer to the NewFiles folder on your Garmin.
    On One 456
    Cannondale CAAD 10
    Ribble 7005 Audax
  • jimwin
    jimwin Posts: 208
    I usually use gpx files rather than route files. GPX files can be created using GPS software (such as Garmin's Roadtrip or some mapping websites (such as bikehike). Some devices limit the number of GPX points (my Garmin eTrex limits to 500 points). So if your route is lengthy, you can use a trackpoint reduction tool (such as or split the route into parts. For long tracks it's best to limit each GPX file to 50 miles and then use a trackpoint reduction tool to keep each file at 500 points or less. Most GPS devices will accept multiple GPX files, so there's no issue with using >1 file per trip.

    Re your device - Although modern smartphones can act as a GPS there is no substitute for a dedicated device if you use GPS regularly. I use a Garmin eTrex Legend - its waterproof, lasts for an age on 2 AA cells, can take rechargeables and will survive almost anything. Yes, the screen display is small, but it's readable in almost all lighting conditions and it's reliable.

    I've used it on long tours (JoGLE and LEJog), long audax rides (200K and more) and it's always been a faithful friend when I need navigational help.

    I know there are more recent devices from Garmin. But beware that more screen detail (such as contours) and rechargable Lithium Ion batteries could leave you with a flat GPS much quicker than a simpler screen. For daily rides that's not a problem. The problem is when you are in unknown territory and the battery gives up.

    It's a personal view, but hope this helps.