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post #1 of 18 Old 10-21-2006, 11:15 AM Thread Starter
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GPS: How do you use it?

I've been mulling over getting a GPS unit. I've been thinking about whether I really need to have the unit mounted on the bike or whether I should just keep it in my pocket? What worries me is getting killed because I'm looking at the GPS and not the road. Stiff happens fast on a bike.

So, what are the benefits of having the GPS mounted? Do you pull over to look at the map? Tell me how you use your GPS.


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post #2 of 18 Old 10-21-2006, 11:43 AM
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Getting things set up before you ride is the only sane way to use these things. After you set a route, you just glance at it, like the mirrors. I've got mine behind the windscreen and above the gauges.
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post #3 of 18 Old 10-21-2006, 12:05 PM
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GPSr is on the handlebars using a RAM mount. I use the MixIt in a tank bag to boots the sound of the mp3 player and mix in the audio from the GPSr. Get a GPSr that gives audio prompts. I never have to look at the GPSr while riding. Bitchen Betty just tells me when to turn right or left. She also lets me know if I am "off route" and that she is "recalculating." The newer models even have a text to voice feature that gives the street name. So Betty says something like "turn right on Elm Street in 500 feet."

I feel with the audio prompts you are more safe than riders without a GPSr. While other riders are trying to read street signs I can watch traffic and the road. When I am tired at the end of the day I can pull off the side of the road and ask the GPSr to show me all the motels in the area. I then pick one that sounds good and the GPSr routes me there. Not only does it save time but again I find it adds a safety factor to the process. You won't be doing any U turns to go back to a motel you missed and you won't get frustrated trying to follow directions you got from the blond gas station girl who can't find her way across the street.

I can't imagine anyone keeping their GPSr in their pocket. You might as well stick to maps if that is the plan. The whole value of the GPSr is real time pin pointing of your position.
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post #4 of 18 Old 10-21-2006, 12:21 PM
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Mine is on a RAM mount near my left hand.

Fiddling with it will you are on the go is not good, but I have done it.

(Not Recommended of course) Like tmcgee said, set it up before the ride.

I don't use the audio, just visual prompts.

With mine (Garmin Quest II) I have options on what I want displayed on the various screens.

I usually have the map page set up with ACTUAL SPEED & DISTANCE TO NEXT TURN visible.

I glance at it like I would a speedometer or mirror.

When I get close to the next turn, I can touch a button and the directions for that turn are dispalyed. (Or I can just wait and it will come up automatically when I'm closer to the turn.)

Sometimes, on really twisty unfamiliar roads, I will zoom in the map to the 800ft scale. Then I can see what the upcoming turns are like (how sharp and which way they go).

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post #5 of 18 Old 10-21-2006, 02:44 PM
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I rely on audio with an occasional glance, no more than the mirrors get. If I need to set anything, I pull over.

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post #6 of 18 Old 10-21-2006, 03:43 PM
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Get a very large display you can see easy and set it so that its the same as your mirrors. Mine tells me the turns quite a ways in advance and then puts up giant arrows with a countdown till your turn. Stick it on a ram mount so you barely glance down at it. Its not really anything to worry about once its setup. I usually pull into a gas station and set up my route. While I'm driving it auto follows everything so its no big deal. I personally do not use audio as I find it distracting. The most complex thing I'll do while moving is hit 2 buttons for rerouting. That does not require looking at the screen.

One thing about having it in your pocket it may not work as well or at all since they usually work best under a open sky. Also if you fall down on it not only will it break, but it'll leave you with a large bruise or worse.


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post #7 of 18 Old 10-21-2006, 06:31 PM
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An audio prompt would be cool. Never considered a GPS cause I thought it would be more to look at and distract me. Sounds like a better deal than a back seat driver with an attitude.

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post #8 of 18 Old 10-21-2006, 07:20 PM
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This is my sophisticated, not-yet-patented GPS mounting device (?).

A Garmin eTrex 'velcro'd' to a piece of plexiglass (Lexan?). Perfect for me.

The eTrex is no good for 'enroute navigation' - screen too small, no audio, etc., but for $130 it's lots of fun and very useful. Actual MPH (not Suzuki MPH), time to final destination, miles to final destination, average MPH moving, average MPH overall, etc. etc.

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post #9 of 18 Old 10-21-2006, 09:13 PM
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The way I look at it, I'd rather glance at the GPS and see that I don't have a turn for another mile than be watching street signs. It really is no more than glancing at the mirrors.

I use a QuestII and it zooms in and gives a large turn arrow when one approaches, then back out.

All in all, IMHO, it's safer than trying to read street signs.

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post #10 of 18 Old 10-22-2006, 12:09 AM
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I generally use mine by placing it on my road atlas when it gets a bit windy.

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