Last night I had two goals: get some exercise this week and sort out a new approach to using my Garmin for following pre-planned routes.
The first aspect wasn’t hard; it was a beautiful evening, and after I finished mowing the lawn, I figured I had time for a modest ride. The second aspect also determined which route I’d take, which ended up being a ride out Lisburn Road. This is because there is at least one spot on this ride where the Garmin runs a pretty good chance of not routing me properly.
To make a long story short, I found a write-up by a guy with the same unit who uses the .gpx files as Tracks rather than routes. He explains his approach very well, distinguishing between active and passive routing. I’ve been using active, which allows for more bells and whistles, but is prone to errors when the unit essentially tries to out-think me. He uses passive, which is more bare-bones, but follows the pre-planned course exactly. It also has the advantage of the higher limit of 500 track points v. 50 route points.
So it took a bit of starting and stopping to get things working. I had a problem with the unit not responding to the settings I was inputting until I finally turned the unit off and on. Then I guess it “rebooted” because everything started to work as it should. Once I was happy with that, I took it a step further by adding a display field that tells me which roads are coming up ahead.
There are downsides to all of this, but my first impression is that they are outweighed by having the correct routing. First, there is no “magenta line”. The tracking line is in bold, but not much more than as if it is a highway. Second, there is no wrong turn warning. I have to notice if the arrow (me) has moved off of the bold line. Thirdly, there are no “turn ahead pop-ups.” The display field highlights all of the cross roads, not just the ones I’m looking for.
As I play around with it further, I might find some work-arounds, but none of these issues are deal-breakers. Essentially, the approach allows me to rather easily load a pre-planned route from RidewithGPS that has been filtered through GPS Babel onto my Garmin and ride without any surprises.
Speaking of surprises, I discovered that the Garmin will run completely off the Luxos USB power, with the headlight on and the Garmin backlit, without needing any battery power, even after stopping for several minutes. I also was able to compare the mileage recorded on the Garmin with the bike computer, and made some adjustments there as well.
We’re headed to Cape May for a week and I’m taking the Trucker, so I plan to map out a few longer rides and see how it goes.
My knees are a little sore this morning from intentionally pushing higher gears, so I guess my ride was successful.
Misc. Miles: 4.6
Distance: 19.8 miles 2013: 653.3