Smartphones have lots of uses, but to navigate safely on two wheels, a proper GPS unit is an investment you will not regret.
This is the smartphone generation, and today’s mobiles can do everything from searching the net to storing and playing your favourite films and music. Most also have a basic navigation function, using Google Maps or something similar. This is great for getting a basic idea of routes and distances, but falls short if you need a really effective navigational aid.
If you are a fan of the outdoors life, whether it is on two feet or two wheels, a proper cycling and hiking navigation system is an absolute must. Here are five reasons why a good GPS can’t be beaten, even in the smartphone generation.
1) Secure installation
Some people actually try to navigate using their phones while riding. Obviously, cycling along using one hand while the other is holding the phone is incredibly dangerous – we all know that driving and phoning is prohibited, and cycling and phoning is even worse! The alternative, of stopping to check your location and seeing if you are still on track is inconvenient and usually means that by the time you realise you’ve taken a wrong turn, you’ve gone several miles in the wrong direction.
A bike GPS comes with a special interface to secure the unit safely to your handlebars, meaning you can keep a constant eye on where you are going.
2) Clear, waterproof display
The English weather is nothing if not unpredictable. The GPS is designed to take a sudden downpour in its stride, and the large screen is clear to read and understand in even the worst weather conditions.
3) Personalised route selection
Just as there is more than one way to skin a cat, there are also many ways from A to B. What looks like the most straightforward route on a map is not always the best way by bike, and the last thing you want is to find yourself struggling up a hill on a dual carriageway, when you could have bypassed it by taking a scenic back road.
The “my circuit” function on the GPS will find the perfect route, with your personalised preferences in mind. It will also give you good warning of what is ahead, so if that huge hill is inevitable, you will at least have time to prepare yourself for the challenge!
If you really don’t like the route the GPS has suggested, no problem – it will have two other alternatives at the ready for you to choose from.
4) Complete tracking
The motion detector functionality knows when you start and when you stop. Every part of your journey is memorialised, so there is no risk of failing to record a particular route.
If you have never heard about geocaching, you are in for a treat. Dubbed the world’s biggest treasure hunt, it basically consists of almost two million hidden caches around the world. The geocache community provides tips on where to find them, and they can all be accessed via your GPS. Be warned, though, once you start, a simple bike ride will never be quite the same again. Enjoy!