Archive for June 3rd, 2008

Using a GPS for bicycle touring

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2008

This is our first trip with a mapping GPS (Becky has had a Garmin Edge 305 fitness GPS for a while, but it doesn’t have maps) and it is proving to be quite useful. For our ride to Kingston, I have been trying to follow the Rideau Lakes Cycle Tour route, as best as I can remember it. Yesterday I was a bit iffy in a couple of places, but the GPS (with a big pink arrow pointing us toward Perth) was very helpful. It let us know we were going in the right direction (even when Becky didn’t believe me) and how far we had to go – as the crow flies at least.

It is possible to get detailed GPS maps with turn by turn routing, but they’re expensive, and a paper map worked just fine as a backup.

During our rest day today, I discovered that someone had uploaded an RLCT route to Bikely, and that I could download a GPX file from Bikely to Mapsource, and then to my GPS. Pretty basic stuff to some I’m sure, but I’m impressed!

I discovered that my recollection of the RLCT route was spot-on as far as Perth, but I was confused about the Perth to Kingston portion. Good to know now before tomorrow, since my planned route would have put us on more heavily travelled roads.

I do want to be careful that these new tools don’t cause us to artificially limit our routes though – sometimes the best adventures come from unplanned detours!

I’m sure there are other useful routes on Bikely, as well as other sites like www.gpsies.com. Alex Carr’s article on Bicycle Touring with a GPS on CGOAB has more details and other suggestions. Perhaps if I had re-read it after getting the GPS I wouldn’t be discovering this now…

RLCT Classic to Kingston

Share your bike routes @ Bikely.com

A day of rest

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2008

OK, so a day of rest may sound a little foolish after only one day of riding, but we were really in need of it. We have been running full steam ahead with packing up the house and all the preparations for this trip that we were both exhausted. This morning, the rain started just after we completed our morning yoga practice – I took that as a sign that we shouldn’t be riding. We decided to spend another day in the hotel and relax.

Upon reflection, we are realizing that we need to take it easier on ourselves when we are riding. Yesterday was stressful because of the rain but also because of the late start. We needed to get to our nights destination before the sunset. We arrived in Perth with not a lot of time to spare. However, our bodies would have been happier if we had allotted more time for breaks and occasionally getting off the bikes and walking around a bit. We are going to have to learn to slow down.

So our plan for tomorrow is to possibly make it to Kingston. It is about 100km, which is long, but we will have the entire day to do it. If we get going early (we are usually up by 7am) then we’ll have lots of time for breaks. We are also allowing ourselves the option of not going all the way to Kingston. There are several potential places for camping or staying between here and there.

So, it is now time for me to read my book … and maybe reorganize the panniers a little!