Having a GPS for cycling to help find your way in unfamiliar areas is becoming more popular and there are a few things you should look for when making a purchase. Some such as the Garmin Edge series of GPS are designed specifically for bicycle touring.
GPS for Bicycle Touring Required Features
Ease of use – you need a GPS that is easy to learn how to use, some offer touch screens.
Construction – it is important your GPS is rugged, compact and lightweight. You will require a handheld type unit instead of a GPS designed for auto use, an excellent accessory is a bicycle mount for your handlebars. It should also be waterproof as it is sure to rain at some point during your bicycle tour.
Map Display – you need a GPS for bicycle touring that can be easily read in all light conditions. You will want to test the unit from different viewing angles in direct sunlight for visibility.
Maps – a key your GPS is access to maps of your bicycle touring destination. Some GPS have built in maps but that may not be helpful if cycling in Asia or Europe. Fortunately most GPS units have a USB connection to enable you to download maps from your computer for your destination.
Batteries – do carry spare batteries but it is best to use common batteries such as AA size that can be purchased during your bicycle tour. if necessary. Also long battery life is essential; some two battery models have a longer life than the models with four batteries. Some people carry rechargeable batteries but the charger can add weight which you are trying to reduce while bicycle touring.
Accessories – you might want to consider a bicycle handlebar mounting kit, GPS maps, battery packs or a protective carrying case.
GPS for Bicycle Touring Usage
Before your bicycle tour, select some “way points” along your route, such as intended camp sites, towns, intersections etc, and using print or online maps with degree/minute/second guides, input the way-points into the GPS unit to use as guideposts along the way so you don’t get lost.
Some models such as the Garmin Edge will beep to advise you when you arrive at a turn, handy as in some regions road or bike route signs can be lacking.
A secondary reason for a GPS for bicycle touring is that it can provide information about your tour such as knowing how far you’ve gone and what elevations you have climbed although a good bicycle computer will accomplish this as well.
Besides a GPS you will also need some cycle panniers, click the link for some popular styles. Having a cycling GPS helps you navigate and avoid the frustration of going miles out of you way due to a wrong turn.