By Eric Hall
I was lucky enough to be invited to do the COBDR (Colorado Backcountry Discovery Route) with the crew from GS Riders of GoAZBMW. They are THE best adventure riding group I have ever seen. They are just very well organized, skilled, motivated and give riders feedback on these trips so that everyone becomes a better rider each time they go out. Their leaders seem to be Jason Houle, who they call "the captain," and Mick Williamson, but many of them are active in ride planning, support, ride leading, etc... like Jason's wife Wendi, Mick's wife Michelle, Ryan Frazier (Team USA GS Trophy '12), Jason Apelquist, Kyle Moore, Janus Lund, Bill Cress, etc... Jason does a lot of these events with RawHyde so the group gets the benefit of his professional experience there. If you ever get the chance to ride with them TAKE IT!
I grew up in Arizona and I still go out there a few times/year to see family in the Phoenix/Scottsdale area. I was back in Dec '12 and was invited to go on a ride with them up Cherry Creek road, which is part of day 3 on the AZBDR, so it was nice to have some familiarity with that section. At least there was no snow when we rode the AZBDR in May...
First thing's first: THIS APP REQUIRES NO DATA TO FUNCTION. No matter how many people I talk to, someone always pops up to complain that it won't work when you're out of cell range. I state now, once and for all, when you're on the road, this requires no data. Some of the additional features may, and you must download the mapsheets ahead of time, but all you need for this to work in the field is the GPS chip--which every cell phone has.
Best part? Try it for free. In the free version, you can download up to 10 mapsheets--which may be enough for you never to upgrade anyway, since each is a state or country. If you do choose to upgrade to the full version, the cost is around $8--probably the best money you can spend on navigation. Half the time, I can't buy paper maps for that much.
This app has a million features, but here are the ones I really like:
- it's more versatile than my Garmin 650t. It'll load anything GPX without a hassle.
- It will save GPX (many configurations possible for intervals and other info), though I've actually had better luck with Google's My Tracks for pure simplicity. Often, I record using My Tracks, then export to GPX and open in OSMAnd+.
- pinch and pan using the phone interface is awesome
- Bluetooth allows turn-by-turn instructions on your helmet headset if you're on the road
- A $2 contour plug-in gives you topo capability (download a small topo overlay for each regular mapsheet). If you don't know how awesome this is, save your $2 for a half a cup of coffee at Starbucks.
- It actually doesn't draw much power. My phone will last all day with it on while recording GPX tracks. The display is what sucks battery. My phone (Droid Razr Maxx HD) will run OSMAnd+ longer than my Montana 650t will run on a single charge and the display turned all the way down.
- You can load it onto a full-sized tablet or a mid-range 7" "phablet" and have an enormous display. Some of these new phablets are actually waterproof (Sony Xperia is one) and have batteries to go for a really long time. Try that on your GPS.
- My favorite capability is setting an overlay map and selecting Microsoft Earth. This gives you an overlay on top of the base vector map and a slider to choose the transparency. This is hugely useful for seeing things like clear-cuts (logging is big up here in the PNW) or finding paths and trails that aren't on a map. This feature alone is worth the $8. It requires data of course, though you can preview the places you're looking at from the comfort of lunch or home wi-fi, and the imagery will remain cached. I've used this for elk hunting, and it's very slick.
- there's so much here, it's intimidating at first
- you have to save the mapsheets on your phone. Some are pretty big and will take a while to download, as well as a lot of space.
- I often have trouble getting it to navigate to a street address. When using grid coordinates or picking a spot on the map, it has no difficulty at all.
- Check your settings for what the phone enables during low-battery mode. Mine was set to disable the GPS chip.
- Yes, your phone is probably not as hardy as your purpose-built GPS. Yes, the screen is probably less well-adapted to direct sunlight, and charging can be a challenge due to vibration, even if the tablet or phone is waterproof. Yes, the screen might not work with gloves (there is a glove treatment you can use for this though).
AMSTERDAM - January 15, 2015 - (Motor Sports Newswire) - TomTom (TOM2) today launches the all-new TomTom RIDER, designed to make every motorcycle ride more exciting. For the first time, bikers can choose the level of twists and turns they want to ride to create their own adrenaline-filled adventure.
Introducing the all-new TomTom RIDER, designed to make every motorcycle ride more exciting. For the first time, bikers can choose the level of twists and turns they want to ride to create their own adrenaline-filled adventure.
The all-new TomTom RIDER helps bikers discover and explore new routes. Simply select an area to ride on the map and TomTom RIDER will suggest the most exciting round-trip. Bikers can build excitement before setting out by creating and sharing touring adventures with friends and uploading direct to their TomTom RIDER.
“We believe that every ride is a chance for adventure,” said Corinne Vigreux, co-founder and managing director, TomTom Consumer. “So we have designed TomTom RIDER to give bikers more ways to create and discover exciting routes. From the freedom of cruising the open road, to the thrill of leaning into the tightest curve on the highest peak, with RIDER, bikers can create and ride their own perfect adventure.”
The stylish, yet rugged TomTom RIDER has been completely redesigned for life on the road.
An innovative rotating mount allows bikers to switch to portrait view to see more of the bends ahead. It has a glove-friendly, interactive screen to make it easy to find and explore new places. Bluetooth® enabled audio instructions delivered to the headset or helmet, give bikers more freedom to just enjoy the ride.
TomTom RIDER includes features that are designed specifically for bikers:
Winding Roads: Find the most exciting winding roads and avoid the boring straights. Hilly Roads: Stay at sea level or climb the highest peaks. Round-trip Planning: Simply select where you want to ride and TomTom Rider will find the most exciting route. Portrait View: Simple rotate to portrait view to see more of the bends ahead. PC Route Planning: Pre-plan a touring adventure before leaving home. Route Sharing: Share a route with other bikers before setting off or after you return home. Lifetime TomTom Traffic: Ride with real-time traffic information for the lifetime of the device. Audio Instructions via Bluetooth: Keep your eyes on the road with audio instructions delivered through your headset. Track Support: Upload tracks (GPX format) and your TomTom Rider will show you the way. Hands-free Calling: Call hands-free while you ride. Weather-proof Design: As weather ready as you are. Glove-friendly Screen: Use your TomTom Rider even while wearing gloves. Sunlight Visibility: Make use of different colour options for different times of day. Trip Recording: Record your trip and relive the adventure any time. Trip Statistics: See how far, how fast and for how long you have ridden. Fully Interactive Screen: Pinch, zoom and swipe to interact with the map. TomTom RIDER will be available from April 2015. See www.tomtom.com/new-rider-400
A list of some popular GPS Apps for Offline Mobile devices
Ride with GPS:
Dual Sport Maps: (Currently Unavailable and based on the Open Source Osmand APP)
Other handy APP's: (Android)
DigiHUD Pro Speedometer GPS Fix (Helps acquire GPS Fix faster) Useful Knots Ultimate Survival Manual First Aid - American Red Cross