Wednesday, May 27, 2015

new garmin touring

My Garmin Edge 605 has become unreliable: it has turned off and lost routing on rides, it's lost data, it no longer accepts settings for zero averaging. I've grown dependent on a GPS, and I'd been looking at a possible replacement for over a year. The one that caught my eye is the Garmin Edge Touring.

It does pretty much everything I want it to do: it will store my ride info (route, speed, time); it will set a route to a saved point (like, if I remember to save the location where I parked the car); it will follow a pre-set route. The stuff it won't do - link with a heart monitor, for example, or do altitude with a barometric altimeter - is stuff I don't care about anyway.

I've never seen it in stores, and when I went to ask about it at Kim's, Benny and Dave had little knowledge of it. But they got it for me anyway (it's $250, as opposed to the $400 and up for the other devices with turn-by-turn directions), and wanted my experience with it when it was available. I've used it a bit, and here's what I can see:
  • It does well at storing ride data; it even beeps at you if it senses movement and you haven't started the recorder.
  • Where the 605 used buttons to move from screen to screen, this device uses a touch screen. The touch screen worked with my thin glove-liners; I don't know if it will work with my winter gloves.
  • It accepts routes in standard formats, but translates them to a proprietary format for internal use. I suspect this is so that Garmin can keep some control over the device, but the RideWithGPS website also reads the proprietary format. (The Garmin site is less than friendly; routes that are saved on the site can only be shared directly to devices, not downloaded for direct linking.)
  • The default settings are not useful. This RideWithGPS page and this other page show corrected settings that work better.
  • When following a pre-loaded route, it gives you plenty of notice of turns and loud beeps. If you depart from the route, routing will stall unless you re-enter the route at the same point. If you are NOT on the route, and it asks if you want to recalculate, it will pick the fastest route to the end. If you ARE on the route, and you recalculate, it will pick up the route at the point you are on.
So far, it's right up my alley. Here's the test ride I did today.

The car GPS speaks with a female voice; so it was always Mrs. Garmin. That led to the 605 being Mr. Garmin. Because I can't refrain from the easy, but obscure, joke, this device, because it is a computer, and because the model name is Touring... I'm calling it Alan.

My experience with Kim's and with the RideWithGPS site has led me to some thoughts about paying my own way and the use of my money... but that's a post for another time.

Edit 5/28/15: On the Princeton Freewheelers Facebook page where I linked this article, one of the respondents made the following comment:

... " If you depart from the route, routing will stall unless you re-enter the route at the same point". This happens on my 800 too. If you don't like this feature, what I found is that you can change the settings before you start the course to have it stop trying to bring you back to the exact point that you left the route (or where it stopped tracking you for some reason). Just set the 'off course warnings' to off (I think it is defaulted to on). This will keep tracking your and will pick up the route whenever you get back on course.

I will try that; I have not done so yet.

Edit: Later 5/28: What seems to work the best: Set "Recalculate" to OFF, and, for each course, set "Off Course Warning" to OFF. When you go off the route, nothing exciting happens, and, when you get back on, the Touring just picks up the route again.

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