Gadgets: The Garmin 305



I’ve been using this little gizmo for years. It’s been extremely (in fact, surprisingly) accurate and very easy to use. One of my original motivations for purchasing it came from participating in indoor cycling classes where there was a lot of heart rate monitor interference. This one worked without a hitch.

Also, having lugged around a much larger older unit to help out with field research for the book, I knew the value GPS would have on the road. Having all that functionality in a much smaller unit is great. But I left some features unexplored until recently.

Mostly I’ve used the unit to review routes after going out on a club ride or outings with friends in unfamiliar areas. Earlier this year I experimented with programming routes. Once again, I found the experience surprisingly pleasant. It’s quite easy to plan routes on the computer and then follow them on the GPS while riding. The interface is rudimentary, but very effective. You’re essentially following a breadcrumb trail on this unit. No color maps or street names. But.. it works great! While it’d be nice to have all the bells and whistles of the latest GPS models, you may consider re-exploring your old unit if you have one. There may be some very cool features left unexplored.

Map My Ride – Tour Dallas

Check it out… this is a great new web site for cyclists. It was a snap to upload my GPS file and create a map to share. Below is the Tour of Dallas ride I did last weekend. The site seems to have similar features and functionality as MotionBased.com, but has this neat feature to allow display of maps within blogs and web pages. MotionBased.com seems to only provide a link, which is kinda lame.

Don’t get me wrong, MotionBased.com is a great site too and very useful for uploading rides and reviewing them in great detail, including their awesome Map Player utility (assuming you have IE 6 or 7). You can also download MotionBased.com routes to Google Earth (you can do this on MapMyRide too). Check it out, I also uploaded this ride to the MotionBased site: Tour Dallas on MotionBased.com.

Both sites also offer export options, which is nice. A great way to use your GPS to discover and try new routes. MapMyRide seems to have the upper hand in one particular area, however – their finely polished cue sheets and route maps. There are limits on printing these PDF documents for non-premium members and apparently some restrictions on distributing them for an official event or ride, which is too bad. Hopefully they’ll change that policy in the future… perhaps they could just stamp a few ads on there and let folks distribute them more freely.

Seems like it’s worth exploring both of these sites to get the best of both worlds. Fortunately, both offer free memberships. Though these free memberships impose some limitations, it seems possible to get a good feel for the site’s capabilities using the free versions.