At Ride and Seek we intend to stay ahead of the times with navigation and offer the best touring experience. So as standard all guests who ride with us get a Garmin GPS unit to use on tour. We will teach you how to use the units and although some guests are apprehensive at getting to know the technology, we promise you that you will come to love these little power packs! However don’t worry we don’t just leave you with the units and send you off down the road, there will also be guides on the bikes and in the van keeping an eye on you, and for those not keen on screens we do give out maps too!
Whether they be 1 week cruises around Provence or 6 week Epics from Paris to Moscow these GPS units are certainly the future of bike touring. They make bike touring so much more pleasurable as there is no need for long cue sheets or continual stops looking at maps. We use both the Edge 800 and Touring Plus models which provide turn by turn navigation. We also plot custom cues on our tours to give a little personal touch each day as they inform when you reach your day high or more importantly when it is time for coffee!
The reality on tour is that some people love the technology and others find it tough to adapt to so we also provide our guests with map sheets which along with a map have the details about the day – the ride description, hotels, coffee stops, lunch, a featured Strava segment for the day and the extra loop for the super riders who just want to stay on their bike!
The great thing about the Garmin GPS units is they can offer a lot of information about the ride you are on or just the essentials. We tend to reduce what can be seen to keep it simply to essential navigation. Then as guests grow with confidence we teach them about the options beyond, which include everything from the elevation and what the hill looks like ahead – which can be a great help or even a horror in the Alps – to the distance home, or to coffee or lunch or even just your speed or the weather! For the experienced the 800s also have the ability to link up to your heart monitor or wireless ANT+ compatible devices (for example power monitors). For those of you who have your own device, feel free to bring it and we can get it loaded with the course(s) you require.
Our relationship with Garmin has been an excellent. It began back in 2009 when they supported us for our BBC documentary ‘On Hannibal’s Trail’. Back then the Garmin 705 was the latest thing, no touch and a funny little dongle to control the unit! They were a little clunky! Luckily the Garmin 800s and beyond, what we use on all our tours, are touch screens. Watch Ben, head of technology for Ride and Seek in an excerpt from the documentary below. Garmin have also supported us when we have needed it most. This last touring season saw 25 of our Garmin GPS units stuck on the Russian border trying desperately get back to Barcelona for the start of the Hannibal tour. We contacted Gail at Garmin UK and told her the situation and instantly Garmin had units ready to express to Barcelona for us. We appreciated this hugely but luckily for all involved our Garmins (along with our van, trailer, bikes, tools and all other equipment!!) got through and got to Spain just in the nick of time!
If you are interested in learning a little more about the units check out our cheat sheet which we give to all the guests on our tours – it has the essentials on how to keep your Garmin happy and you on the right road!