Navigating SOLO Rid...
 
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Navigating SOLO Rides

Johnny Pugh
Estimable Member Ride Leaders

Navigating Solo Rides

I really miss the camaraderie and companionship of TCBC group rides. And it looks like we will not be able to resume TCBC group riding this year. But at least TCBC is now allowing SOLO rides with insurance coverage and mileage credit. I have been doing these rides for almost a month now, and while not as much fun as the old group rides, I still enjoy riding someone else’s routes, especially in areas that I usually don’t ride.

But there doesn’t seem to be a lot of participation on these rides. I’ve heard that some members don’t do them because of the difficulty of route navigation. They don’t have a Garmin and they can’t read the small text on the queue sheet while on a moving bicycle. Some say “I don’t want to navigate with a map or queue sheet, I prefer to follow the ride leader.” “That’s why I choose a ‘B’ or a ‘C’ ride-- so that I won’t get dropped”.

What if I told you that there is a way to navigate a route, never miss a turn and never have to take your eyes off the road to look at a queue sheet, map or Garmin? And almost everyone already owns the device that makes this possible. In fact, most of you usually use it to navigate while driving your car to the ride start! Yes, it’s your smart phone! The one thing that you will have to buy, to make it work, is a Ride with GPS Basic subscription for $50 a year. This is a bargain compared to paying $300-$600 for a GPS bike computer!

Once you have the Ride with GPS subscription, you can download the route that is listed on the TCBC Ride Calendar, open the Ride with GPS app on your smart phone, load the route and start riding. If you are thinking “this is way too complicated”, it really isn’t -- I will show you how easy it is.

  1. In the TCBC ride calendar, click on the ride that you want to do
  2. Click the Ride With GPS URL
  3. When the Ride With GPS page opens, click “Pin” in the upper left corner
  4. Open the Ride With GPS app on your smart phone and tap “Library” on the bottom row
  5. Then tap “Pinned” in the top row
  6. Your downloaded route will be in the Pinned list, select it and tap “Navigate” and you will be ready to navigate the route like a pro!

See my screen shots below to see what I am talking about.

After you tap “Navigate”, turn your phones volume all the way up, turn off the screen and put it your pocket. When you start riding, the Ride With GPS app will start recording your ride and you will hear Turn by Turn navigation instructions. After you make the directed turn, you will hear the distance and direction to the next turn. You will hear it again ¼ mile from the turn which will give you time to look for it, check for any traffic and get in the proper position to make the turn. You will hear an alerting tone and the street name and turn direction about 300 feet before the turn. This sequence will continue until the end of the route. It is almost like having the Ride leader right next to you telling you where to turn for the entire ride. If the route creator decided to create custom queues, you will also hear them. This can be rest stop information, points of interest, restrooms etc. The more details that the route creator can add, the better. Even complex routes on a maze of trails can be easily navigated if the route creator adds all of the necessary queues. This will probably result in a queue sheet with many pages, but who cares, it will be folded up and in your pocket anyway!

I have heard some riders say that their hearing isn’t good and their smart phone speaker “sucks!” Well, there is a very good solution to this but it will cost you a little more money. It is an external Bluetooth speaker that can be attached to your shirt. The best speaker that I have found for the job is a Noxgear 39G. It only weighs 39 grams and the sound is unbelievable! It is easily loud enough to overcome wind and traffic noise. I use mine for route navigation, then listen to music in the back yard during happy hour.

Some might worry about the battery life on their phone. Don’t worry about it! I have a 3-year-old Android phone and the battery will easily last over 12 hours when I use it with the screen turned off and just listening to the audio turn by turn directions.

So, my advice is to give a TCBC SOLO ride a try. If you don’t have a GPS bike computer, use your smart phone with the Ride With GPS phone app. Enjoy riding the route by yourself or with a family member or maybe trusted close friends. When you finish your ride, please give feedback, positive or negative, to the ride leader when you submit your ride. They can use the feedback to make improvements to their routes.

Update: I got an email from Lyle K. informing me that the Ride With GPS Basic subscription can also be purchased for one month at a time for $6 per month. This can be cancelled at any time. And there is a 30-day money back guarantee, so the first month is free. So, there really isn’t a good reason not to try a TCBC SOLO ride using Ride With GPS on your smart phone to navigate it.

TCBC ride
RWGPS pin
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This topic was modified 7 months ago by Johnny Pugh
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Topic starter Posted : July 18, 2020 7:55 pm
Paul Loughman
Estimable Member

Kudos Johnny! Well done. 🍻 

ReplyQuote
Posted : July 18, 2020 8:44 pm
Paul Loughman
Estimable Member

What you get, and what it costs for RidewithGPS.

https://ridewithgps.com/help/compare-plans/

ReplyQuote
Posted : July 18, 2020 8:47 pm
Glen Olson
Trusted Member Ride Leaders

Nice detailed 'how to' information; I hope riders will give it a try.  Sometimes I have had trouble hearing my phone so I will look into your Noxgear 39G Bluetooth solution. Thanks

ReplyQuote
Posted : July 19, 2020 6:14 am
Paul Loughman
Estimable Member

I just ordered the Noxgear 39g. If you purchase this month (July) and you use the Discount Code CF25, you save $29.40 off of the list price of $98.00 (you pay $68.60). That's significantly better than their "oh, your a first time purchaser" discount offered on their site. It pays (no pun in tended) to search the 'Net for coupon codes!!

ReplyQuote
Posted : July 19, 2020 4:07 pm
Johnny Pugh
Estimable Member Ride Leaders

Update: I got an email from Lyle K. informing me that the Ride With GPS Basic subscription can also be purchased for one month at a time for $6 per month. This can be cancelled at any time. And there is a 30-day money back guarantee, so the first month is free. So, there really isn’t a good reason not to try a TCBC SOLO ride using Ride With GPS on your smart phone to navigate it.

ReplyQuote
Topic starter Posted : July 20, 2020 4:06 pm
Glen Olson
Trusted Member Ride Leaders

Turn by turn Cues feed directly into my blue tooth hearing aids; clear as a bell!!  Should of done this a while ago.  I imagine the blue tooth hearing devices you wear on your ear would work very well also.

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Posted : July 20, 2020 8:26 pm
Johnny Pugh
Estimable Member Ride Leaders

Glen, I used to use a Jawbone Bluetooth earpiece and it worked great. But the battery only lasted about 3-4 hours. I wore it in my right ear so my left ear was uncovered to better hear other riders and car traffic. And a side benefit was the ability to answer phone calls with my Jawbone while riding.

This post was modified 7 months ago 2 times by Johnny Pugh
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Topic starter Posted : July 20, 2020 10:19 pm
Paul Loughman
Estimable Member

My Noxgear 39g arrived today. I ensured it was fully charged and paired it to my iPhone. Used it on this afternoons Surly Urban Scramble ride. It is impressive. No doubt about that. I don't know if I had the volume turned all the way up, but at the volume I did have it set at, it was as clear as Johnny attested to. WAY better than trying to listen to the turn-by-turn notifications from your phone in your jersey pocket! When I was on the cycle path on one of the bridges where the late afternoon traffic was rather heavy, the road noise from the cars did make it hard to hear the notification. But, again, I don't know if I have the volume all the way up. Based on this first use, it was definitely a good purchase. Thanks Johnny, for letting us know about it.

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Posted : July 23, 2020 8:11 pm
Paul Loughman
Estimable Member

If anyone is interested in this excellent wearable Bluetooth speaker, it is currently on sale for $57.08, a savings of 42% off the regular price!

https://www.noxgear.com/39g?utm_source=email&utm_medium=Mailchimp&utm_campaign=FebFlash21-1&mc_cid=4a091be565&mc_eid=cc25e10739

 

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Posted : February 16, 2021 1:45 pm
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