help me equip my bike with gps
November 9, 2006 6:17 AM   Subscribe

help me equip my bike with gps

i want to put a gps thingy on my bike. it would be a good security thing, so i could always tell where it is if it were stolen. but it would also be cool to have some software that just always tracks where it is. it would be cool to see the patterns of where i go, the paths i take, how to improve them, etc.
what hardware is cheaply available for this? what software would i need to track it?
posted by localhuman to Technology (11 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Uh, bicycle or motorcycle?
posted by mojohand at 6:19 AM on November 9, 2006

Response by poster: bicycle in general. fixie in specific
posted by localhuman at 6:26 AM on November 9, 2006

You want something like this? That's a century, btw

Well, I can't help you for the security part, but I use a Garmin Edge 305 in conjunction with for the "see where i go" part. Take a look at some of the rides that are posted on motionbased. You can even export your data to Google Earth.
posted by neilkod at 6:31 AM on November 9, 2006

A GPS navigation system can have decent operating life (a day to several days) using small batteries to power the receiver, and it can record a local log to memory for checking your path, trip stats, etc., so long as you have the unit in your possession. But move up to a tracking transmitter, which offers some kind of theft recovery capability, and you need a lot more power to make the satellite uplink reliably. And the costs for a location tracking system of the second type probably exceed the costs of a fixie.
posted by paulsc at 6:36 AM on November 9, 2006

I have gps on my bicycle. I bought a cheap garmin etrex legend from ebay along with a handlebar mount. The etrex handlebar mounts have been discontinued, so make sure you can get one before splashing out on the gps system. This is the inexpensive $50 option, I'm sure there are more fully featured systems on the market today.

I've been using it for a month now and I'm pretty impressed: while riding I can see how fast I'm going, which direction to head in, how far away that is, how long it will take me to get there, etc etc. I only really need the direction indicator but I find the other stuff motivates me when going up hills ;).

I'm afraid gps devices won't be of much use for tracking theft. Devices made for this purpose seem to be very big and pretty expensive, as they're designed or car use.

As for uploading: I've been using Google earth plus. It costs $20 and lets you upload tracks. I have to say neilkod's suggestion looks great though, I've not seen that before.
posted by Olli at 6:46 AM on November 9, 2006

Here you go: GPS for cyclists.

Considering how easy it is to strip a bike for parts, forget about using it for security.
posted by mcwetboy at 7:35 AM on November 9, 2006

The cheapest Ive seen would be mologogo running on a $50 prepaid boost mobile phone. Needs a usb cable on ebay and a little software hacking to get it to work. The data plan costs $6 a month and the phone is pay as you go. It doesn't work in places with no phone coverage and from my experience has trouble picking up points in areas with tall buildings. The battery only lasts a couple days in standby.
posted by psychobum at 7:47 AM on November 9, 2006

Adding electronics to a bike will only increase the likelihood of it being stolen.
posted by smackfu at 8:57 AM on November 9, 2006

Yeah, it's not really Lojack. Another vote for Garmin eTrex Legend, though I just started messing around with it.
posted by fixedgear at 12:37 PM on November 9, 2006

Best answer: Cheapest would be to get a $20 prepay cellphone, and use one of the online tracking services with it. Google cell phone tracking.

Stuff the phone in the seat, so it can't be seen (and can microwave your future progeny :).

Perhaps wire up and wrap some of those new flexible solar panels around the frame to help extend the battery life.
posted by -harlequin- at 1:28 PM on November 9, 2006

I do not recommend getting a GPS as your first line of security for a bicycle. A good strong u-lock that isn't pickable with a bic pen is a much better investment.

But anyway, about that tracking trails and such, I have been ogling this computer for such an application.
posted by microe at 4:44 PM on November 9, 2006

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