Finally got a GPS for unicycling

After more than a year from when I decided to get a GPS I’ve actually bought one, nothing like rush buy :slight_smile:

I read lots of stuff about GPS features and I decided which ones I needed. The features of lots of GPS’s, although sounding very nice and would probably be very useful for other people, would be unnecessary for me, I needed a pretty basic unit. So I bought a Garmin foretrex 201 the other day from Maplins (it’s currently on sale).

I am well impressed with it, though I’ve not had chance to use it for a proper unicycle ride yet. It is small, light, has 15 hours battery life and straps to your arm so you can glance at it while riding. It doesn’t have mapping which doesn’t concern me for unicycling and I’m getting a PDA (I wonder how long that will take) that I’ll be able to use the GPS with for mapping if I end up wanting to.

I’ve been looking at the various GPS software products out for PC and most are quite expensive, any recommendations?


I’ve got Fugawi UK which only does 1:50,000 but it is much cheaper than memory map etc. £90 gets you 1/2 of the UK at that scale, £50 for 1/4 - ‘the south’ covers Banbury downwards. If you’re going internationally you’d have to buy something else, as OS only allow their stuff to be used on stand-alone applications

OziExplorer was the main alternative and could cope with any scanned map (even a hand-sketched, or 17th century maps) but I had hassles with the evaluation versions & you would have to illegally scan OS maps for anything UK.

By the way I’ve got a PocketPC with built-in GPS.

how much was the foretrex?


The foretrex is currently £129.99 at Maplins

I have looked at the Fugawi products but I was unsure of them and they’re not cheap. At the moment I’m looking at GPSS from Sunninghill, it’s essentially free but I think it takes some setting up. I do actually have the ‘Ordnance Survey Interactive Atlas’ which has 100 1:50000 and 100 1:25000 digital OS maps on the CD’s and you can save them as bitmaps so I could use those with suitable software, maybe this GPSS if it’s any good.

15 hours of battery life sounds impressive. I’ve never really tried mine with decent, fully charged batteries but I doubt it would last that long; I usually change them after every ride (or two rides if they were short ones). There’s nothing worse than going somewhere new and finding all your batteries dead, so you can’t record where you’ve been!

I’d be interested to know how well mounting it on your arm works. Does the antenna face upwards like this? They do work a lot better when pointing straight up… I have a little carrycase with a belt clip, but when clipped on a belt it hangs sideways and has difficulty getting a signal if you’re anywhere other than the top of a hill. On the unicycle I have mine clipped to the top of a backpack; on the bike I have a handlebar mount so you can see it while riding.

I use Fugawi too; It seems to be the cheapest OS map / GPS software available in terms of map area for the money. My main gripe is that since I bought three of the four sections of the UK they’ve upgraded to version 2, which isn’t compatible with version 1. If I want the rest of the UK I’ll have to either buy what I have again (yeah right) or use two separate programs, which would be a faff. I may just have to make do with never going to Scotland.

I also use a home-made program to see the height profile of tracks in 3D, like this.

Mine has done just over 600 miles on one or two wheels so far, they really are great gadgets.


the bitmaps from the OS Interactive Atlas should be of suitable quality and you could test it easily with the shareware version of OZiExplorer. GPSS may be better- I remember looking at it but I can’t remember why I dis-counted it (how unhelpful is that! - sorry). Calibrating each bitmap to the datums would be the biggest hassle, but a one-off task.

Sorry Guys, but this thread should have been posted with an Anorak Warning !! :wink:

I’m not exactly a techno-phobe or ludite, but c’mon. But I suppose if it enhances your enjoyment of life, then that’s okay.

I don’t even usually ride with an odometer, but every ride is different, and every ride is a joy and I don’t really care how far, fast or steep it was - if the company and the beer’s good, the ride’s even better.

On Sunday morning I went for a ride of some miles over some hills of some gradient or other, saw buzzard (seem to be making a comeback in E Midlands), heard skylark, chaffinch, yellow-hammer and great-tit, observed other signs of impending springdom, shared the craic with some Sunday morning cyclists and wouldn’t have been any more or less knackered if I had known how far it was, how fast I went or how much ascent and descent I’d done.

I’m not against gadgetry, per se - I’ve worked in IT industry for 17 years - but for me it is so nice to get away from it and do something of blissful simplicity … like unicycling !

(off now to browse for GPS & mapping software :D)