GPS equipment and choices

We have a range of GPS equipment available for the use of riders attempting the South Downs Double. The range starts with a GPS logger (which simply records your route and time for later download) through to online tracking equipment with live web page reporting current position.

Usage of GPS equipment should only be viewed as a convenience - in particular, the rider should be confident in being able to continue even if, for example, the GPS navigation aid fails.

The table below lists the options currently available. Clicking the links will take you to more information about the particular equipment, further down the page.

NameLogging Navigation Tracking Notes
TrackstickYesNoNoCan be carried in backpack, taped to bike, etc
Garmin eTrexYesYesNoHandlebar mounted, provides route info
eTrex + GSMYesYesYesHandlebar unit + saddlebag - tracking may be public or private

Trackstick - for ride logging

The GPS trackstick is a small device that runs for approximately 25 hours on 2 AAA batteries, and records its position and time every few seconds. After the ride, the trackstick is plugged into a PC and the data downloaded - it can then be displayed using Google Maps, Memory Map or some other program.

Operation is simple, the only control is an On/Off switch. The unit has been tested inside backpacks and waistbags. All that is required is that the circular wavy globe logo is pointed towards the sky, and not obscured by metal. Unit weight (inc. batteries) is 90g.

Garmin eTrex - for navigation and ride logging

The Garmin eTrex is a basic GPS bar-mounted (or handheld) unit which logs GPS position and time every few seconds - it has slightly lower time resolution than the Trackstick (roughly one point every 15 seconds, vs. one point every 5s). The unit can be preprogrammed with the South Downs Way, assisting navigation by simply following the route displayed on the built-in screen.

In addition to the handlebar unit, a small external battery is also required to provide sufficient battery life for the full distance. The weight of the unit is 150g and the external battery is another 270g.

Garmin eTrex tracker - for navigation, logging and online tracking

By using an add-on unit for the Garmin eTrex it is possible to send the current position to a website around once per minute. The website can be either public or private (typically private use would be for observers, and safety and support personnel). Additionally the current location can be viewed on most modern mobile phones, so helping anyone involved to follow the rider on the ground.

The add-on unit is mounted in an under-saddle bag and includes a rechargeable battery to provide its own power and also provide extra power for the Garmin eTrex unit on the handlebars. In the saddlebag, it occupies the lower compartment leaving room in the upper one for spare tubes, multitool etc. Weight is 150g for the Garmin unit and 490g for the tracker unit.

Further technical information on the GPS tracker is available online.