Biking Gear

The GPS used to record the tracks is a Garmin GPSmap 76S. It fits nicely into the CamelBak Mule hydration system pack I use. It's best to use rechargeable batteries and always carry an extra set. The best rechargeable batteries I've found to date are the Powerex 1800mAh, which work for the GPS and the camera that I carry. MapSource software from Garmin provides the maps that are loaded into the GPS. I haven't played with that software much so can't tell you much about it. I bought the 76S when I found that the Garmin III Plus didn't have enough memory to store long rides. For my use the 76S is a great tool and it floats!

The trail maps are produced from Topo. Topo is where I generally get my altitude readings as I've found the GPS and the Cateye AT-100 are inaccurate.

To record verbal notes about waypoints and trail info I carry a Panasonic RR-QR240 digital recorder. It is slightly larger than a credit card, a half inch thick and weighs 1.7 ounces. It will record for 266 minutes in long play mode, 133 minutes in standard mode, or 66 minutes in high quality mode. The only complaint I have with this recorder is there isn't an On/Off switch. I pull the batteries between rides. It has 32MB of flash memory so when the batteries are removed your recordings aren't.

The camera is a Coolpix 990. I generally carry a wide angle/macro lens and a magnifying hood for the monitor. The hood is a must when taking close up pictures and/or with it set to manual focus. This camera fits perfectly in the pack with the GPS.

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The Cateye CC AT-100's altimeter can be fairly accurate if you know the altitude of the start of the ride and set it when you arrive there. It does seem to record the total altitude gain of the rides accurately. I've just figured this feature out. Another discovery is that if you ever see the altitude bouncing wildly around your battery needs replacing or you just rode off a cliff. It would be nice if you could set the tire circumference to millimeters instead of centimeters for more accuracy.

Bike computers should be calibrated correctly. I was playing around in the garage recently with my bikes computers (3 different makes) and discovered the following. Most computers will let you define the circumference of the front wheel or choose from a predetermined size. I found that the predetermined sizes are far from accurate.

When determining the circumference of your tire it needs to be inflated to a normal riding pressure, whatever that might be for you and your bike. A tire at 30psi will lose (approx) 33' per mile of recorded distance over that same tire inflated to 40psi. If you are not sitting on the bike when you do the rollout it will be off by more than 100' per mile. So make sure you sit on the bike when you do the rollout and wear what you normally do to increase the accuracy. You will probably need to convert the inches to centimeters or millimeters. You can do this at www.convert-me.com/en.

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In a seat bag are tire levers, extra tube, tube patches, chain tool, chain link, a multitool and a couple of small tools that only fit my bike. If you are wondering the hand air pump is in the CamelBak along with some other small hand tools, toilet paper, GU and a twenty dollar bill. I should carry some basic first aid but I don't because I already carry too much stuff. I'll carry a cell phone occasionally. Did I mention you should carry some basic First-Aid gear?

Have a great ride!

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