A handy “How-To”

By Shadow

Hello, Shadow. I just read your column in Thunder Press telling of your experiences with the GPS. The H-D Ride Planner is the most non-user-friendly product there is. Why can’t the route stay the same after it has been loaded to the GPS? I have an Ultra Limited now with the GPS built in and use a flash drive to get from the Ride Planner to the bike. But I had the H-D Garmin Zumo 660 prior to that so I know both versions.

I do have some tips that I can pass on from working with the Ride Planner for the last three years:

• Use Waypoints freely up to the 20 allowed.

• If you have a long ride with many Waypoints, break it into a morning ride and an afternoon ride.

• Put the Waypoints anywhere there is a chance that the GPS will change the route, especially when you are turning. I put a Waypoint on the route right after the turn. There may be a shorter route to the next location but not the way you want to go.

• Zoom in very close to put the Waypoint on the road. Otherwise, it may be off the road and the GPS will try to take you to it.

• Use the Locations only at the beginning and end. The GPS will require you to get to a Location but you can skip Waypoints in the route.

• I set the route with Locations but then go back and change them to Waypoints. This is easier than putting in Waypoints immediately.

• I do not set the final Location immediately. I work towards it using Locations and then go back and change them to Waypoints except for the final location.

I live near Buffalo, New York, and led a group on a seven-day, 1,700-mile ride down through the Virginias this past summer. The GPS stayed on my route except for a couple little hiccups. You must still have an idea of your complete route so that you don’t take a wrong turn from the GPS. The more you play with it, the easier it gets and the more accurate it will stay to your plan. It is to the point where I pretty much have no problems. But it is still sometimes very frustrating. I use it for almost every ride and learn something almost every time.

Email me if you have any questions. I may be able to help.

Wayne Bachowski

Wayne,
your suggestions are great not only for me, but for anyone that’s GPS-challenged. And I agree with your rhetorical question, “Why can’t the route stay the same after it has been loaded to the GPS?” I do have a comment, though. The H-D Ride Planner seems to break up the routes into multiple files, so I couldn’t even upload enough routes for four days because the amount of files exceeded what’s allowed. (It only allows 20 files no matter how much memory you add, and I even bought some and added it to my H-D Zumo 665 thinking that might help!) And 20 Waypoints isn’t near enough, even for a half-day ride, when I’m taking serious back roads and need to set the GPS accordingly.

After extensive research, I found the mapping service at motogoloco.com which has worked out better than any of the other products or interfaces out there, and even using motogoloco.com, the GPS often changes the route I’ve uploaded. I guess I’ll keep experimenting and hopefully I’ll get better at anticipating what the GPS might do with the routes I’ve uploaded. Thanks for your suggestions.

—Shadow

I haven’t seen the multiple file issue from the Ride Planner. Is it because you are using multiple locations in the route? And I agree, sometimes 20 Waypoints is not enough. I, too, keep the major route numbers taped to my tank so that I do not take a wrong turn. Another issue I have is that the GPS sometimes uses local names instead of the route number. That can be confusing when you see a “turn” coming up that you didn’t expect but it isn’t really a turn, just a name change in a town. Sometimes I just have to trust the GPS. A major issue that I and others have is the “no dirt roads” option. It doesn’t always work. In my experience, if the road starts out paved but then turns to muck, GPS takes you there and then probably thinks “uh-oh” when it gets bad. Especially if it is raining. Or maybe she is quietly laughing to herself. I do not turn onto roads that are more like blacktop driveways anymore.

I will take a look at the motogoloco site. Thanks for the tip. And I enjoy reading your columns.

Wayne Bachowski

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