Just like everything else electronics has come to cycling.  Whether it is to record your mileage or find your location it is here  to stay and that is a good thing.  On our first tours we carried maps and paperwork.  It took up  lots space and of course had plenty of weight.

 Another thing a paper map will slow you down numerous ways.  You have to constantly change pages on you map to match where you are and that normally requires stopping.  And seemed we always had to stopat intersections get a better look at where we were going to turn. You can leave all the paper and that added weight at home with a handheld GPS device.

A handheld GPS will hold your entire trip and just like the units in a car you can always see where you are on the screen.  The route is marked by a wide colored line so if you get off course it is easily spotted.  Should you need to re-route for any reason you have all the needed maps to work with.  But if you were caring paper maps, you never carry extras so you may not have the map you need on board.

The GPS units we have at a touch of the button can help you locate food, lodging and many other points of interest.  A paper map cannot do that.

We have proven the Garmin brand to be an excellent choice for what we do.  We have taken the Garmin 60csx across the country twice and it will be with us again for the crossing in 2014. They have a newer model the 62 series that even offers more. 

On a bicycle you should stay away from touch screen models.  They do not work well with gloves and you can't be playing with different screens while you are riding.

If you plan to purchase a handheld GPS for touring here are a few features we feel are important.

1. Routes are programmable meaning "you" can choose the roads to travel not the GPS

2. Waterproof

3. Easy to operate preferably not a touch screen

4. Altimeter that records climbing and decent

We also carry at least one laptop or netbook on tour also.  We have to update our website, dump photos and answer emails.  They have proved to be handy when we need to find a place to stay or want to reroute ourselves. Of course on a one week trip It would not be necessary but when we go cross country a laptop is a must.  Here again advancements in design has cut the weight and size of the first laptop we carried to less than half.


When its getting late in the day and you are miles from nowhere a laptop can help you find a place to sleep!