Going GPS, Tikit Update and Long Haul Trucker

It was a long week at work and I let TDR slide, which I so dislike. Business first, play later; I don’t make the rules. MG and I did not ride last weekend nor this one, though she came out on her single today to meet me and Super D on the tandem for breakfast at Luna Cafe and Grill at Dupont Circle in the district before a visit to Eastern Market to peruse the outdoor vendors.

We found an interesting Bianchi Randonneur bike from the ’80s, built in Japan with Suntour Mountech derailleurs, half-step gearing and good lugwork. Either of us could have ridden it, but this one needed a home where it would be a prize and not one of the stable.

Super D and MG with Bianchi RandonneurSuper D and MG with Bianchi Randonneur

Bianchi RandonneurBianchi Randonneur

MG left us to go check out the Surly Long Haul Trucker complete bike. The built bike is priced under $1,000 and comes with Shimano XT hubs, Shimano bar end shifters, Sugino XD crankset and good complementary parts. She’s been looking for something to replace her Novara Randonnee for town hauling. The Randonee fits her well but is something of a tank. MG says it has no feel. While she normally rides 56-57cm bikes, she found she was a better fit on the 54cm LHT, which uses 26″/559mm wheels. Huh. Anyway, keep tuned to this space for more on the LHT.

Meanwhile, check out her mini-review of the Bike Friday Tikit folding bike at Vik’s Tikit Blog. He requested a little more than we posted last week on TDR and MG has good things to say. The only thing she’s found wanting is the cheapo SRAM twist shifter, which is incredibly hard to turn. I guess the idea is that one doesn’t use it very often. I’m going to install a thumbshifter.

Last week Bill Beck and friends rode the ROMA 400K out of Lebanon Church, Va. Fortunately no Biblical weather this time. See his Flickr set or the Slideshow.

During our brevet break I’ve decided to spend even more time at the computer by buying a Garmin Vista HCx GPS unit. My GPS buddies said it offered the best combination of screen, expandable memory, battery life, weight and price of the Garmin lineup (especially compared to the cycling-specific Garmin models), though it takes up more real estate on the bars.

Vista HCxGarmin Vista HCx

I resisted buying a GPS until we started riding brevets in other areas with unfamiliar roads. While we haven’t had a problem yet, it will be nice to know more about the area we are riding through and have some help staying on course. It will get its first test at the North Carolina Randonneurs 400K this coming Saturday.

The downside is that you have to make up a route at home before the event if you want turn-by-turn routing. It’s tedious work but it forces you to learn the route a little and that’s a good thing. The dirty little secret about GPS routing is that you can’t just input a cue sheet and have it give you turn-by-turn directions exactly as you want. You have to input enough waypoints and via points on your home computer to force it to stay on route and not route you off-course. I’ve posted Nick Bull’s handy-dandy “How to Train Your GPS” primer Here.

I’ll report back on our progress. When fellow randonneur David Lippke said “Welcome to GPS hell” when I started asking lots of questions about GPS randonneuring, I think he was kidding. I think.

7 thoughts on “Going GPS, Tikit Update and Long Haul Trucker

  1. Thanks for posting info on MG’s Tikit and thanks to MG for kindly writing a post about her new bike. I was expecting the worst from the Tikit’s twist shifter myself, but have been pleasantly surprised with crisp easy shifts. Having said that a thumb shifter will be very nice…=-)

    Keep up the good work…


  2. Hi Ed,

    Okay – I did it, I bought the GPS too! I have, simply have, to know how much I’m climbing up here in CT as my average pace is so darn slow on these hills from hell!!! I bought the same one you and Nick have, wish me luck!


  3. I have a Garmin 60CSx mounted on my tikit. Used to have it on the SRD before I sold it. Use a RAM mount and like it a lot. Have been meaning to take some pics so now I have an excuse…

  4. I do agree that eTrex HCX has one of the best quality/price ratio on the market. I wish it had a bigger screen, but for that price, the GPS is a winner.

    BTW, i LOVE the Long Haul Trucker!

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