13 December 2009

Almost Coastal

Having ridden a couple of times to Kamakura on the coast via Route 1 from Gotanda and not particularly enjoyed the route, I was excited to see Tom's ride from last week - Kitakamakura Enoshima Loop.

Enoshima, always wanted to try that and Tom'll know a good out of the traffic route.

With Garmin Connect far easier to use these days and the ride sitting there staring me in the face, I thought, 'I'll download that, ride out to where we it crosses the river and start the navigation function on my Garmin 705 and simply follow it" Easy-peasy.

Dominic in a less than sensible moment had agreed to come along too. Off we went, leaving TAC at 7am, arrived in good time at the 'route crossing' point at which time I dived into the Garmin menu and started the navigation.

This worked very well for about 3 minutes until the incensed beeping started. "U-turn as soon as you can". We did. Much to the excitement of a tuned-up Subaru driver. Found our left turn, now a right turn facing the opposite way, but all good as it counted down the metres and indicated where to go.

A short, sharp climb. Of course, it's Tom's route, remember. Then it dawned on me. I knew where I was. This was where Adam had introduced me to some mountain bike trails behind the golf course, near the top of the climb, back when I wouldn't be seen dead in lycra shorts. Those were the days.

Anyway, I digress. We progressed at this point rather well indeed, many lefts and rights, and all very straightforward to follow. Of course, absolutely no idea whatsoever where we were, but we had GPS so who cared. If I'm honest, a couple of wrong turns, soon corrected, but all in all, pretty good.

Or so I thought.

We cycled past Tokaichiba station and then it went kind of awry. The Garmin wanted a left turn and common sense said straight on. Dominic suggested topping the water bottles off and then decide.

That done, we, well me really, decided to follow the Garmin. It had done an excellent job to this point so give it the benefit of the doubt.

This is Tom's route..

This is NOT Tom's route..

With the Garmin spending more time re-calculating (note to the manufacturer, this should be replaced with "thinking") and then getting stuck and in need of a re-boot, then telling us to turn right, and me ignoring that every time, well we ended down on Route 16 with a dilemma.

We both needed to be back in central Tokyo by 1pm, which meant we had an hour to play with. Continue for 30 mins then U-turn and head home? Na. Go now. We headed along Route 16 until Route 1, then hammered it.

Quick tea break at Starbucks in Gotanda (Positivo approved), then home.

I didn't achieve my goal.

I didn't see the sea.

I did get out on the bike and had a great ride in broody, overcast conditions.


  • What looks like a turn to the Garmin, can in fact, be a slight bearing only off to the left or right.
  • The unit needs more RAM.
  • The unit needs a faster processor.
  • Wouldn't hurt to look at a map once in a while.
  • Better still a map printed off with Tom's route on it.
  • Choosing to field test this functionality in the suburbia that is Greater Tokyo wasn't the brightest idea.

Garmin Connect - Almost coastal

I trust Tom, Michael and James are proving to be speedier up at the Xmas Enduro


Manfred von Holstein said...

That's not what it should be like. The only reason why I would have bought a Garmin was to have an electronic map with me and to be able to follow the routing, especially in built-up areas. Your testing has convinced me not to consider this idea any further. It will be maps and GPS tracking for me.

David L. said...

I downloaded Ludwig's Minami Shinano route from Chino to Hamamatsu before my trip a few months back ... but it was no help in getting from Chino train station to the bottom of the first climb, and thereafter it mostly served as a validation that I was still on the (only) road through the valley. I basically ignored it, amused at the reminders that I was too far to the left or right (when there was a steep drop at the side of the road that it seemed to be urging me to plunge off. Of course, if I had remembered how to turn on the back light, it would have been nice to have on the way toward Hamamatsu Station in the dark.
I would download again for a ride somewhere I have not gone before ... but rely primarily on a map.

I asked at the Garmin booth yesterday whether they had a good Japanese map I could load onto my 705 from the U.S. ... and was told "no."

I still really like it, and am glad that there are more ANT+ compatible devices coming out every year -- like my power meter.

... just as I was glad to hear yesterday that Panaracer is coming out with a road tubeless tire soon ... although Vittoria's rep said that they are not.

Manfred von Holstein said...

The problem is that mapmyride saves only relatively few of the track points that get uploaded, so the route becomes much coarser than it actually is. Hence you get the advice to plunge off the road... mapmyride is really annoying - by cutting out so many track points, the total distance shown is always a significant underestimate of the true distance taken (usually about 10 percent more). If anyone wants to use my GPS tracks, let me know and I will send the original file which is much more precise.

There is an English map that should work on your Garmin - do you have that? I agree though that having a Japanese map is much more useful. Having both would be ideal.

Jimmy Shinagawa said...

As I've mentioned before(?), there are maps available for the Garmin here.. http://uud.info/ however the small screen is not the best, an iPhone is better for navigating.. all in all, I think the Garmin faired quite well.. it was on-the-go re-calculation that caused issues.. I will definitely try this again, when I see a route I would like to take that I have not been on before.. I find the free version of mapmyride to a bit of a blunt object.. the updated 'Garmin Connect' is very good imho.. my post is as much tongue in cheek as it is a serious description of using the Garmin for outright navigation.. I was greatly amused to see the route tracking, particularly when we realised we had gone wrong and whizzed around, half trying to get back on the right road, half thinking of what to do as we were running short of time.. we would not have been able to complete this ride as originally planned given our self inflicted time constraints, even with no wrong turns.. as David has noted the ANT+ is superb and very easy to set-up.. I'd recommend a 705 to anyone.. well worth the money.

TOM said...

James...I feel a bit honored you took & downloaded one of my tracks. I've tried the same (including some of Ludwig's great routes) but everytime in the middle of the download, this irritating ERROR message pops up...so never successful.

The most fun way (not always the shortest!) to get to a destination, I find, is to pre-enter only the longitude and latitude data and then enter "GO TO".

As Ludwig wrote, carrying a good map like he always does is a surefire way.

BTW, to go to Enoshima is actually very easy...just follow the Sakaigawa Cycling Road all the way from Machida to Enoshima! The middle section is actually quite fast with only few pedestrians on the road. Easy to do back and forth in half a day.

Richard said...

I have had similar results with downloaded routes on my Garmin > constant instructions to u-turn, and insufferable route calculations.

The Sakaigawa route is indeed nice, though not fun at oji-san and oba-san 'walking' hours. Gangs of them, spread across the path. Either stone-deaf, hearing aids switched off, or just plain dumb ...

I have been know to ride from my place (Machida = 6 miles) to Enoshima and back, and still get to work (a mile from my place) at 8:00 am. It did involve 3.5 hours of riding in pitch black though.