Chicago Skyline from the Bicycle Illinois Ending Location

Support for Our GPS Units

SecurityGPS UnitsBatteriesHandlebar MountsTraining

read over web pages & GPS training sheet beforehand to familiarize yourself

We understand that you might be a little nervous about using our GPS units instead of following painted road markings, especially if you would not consider yourself to be technically savvy. You have nothing to worry about because we have been using these units ourselves extensively since 2006, are intimately familiar with every aspect of them, and have tested everything ourselves. Also, you can always contact us at any time for help in case you have any questions or problems with the GPS units while riding and we encourage you to ask as many questions as necessary so that you not only feel comfortable but also very excited about using GPS technology to navigate by. We're really excited to be able to help you learn how to use them!

Our GPS unit will be ready to be use to navigate when you receive it. You will receive our GPS unit, a full set of batteries, and a handlebar mount as appropriate for the entire event at check in. Each unit will be individually numbered and assigned to a specific participant and you will be responsible for keeping track of your own individual unit.

At the end of the event you will return the unit, any leftover batteries, and the handlebar mount back to us.

Because we don't give you a choice as to whether or not we will supply you with a GPS unit to navigate by, we really can't ask for a security deposit or charge you if you lose or break them. So we ask that you PLEASE BE CAREFUL and remember to remove them from your bike and keep them sure when not in use because any repair or replacement costs come will directly out of our pocket.

GPS Units
Most participants will receive a Garmin eTrex Legend Cx GPS unit. Depending on the availability of these units, we may also provide a Garmin eTrex Legend HCx or Garmin GPSMap 60CSx unit instead.

  • Click Here for more information about our Supported Garmin eTrex and GPSMap GPS Units.

Each unit will have an individual number marked both on the outside and also on the unit's welcome message. We will track which unit is assigned to each individual participant so please make sure you have the right one and don't get it mixed up with anyone else's.

Route Datasets
All routes and waypoints will already pre-programmed into our GPS unit when you receive it. You will not have to upload or download any type of data yourself and you will not need any type of computer or laptop at all. We may also individualize the routes on each unit for each participant as appropriate, such as staying at the main lodging site or supported hotel, riding days for partial day tours, etc.

Unit Settings
We have gone through and set up every one of our GPS units unit specifically for the purposes of following our routes, eliminating as many unnecessary functions as possible to confusion.

PLEASE only operate our units as instructed and do not try and "tweak" or "customize" anything, especially if you are more familiar with the operation of these GPS units, since we do not reset any setting on the units after each event. If you change any setting it could be incredibly confusing and frustrating for the next participant who uses the unit, particularly if they are not very familiar with the GPS technology, not technically savvy, and very, very nervous about relying on the GPS units for navigation.

We will provide you a full set of disposable AA batteries as necessary for the entire event. We will not provide rechargeable batteries because we do not have the capability to pre-charge all batteries for all units before the event or swap out discharged batteries with fully charged ones after the ride each day for multi-day events.

Handlebar Mounts
We will provide you a mount to attach our GPS unit to your handlebars. Rubber spacers will also be supplied with the handlebar mount to eliminate any gap and mount it securely and ensure it fits tight and doesn't slip. We will also have electrical tape and different sized screws available if necessary.

When you register you will let us know what diameter (width) your handlebars are so that we can ensure we will have the proper size mount for you.

You will need to install the handlebar mount before the start of the event. The night before the first riding day of an event is by far the best time to install our handlebar mounts if you can arrive then. If you have difficulty installing the mount we can also also help you.

We will have a couple of screwdrivers available but we strongly recommend bringing your own #2 Phillips head screwdriver with you so that you won't have to wait for anyone else to install it.

  • Click Here for more information about mounting our GPS units to your handlebars.

Unit Operation and Training
We will rely on you initially reading through these web site pages in order to become more familiar with what to expect and how to operate the GPS units to save time during the event itself.

We will also have an extensive hands on training session during the opening meeting on how to use the GPS units. If the opening meeting is the night before the first riding day, you will also get a good chance to practice using the GPS units in town that night, such as using them to go to dinner.

The syllabus for the GPS training directly parallels the information on the web site about How to Operate Our GPS Units. Click Here for more information.

  • Using the GPS Unit on Your Handlebars
    • oHandlebar Mount Installation and Removal
    • Attaching And Removing the GPS from the Handlebar Mount
  • Overall Unit Operation
    • Replacing the Batteries
    • Turning the Unit On and Off
    • Welcome Screen
    • Satellite Signal Acquisition
  • The Map Page
    • Your Current Location
    • Zooming In and Out and Panning
    • Battery Power Status
    • Lost Satellite Reception
    • Getting Back to the Map Page
  • The Route
    • The Route
    • Waypoints and Waypoint Nomenclature
  • Navigating Via the GPS Unit
    • Seeing Your Movement
    • Following the Route
    • Supplementary Road Markings and Orange Flags
  • Limitations
    • Sleeping at the Wheel
    • Route Distances

On Road Support
Before the event we can only guarantee to provide support for our supported GPS units.

During the event we can only guarantee to provide support for our own GPS units that we provide to participants when we use GPS devices instead of signage.

Even though our GPS units are waterproof and very rugged and resistant against shocks and impacts, it is still possible that they can become broken and inoperable by getting wet, cracked, crushed, etc. In addition, they can also get accidentally lost or stolen.

If you run into any questions or problems using our GPS units on the road, we will address them at the rest stop locations. We can assist you with such things as operating the unit, adjusting or replacing your handlebar mount, and attempting to fix any other problems you might have encountered on the road.

Spare GPS Units
We will also have a couple of extra GPS units available at each rest stop ready for immediate use (new batteries, route loaded in, etc.) If a problem with one of our GPS units occurs on the road that we are not able to quickly or easily fix at the rest stop loaction, we can swap out the entire GPS unit so you can continue riding without delay.

Our GPS units will only be available as spares for participants who are not riding with their own supported GPS device when we use GPS devices instead of signage.

Pre-Event Unit Testing
We have thoroughly tested our units to ensure their constant use in an extreme envronment of being bounced around ll the time.

If one of our unit fails, most likely it will be because the battery momentarily lost contact with one of the battery leads. If this happens the unit display will slowly fade and become blank in a couple seconds. If this happens simply hold down the power button in order to turn the unit back on. This may happen a couple times while you are riding, particularly if you hit a large, jarring bump while riding. However if it happens repeatedly please let us know and we will give you a new unit.

To prevent units from shutting off unexpectedly as much as possible we cleaned and polished the battery leads of each unit and bent out the battery leads as much as possible to ensure constant battery contact. We also installed foam pads in the backs of the units to keep the batteries secure as much as possible and prevent them from moving around. Finally, we ran each unit on through a dryer (with no heat!) for an hour to simulate extreme riding conditions and made sure each one was still on afterwards.

P.O. Box 8454 • Chicago, IL 60680 • (877) TOUR-ILL [868-7455]
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