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back to article Review: Mio Cyclo 300 cycling satnav

For some people cycling is about the exercise, for some it’s about the countryside and for some it’s about the gadgets. The carbon fibre water bottles and rare alloy spokes. Mio Cyclo 300 bike satnav Mio's Cyclo 300 all weather satnav It’s easy to assume that a bike computer is something which is only right for those in the …

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Devil

Americans?

Mio is best known for budget car satnavs and the Cyclo 300 falls into a similar category for those who use two pedals rather than three.

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Re: Americans?

People who couldn't pass the manual test, apparently.

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Anonymous Coward

Mini USB???

Is this 2007?

Surely it's a micro USB now?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Mini USB???

Larger ports are better at dealing with grit, which gets thrown about when cycling. Yes, there is a cover on the port no doubt, but it still gets in there.

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Silver badge

Cycle routes?

The real question is whether this thing knows about cycle routes - Google Maps doesn't seem to. Such satnavs as I've used tend to be out of date on routes for motor vehicles, allegedly because local authorities are slack about updating the information. I would imagine they'd be even slacker over cycle routes.

Then again, what constitutes a cycle route? I've had very poor experiences with the National Cycle Network. Many of the routes seem to be dirt tracks that are heavy going even on a mountain bike; the disciples of Wiggins aren't going to get far on their road bikes. One NCN I was following had a signpost pointing across the middle of a ploughed field. The only NCN routes that can be reliably followed on a normal bike seem to be the ones on public highways. That's not a cycle network, it's a road network.

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IT Angle

Re: Cycle routes?

I'm like a broken record on this but - I reckon if some of that there olympics money had instead been used to create better cycle infrastructure, we would have had a much better return in terms of ongoing exercise in the population. Half of what puts people off cycling at the moment is that it's bloody dangerous out there on the roads.

The other half is (of course) laziness.

And the cold. The third half is the cold :)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Cycle routes?

Showers, cycle parking (if you buy a good bike you want it there when you get back). are also complaints. Plus car sharing, carry stuff like laptops, being customer facing, needing to do client visits, not having anywhere to sit at lunchtime, not having the money for a bike.

I've heard them all. Not having a sat nav doesn't seem to appear on the list, but it's good to have some competition to Garmin.

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Meh

Re: Cycle routes?

Those would be excuses not to cycle to work and do have some validity. I currently don't cycle to work because of the cycle path situation and also because it's 25 miles away!

But outside of commuting, I think folks would be far more up for using the bike as a general means of local transport and as an exercise activity if we had a decent network of cycle routes.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Cycle routes?

download the sustrans app to your android (or, I assume, ipad)

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Ru
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Re: Cycle routes?

It isn't just "bloody dangerous out on the roads"... cycle path planning would appear to be done by people who've never cycled a day in their life, and quite likely have never walked down a busy "shared use" track in an area with lots of bike commuters.

Olympic money might have been *invested* in cycle infrastructure, but I'd have been quite surprised to see *better* cycle infrastructure result!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Cycle routes?

Bikehub (http://www.bikehub.co.uk/) seems to cover a lot of the sustrans routes.

not sure what mapping they use tho

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Mushroom

Re: Cycle routes?

What is most annoying and results in them being disused is the stupid tendency for planners to do the cheap option and put cyclepaths on the normal pavements and expecting the cyclist who is supposedly going in the same way as the main road is to have to stop and cross EVERY flipping sidestreet... the sidestreet traffic should be giving way to cycles... not the other way round.

We always do things on the cheap in this country and then they wonder why it isn't working properly...

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Re: download the sustrans app

A fine idea (and I did download a couple of cycle-computer apps, when I got my Android phone), but I don't really want to risk my handset getting smashed/soaked/nicked, so a cheaper and/or well-mounted device would be a better solution.

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Meh

Alternatively cable tie a large bulldog clip to the handle bars and use an OS map from the library. Pocket the £200 for tea and cake stops.

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Or invest in a handlebar kit for your smartphone, and possibly a cheap bluetooth earpiece.

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Silver badge

Yep

This is my solution - a combination of my Lumia 800, Nokia Maps/Drive and RunSat or RunTheMap works wonders.

Not quite got the battery life, but I can get a couple of days out of it, and I've got a recharge pack (and a shaver socket adaptor which works at 98%+ of campsites, and I'm old and wimpy enough to insist on a showerblock these days, nights under the stars with just me, a bike and bivvy bag are long gone...)

I do have to start the unpause the tracking app after a phone call though, which is a tad annoying, but I've got a couple of ton* left over for rare alloy spokes and cf water bottles. (Have I bollocks, it all goes on beer :)

*Yeah, yeah, I pay for the phone...but I was getting that anyways

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Anonymous Coward

The battery life on a phone when using GPS with the screen on all the time is shite and when you have a catastrophic bike failure 30 miles from home your phone will be dead. No thanks.

Of course if you have a sensible bike with a dynohub you can charge up your USB powered stuff with that, as well as powering lights.

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Import/Export

Can it import/export routes?

I use http://www.cyclestreets.net/ and http://www.gpsies.com to plan my route, I'm yet to some across a GPS device which maps for cycles, they all sem to want to stick me on the road, despite their being a superb canal towpath near me which can cut a lot of time and hills out of a journey.

Anyone know of any devices which incorporates this sort of routing? I'm looking to upgrade, my garmin battery isn't holding as much charge as it used to, it's served me well.

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Sunlight

Have tired a few GPS systems on the motorbike and the best ones are extremely bright so the screen can be seen in sunlight. No mention of that in the gloomy December review, but something for potential buyers to watch out for.

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Boffin

Re: Sunlight

Which is why I've been wondering for some time why there are no eInk outdoor/cycling gps devices yet. With a much larger screen if possible. Current stuff is all crap, although this one seems much better than Garmin, which has a worthless user interface

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. 3

Re: Sunlight

I am currently using a phone with an OLED display on mine with a bluetooth earpiece and it's fine. I have yet to try it in Summer, but tucked inside the fairing it's got some shielding from the daylight. Nokia Maps is superb by the way and shames the Tomtom I have.

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Re: Sunlight

Yeah, e-ink, with newer generation GPS chips which are much lower power. It would be better if it had better battery life. Of course, it would never last like my Cat Eye cycle computer that goes for several years on one button cell.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Sunlight

E-ink is slow and not designed to update often.

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Re: Sunlight

How often does a GPS screen need to update on a bicycle?

I'd say e-ink would be fine.

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Or you could just use your mobey?

For road travel if you have an android you can get a handlebar mount for under a tenner and then a copy of copilot, that found routes for me I didn't know, even lanes within a mile of my front door.

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Coat

Re: Or you could just use your mobey?

I think the problem with this, for cyclists, is the british "weather".

I think that was the point of the main picture in the article showing it soaked.

Most smartphones wouldn't survive that. (Apart from defys, etc.)

(It's a raincoat, obviously.)

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Re: Or you could just use your mobey?

It's not just the weather, although that is a big part of it.

There's also the battering that goes along with falling off the mount and onto a gravel track and then going under the wheel of the bike, or the bike taking a slide or tumble and everything attached to the bike bouncing off the scenery.

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Thumb Up

Re: Or you could just use your mobey?

Don't know what kind of mount you're talking about, but these things encompass the top and bottom. I can only assume you're talking about off road, as I did 3000 kms on the road with no such problems, example of what I had then - http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0045D4090

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Re: Or you could just use your mobey?

Yes, off road, on the road there's not so much need for this sort of thing, on account of signposts, depends on what your riding I guess, some country roads are poorly signed so you might want it for some of those rides.

I don't think I've had much luck when it comes to mounts for anything on bikes, most things that are removable tend to shake loose, lights, pumps, locks, satnav, one of my better purchases has been ortlieb panniers, brilliant things.

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Megaphone

Re: Or you could just use your mobey?

I use my galaxy s2 and just pop it in a plastic bag and slip it in my back pocket. If you need to constantly look at the GPS you are a menace to all.

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Devil

Wonder if...

... the "Surprise me" button routes the punter to:

1. heavily trafficked roads or highways

2. footpaths that are swamped as soon as it rains

3 bad neighbourhoods?

(according to the current weather, time of the day, and availability)

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Unhappy

I'm just wondering how you can cycle far enough to need a bleedin satnav...

...okay, okay so I'm a lazy bastard slowly turning to lard. Why should anyone else be different?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I'm just wondering how you can cycle far enough to need a bleedin satnav...

I'm guessing you've never done any sportive rides? the longest I did was 90 miles through various places I'd never been to. So having a GPS with the route locked in (downloaded from the site) was very handy.

One person I know who did the same ride would have finished very high up the finish times, but went in the wrong direction for a while. He wouldn't have made that mistake with a sat nav.

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Ru
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Re: I'm just wondering how you can cycle far enough to need a bleedin satnav...

Satnav will do the job nicely for shorter routes in unfamiliar areas, too. Town center navigation is seldom swift if you have to sort yourself out.

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Happy

Re: I'm just wondering how you can cycle far enough to need a bleedin satnav...

I live in a rural area of France that's a warren of poorly signposted lanes and back roads. Getting a handlebar mount for my Galaxy Note and a copy of the MapMyRide app has opened all of these up to me. If I know where I'm going I just leave the screen off and record the ride for posterity (and to check my times), if I don't I'll follow the map on the screen - or plan the route in advance on the PC and send it to the phone, then follow it on the display. It's pretty spot on as far as GPS accuracy is concerned and uses Google Maps as the basis of the operation.

I found a Chinese website selling waterproof sleeves for the Note which still allow touch-screen operation, which works a treat when it starts to rain, though the Note is surprisingly capable of surviving a shower. It's also survived a couple of falls at speed when I hadn't got it properly attached with little more than a scratch. Most impressed!

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Anonymous Coward

Mio? Never again..

I may have picked up a spot of prejudice against the company when I bought one of those budget things which came with a year's worth of free map updates. Only, there were no updates. They bought the supplier, but did nothing with them. I got an email THREE YEARS later proudly telling me that updates were now available.

I consider commercial promises made at sales time important. That's why Sony has lost my business - I *liked* the "other OS" option in my PS73..

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Meh

Let's hope it is more reliable than a Garmin

As much as I love my Garmin Dakota 20, I'm now on my third. Customer support is all well and good but twice I've turned mine on to find that it has either forgotten everything (all built-in maps, tracks, waypoints, the lot) or won't even boot. Good job I wasn't camping in the middle of nowhere.

Remember kids, take a map with you. Technology is all well and good in the living room, but once outside it is a different matter.

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Ru
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Re: Let's hope it is more reliable than a Garmin

My ancient 60CSx with openmtbmap mapping has proven to be super reliable. Presumably, Garmin got complacent, shafted its engineers and designers and stopped innovating; the usual consumer electronics company downward spiral.

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FAIL

Pretty much useless for long-distance riders, then ...

10-12hr battery life might just make it through a typical weekend ride for me, whereas the integral battery means that it's damn near impossible to charge in the field compared with, say, something like a Garmin eTrex which takes a couple of AA batteries.

I imagine that the roadies and uber-commuters will love it, though.

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Silver badge

Re: Pretty much useless for long-distance riders, then ...

Maybe you don't need it turned on all the time... there will be stretches where you will either stay on the same road, or use landmarks like hills or church spires to navigate. A compass on the handlebars is a reasonable backup, too.

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Thumb Up

Re: Pretty much useless for long-distance riders, then ...

>>>> say, something like a Garmin eTrex which takes a couple of AA batteries.

Hear, hear. And those AA batteries last for a very long time - 20~24 hours. Plus the screen is always readable. Did the E2E using the eTrex and it made navigation a breeze.

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Anonymous Coward

Yes but...

...does it tell you:

the best FOOTpaths to cycle along

the best one ways to go up, in the wrong direction

the best red lights to jump

the best road signs to ignore

and magically makes your lights disappear in the dark

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Yes but...

If you were any more reactionary they could use you in Sellafield

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Cheaper Garmin Alternative

I use a Garmin eTrex 30 on my bike. Can be found for around £150 without maps. I've loaded Open Cycle Maps of the UK on mine. They're free and routable. NCN routes are clearly marked so pre-generating routes is rarely necessary. Screen is smaller however but still colour. Uses GLONASS as well as GPS satellites and I've only ever lost signal when inside a tunnel. Seems to be just as rugged as the Mio device. Takes 2 AA batteries which I find more convenient if away from mains power for a few days. Energizer lithiums give me two to three full days riding.

Still carry a map though. Just in case.

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Cheapo alternative

I have a Garmin Dakota 10 which you can buy on Amazon for about £93 at the moment (plus the cost of the bike mount & silicone rubber cover). It has enough memory to install a full UK map base using the openstreetmaps source compiled into the appropriate form for Garmins at http://talkytoaster.info/free-uk-maps-faq.htm. It has a touch screen and works very well for cycling (and for walking too - it's primarily a hand-held).

It also uses AA batteries (including rechargeables), which makes it easy to carry a few spares for multi-day rides.

The Dakota 20 also has a barometric altimeter, an electronic compass and an external micro-SDHC slot, but is rather more expensive. If you want the (expensive) complete 1:50K OS maps, you need that extra memory).

It's not the biggest screen in the world, and the route finding is not as good as that on cars (and you can't do searches by road names - at least not with the talkytoaster files I've used to data, although they are shown on the maps). It's also a bit more bulky, but at the price (when used with free maps), it's something of a bargain. Yup, there are lighter ones and integration with heart monitors etc., but you'll pay a lot more.

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Re: Cheapo alternative

Trouble with openstreetmaps is that its woefully incomplete around my neck of the woods, and thus not much use for anything. There are a number of local B roads not listed, and some just stop dead for no obvious reason which is pretty poor really.

I use an old htc desire lashed to the handlebars and encased in a waterproof sleeve. Google maps is my mapping app of choice as i can preload all the satellite/terrain imagery before i set off into the wilds. As most of my riding is done offroad and off trail, roadmaps arnt much use, i need an overview of the topography, which only gmaps seems to provide properly (thats also free, im a cheapskate as well).

Keeping the screen off until some nav data is required, I get a good 6-7 hours out of each battery (I always carry a spare).

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I have a Garmin Dakota but the screen is very dull and grey. I much prefer to use my Motorola Defy which is quite waterproof though admittedly it's hard to operate the touchscreen when it's wet :( Using Maverick you get full 1:25000 mapping for free...

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Garmin Dakota 20

I use a Dakota 20 with OS maps (1:50K) and it's compatible with Garmin heart rate and cadence meters wirelessly, the screen is dull with the back light off but in daylight you don't need it plus it makes the AAs last longer. Overall it's good as a bicycle GPS unit albeit a little bit bulky. This and the lower spec (discontinued?) Dakota 10 will be available for similar money. A bicycle GPS is really good idea for route following and giving you an idea of the upcoming terrain either on or off road, especially with OS mapping.

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Anonymous Coward

suppose i had better stop calling them all Twat Nav's

now there is a special one just for twats.

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FAIL

So you were cycling at 22.5 mph then?

Yeah right ! ! ! ;-)

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