The Dedegol Mountains, Isparta, Turkey. This yearís challenge?

The Route and Navigation

This is where we plan to go, leaving the ship at Salerno and starting the voyage home from Cyprus. There is a higher quality picture on the Photos page.

It is not easy to find a good long winter tour in the Northern Hemisphere. If this one works out it will open up real possibilities in the huge country of Turkey. There is no real logic to our tour planning. It grows in an organic sort of way and we eventually come to a consensus on the route. The stoker then gets lots of books and applies her brain to them. The management makes an enormous number of often pointless searches on the internet. The results are combined in a random sort of way and a first draft is achieved.

During the planning stage we use a computer based route program which we set up to use only minor roads. This year we have used a new version of the Garmin MapSource software. Several others work just as well.

When we are happy with our basic route we draw it with MapSource using the track draw tool. This is necessary because MapSource routes wonít download to the GPS. Rubbish programming combined with American marketing seems to be the reason. We also use the draw tool on Google Earth where MapSource is not detailed enough. Again, this could easily be fixed if MapSource got their act together. The routes are then combined mainly by using file convert and MapSource software.

We then try to work out how far we will cycle on moving on days, where we will go and where we expect to find places to stay. Often we just have to take pot luck.

GPS, with the route loaded, mounted on the handlebars and the printed map in an old fashioned map case

We do also look at paper maps. We try to find the best but all are seriously inferior to Google Earth. Cycling scale maps are not available for Turkey and not very good for Italy and Greece. We have a real challenge this time.

It is worth noting that many places have bad maps, particularly in holiday areas. Some are just the figment of someoneís imagination and others are artistic creations which bear little relation to the actual terrain. Wherever we go we spend time finding out which are the best maps to buy and take trouble finding them. It is time well spent, the consequences of bad maps are a spoiled or even ruined tour. And the management can quite easily do that by himself without help from some map cowboy.

SmartyPants, a Garmin Foretrex GPS with over 8,000 miles on the clock

On the road Ken has the GPS with the route loaded mounted on the handlebars and the printed map in an old fashioned map case. That way he can see the detailed picture on the GPS screen and the bigger picture on the paper map. Not only does he know within a hundred metres if he takes a wrong turning but he has more information about the ride at a press of a button than his brain can cope with.

Following the rebuild of the tandem in 2005 we decided that we no longer wanted the old fashioned inconvenience of cycle computers. But the stoker wants trip information. She has her faithful SmartyPants, a Garmin Foretrex GPS with over 8,000 miles on the clock, and this also works well. It needs a clear view of the sky, not easy to get on the stoker handlebars, and it cannot load maps even if they existed. But it is very small and not too expensive and does have track back when the management gets lost.

We are looking forward to the day when we can have Google Earth on our handlebar gps unit. Our guess is that this is still several years away, particularly on a bike.

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