‘This is how we navigate’ is a part of the series “This is how… by TwistingSpokes.com”. How do we navigate through the vast amount of roads in China, cities as Teheran and Istanbul, Turkmenistan desert, forrest of Albania, the plains of Mongolia? And the list goes on.
In reality it is not as complicated as it sounds and we really choose when and where we go according to time restrictions on visa’s or pure desire in the area we want to experience.
- We carry following equipment for navigation:
- A paper map when available we have used Gizi maps and Reise know how
- A Garmin GPS62st loaded with open street maps (strong device has survived desert sun to Mongolian winter not a hiccup)
- A Silva compass (in the case of gps breakdown)
- A monocular for scouting the terrain (in Mongolia really helpful)
- A battery pack charged from hub dynamo, see power harvesting on tour
- A Macbook with Garmin Basecamp loaded with open street maps and internet
- A smart phone with the Osmand navigation app
We know people just picking up some simple maps along the way and then just ask the people in the area where they are, for example Stephen who has now cycled on six continents without GPS, so it is really a personal choice what and how.
We usually plan ahead for where we want to go and for how many days. In a country as Tajikistan we only got 30days to cycle the wonderful Pamir region, this is not the most complicated as there are not many roads to take when you want to cross the country, so this task was not so complicated, but still we did our routine planning as described below. At other times such as in Europe or in China there are many roads to choose from and our planning and gear really help us in these cases to find the best way towards our destination for the day.
As we try to aim at an average of 60-100km per day depending on the circumstances of the road and weather we then plan our route on either google maps or just in Basecamp. We then make a track in Basecamp and split this track in sections of 70km. Why 70km? As we still change along the way and having tracks of 100km+ feels then as we have to cycle the track and finish it on the day. With 70km we have put in some room for planning along the way and being able to finish the track. This is how we like it not always feeling like we are behind on the route.
This is the first steps of our route planning where we have the macbook with Basecamp and loaded with Openstreet Maps for Garmin, these maps you can find here: garmin.openstreetmap.nl. We download new maps along the way as they are updated time to time.