Maps on my Bike
The idea of carrying a GPS with me to record the Mountain bike routes that I ride and would like to ride has, remained just that until recently. There are some excellent web sites www.mtbiker.co.za from which one can download GPX files for upload and use whilst riding. This adds a new dimension to the weekend ride as it gives those that have restricted riding time, the knowledge of where they are and what remains of the days riding. My sometimes riding partner has tried with limited success to carry his EtrexYellow in his hydration pack, but gave up as it lost signal and was difficult to access.
I acquired a Garmin EtrexLegend and after much procrastination decided that it was time to produce a handlebar mount. I found a very useful instructable www.instructables.com/id/yet-another-gps-handlebar-mount/ which gave me a good idea on how to start. I was however not happy with the mounting arrangement or the way in which the GPS is held secure. I started with a piece of scrap aluminium plate which I had in my Pandora's box. I measured the width of the Garmin and then using a vernier I measured the thickness of the device. I allowed for a 5mm overlap at each end (to grip the Garmin in the vertical) and using the thickness and the length of the Garmin, marked out the dimensions on the aluminium plate. I Used a newly acquired and very useful 1.0mm thick steel cutting wheel on an angle grinder to cut out the required shape. These discs do however require a bit more respect than their thicker cousins, as they catch very easily. The edges where smoothed on the grind stone and with a file.
The next step was to bend the plate into the required shape. This a little tricky as the end result precluded the use of the bench vice for the entire process. I also made use of a piece of scrap timber to assist in the bending process. The aluminium bends reasonably easily, and all it requires is that the plate is held true to the drawn lines in the vice. If this is not done, the end result may be un-useable as the ends will be skew and the GPS will not be held securely. The final bends had to be made using the scrap wood and a G-clamp. The bent ends were clamped to the workbench, and the lip formed lifting the end with a screwdriver and then tapping the lip into shape with a hammer and a piece of scrap wood.
All that remained was to drill appropriate holes and then secure into the handlebar stem using cable ties. The configuration of the stem allowed for a very secure fit. Single fixer stems would not be suitable.
The GPS slides into the mount from the side and is held in place with a slice from a motorcycle inner tube. The inner tube allows access to all of the controls in the side of the GPS.
I have given the setup a couple of tests, and it works very well. It has not been in the way, and has added a new dimension to the rides, as the trip computer is far more comprehensive than the Cateye. Although I have not yet tried to upload a trail, it has come in very handy when slightly disoriented in the Hilton plantations. It was however only of use after the fact when a dog attacked and tried to make a meal of my left calf!! The site is now marked and we will avoid it in future. The next step will be to decide on a new route and then see if I can upload and follow it without disrupting the riding too much.