Cyclo-therapy: With a click of my mouse the route through rolling hills via Chipping Norton had been sent to my device

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The Independent Online

I hate satnavs. When they're not directing hapless truckers off some cliff in Cornwall they're driving me nuts with their shouty commands to "TAKE THE THIRD EXIT" (not to mention their occasional cluelessness).

Worse than that, they reinforce the cocoon that is the car by reducing the world outside to a screen within a screen. But few could deny that when satnavs aren't being rubbish they're bloody useful. I have two – one for the car and, now, one for the bike.

Satnavs for bikes? Yep, they exist. Modern mobiles with GPS technology will do the job but they're not designed to survive phone-jarring rides, so sales of dedicated devices for bikes are booming. The brand in front appears to be Garmin, whose rugged and water-resistant Edge 705 I've seen a lot this year.

I recently acquired an Edge and used it the other weekend in Oxfordshire. It's great to get the wheels rolling on new roads, but that usually involves regular stops to consult the sweat-soaked map in my jersey pocket (nice). But no more. I did a quick search of my new area at the Garmin Connect website and discovered several rides uploaded by satnav-toting locals. With only two hours to spare I picked a 30-mile circuit starting at Deddington. With a click of my mouse, the route through rolling hills via Chipping Norton had been sent to my device.

The following morning I was spinning along B-roads in the sun, loving my first decent ride in more than a month. I'd never cycled those roads before but for two hours and countless junctions I didn't need to stop. Not only does the 705 perform the standard bike computer functions (showing distance and speed as well as countless other data fields to get gadget geeks salivating) but in map mode it also shows the way ahead. It will beep and count down the yards to the next turn if you want but I prefer simply to follow the highlighted route in peace.

I also used my Garmin to record rides. So if I wanted to relive the glory of the Etape du Tour in France, the more local lanes of Le Puncheur in Sussex, or the Highland roads of the Etape Caledonia (without "tackman" trying to puncture my tyres), I could simply call up the routes and repeat. And the best thing about bike satnavs? No annoying voice.

If you're remotely interested in any of my rides, they're at bit.ly/3bygp.

s.usborne@independent.co.uk or see independent.co.uk/cyclotherapy

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