Navigating Your Active Vacation: Using the Best GPS Technology

Introducing a New Era of Backroads Navigation

Ever since I led the first Backroads trips back in 1979, our turn-by-turn written directions have represented independence: independence from biking at the same speed of the fastest or slowest rider, and independence from the group mentality that may turn people away from organized travel. While many tour operators insist on making guests hike or bike at the same pace, the combination of our detailed directions and industry-leading support means that we not only expect but encourage our guests to speed ahead and tackle a big climb, or take a break and savor a cappuccino in an inviting town square.

Researching the Best GPS Systems

Backroads Garmin Edge Explore 1000 Since 2006, the promise of a new form of independence came onto the scene with navigational cycling computers. We listened closely as more and more guests asked for GPS guidance on our trips. We conducted plenty of research as well, knowing that the wrong device can ruin a whole day's ride!

Well, I'm excited to report that we've outfitted our bikes with the newest top-of-the-line Garmin and Wahoo GPS navigation units on biking trips in Europe, North America, Hawaii,  and on select Latin America trips - included at no additional cost. (My wife Liz and I recently used the units in Champagne, Alsace, Provence and the French Riviera during the last phase of testing... let's just say that I love R&D.) Garmin and Wahoo were finally able to offer devices that met our highest standards and allowed our guests navigate in away that suits them and their Backroads experience best.

Enjoy the Ride!

How does it work? You simply show up and your Backroads bike will be set up with your GPS device, pre-loaded with all the routes on your trip.

Don't worry, we still have our beloved paper directions for those who prefer to stay unplugged from technology during your vacation. And for those of you who already have your own navigation device, downloadable GPS files are available for all Bike Tours in Europe, North America and Hawaii.

See you out there!

Tom Hale Riding with the Garmin Edge Explore 1000 in Spain

5 Responses

  1. Glenn Lee

    So what do we get in Cambodia/Vietnam?

    • Hi Glenn–In Vietnam and Cambodia (and all other regions besides North America, Europe and Hawaii), you’ll receive our detailed turn-by-turn written directions. Until we’re sure that the software can support the “back roads” that we use there, we will not be introducing GPS–the routing is just not dependable enough. Thanks for asking and we hope to see you out on a trip soon!

  2. anthony james

    Can someone point me to where I can find the gps file for this ride? I am looking to ride from Asheville, NC to Greenville, SC next weekend to see the Crit Nationals. I am from WI so I am not aware of what roads are good or not and then I would ride back.


  3. […] with nary a worry about getting lost. I won’t go into much detail here since I’ve blogged about the freedom our GPS delivers, but being able to go at exactly my Type-A personality pace and knowing where I am at all times is […]

  4. […] make it even easier, we have pre-programmed routes in Garmins GPS devices that offer multiple options, so we can choose if we want a more relaxed ride or a harder […]

  5. Jonny Waddle

    Hello Backroads,
    My wife and I will be joining you guys in June on a biking/ cruise trip from Basel to Amsterdam. My question is can I sync the Garmin 1000 to my Strava account to share my vacation with friends back home. The other option would be to bring my bike computer with us. What do you think? We are way excited about our trip. Can’t wait to see you all!

    • Hi Jonny, We’re delighted to hear you’ll be traveling with us and want to share your experience as you ride. The Garmin Edge Explore 1000 will not natively sync to a Strava account. The Garmin device will sync with the Garmin Connect app on your smartphone, which can then push events to Strava. But if you’d like to sync directly to your Strava account for real-time segment riding and tracking, you’ll need to use your personal device. Thank you for reaching out!

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