Backroads now has downloadable GPS files available for all of our trips. If you regularly navigate by GPS, you might prefer to use these files on your own personal device. Please be aware that you are responsible for downloading the GPS files from your Backroads account. Device security is also your responsibility, as well as its mounting and safe operation on trips that use bicycles.

Biking with a GPS Unit

GPS devices for bikes are not like those found in cars: the units are smaller, may be difficult to read in bright sunlight, and will not speak to you. Keeping those considerations in mind, a GPS device can be a great complement to our paper directions and can really make following the route a breeze.

Technical Support

Backroads does not provide technical support for your personal GPS device. If you plan to bring a device of your own, it is highly recommended that you have experience operating it while biking or hiking before you depart for your trip.

Type of Device

There are a number of manufacturers that offer turnby-turn GPS units. We highly recommend Wahoo and Garmin devices for their accuracy and dependability. If you’re bringing your own device, be sure to confirm it works for navigation, not just tracking distance and statistics. If you plan on using a smartphone app for navigation with our routes, we strongly recommend bringing a battery pack to recharge your phone at lunch or other stops along the routes.

Take a Hard Copy of the Trip Directions

We recommend taking printed directions in addition to any GPS device, for the following reasons: If it’s too bright or too dark outside, you may not be able to see the screen clearly without adjusting device settings. It can be difficult to read the screen if you wear certain types of glasses. Some bike paths and trails are difficult for GPS devices to navigate due to imperfect mapping technologies. Your paper directions can provide route details in these areas. Your GPS files will not contain detailed information about shuttle stops, lunches or other points of interests along the route. Your battery may die. Routes can change at the last minute. Your device may not be able to locate a satellite signal—it happens!

Installation and Security

Backroads is not responsible for the installation or security of your device, or any damage that it suffers. Remember to take it with you when you get off your bike!

Device Accuracy

GPS technology is constantly improving, but these devices are not 100% accurate 100% of the time. The Wahoo ELEMNT and ROAM devices tap into the GLONASS system of satellites, making them the most accurate devices on the market. Even so, with any GPS device, you may find that the Backroads paper directions differ slightly in distance or directions from the device’s display. This could be due to rounding errors on our part or inaccuracy on the part of the device. Don’t expect technology to be right all the time!