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GPS for bikes: Ask the Editors

CNET editor Bonnie Cha answers a reader question about the best GPS for bike delivery messenger.

Q: I am going to be a package delivery person and was wondering if there is a GPS for bikes to help me navigate the city [of Quebec]. I am looking for two features in the GPS system. I only know my destinations and would like to know the best way to get to them in the best time ever! And I want the system to be on a network that gets updated by users so it builds on its on core to be a better product. GPS on a network that is always updating itself to be more correct on street signs, as they change always, traffic, etc. --Dylan C. via e-mail

A: Hi Dylan! First off, I'm not sure if you're talking about bicycles or motorcycles, but I'll cover both types just in case. If you're talking bicycles, finding a GPS to meet your needs is going to be a bit difficult. I've been doing a little research online, and a lot of the models available for bikes, such as the Garmin Edge 705, are more for training and logging your rides or workouts. Plus, they have a more outdoor/off-road focus rather than city navigation, so I'm not sure they're your best option.

Garmin Zumo 550
Garmin Zumo 550

That said, there are a number of in-car GPS that have bicycle routing modes and can provide some of the functionality you're looking for in a portable navigation device. In terms of being hooked up to a network, the Dash Express delivers the most functionality in that sense, since it offers Internet connectivity via Wi-Fi or cellular network and allows for over-the-air map updates, real-time traffic updates, and more. However, it's not very bike-friendly; it's large and clunky and I'm pretty sure there's no bicycle mode.

TomTom offers something called MapShare, where users can make adjustments to maps (such as noting blocked roads, updating POI, adding new streets, and so on). You can make the changes right on the device, save them, and then upload and share them with other users via the TomTom Home desktop companion. Navigon also has something called FreshMaps. From those two companies, I'd recommend something small like the TomTom One series or the Navigon 2000S, and be aware you'll need to get a bicycle mount.

Now, if you're talking about motorcycles, TomTom and Garmin offer their own lines of GPS specifically for motorbikes: the Garmin Zumo and the TomTom Rider series. They both offer traffic updates (subscription required), quickest route options, bike-mounting kits, waterproof casing, and integrated Bluetooth, if you want to make hands-free calls.

Any other bikers (motor or pedal) out there who have suggestions for Dylan?