Why I hate my Garmin

My friend wallie, during our Cotswold autumnal ride

My friend wallie, during our Cotswold autumnal ride

Yesterday my friend Wallie and I met for our regular Autumn bike ride in the Cotswolds; we’ve done this for several years now.  We quite often faff around with a map, which sometimes flaps in the wind and so this time I said “I’ll work out a route on Garmin…. but you might like to bring your map…. just in case”.

Just as well Wallie did bring his map.  From leaving Burford, Wallie reminded me of a really nice road heading east towards Witford and Asthall but this was not the Garmin road (this was another road via Fulbrook and Swinford).  I figured the Garmin would recalculate but instead it kept protesting with it’s annoying electronic noises, just what you need in a sleepy quiet part of the Cotswolds.  From time to time we would find ourselves on the correct route and I’d spot a nice white arrow on the display screen showing we needed to turn left at the next junction.

That is where the real fun started.  We would dutifully turn left and then a few metres further ahead we’d hear the Garmin raspberry in telling us we’d gone the wrong way.  This happened many times and was, frankly, hard to understand what was going on.  Bloody Garmin.  At times I felt like throwing it into a hedge although I did try the line “I hear there’s a little used Garmin 800 for sale at a great price”.  Wallie didn’t react.

I might throw my Garmin into a hedge

This kind of thing carried on for several miles and all adds up to why I hate my Garmin.  The fact that it will be 99% operator error does little to soften my dislike of it.  Grrrr.

I reckon I need to sit down one evening and go through it all properly, although so far it’s been less than clear.  Being a would-be entrepreneur I keep alert to possibilities and this reminds me of how some people earn a living by putting flat pack furniture together (i.e. Ikea) for people who might struggle themselves.  I can just imagine groups held in community halls on how-to-use your Garmin.  For that matter your iPhone, Samsung, laptop, Twitter, Facebook etc.  It won’t be me there doing the talking and raking it in but I can see myself paying to learn from someone else how to do it.  On the other hand, isn’t that why we have You Tube etc?

All this is a distraction from the simple joys of cycling.  Many times before I have gone for a bike ride before and not had any of these gizmos with me and took “I wonder where this road goes?” approach.  Seems so nice.

The new millionaire

I got reminded of how valuable the simple pleasures of life were during this ride and more especially afterwards, when I was driving home.  You see, I got to Burford a little before Wallie and I popped into a local shop to buy a snack.  The shop was quiet, I think I was the only customer in there.  Suddenly I heard a loud commotion going on with cheers, laughter and happy sounds.  Next a woman came running past me, heading towards the back of the shop saying “she’s just won a million pounds on the Lottery!”.

When I paid for the food, there was lots of red faces around, all looking excited, a little awkward and a lady was on the phone saying “yes that’s right, I bought the ticket at a shop in Burford, my name is…..”.  There are many dangers facing the new happy millionaire.  We all know they suddenly attract new friends and they always say “it won’t change my life”.  I believe normally these new millionaires do change their lifestyles!

And then I was thinking, if I was suddenly in her position, how would I be feeling?  Would I carry on enjoying the simple pleasures in life – cycling, running, daydreaming?  Easy to say I’d carry on with these things but I do not want to put it to the test.  I wouldn’t want to allow anything to come in between me and the things I enjoy.  While I can admire carbon fibre bicycles, dripping with Ultegra and Dura Ace, I doubt that I’d enjoy cycling anymore.  I’m not a millionaire and you know, that’s fine, I’m perfectly contented with more than I could ever deserve – and to prove it I never buy Lottery tickets.

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3 Responses to Why I hate my Garmin

  1. Graham Lynch says:

    I have a Garmin and from the first time I used it I was disappointed. I learnt from experience that if you take a wrong turning it will try and send you back to the start !! I soon learnt that it’s nothing like using a car sat nav. It doesn’t recognise cycle routes easily. If you stick to main roads and don’t take a wrong turn your within a chance of completing your journey and enjoying your ride. I’ve downloaded routes onto it and still can’t trust it. Basically I use it to track distance completed and calories. Expensive way to do that when I could have spent a lot less. Doug, you are not alone.

    • doug says:

      Thank you Graham, you have been very reassuring and I feel better knowing that I am not alone with my frustrations.
      I am a bit of a convert to Strada and I have been using that for just over a year now to track
      my cycle rides. Also since the summer I have been using it to track my running. It works fine as a way of keeping a good record and it’s free (providing you already have a smart phone to use it on).

  2. Barry Ensten says:


    I went through a few frustrations when I first got it, but now have it stormed. The key thing to do is to turn recalculation off. If you go off course it will complain, however the map view will show you where you are in relation to the route and you can work your way back to it. Are you just using base maps or did you buy a map upgrade. The base map is very poor, You can generate a free better map from opencyclemap.


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