Ireland to Cape Town

Marty90

New Member
Hopefully if travel is back to normal next year I will be cycling from my hometown in Ireland to Cape Town. When touring I like to carry as little as possible by carrying only as much as I need. So far this has meant only carrying one map of Ireland. To keep the weight down i'm thinking of buying a Garmin Edge 530 but i'm not really into tech so i'm not really sure what to expect from it. My question is can anyone tell me if it's possible to travel the whole way to Cape Town without maps and only using one of these GPS bike computers? I'm not fussy on exact routes. I plan to just jump on the bike next May and start cycling across Europe, fly from Athens to Cairo and cycle down East Africa to Cape Town without any real plan and taking a direct route.
 
Hopefully if travel is back to normal next year I will be cycling from my hometown in Ireland to Cape Town. When touring I like to carry as little as possible by carrying only as much as I need. So far this has meant only carrying one map of Ireland. To keep the weight down i'm thinking of buying a Garmin Edge 530 but i'm not really into tech so i'm not really sure what to expect from it. My question is can anyone tell me if it's possible to travel the whole way to Cape Town without maps and only using one of these GPS bike computers? I'm not fussy on exact routes. I plan to just jump on the bike next May and start cycling across Europe, fly from Athens to Cairo and cycle down East Africa to Cape Town without any real plan and taking a direct route.
Hi Marty,
That's one hell of a first post!^_^

To answer your question simply, of course it's possible without a gps - lots of people have done it before gps was even a thing.

If you're not already aware, https://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/locales/?locale_id=7160705&doctype=journal is a repository of journals from bike tourists. Lots of info there.

However, don't expect a little box on your bike to be the best way to get you the length of Africa without something helping it along.

To go into more detail, a bike computer needs to be charged to be useful. Not trying to be a smartass, but simpler options exist that use normal batteries.
Not all bike computers are the same and most are best when a route is designed on a website/dedicated app and then followed on a device.
Plotting a route often needs Internet access. And a phone, tablet or computer.
If using a phone, then you already have the option to navigate by that (although that has its own risks in weather and rough roads)
A device that small (gps) has limited storage and processing power to calculate "good" routes (good being subjective).

I'm currently in Guatemala and using Osmand on my phone to create routes and send to my Wahoo unit.
Osmand is a fantastic bit of kit that works offline and has handy features like saving locations, favourites etc. For example, I can mark off (in advance) shops, hotels, danger spots and always have access to them.
It's elevation data is spot on too - handy in the hot mountains.

You can try it out at home without needing a gps unit - it gives turn by turn navigation.

You don't say if you are planning to stick to main roads or be more adventurous - that will have an impact on your options too. For main roads you probably have enough with a phone.

For routing through Europe and especially in urban areas https://cycle.travel/map is great.

I'd also suggest checking out any visa requirements in advance. I think I've read of folks being held up along the way.

And not to be too much of a negative nelly, while Europe may be back to normal next year parts of the world will not. I'd suggest contacting the Irish Embassies along your route for advice.
The Australian Travel Advisory service, smarttraveller.au is very good and realistic with its comments and advice.
iOverlander is a free app where people share camping/accommodation spots with reviews.
Warmshowers is a hosting community for bike tourists. New alternatives are starting up.

I'll finish with one great advantage of a dedicated gps unit - it tracks your ride. A (free) account with Strava or RideWithGPS will let you upload the ride, add photos taken during the ride and even let you comment or write about your day. For a long distance tour like yours, it can be a great (and easy) way of keeping all your memories in one place - once you have internet access every now and then. Useful also for folks following you at home.

Best of luck!
 
Hopefully if travel is back to normal next year I will be cycling from my hometown in Ireland to Cape Town. When touring I like to carry as little as possible by carrying only as much as I need. So far this has meant only carrying one map of Ireland. To keep the weight down i'm thinking of buying a Garmin Edge 530 but i'm not really into tech so i'm not really sure what to expect from it. My question is can anyone tell me if it's possible to travel the whole way to Cape Town without maps and only using one of these GPS bike computers? I'm not fussy on exact routes. I plan to just jump on the bike next May and start cycling across Europe, fly from Athens to Cairo and cycle down East Africa to Cape Town without any real plan and taking a direct route.
Bike GPS Computer plus a Strava account is one of those things that fast becomes your companion. Since you start next May, why not get one now to see its value. Its money well spent. 7 years later and I have all my journeys in 2 continents. It has become a journal of sorts.

Just check out bike touring YouTubes and you will come across a small travel solar panels for re-charging as you bike during the day.
 
Top Bottom