Where Are You?

Screen Shot 2013-08-20 at 8.23.11 AMA few months back in anticipation of a 24-hour rally I was going to ride in, I purchased a SPOT GPS tracker. Because I like to disappear on the bike for six or seven hours at a time, I’ve started carrying it on longer rides. Particularly those where Sue would rather not pound out a day’s worth of miles behind me on the bike.

“SPOT provides location-based messaging and emergency notification technology that allows you to communicate from remote locations around the globe.”

Fortunately, I haven’t had to use the emergency notification feature yet (hopefully I never will), but should an emergency arise, I have a couple of options:

  1. I can send an emergency message home to family—I’m treating this as a non life-threatening emergency situation and my predetermined message says I need someone to come get me, but I’m OK. That message is sent to my wife’s email along with a text message to her phone. Perfect if I break down on a mountain pass out in the boonies without cell coverage.
  2. I can send a message to emergency responders—If I was really in trouble, I can send a message and SPOT will dispatch the appropriate emergency responders to my location. For example, if someone I was with were to go off the road and need an ambulance, but we didn’t have cell service, we could get help via the SPOT.

Screen Shot 2013-08-20 at 8.25.00 AMThe ability to get emergency help regardless of whether or not I can use the phone seems to give Sue some piece of mind—since she often doesn’t know exactly where I’m at when I’m on the road. I can also send her a predetermined “checking in” message to let her know I’m safe and having a good time.

Along with my current GPS coordinates, it sends a detailed map and my note. I can change the note at the SPOT website and have two different messages I can send. Right now, I have one set up for my wife and another that would be sent to my children for those times when Sue and I are on the road together. Granted, one of these things is not required to enjoy time on the bike, but I admit to being a gadget nerd and so the technology is pretty interesting.

The unit also allows me to leave a cookie-crumb trail of my route should I want such a thing.

I’ve been using the device since my trip earlier this summer to Capital Reef and feel like it does what it’s supposed to do. Because I spend so much time on the road alone, Sue appreciates the occasional nudge to tell her that I’m still alive and I know that if I get into a bind I can get some help. It’s a slick little device that does exactly what it’s advertised to do.

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