A 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:
- 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.
- 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.
The 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.