gpsKevin Self Guided DIY FAQs and RIDE Information

What is a DIY ride?

The gpsKevin ride specific packet provides the route information necessary to complete the best motorcycle adventure you can experience.  This includes the ride route with options, where to stay, eat and get gas.  All this is provided on a ride specific (custom) microSD card for Garmin GPS units as well as printed color maps and ride booklet describing the adventure ride.  All you need do is follow the line on the map displayed on your gps unit.  No need to guess distances or turns or gas stops. No getting lost or off route (at least for very long!  ☺).  No need to ride in a bunched-up group or to watch for others as everyone has the same line and map display.  In addition, ‘meet up’ points 30-60 minutes are marked on the gps so you can check in and not loose anyone for very long.

Why is this resource information so useful and why do riders love gpsKevin rides?

We have researched and ridden these spectacular rides to find the best possible routes and implemented them into great daily rides.  To accommodate different riding skills and weather changes we have developed and include route options.  Many riders like to ride with friends; however, friends may not always have the same riding skills.  Each ride offers choices of easier and harder routes: (easier (green) and more difficult (red)) similar to a ski resort map.  This allows one to choose route options better suited for your riding and allows you to choose routes that might better suit friends when necessary.  Sometimes riders may just want a break or an easy route to the hotel or the weather has changed, or the day got away from you.

What are gpsKevin Adventure Rides designed to accomplish?

These rides are designed to allow you to explore the world on your motorbike.

Many rides include a mix of remote dirt routes, back paved roads, and sometimes very seldom ridden paths and pavement.  Rides are a mix of all these things and with occasional surprises due to weather conditions.  Most rides are for experienced riders that are capable of turning a washed-out road into part of the day's adventure.  Riders should be comfortable with turning around when necessary and finding an alternative route around unexpected obstacles. Most of these rides are not for new riders.

As an experienced rider, the tough part of having a great motorcycle adventure is the routing and logistics.  What routes do I take? Where do I stay? How do I find the best routes and places?  The gpsKevin ride packet provides all this information in a readily displayed gps map.

How large a group are these rides designed for?

Ans: This ride can be done by one person or with a group of friends. The ride specific package includes a micro-SD card with the primary route with optional routes and printed paper map along with a day-by-day guide booklet.

What about a gate across the road and a private property sign?

It is common in America to ride across private property.  Please understand that most roads, even small dirt roads, that go across private property have public road easements associated with them.  It is also common to encounter gates on these public easements and private roads.  Most of the time, these gates can be opened, passed through, and then closed.  This is common on farm property and often on parts of BLM land where farmers have grazing rights and are trying to control their livestock.  Courteous farmers will have a sign that says something like “leave the gate as you found it” which means, if it was closed, close it and if it was open, leave it open.  Sometimes you will find “No Trespassing” signs, and this can be confusing because what it can often mean is that you are to stay on the dirt road and not wander off onto their property.  Farmers that are courteous about this, post them in such a way that it seems like the road is open and off the road is closed.  At other times, farmers just put the “No Trespassing” signs on poles associated with gates.  This is where it gets confusing. There are other times when, even though there is an easement, farmers have gotten tired of motorcycle riders crossing their property and so they purposely post signs to try to stop you.  Farmers that are serious about you not crossing their property will have locked gates in place.  In this event, I you should honor their gate and turn around.  Also, please take a picture and take note of the location so that you can report it to us so that the issue can be addressed with the farmer, or the route corrected.  By and large, there are many instances when these routes legally cross private property and rarely are there any issues.  If you encounter this situation, you’ll have to use your good judgment and show respect.

What if the route is closed?  

It is common on these great remote adventure rides to encounter changes in the route as a result of recent forest fires, weather washing out roads, erosion, downed trees, and many unknown obstacles.  We attempt to make these routes current and up to date, but it is not possible to be perfect.  In the event the route is impassible, it is best to look for workarounds.  Oftentimes, you might backtrack a bit and find someone made a workaround through the woods or across the field, so look around and try to figure out a way around it.  If not there, then turn around and go back to the next easy workaround or use your GPS to discover another route.  If you are uncomfortable with this, these types of adventures may not fit you.  Most adventurers grow to love these kinds of difficulties and will tout “that’s part of the adventure!”  

How good are these routes?  

They are 100% great and 99% perfect.  Or sometimes, 98% perfect.  Or sometimes, 95% perfect.  So be prepared for a little imperfection or challenge.  ☺

What is a DIY ride packet?  

The ride packet consists of a micro-SD card for your Garmin GPS with custom map files.   These map files are .IMG files and can only be used on the card in a Garmin GPS unit.  These files are kind of magic because they turn your GPS into a clear navigator containing all the routes of the ride in bold colors with direction arrows so that you know the correct direction at any time.  Also included in the ride packet are custom-colored printed daily maps that match the files in your GPS so at any point you can pull out these paper maps and look and understand where you are and what’s around you.  These paper maps come in sizes both large (11x17) and small (5x8) to fit your tank bag or pocket.  

How do I use a DIY ride packet and gps SD card?  

Directions to install the GPS microSD are described in your garmin user guide and are pretty simple.  You can google a YouTube video specific for your gps the first time to learn.

The gpsKevin microSD consists of 9 days of riding and has 9 separate maps on your microSD card.  You will need to ‘enable’ only one map at a time in your gps to avoid confusion. The 9 maps are (for example) named: 1BajaLER-CH2 through 9BajaLER-CH2.  So, for example on Ride Day 4 you would enable only map 4BajaLER-CH2.  It is important that you only ‘enable’ aka ‘turn on’ one custom map at a time or they will likely overlap and cause you some serious confusion.  When you insert a new card with multiple maps into your GPS, all the maps, by default, will be enabled.  So, you will need to go to map settings and disable all the maps except for the one that you want to be current.

How do I ‘ENABLE’ a map for the day ride?

A: Garmin makes many different GPS types and there are several different ways to enable and disable maps depending on your GPS model.  The best way is to consult your manual.  However, I will list the common ways to do this below:

Why do we use GPS ride maps?

There are many benefits to using the garmin gps to display a gpsKevin ride map.  Among the benefits are:

Can I use my cell phone to display gpsKevin maps?  

Sorry, at this point we do not support cell phone GPS use for our rides.  The IMG files will not work on a cell phone.  In addition, cell phones are not designed to be used on motorcycle handlebars that shock the phone on a regular basis and can ruin the phone’s camera lens.

What is a hard route or a hard hill?  

After riding for 50 years and climbing many ‘hard’ routes or ‘hard’ hills, you would think I would have a good description of what a hard hill is.  But frankly, my answer is as simple as this:  if I make the hill, it’s not too bad and if I don’t make the hill, it’s hard.  I offer this thought because motorcycling is an individual and personal experience.  What one person finds as hard, others may not.  So, it is nearly impossible to offer up a ride description that matches each person’s experiences.  Some may find my rides easy while others can find them extremely difficult.  If you’re an expert rider, you’re going to love my rides.  If you’re an advanced rider, you’re going to really like my rides.  If you’re an intermediate rider, you’re most likely going to enjoy my rides.  If you’re a beginning rider, you’re probably not going to like my rides, but you may enjoy taking only the easy green routes.

What’s the major difference between a great ride and a poor ride? 

A great ride is up to you, it’s all what you make of it.  It's nearly all about attitude.  Kind of like a day spent fishing and catching no fish is still a good day fishing!  Poor rides are only if you focus on issues you may have encountered.  Or if you’ve crashed.  Stay safe, ride within your abilities, and make it a great ride!

How to deal with fires, current or past destruction?  

Forest fires have become common, especially in the West and encounter many times over the last several years.  I used to panic over fires, and I would obsess with rerouting how to get us through the area, what might go wrong, etc.  I have learned to just go forward with the rides and when you encounter a fire, there are almost always forest service people around and they will be happy to advise you on where to go to route around the fire.  Most communities have plenty of volunteers that are helping with the fire, so these volunteers are set up at key roads and choke points and are able to help you.  Treat this as another obstacle and part of the adventure experience.  And yes, don’t be dumb and ride into a fire!