Bicycle navigation using Beeline Velo 2

I sometimes find it difficult to navigate my way to somewhere new when I’m on my bike.

I used to use Google Maps for navigation. I’d map where I wanted to go on my mobile, set off in generally the right direction, and then have to stop every so often (pulling out my phone and unlocking it each time) to check if I was still heading the right way.

I suppose I could have used one of those holders to mount my phone on my handlebar, but with me involved there’s always the danger that I might accidentally leave the phone on the bike (and thus have it stolen), or I end up draining my phone battery by running Google Maps.

Publicity photo of Beeline Velo 2 mounted to a bicycle's handlebars, with the device showing navigation instructions

Beeline Velo 2

I’ve had a Beeline Velo 2 for about a year. I don’t use it all the time, because most of my bike journeys are to familiar places. But I do use it when I’m not entirely sure of where I’m going.

The Velo 2 links via bluetooth to the Beeline app on my phone. I select my destination in the app, and can check the route on my map just like any navigation app. However when I’m ready to go I can put the phone in my pocket, and then use the turn-by-turn direction displayed on the Velo 2 screen. And the device emits an optional beep to alert me when a turn is coming up.

The simplified view of the road map is really effective for safely glancing down while on the move. And it means that I don’t have to stop in order to check my progress.

The app also gives me a few choices about the route it calculates. I can choose either the Fast, Balanced or Quiet route – depending on whether I’m in a hurry or looking for a more pleasant (but maybe longer) ride. And the route suggestions are often more bike-friendly than more generic car-centric navigation apps.

It’ll also keep a full record of all my rides, and even produces personal heat map of the routes I use.

Screenshot of the Beeline app showing a heat map of the routes that I have taken through south Dublin city

The Beeline Velo 2 is available for €109.99 (plus €12.95 shipping) – and there’s also a more expensive version aimed at Motorbikes.

I think, for the money, it’s a very useful little device. I just wish that it was a little bit more durable. I’ve kept mine in my jeans pocket with a bunch of keys and managed to scratch the plastic on the front screen. Thankfully I can’t see the scratches when I’m using it on the bike.

I also had some issues with the bluetooth connection to my phone in the past – and I must say that the Beeline customer support were really helpful in resolving my issues. And since then it’s worked flawlessly.

There’s also occasional firmware updates, which is a good indication that Beeline continue to invest and innovate in the product.

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