GPS Info

The inaugural RVO back in 2010 pioneered adventure racing with 100% GPS enabled self-navigation. GARMIN has continued as our exclusive GPS partner since 2010, we would be lost without GARMIN.

Must I use a GPS on the RVO?

YES, each team must have a GPS unit. The RVO route is not marked, indicated nor signaled in any way, so without a GPS you will get lost. The only way to navigate the RVO route is by following the RVO track on a GPS.

Navigation Systems is the GARMIN specialist distributor in Kenya. They offer all RVO entrants very special pricing on select models .

What model of GARMIN device is best for the RVO?

There are 3 series of GARMIN GPS that are recommended for the RVO:

Series 1 -  eTrex touch 25/35  |   eTrex 22x/32x  |  eTrex 10/20/30
Series 2 -  Dakota  |  Oregon  |  Montana
Series 3 -  Edge 530/40  |  820/30/40  |  10xx  |  Explore

Series 1&2 are BEST for use on the RVO because:

  • Designed first and foremost as navigation devices with cycling performance monitoring as built in features.
  • Their software logic for navigation is intuitive.
  • AA batteries eliminate the desperation to find a power strip for recharging.
  • Simply bring a pair of AA batteries per stage - keep a set in your camelback as backup (when you forget to replace them in camp).

Series 3 devices are designed as cycling performance monitors with navigation as an additional feature (after thought?). Their software logic for navigation is cumbersome, frustrating, far from intuitive especially when mountain biking far from any mapped roads.

Value for your $$

  • Any eTrex or Series 2 device is half the price of Edge 8xx / 10xx
  • EDGE 800 series - if you are a statistical (or status) fanatic that needs to measure every imaginable cycling performance data.
  • EDGE 1000 series are super sexy BUT offer negligible extra value for their super sexy price.

Fundamental differences in the way the Series 1&2 vs. 3 operate.

  • If you are purchasing a GARMIN for the RVO and any other general purpose navigation needs, then buy any Series 1 or 2
  • Series 1&2 will measure all the cycling performance stats that a mountain biker needs (HR data / distances / timing / ascent)
  • Series 1&2 are designed to concurrently manage multiple GPX tracks.
  • Series 1&2 are excellent for mountain biking, driving, hiking, city walking, fishing, aviation, geocaching.

Series 3 devices are fairly useless when off the bike.

Fenix & other watches: are amazingly capable BUT totally impractical on the RVO, you cannot navigate with them while hurtling down rugged trails. Do not attempt to navigate the RVO with a wearable device!

Edge 520/530 ARE NOT RECOMMENDED ON THE RVO. They are cycling performance monitors not navigation devices. Uploading and managing multiple tracks is tedious and cumbersome. Screen size is small. Please don't bring one then ask us for help.

Edge 705/605 are cycling performance monitors best suited for road cycling. For the RVO, they have very limited track management functions, the map screen is tiny with very poor resolution, therefore challenging for quick and precise navigation while out on the forest trails. Barely useable - not at all friendly. Please don't bring one then ask us for help - we will ignore you!!!!

Map 64s: is very capable / useable but its size is too cumbersome for cycling. Their multiple button controls are a pain on the brain - please don't bring one then ask us for help - we will ignore you!!

MAP 60/62 CSX | eTrex Legend (all versions) are discontinued – they are barely useable, not recommended, therefore not supported. Please don't bring one then ask us for help - we will ignore you!!

Must I use a Garmin GPS, or can I use any other make?

A: Garmin manufacture the best consumer GPS units, other makes of GPS units will accept the RVO tracks but they will not perform as well.

How do I setup my GPS?

We very strongly recommend that all entrants are fully acquainted with their GPS device prior to the race. As race organisers we assume you are technically proficient at setting up your GPS device with your navigation preferences and how to self-navigate.

  • We will not train you on how to assemble your bike / fix a puncture / lube your chain / use your GPS.
  • We will provide training and guidance at the Prologue but not during the event.
  • DO NOT seek assistance when at the start line - we have our own panics to deal with!!
I want to buy a GPS now so I can practice with it before the race, Can I buy it now, or is the special offer only at the time of the race?

Once you are registered for the RVO and paid your entry, then you can buy your GPS with the RVO discount.

If I have a GPS now and live outside Kenya, Can you send me the track?

Yes, we will email it to you one week in advance of the event.

How do I attach my GPS to my bike?

GARMIN makes plastic brackets for mounting units to bicycle stems / handlebars. Once fitted securely they hold the GPS in place even over the roughest of trails. Due to trail vibration we recommend mounting your GPS on the steering stem and not the handlebar.

Do I need a Kenya base map pre-loaded into my GPS unit? Will one be provided with the RVO track?

Preferably YES, all international entrants will receive a micro-SD card with the Kenya road map to install in their GPS. This detailed base map contains contoured topographical info, major and minor roads plus '000's of Points of Interest. It is available for purchase by non-international entrants.

The RVO track in .GPX format is separate, this will be distributed via email 1 week prior to the RVO. The track is 100% precise, so long as you stay on track you will be fine, but WHEN you do stray way off track you might need the road map to recover.

I don't know anything about orienteering. How will I know if I am on the right track if I only have a GPS?

You don’t need to know anything about orienteering, nor do you need to be an expert on GPSs. The only thing you do need to ensure is that when you view your screen - you are the arrow and the RVO track is the fat line. As long as you keep the arrow on the line, then you are on course.

It is critical that all entrants are very familiar with their GPS units, especially at adjusting their zoom level in/out. Due to the innumerable junctions and single-track footpaths, we suggest riding with a maximum zoom level of 80m-120m magnification.

By using a Garmin GPS there is little chance of getting lost, and the additional information that appears on the screen means you don’t even have to hesitate when you come to an intersection or crossroads. Your performance on the trails will be exactly the same as if you were following physical course markers, with the added benefit that you are unlikely to take a wrong turn, and you will never get (totally) lost, unlike if you were following a marked course.

Are Garmin GPS compatible with Mac computers?

Yes, the RVO race office is 100% Mac.

Travelling To Kenya
Kenya Visa Info

International visitors to Kenya require a visa that can be obtained online in advance to save on airport queues:
Visitor visa policy and list of exempt countries is available 
Apply online for your visa 

Medical Info

We are not qualified to offer any medical advice, therefore please consult your personal physician and research online articles for appropriate information.

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