Garmin Edge 810: How to Use Live Tracking

Invite friends or coaches to follow your progress in your next bike race

Mountain bikers orienteering with Garmin GPS unit
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One of the most prominent features of the Garmin Edge 810 GPS bike computer is its ability to let family, friends, or coaches track a rider's location, speed, heart rate, and elevation in real-time. Real-time tracking is free, but setting up real-time tracking online and knowing how to start tracking when you begin your ride isn't easy to figure out. Here's how to get going with live tracking.

Requirements for Real-Time Tracking

You need three things to use the real-time tracking feature: the Edge 810, a free membership in Garmin's Connect online planning and training service, and a free Garmin Connect Mobile app available from the Apple App Store, Google Play Store for Android devices, or the Windows Store. You'll find the Connect Mobile app useful for other purposes than real-time tracking, so it's a handy addition to your smartphone.

Set up the App and Online Account

Before you start your first tracking session, you need to do a few things:

  1. Sign up for an account at the Garmin Connect website.

  2. Download the appropriate Garmin Connect Mobile app for your mobile device. 

  3. Sign in to the Garmin Connect Mobile app with the same sign-in information you used to establish the online Connect account.

After everything is set up, you won't need to do anything further to sync up and coordinate the information that will flow between the app and the online service, which is a nice touch on Garmin's part.

Sync the Edge 810

Turn on your Edge 810 and turn on your smartphone's Bluetooth capability to Bluetooth-sync your phone with the Edge. On an iPhone, that means going into Settings, turning Bluetooth on, and waiting for the Edge 810 to appear in the available devices list. Tap Edge 810 and watch for the connection to be acknowledged. When a phone is Bluetooth-synced with the Edge 810, the universal Bluetooth symbol appears at the top of the Edge display on the home screen.

Send Tracking Invitations

Go to the menu of the Garmin Connect app and select LiveTrack. Use the invite functionality to invite someone to live track you. To do that, type in the email address of someone or give the app access to your smartphone address book so you can call up email addresses by contact name. When you invite recipients, they receive an email that reads "An invitation from (your name). You're invited to watch my (live activity name you've chosen)." You may also add a personalized message to the invitation. It's best if your trackers are expecting to hear from you and are at a computer monitor where they can watch your event. The LiveTrack events are not stored, so if someone accepts your invitation after you are finished, they only see an event-expired message. This is real-time tracking, after all.

Begin a Real-Time Tracking Session

To begin your tracking session, touch the Start LiveTrack icon in the app LiveTrack screen. Start your road or mountain bike ride with the Start button on the Edge 810 and the LiveTrack session is underway. While you are on the road or trail, the Edge 810 presents you with its normal display.

Back home -- or wherever they are located -- on whatever browser-enabled device they are using, your real-time watchers get an interesting perspective. The special Garmin Connect online LiveTrack browser window shows your location as a blue dot and your track as a familiar blue track line. In addition, the window displays a time-flow graph with different-colored lines representing heart rate, elevation, and speed. A numeric display shows speed parameters, time, distance, and total elevation gain for the ride. 

In addition to the LiveTrack window, you can set up the Connect app to post your stats at regular intervals to Facebook or Twitter.