It started off as simple conversation – a mention of a trip a few years ago, and a throw-away comment along the lines of “Hmmm, I wouldn’t mind doing that…” It quickly got a life of its own, and soon the planning meetings started. And once it starts, it’s difficult to get out of – not that I’d want to. Because this is one of those once-in-a-lifetime opportunities to do something that probably will never come around again. And so I’m grabbing it with both hands. And both legs.

It’s a bike trip from Land’s End to John O’Groats. It’s about 830 miles, over 13 days. That’s about an Argus a day for two weeks. At an average of around 15mph, it’s around 4 hours of cycling per day.

Which means I need to do quite a bit of training. Which is where the cool part comes in – because these days you don’t just go for a ride, and estimate the distance based on either knowledge, or your cycle computer. No – you take along an Android phone with MyTracks, and you end up with something like this. (I tried to embed the map in the blog, but WordPress doesn’t seem to allow this.)

Not only can you see exactly where you went, but you get stats of distance, time, elevation, etc. You can see graphs of speed vs elevation. And you can save each trip separately, or add it together to a conglomerate map. And all the data can be exported to Google docs to create a spreadsheet log of each ride. It makes it really easy to monitor the improvement in average speeds, the total distance cycled. At this stage, it’s almost cooler than the ride itself. I’m pretty certain that after 9 months of this, I’ll get a bit blasé about it, but I love this sort of practical technology. I hope I don’t get blasé about the riding though – spending an hour on a Sunday morning riding through the English pastoral countryside is awesome.

[I should probably mention that part of the aim of this is to raise some money for charity – which is quite a big thing in these parts. At least once a month, I’ll get a note in my inbox at work about someone running the London marathon, or the Great Northern Run, or doing the Four Peaks of Ireland challenge. There seems to be a greater awareness of charity here than there is back home, or at least more of a willingness to get involved and get one’s hands dirty (or feet sore) for the cause. ]

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1 Response to Cycle-mapping

  1. Brad Nixon says:

    Nick, I’m sure I’m in the majority who are looking forward to hearing about your preparation for and final pursuit of this goal. It’s really an outsized goal, and I wish you well. I trust you’ll post the information regarding donations in support of the cause, too. Best of luck.

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