I wrote, in early January, about trying to fill in the gaps in the exploration of the area around me. Of trying to get to every part of the countryside, to colour in the map, and find new places to go to and discover.
Over the course of the year so far, three things have happened.
Firstly, Veloviewer changed the way that they determined whether you’d been through a square or not. There used to be a 100m error margin, which meant that you’d sometimes get credit for going very close by the edge of a square. This was the case with about 4 of mine – and when they did this, I dropped from a 17×17 square back down to 8×8. Mortifying! I called it the squarepocalypse, and spent the next two weeks going on rides to pick up those squares again.
Then, they introduced a new way of measuring your exploratory footprint. Instead of just the max square, they brought in max cluster – which is the group of squares that are surrounded on all four sides by other squares you’ve been to. It gives you credit for exploring in a rectangle, rather than a square, and also is more merciful of single squares you can’t get to.
And finally, I managed to get to my 20×20 goal for max square. My map now looks like this:
The blue area is my max cluster, while the blue outline is the max square. The red squares are ones I’ve been to, but don’t contribute to the max cluster.
I feel like such a geek, all of a sudden. Does anybody out there really care enough about this to actually read to this point? I hope so, because when I look at that picture, I have an insatiable desire to fill in those little gaps in the southern area (yes, I already have a route planned to do just that). Not to mention the three or four squares in the centre of Birmingham that would extend the max square upwards (as much as I hate cycling into the centre of town, I’m actually considering this). And what is it about Hagley that has left me avoiding it thus far?
By the way, if you think that the map above is even in the vaguest bit impressive, think again. My cluster there is about 650 squares. The UK leader has over 5,000, and results in something like this. (Click on the middle red square button under the map (to the right of the word “Explorer”) to see what I mean.)
So, now that I’ve got to the year’s 20×20 goal, I’ve got to set a new one. 25×25, perhaps? Or a bit more optimistic at 30×30? Or should I skip that and just focus on Eddington numbers or do a spot of Everesting. Ah, the choices…