I mentioned previously that I was learning to ride a bike, trying to get to a standard good enough to ride on roads. Well I think I'm there, and yesterday I made the journey to work and back. I still had Kat to ride with, so she could show me the way, and I wasn't entirely relying on my own ability to signal. The journey is about 7 miles in each direction. So I think I can say I've done some serious cycling now. On the way back I decided to run maemo mapper on my n810. And have it store gps trace of the journey. I don't normally use maemo mapper for much. Whilst it is a cool application, I think it will only really come into it's own on the next internet tablet which will have built in 3g. Since it requires a network connection to download map tiles as you go. That said I do have quite a lot of map tiles cached for my surrounding area, so it was able to show me on the map. But of course I wasn't looking at the map, I just switched it on, stuck it in my pocket and forgot about it.
After we got home I saved the track as a gpx file, then went in search of a site that would do interesting things with the infomration. I found http://utrack.crempa.net/ This site let me upload my gpx file, and it generates a pretty cool report. What's even better is that it worked from my n810 (although it was a little slow to load) The report shows a google map with your track ontop. But also the graph of elevation over distance, elevation over time, distance over time, speed over distance, speed over time, various statistics about maximum and minimum speed. Speed whilst climbing in elevation, speed whilst dropping in elevation.
Just a whole load of cool stats.
My track included a bunch of wandering around to begin with before we actually set off on the homeward journey. So it reported the journey as about 8.2 miles. But I believe almost a mile of that was just wandering. So the graphs over distance where slightly better for me, as my wandering didn't cover much distance but did take up a chunk of time.
So you can see that for a big chunk of the time no real distance was covered. Then it's clear when we set off in earnest for home.
The elevation chart is interesting, and shows very clearly the point we get to otterbourne hill.
It's also clear from the speed chart that we walked up most of the hill, then had fun going fast down the other side :-)
It was cool to see that my top speed was 23.7 miles per hour. Not bad on a bike, and it will be interesting over time to see how I improve (or not) on the various stats.
Utrack also lets you export the report as a pdf, so you can keep it in already processed form.
That was yesterday, and today I don't feel too bad. I can deffinatly feel a couple of specific muscles that I clearly haven't really worked much before. But I'm seriously considering doing the ride to work on Tuesday. I won't do Monday, because I need to go do a weeks shop after work. And I won't do Tuesday is the weather is bad, I will be a fair weather cyclist. But I think it will be a good way to occasionally do the work trip without a car. Saving the environment and my petrol bill, if only by an incredibly small amount. But more imporatntly a good way to get some exersice in a slightly less contrived way than just going to the gym. The main advantage I think is that it's a very specific goal, and you can't just decide to quit early. And I came home feeling like I'd achieved something, been somewhere. I was not bored. Whereas the gym is always an effort to make myself go, even though it is only a 20 second walk from the house.
It is also cool to find yet another awesome way to use my much loved n810. I've said it before, and I'll say it again. It is the best device I've ever owned. I will continue to track my trips, and see what the stats have to say about how I change over time. Will my top speed increase? Or just my average?
I guess watch this space to see if I get into this cycling thing, or if I find it just as easy to not bother cycling as I find it to not bother going to the gym.