Tag Archives: GPS

Glentress Day Out – A #Nov100 Treat

Taking Advantage

I was in Scotland on business last week, spending a couple of days up at HQ with my team.  I’m normally back in Lancashire by midweek when I’ve been up to the bonny land, but last week I wasn’t due to head back down south until Saturday.  So, I had an idea…


The 7Stanes trails at Glentress are a fairly short diversion from my usual drive back from near Edinburgh to the top of the M6 before heading home.  Last Saturday I had the Fat Boy in the back of the car and took that diversion.  What a great idea that was!

Before you even get onto the trails at Glentress, it’s obvious that you’ve arrived somewhere special.  The facilities are exceptional, with a large bike shop, great cafe, great car park (only £3 all day) and informative signage all visible before you even get out of your car.  Hungover from a previous evening spent in the finer establishments of Edinburgh, I headed for the cafe first.  With change from a £fiver for beans on toast and a pot of tea, I was delighted.  When the enormous portion of “beans on” arrived, I was chuffed to biuts: this was proper man-sized mountain biking fuel!

The Trails

If you read any of the MTB press, you’ll know that a lot of investment has gone into the 7Stanes networks, and into Glentress in particular.  Getting out onto the trails at Glentress, you can tell.  I picked the Blue Route, as this was my first visit and I was feeling somewhat delicate.  Hearing of over 2,000 feet of climbing, I was not looking forward to the upward slog.   Having ridden at Gisburn Forest in the past, I was expecting a vomit-inducing fire road drag up to the top.  I couldn’t have been more wrong.  At Glentress, you take in the fantastic views and the scent of fresh pine as you climb along red paths between the tress, dodging left and right through many, many switchbacks on your way up.  There are a few short fire road bursts, sure, but it’s almost a pleasure putting the hill beneath you.

About two-thirds of the way up, there’s a car park (for cheats) next to a skills area and freeride zone which looked like loads of fun, but which was too much for my limited bike and more limited talents.  So, I pushed on upwards to the top of the Blue Route before the long journey back down to earth.

And what a journey.

Glentress In 20 Words Or Less

Swoopy.  Jumpy.  Fast.  Dark.  Trees.  Red.  Rocky.  Loamy.  Grass.  Ferns.  Exciting.  Plush.   High.  Manageable.  Fantastic.  Friendly.  Organised.  Clean.  Fun.

That’s 19.  Can you add one? 😉


Manchester to Blackpool : Track My Ride

Tomorrow, I’m riding from the Theatre Of Dreams to Blackpool, as one of thousands of cyclists taking part in the Bike Events Manchester to Blackpool bike ride.

I’m riding in memory of my Mum and donating all sponsorship raised to Springhill Hospice in Rochdale, a fantastic place that provides respite and end of life care to terminally ill people.  The help they gave to my family cannot be put into words, and they rely on donations to continue their wonderful work.

If you’d like to support me, and more importantly them, please visit my JustGiving page. Thank you.

How Do You Know I’m not Cheating?

Using the magic of Google Latitude, I’m making my whereabouts public for one day only.  By visiting this very blog page, you’ll be able to see (I hope), where I’m up to.  If I seem to be in Bamber Bridge for a long time, it’s because I promised my cousin I’d pop in for a brew. You’ve got to take your chances for free brews, haven’t you?

It’s not a race, but I’ll be happy to put 60 miles onto the #Jul100 sheet and raise some much-needed money for the hospice.  I’ve got my energy bars and my lift home, so I’m thoroughly looking forward to it… 🙂


Cycling GPS Trackers for Windows Mobile Reviewed

I didn’t go for a ride today. Again. This a Bad Thing (capital B, capital T).  Instead, I thought I’d tell you about the parallel test I’ve been running on three Windows Mobile Cycling trackers.

The Windows Mobile Phone

I use an HTC HD2.  I have a love/hate relationship with it.  I love it when it’s working fine. I does loads of stuff. It’s even quite useful for speaking to people with, sometimes. I know, that’s unusual for a smartphone.  I hate it when I have to rebuild it from scratch, which occurs once every 8 or 9 months.  I’ve even written a little “rebuild the phone” note on my hard drive so I don’t forget what I need to restore.  Still, that’s Windows for you…

SatSports, Endomondo and RunSat

SatSports was featured on Dragon’s Den a while ago, which led me to check the app out.  It’s got a lot going for it.  It does rely on you running an app on your PC to get the most from it, which enables you to compare your rides in quite a detailed way.  Calories, routes, times, detailed tracking of time & pace – it’s an excellent app if you want to see all your rides in one pace, nicely tabulated.  I also like the way it publishes to Google Earth from the app directly, showing your fastest, highest and lowest points alongside your start and finish times.  Nice for the bloggers to screencap!

Socal networking links aren’t really supported from the app though, which is quite limiting for those of us who like to show off a bit.

I’d recommend this if you’re training and you’d like to see your progression because it’s a brilliant way to see similar rides sorted most recent first, showing how you’re progressing.  The SatSports app is available for Windows Mobile and Android and costs about 6 Euros as I publish.  Worth a punt.

Endomondo is becoming more and more popular.  Several readers of this blog already use it.  Its biggest advantages are the social networking links.  Endomondo is capable of telling all your Facebook and Twitter friends when you’re going out and when you come back, telling them how far you went and how fast, as well as what you were doing (running, cycling etc).  Links are published so your friends can visit the main Endomondo site, view your route and stats, then leave comments if they wish.

Unfortunately, the Windows Mobile Endomondo version isn’t nearly as good as the one they have for iPhone.  It doesn’t take account, for example, of resting time.  Now I don’t know about you, but I like to stop for a brew and a danish when I’m out for a ride.  With Endomondo for Windows Mobile, my brew time is included in my ride time and therefore my average speed.  This makes me look like a right old slowcoach!  My average speeds are poor enough without adding brew and pee stops!

For this reason, I can’t recommend Endomondo for Windows Mobile. Not until that major oversight is fixed up, anyway 🙁

RunSat, Navmi, RunningFree Online

Call it what you will.  This tracker has gone through a few iterations and I think it’s been bought by one or two different parties in its lifetime.  Maybe that’s because it’s actually very good.

The app itself is downloadable as RunSat from Navmi.com.  It’s a comprehensive app, giving a number of different views whilst you’re actually out.  I use it on my handlebars (if you’ve seen my bar arrangement you’ll kow it’s quite crowded), where it shows me all sorts of route and riding information.  By toggling the view you can see as much or as little as you want to.  You can also turn the info off and the app will record your ride without distracting you.

You can also upload routes to your phone to show on the maps within the app, which download via GPRS as you ride (or whatever live internet connection you’ve got going on your phone).  I’ve used this feature to upload a route which veered onto a bridleway in Royton which I wasn’t sure about – it worked perfectly.

Like Endomondo, RunSat automatically posts your ride to the internet when you finish.  Your ride is posted to your (free) account on RunningFreeOnline, which is a great way to keep all your routes handy, whether running, walking or cycling.  From within this site, you can set auto-posting to Facebook and/or Twitter.  The posts can be edited too, so you can add hashtags for example. I have it post my rides with the #Feb100 and #20111k hashtags, which is nice.

Which Windows Mobile Cycle Tracker App?

Which Windows Mobile Cycle GPS Tacker Shall I Use?

Which Cycling Tracker Should I Use?

Well, I’ve used all three.  Each has advantages and disadvantages.  SatSports is great for serial training. Endomondo is simple to use and has a great membership website.

But for me, the Runsat app is superior.  It tells me all I need to know whilst I’m actually riding, then it records comprehensive information on the RunningFreeOnline website when I get home.  It posts to my favourite social media channels too.  And the website can take information from a massive variety of other devices too.

So, my recommendation for Windows Mobile GPS Cycling Tracker goes to RunSat and RunningFreeOnline.  Tell ’em Phill sent you!

What do you use?

You Only Get Wet Once… Off The #Nov100 Mark.

There’s No Such Thing As Bad Weather…

… just the wrong clothes.  So said Billy Connolly, and so said Clive Chapman too.  They were right.

I was determined to get my Tuesday night ride in this week.  Hitting the 100 miles is going to be very difficult this month so I needed to get started.  The Big Man Upstairs decided to set me a challenge by providing lots of water from the skies.  I made the mistake of showing my indecision earlier in the evening and suffered a barrage of motivational abuse via Facebook.  Thanks, friends, you made me go out.

After a quick tea, I layered up and unlocked the shed.  The beanie that was free with this month’s MBUK was a bonus.  Lights on and head down, off I went.

The autopilot loop through Milnrow and twice around Hollingworth Lake was the chosen route tonight.  The rain prevented me dreaming up anything new.  I came back home on the main roads, as the canal towpath seemed like a very unwise idea, with the slippery cobbles and wet leaves under the bridges.

Just over an hour after setting off, I was dripping quietly onto the floor of my shed with a big smile on my face.  Now I’m showered and warm, whilst my clothes steam gently on the radiators.

The phone GPS tracked less than half a mile of the ride.  Maybe the plastic butty bag I put it in touched the screen in the wrong place, I don’t know.  Anyway, I mapped the ride manually so you can see it here.

Saturday's Muddy Happiness.

Mud = Good. Saturday’s Coating Of Goodness. Tonight, It Was Too Dark For Photos.

Just remember: it’s only water, and you only get wet once.

Join us in the November 100 challenge.  Visit the spreadsheet then email me at the address in the sheet. 🙂

A Gentle #Oct100 Opener

Snatching Defeat From The Jaws Of Victory

Last week I could have realistically hit my Sep100 target.  I had four days to go and a hittable target of 15 miles per day to get there.  But then things went awry: my Tuesday night long ride went west, for a number of reasons I won’t bore you with here.  So…. I failed.  this is despite the generous encouragement of £75 worth of charitable pledges from readers of this blog.  So, I’m sorry guys and gals but I’ll make it up to you somehow.

A Better Beginning For October

On a fine Saturday afternoon, I was gifted a couple of hours of “Me Time” so I took ’em!  I mapped out a loop to Tandle Hills and wasted some time converting kml to gpx so I could stick the track into my phone GPS app.  If you ever wanna do that, this little web-based app was what I used.  Geekiness over, out I went.

The ride was more pleasant than I’d expected.  A couple of short-cuts, found whilst mapping on the laptop, helped a lot and the climbs were more gentle than I thought they’d be.  It was muddy off the roads, but hey, mud = good.  That’s why I ride a mountain bike.

(hit the photos for a proper view, they’re a bit tall for these thumbnails)

I was in a rush to get back home after a short break at the rather great cafe at Tandle Hills, so I rushed home along Oldham/Rochdale Road to the canal, then a quick burst back homewards along the towpath to finish.  10.6 miles done and a decent enough start to the month’s challenge.  There’s a link to the October 100 spreadsheet in the little box to the right, so get yourself signed up and enjoy your month’s riding!

The map’s here if you want a look. 🙂

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