Tag Archives: GPS

Ride Success, Technology Fail – Weekend #August150 Miles

When the weekend began, I thought I still had an outside chance of achieving the August150 target, so I mapped a 20+ mile ride with a bit of a challenge thrown in: a nice, big hill.  I rode out of Rochdale through Whitworth to Bacup, then over Sharney Ford to Todmorden and back home along Rochdale Canal, the National Cycle Network’s Route 66.

Ride Success!

The slow climb from Rochdale to the top of Britannia (about 8 miles?) was okay.  None of it gets steep and it’s just a case of keeping the legs turning and not getting too bored.  The scenery isn’t nice until you get to Facit where you discover that there is, in fact, a Fudge Village there.  A whole Village, of Fudge? I kid you not.  Sorry I didn’t get a picture but I’m diabetic so I didn’t stop. Sod you lot who can eat what you like 😉

There’s a nice quick drop into Bacup centre then before turning right into a helluva hill.  I admit, I got off twice on the way up and walked a bit.  As I was getting back in the saddle after my second breather, a girl on a yellow bike wearing cutoff jeans, with her mp3 player wired into her ears, pedalled past me slowly but purposefully and in a much higher gear than I was spinning.  If that was you, good on yer!  It’s a good job I don’t have any illusions of masculine superiority, that’s all I can say.  I’d have sulked right then!

Then…. Wheeeeeeeeeeee!!

The drop down into Todmorden is brilliant!  A nice wide, fairly gravel-free, very steep tarmac road all the way down the hill.  Without a turn of the pedals I hurtled towards Tod, collecting flies on my grinning teeth and with tears being blown from my eyes into my ears.  What fun!  Oh, and I passed the girl who’d pedalled past me earlier.  Did I mention how fearless boys are on bikes, compared to girls? 😉

From Tod, the ride home was a leisurely affair, with the grin plastered firmly on face until my gadj let me down.

Technology Fail

Fail 1:  Solar Battery. A few weeks ago I bought a solar battery from dealextreme.  Now, I know that their stuff is a bit shonky, but I’d tested this thing once by putting it on the windowsill for a bit, then attaching it to my phone and I definitely witnessed it giving life to my phone’s battery.  Definitely.

About 2 miles back towards Rochdale, I noticed my phone was running low.  At 20% battery my GPS automatically switches off, so I pulled the solar backup from my pocket, connected the usb cable and plugged it in.  Nothing. Wiggled the connections.  Nothing. Swore. Still nothing.  Shonky far eastern piece of poo.

Fail 2:  Phone Handlebar Mount. This is the 2nd time my HTC HD2 phone mount from Mobile Fun has broken.  Last time it was the bit that cradles the actual phone that gave in, and full credit to Mobile Fun for replacing it despite not being able to find a paper-trail for my purchase.

This time, I was bobbling along a short stretch of cobbles on the towpath when the main mount fell apart.  It turns out that a bolt is moulded into the mount and not enough plastic covers it, so the bolt wobbled its way out of the assembly under repeated … erm .. use.  Yes, use: just normal riding a bike.  So I’m not happy and I’m not sure how I’m going to attach my phone from now on.  I can’t replace the unit now that I know the design is flawed, because the next time my phone parts company with my bike it might not land on a friendly surface.  Shonky far eastern piece of poo (2).  Until I’ve devised and engineered a marvellous new mount contraption, it’s going to have to stay in my pocket and I won’t be able to see how I’m doing on the fly.

Not ideal.

All I can say is: thank goodness it didn’t fail at 38mph on the descent into Todmorden.  Yep, 38mph, my all-time fastest record so far, woop woop!  I am chuffed about that despite the gadget failures.

I have no full  stats since my phone gps tracker did indeed shut down at about 16 miles, but I rode 22.88 miles in total (completed map on this link) and achieved a maximum speed of 38.3 mph.

I didn’t mention my new Daypack at all, did I?  I picked it up from Go Outdoors for £22.50 which was an absolute bargain, in my opinion.  I wore it for the first time on this ride and although I needed to fiddle with it a bit for fit comfort, it was great. Comfy, easy to drink from and felt light on my back.  It’s got a 2 litre bladder plus a bit more storage for gubbins and a nice little drop-your-helmet-here bit for when you’re walking about (which I didn’t, so I don’t know if that bit works well yet).  I’ll review it a bit more when I’ve used it again, perhaps.

With some luck, I’ll get a few miles in tonight but the August150 is looking a long way away for me! 🙁

Norfolk & Fun.

Sorry about the brief hiatus.  I’ve been away and not blogging, on account of living in a field and all that.

Sandringham Sunshine

While the North West enjoyed the weather that it’s famous for (i.e. bobbins), we headed to Norfolk, to camp within the grounds of Sandringham, where the Royal family spend 10 weeks each year and eat their Christmas dinner together.  To sum up the week in one sentence, it was sunny; relaxed; idyllic; woody; tasty; splashy; barbecuey; pretty and fun.

The #August150 Update

As I write, 40 people are featured on the August150 spreadsheet.  8 have already finished, another 3 have done more than two-thirds of the miles and 29 people have logged some miles.  If you want to join in, let me know and I’ll tell you how.  Basically, I need the email address you use for Google, and you’re in!

Personally, my Norfolk week didn’t go well in August 150 terms.  We only got one ride out really, aside from a couple of trips to the shop.  On the day we’d planned a good explore, N1S’s bike inexplicable exploded whilst leaning against a fence.  On closer inspection, it seems I’d pumped the tyre up too hard and an errant spoke was causing a stress point against the rim.  When he’d done a little lap around the site, the warmth and pressure had got up and then the tyre simply went “BANG! PFFFFT!” once the bike was rested.  Grrrr.  One failed repair and a trip to Halfords later, the bike was ok but our time was gone.

We did get a ride along NCN Route 1 later in the week though.  It’s gorgeous.  It got me thinking: We’ve rode along NCN1 now, and I live on NCN66 – that leaves 64 routes.  Too many.  So I might look into which routes I could travel to within a day from mine and try to tick a bunch of those off – what d’you think?  Speaking of canals (I know I wasn’t but NCN66 is along Rochdale Canal a good slug of the way), have you seen LouLouK’s blog about her ride along the Leeds-Liverpool canal?  You should – it’s an inspiration to anyone who thinks they might not be able to get some big riding done.

Holiday Diabetes

Just a brief note here.  In the past, I’ve had some crashing hypos whilst on holiday.  The trouble with Type 1 diabetes is that I tend to dose myself up with the same amount of insulin most days, but on holiday you do loads more exercise by stealth.  By stealth, I mean that you don’t realise.

Then what happens is that you wake up at night with crazily low blood sugars, doing weird things and amusing/terrifying your loved ones.  Well, I’ve found the secret: test more!  By taking my glucose monitor and simply doing the finger prick tests more often, I was able to avoid any silly hypos this holiday.  In fact, my only low was on the last day, when packing up took us way past lunchtime.  A quick Cadbury’s Twirl and I was back on track!  Sorted 🙂  Feel better, go longer, be safer, test more.

That’s all for today, save these few photos of our lovely break.

I’m hoping to get out for a ride with Jon tomorrow evening, so I might make a start on some proper miles at long last – maybe too late for the August 150, but fingers crossed I might just do it!

That’s Another Lovely Evening. #July150 completed.

Just a brief post today, because I’ve not done anything special, except in my own little mind.

Woohoo! I Finished The July150!

I knew I had about 12 miles left to finish the July150 challenge, and that I might not get out on the bike again until Sunday (the 1st of August), so my Tuesday night autopilot loop would have to be half a mile longer than usual.

Also, I still haven’t pulled the slicks off the Fat Boy, so after the bit of rain we’d had I stuck to the roads .  I did my usual route up to Hollingworth Lake and it was dry enough to do a loop o’t’Lake too.  Half way round, I was faced with this view so my aim of keeping the average speed over 12mph was discarded while I took a couple of photos.

I dropped into Littleborough then took the main roads back towards Rochdale and home.  When I arrived, I noticed that I’d only done a shade over 10 miles so I did something that only the July150 can be blamed for: I took the path between Firgrove Playing Fields and set off for a quick loop to Milnrow and back.

The loop was partly along a narrow grassy track, but I thought I’d be ok as the rest of the ride had been nice & grippy.  Not so!  I was like Bambi on ice, sliding all over the place in my granny ring, seemingly covering as much ground sideways as forwards!  I really must get those slicks off.

Arriving home a second time, I’d amassed enough miles to hang up my bike for a few days and grin quietly to myself at covering 150 miles in the month.  This would never have happened without some of you lot spurring me on, so thanks a lot.  I love you all.  But not in that way. 🙂

Are you lot up for an #August150 ?

Gisburn Forest – Playing Out

Sunday’s Road Trip

A few weeks ago there had been good intentions expressed by around 8 riders from work.  When the end of last week came, it was clear that 4 hardcore, reliable chaps would be making the trip.  On Saturday, following a disappointing performance by his football team, one of those chaps drowned his sorrows and his chances of riding on Sunday along with them.  So…. I picked up Chris on Sunday morning and we met Russ an hour later at the car park where the Gisburn Forest rides start!

We three musketeers set off and by 2/3 of the way up the first climb it was clear that I was the unfit one.  Chugging a fruit bar immediately we’d set off to make sure I didn’t go hypo (curse you, Diabetes) didn’t help, as my stomach closed around it and threatened to have me hurling whilst I waited for my heart rate to return to normal within a mile or so of setting off!  However, things got better and over the next 3-and-a-bit hours I had a bloody great time.  Russ bailed halfway round because he needed to travel to London that night, so Chris and I completed the Red Route loop with just each other for company.

Best & Worst Bits

There are some long, hard climbs in the forest.  It’s not nice that the route begins with a long, hard (for me) climb and I can remember wondering if I was going to enjoy the day.  However, those climbs give way to brilliant lengths of singletrack!  Over Winter 2009/10 there’s been a fair amount of trail-building and it shows: the Red Route deviations from the main loops are fantastic fun.  My Focus Fat Boy hardtail and Chris’ ancient fixed rig coped with the terrain, but a short travel full-bouncer might have made things a little easier.  In fact, some of the funniest moments were simply listening to the sounds Chris involuntarily made on some of the less-expected drop-offs!

I fell twice.  Both times, it was because I was going too slowly, not too quick.  Lesson learned.  I bailed on two drop-offs, with a squeal of brakes and an unrepeatable exclamation along the lines of “I’m not going off that ****ing thing!”.  However, the whole day was brilliant and we swept along the vast majority of the route with silly grins on our faces, no doubt catching flies in our teeth – in fact, I’m sure Chris had one stuck in his throat when we finished.  The cuppa from the butty van in the car park sorted that out though!

If you get a chance to spend a day there, do it! Tell ’em Phill sent you 🙂

A map on MapMyRide is here, too:

My Phone Died – Backup Tools For Windows Mobile


Yesterday my phone, with no respect for the faith I have showed in it, collapsed. As I worked quietly away at my desk, it shut itself down, then got half way through starting itself back up before giving up.

This cardboard was more useful than my HTC HD2 yesterday

The screen I actually saw was less useful than this.

Following 10 minutes or so of incredulous ranting, I gathered my thoughts and considered my options.  I had one, really: a full reset and rebuild.  At this point I was very grateful for the backup utilities I’ve been using.

Backup Tools For Windows Mobile

Microsoft have developed a rather excellent little mobile phone backup utility for WinMob phones.  Microsoft My Phone is a free tool, capable of backing up your whole phone contents except software.  I’d recommend it for all WinMob users, because it can even backup your music and photos, whether on the storage card or on the phone memory.  It also keeps all your SMS & MMS  messages, which can be an absolute boon if you need to keep records of some of your text conversations.  If you don’t often take your personal files off the phone (which I do but you might not), this might be the only place you can find them if your phone gets nicked.

At work we run Exchange Server, so we use Activesync to make sure our phones are up to date with all emails; contacts; appointments; tasks and so on.  Since the two tools are both Microsoft, they make sure they don’t rip on each others’ toes so duplicates are avoided.


Thanks to having already used these two utilities, I managed to repopulate my phone with all the information that was on it before it had a wobbly.  Using the My Phone tool, I archived 2000 texts to the web, thus avoiding the memory problems that probably caused the meltdown in the first place.

Don’t Lose Your Software

A word to the wise…. if you install 3rd party software on your Windows Mobile device, keep the Registration Keys on record.  If (when?) you have to rebuild the phone, the software will be lost along with all other data held on the handset.  If you’re working from the storage card, that should be ok but don’t leave it to chance.

I’ve had to reinstall 2 pieces of software and have needed to punch in the Product Registration Keys for both of them.  In the worst case, you might have to pay again to use something you’ve already paid for.  Don’t get caught out.

Now What?

After an hour or so wasted rebuilding my little friend, I’ve calmed down a bit.  I think I’m ready for the abusive comments from iPhone users now 😉

Where is your business growing to?

Find out how Phill Connell Marketing Solutions can accelerate your business growth. Practical, realistic steps to improve your revenue generation.

%d bloggers like this: