Tag Archives: HTC HD2

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?

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! 🙁

Lee Quarry Mountain Biking

This is my first blog update for a little while as I’ve been off on a late Easter break. It’s been fun and has involved barbecues; family reunions; baptisms and seaside days out among other things – we can cram a lot into a week!

Mountain Biking at Lee Quarry

But this entry is about the rather wonderful place they call Lee Quarry.  On Monday, Number One Son and I threw our bikes in the back of the car and headed just outside Bacup for the afternoon.  On arrival, our first thought was “Ooooh, pants” as the hill up to the entrance from the car park is a bit of a doozy.  Nevertheless, we trudged up, rode a bit, trudged a bit more and got to the trails.  We weren’t disappointed!

As you can see on the Google Earth map, we only did about 1/3 of the quarry.  We should have taken a map really!  The quarry is brilliant: an alien moonscape reminiscent of 70’s Doctor Who sets without the Daleks, but 70’s Daleks would struggle with the killer gradients on some of the trails.  There are sections where you definitely have to get off and push/carry but hey, for every uphill there’s a down!

The trails are well marked and a lot of trail-building has been done over the winter.  There’s a new pump track which you can see in one of the photos above, and the skills area has been improved.  Parts of the red route run alongside the green and blue trails, which is excellent if (like me) you take your offspring along with you.

We had a fantastic couple of hours and we’ll certainly be going up there a few more times over the summer.  I’d go if I were you.  Tell ’em Phill sent you! 🙂

Here’s a short video of one the little technical sections.  I posted a couple of others on YouTube too if you fancy a glance:

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 😉

Rib Recovery Ride

Stir Crazy After All These Beers

Owing to increasing, recurrent pain in my ribs following a knock at football, I’ve avoided exercise for a couple of weeks.  I’d noticed that the pain was subsiding nicely, which is good, but my energy levels were subsiding too, which is bad news.

On Friday I went out for a meal with my colleagues at San Carlo in Manchester which was beautiful (try the lobster risotto) and retuned home where I had a couple of beers to supplement the mucho vino that had accompanied the meal.  Saturday followed, which consisted of a quiet day in, a Not Poodle for lunch and Phase3 of the Magnolia Replacement Programme (downstairs bathroom painted).  I can’t stand the rain, against my window, bringing back sweet memories, so I became steadily more stir crazy as the day went on.

Saturday evening, therefore, consisted of a pasta meal at Pizza Hut with (guess what?) a beer, then a visit to the Odeon to take in Alice In Wonderland in 3D.

Movie Review, Alice In Wonderland 3D

It’s ok. Not as good as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, but worth seeing if you like Tim Burton stuff.

Back To The Point…

By Sunday morning my lethargy was becoming a habit.  Too much food, too many alcoholic beverages, not enough fresh air.  So, we agreed that despite the day’s necessary visiting and a quick trip to Decathlon to eye up SPD shoes (nowt good going), we would get out for a brief ride to see how my ribs would hold out.


I’m chuffed to say that a few gentle miles was just what the doctor ordered.  There has been no pain whatsoever so I reckon I’m good to get a few more miles in before I get back on the treadmill to see how my lungbox responds to some slightly less gentle jigging about.

We rode on the very well appointed bike paths around the shameful white elephant that is Kingsway Business Park.  It took Rochdale 20 years to pass the idea and by the time they’d put the infrastructure into the area, a combination of loss of momentum and a crashing economy has left the place largely empty.  It’s a crying shame and I genuinely hope that business will come to the area when the economy starts to recover.  Rochdale needs the jobs and the access to the site is very good.

Wheeeeee! Like my new top from Decathlon?

Our riding Decathlon advertisement!

But for now, we managed to scoot around traffic-free bike paths savouring the quiet and the views before pootling back along the canalside home.  It was a nice reintroduction to my lovely bike after a few weeks of enforced rest.

New GPS Tracker

I downloaded a new GPS Tracker last week.  So far I’m very happy with the way it works and there’s some free PC software that can be used to compare & score rides, runs and so on by various criteria.  It’s a handy little app for my phone.  But the catch at the moment is that it uses a little text file to store the waypoints so to upload it to MapMyRides I have to go via Google Earth and save the file as a kml, which is a pain in the bum.  I don’t much like Google Earth, so I’d prefer to avoid it.  I’ll keep tinkering and see how I get on.  Anyway, here’s yesterday’s ride – it looks like it’s across fields but that’s just because the paths weren’t built when the Google plane flew over.

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