Saturday, 29 November 2008

Ascot and beyond

I'm not doing too badly in my efforts to reach 3,000 miles on the bike before the end of the year. By this morning I had covered almost 2,750 miles, which is a little bit ahead of plan. 

I wanted to cover a decent distance today, and this morning the weather was dry, but cold and grey. So I decided to head for Ascot.

I don't really warm to Ascot - it's not my kind of place. However, it is a decent distance away, the countryside on the way there and back is OK, and Ascot is not well covered on Open Street Map, so there is always the excuse of needing to fill in some gaps. 

The plan was a round trip of about thirty miles: to Ascot, then plotting some roads, then making my way back. If I felt like it, and the weather held out, I planned to divert through Windsor Park on the way back, for a slightly longer outing of about 40 miles.

On the way out, I clearly should have been concentrating harder, because I headed south-west instead of south-east, which made for an outward journey about six miles longer than I had planned. 

However, once I reached the right area, I managed to trace some more roads in Winkfield Row and North Ascot. For the benefit of visitors who have not contributed to OSM, the picture above shows how the GPS traces look in the editor, before I added the new roads. Open Street Map aficionados  will realise that I am using the Potlatch editor, rather than JOSM. Apparently it is more cool to use JOSM, but I've never really got to grips with it. Potlatch is easy to pick up, and does the job, so it works fine for me. 

Eventually, I decided to make my way back via Windsor, but somehow managed to lose concentration again. I had a detailed Ordnance Survey map with me, and a decent GPS system. I was on roads that are well signed, and that I am fairly familiar with. So goodness knows how I ended up in Egham. "What..." as a second-rate stand-up comedian might say, "... was all that about?"

In any case, I eventually made my way home, after covering my age in miles for the fifth time this year: well over the 30-40 miles I had planned, but taking me a little bit closer to that vital total of 3,000 miles.

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