Wednesday, 2 February 2011

January roundup

It's not much of a story for January, with just half a dozen rides covering about hundred miles in total. Things need to pick up a bit.

I've made more progress with some related activities though.

To start with, I managed to build myself a new copy of the OSM Cycle Map for the GPS. There are plenty of other people who have done that, of course, so it's no great achievement. The tools needed are readily available, but it's a while since I last used them. After some early success, as the map grew I found things got more difficult. So for a while I've been using versions of the map on the GPS that others have provided. This time I found that some of the options needed a bit of tweaking, but apart from that it was straightforward enough. I've loaded the map onto the GPS and tried out a little bit. It seems to work fine, though routing over anything more than a few miles is causing me problems. I'm not sure why, but I normally plan the more difficult routes beforehand, so it isn't very important.

In the last month I've also managed to create a new copy of the OSM database on the old computer that sits under my desk. I used a similar database in the past to estimate the amount of road coverage in different parts of the country. The results I produced then have long been superseded, but there are some other ideas that I would like to play around with. It all works OK, but the database load took a lot longer than I expected. That's partly a sign that I didn't pay enough attention to performance issues before I lumbered into it, but mainly a sign of impressive coverage and detail in the data.

I've also started to get stuff ready to use my new helmet camera. We've been seeing a lot of media comment about cyclists using helmet cameras to record dodgy driving. That's not my main interest. I want to see how well these little cameras work as a way of recording some favourite rides. Things aren't really ready yet, but I'm getting there. I've experimented with different ways of mounting the camera - on my helmet, my arm / shoulder and clipped to my clothing. None of them seems entirely satisfactory, so there's plenty of scope for more tinkering (which is part of the fun). I'm also starting to getting to grips with different tools for editing out the most boring bits.

Lastly, I can't help feeling that this year I should be contributing something to groups involved in local cycling action, and I've started to make moves in that direction. It's early days, but contact has been made, and we'll see what happens.

In summary, I can't claim that the cycling year has really started yet, but with January and some groundwork behind me things are promising to pick up.

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