Sunday, 20 March 2011

Look mother, no hands

I started collecting data for OSM over three years ago - partly to encourage myself to overcome my natural inertia, and get out on the bike more. Inevitably I got hooked, and it all took on a bit of a life of its own. Over the last three years I've added a bit, but meanwhile an astonishing amount of detail has been accumulated around the area where I live. There are still things missing, but most of them would best be added on foot, not a bike. It has become quite rare to find things that I can trace while cycling.

I still need to get out on the bike though - if only to keep my personal Travel Time Budget in balance. So off I trundled to Eton and Windsor this afternoon, for a couple of hours easy riding on a fine day.

The route is familiar, and you don't expect many surprises on a pleasant Sunday afternoon in the Thames Valley, but I did find an area that hadn't been mapped. It's a residential caravan site, next to the river on the edge of Windsor. It's all very tidy, and pleasant, with more garden gnomes than you could shake a stick at. So I cycled round, logged the service roads on the GPS, and added it to the map when I got home.

The other memorable sight was watching somebody changing their T-shirt as they rode towards me. People riding without holding the handlebars always impress me, because I cannot do it (or at least not for more than a second or so, which doesn't count). But I've never seen anyone change their T-Shirt while riding before.

H. G. Wells famously said that when he saw somebody on a bicycle he did not despair for the human race. Well if the human race has evolved to the point where we can change our clothes at the same time as riding a bicycle we need have no fears. The next generation should be capable of anything.

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