Archive for the ‘Planning’ Category

Maps, maps, and more maps

Saturday, June 6th, 2009

I’ve been planning this entire trip turn by turn using software called Memory-Map. I’ve got the edition that comes with the UK’s entire series of Landranger 1:50,000 Ordnance Survey maps. It has useful features such as being able to see an elevation profile of a plotted route. The software does have some weaknesses though. For example:

  • It’s not designed for the sheer scale of route data I’m using it. If I choose to edit the properties of a waypoint it now takes several minutes to open that screen (because the software insists upon populating the screen with the details for every waypoint I’ve entered.)
  • Elevations aren’t shown on the large scale 1:1,000,000 map, which would have been useful for planning the general route I should be taking to avoid excessive climbing. So, instead I’ve been using the excellent OpenCycleMap which clearly shows elevations at almost all scales. It also has the distinct advantage of showing cycle routes where they’ve already been surveyed for the OpenStreetMap project.
  • There doesn’t appear to be a built-in function to be able to split a route at a waypoint, or to merge two routes together. This would have been very useful to have when I was working out exactly where my overnight stops should be. Instead I resorted to exporting the relevant routes to GPX files and splitting joining them using a text editor before reimporting them. If I accidentally left the properties window open in the middle of this then I’d suffer the same performance issue mentioned above as it updated to my change.

I’m a large contributor of data to the aforementioned OpenStreetMap project and I’ll be surveying the entire route with the intention of adding all of the data to OSM. Many portions of my planned route have been specifically chosen because to enhance OSM’s already excellent coverage of the National Cycle Network. The return journey uses large portions of NCR1 from John O’Groats back to Canterbury and I hope that we may have complete coverage of the route in OSM by the end of my travels.

I printed all of my maps and planning documents today. The maps amount to exactly 250 pages. My planning documents show that I’ll have a cumulative ascent (and descent naturally since it’s a full-circle trip) of approximately 50KM. Not bad going.

All accomodation now booked

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2009

It’s taken almost a month of phone calls, return calls, and adjustments to my route to accommodate full bookings dotted between work. I now have all 59 of my accommodation stops booked. I can now almost book B&Bs like a machine, though I must say that it’s amazing how many different styles of booking people I’ve encountered. From “please pay it all up front” to “no deposit necessary” and many people eager to hear my tales of the journey so far upon my arrival.

My bike’s in tip-top condition

Sunday, May 31st, 2009

Now that my ride is fast approaching I took my bike into my local cycle shop for a full service. Quite a few bits were replaced, as I was expecting, including a new chainset. It’s now running much smoother and I took it out for a while today. I’d only intended to go out for a short ride (to go and map some new cycle parking I’d spotted in Canterbury), but with the weather being so good this soon turned into a quick spin over to Whitstable and back via the Crab & Winkle Way. Upon getting back to Canterbury I bumped into several Spokes members leading a group of French schoolchildren on a bike ride. I decided to join them and help out, so then cycled over to Whitstable and back for a second time. It was great fun and I got to practice the little French that I can still remember from school.