Mountain Biking

Photos from Flan’s Bikestag

Finally got round to adding some recent photos to my photo galleries:

Here’s a nice photo from the trip:

Nice log shot from Wales

DVD is done now too for those who’ve been waiting for it.

Mountain Biking

Excellent 30 mile ride from Newbury to Wantage

Discovered a great new route from Beedon up towards the Ridgeway and Wantage today that I thought I’d share on Google Maps (I just wish they included an OS layer so you can see the bridleways/byways). There’s loads of possible variation in this route including more of the ridgeway for example…

View Larger Map

I’ve also recently found which is worth checking out if you want to calculate and track cycling instead of driving to work and for other trips.

Cycling Life

General Ollie Update

2009 has been pretty busy so far – as you can see from the lack of activity on here! Its almost 3 months in ’09 and this is my first post!

For those of you interested in what I’ve been up to…

At work – we are in our busy end of FY period, I’ve been going to Brussels quite a bit for a project for the European Commission. Experienced a first – a meeting/workshop with (almost all) the EU Member state countries which was really interesting.

Lots of other exciting projects kicking off at the moment – looks like I will continue to be busy well into the next FY, which is good. Fingers crossed the economic downturn isn’t used as an excuse/ is a cause for cutting back on environmental and climate change projects.

On a personal level (also linked to work) Kat and I signed up to participate in trials for a new type of improved home thermostat (‘chrono-proportional’) for the EST (its a project that work are running).  It involves putting a few temperature sensors up indoors (and one outside) and we submit weekly gas/elec meter readings. These will monitor the effectiveness of our current thermostat – then later in the year we will have a new type of thermostat fitted and we’ll do the monitoring again.

The improved weather means I’m out on the bike alot more now which is good news, have also combined the riding with my new toy (which I got for Christmas) a Digital SLR camera – I’ll probably post up some photos soon.

Recent/Interesting Web Links:

Came across which is a product comparision site which lists how ethically produced,/green/healthy products are. Bit US specific at the moment but worth keeping an eye on.

An article on The Guardian’s (Free) Open Content API and DataStore. In fact the whole website is worth a look at.

I’ve started playing around a bit with Twitter – have to say I was (and still am a bit) skeptical of this – so we’ll see how long I use it for. So far I have linked it with my Facebook status messages. Perhaps there’s a way of linking WordPress to it so it can announce new posts?

Thats it for now – hopefully it won’t be as long until my next post!

Mountain Biking Travel

Photos from holiday in Tuscany

Photos from our recent holiday to Tuscany Italy (click)

More details to follow when we can find time to write up our notes.

Cycling Gadgets

New kit!

Prescription Oakleys…
Oakleys - hmmm...

Those of you are lucky(?!) enough to know me will know that I love a good gadget or 20. I took the plunge recently and bought myself some Oakleys with prescription lenses – some Livestrong Flak Jacket XLJ’s. The reason I’ve been wanting to get some (Oakley’s) for the last 5 or so years is for my cycling and skiing but haven’t got any because they are so damn expensive with prescription lenses in (about double the price standard price of Oakleys!). Of course it rains the whole weekend that I get them so I have yet to really wear them in anger…

One thing to note about prescription lenses in Oakleys is that they aren’t thinned (I’ve got thinned lenses in my regular glasses over the last few years as I’ve started getting more short sighted) so the lenses are quite thick. But they are wrap around so you get the feeling you can properly see (including peripheral vision) again (like wearing contacts – but I never got on with those). I’ll try and remember to take a picture for comparison next time I am with my 20:20 vision cycling mates.

Blackberry – aka “Crackberry” – as my former colleagues at 7city used to call them – as in they are addictive : – )

Work have been kind enough to ease my email (and keeping an eye on things) burden with a Blackberry 8820 which is nice. Has Wifi which is pretty useful. No doubt I’ll be posting some Blackberry related posts soon…

Cycling Mountain Biking

Just got back from Coed y Brenin (Mountain Biking in Wales)

Amazing weekend up in the Welsh Mountains. Pictures are here and some videos to follow…

Cycling Mountain Biking Technology

Another nice Mountain Bike route in Berks…

…plotted on Google. Really mixed terrain and views. Decided to extend a loop round the village out to Greenham Common (ex USAF base) which is now a Nature reserve/ex runway play area. Only annoying thing about google maps is that they don’t have RoW marked on them (just roads). Hopefully this will change soon (although maybe they’d have to switch to using to Ordance Survey cartography?)


Route plotted on Google Maps

p.s. Whilst putting this route together my laptop froze. Turns out firefox was using 1.5GB of RAM (yes just firefox – see screenshot below!) Turns out having Firebug switched on whilst using Google Maps isn’t the best of ideas!

Firefox using 1.5GB of RAM!


Cycling Mountain Biking Technology

Using Google Maps to Plot Mountain Bike Routes

Here is a route I went on today on my Mountain Bike, thought I’d share it as its a good one. Helps explain the mysterious red “Works Unit” sign from the M4! Also gave me a chance to try out Google Maps plotting tools.

Some Photos:

Cycling Mountain Biking

New cycle commute route to work (Off-road!)

So I’ve finally worked out the cycle route to work, originally I wanted to find a road bike route as it would be quicker but I couldn’t find one that completely avoided a major A road (dual carriageway). So now I’ve actually found a more direct (as the crow flies) route that takes in mostly restricted byways (including a bit of the Ridgeway). It looks like its going to be a really nice route. It will be about 10 miles each way and will probably take 45 minutes to an hour to start with – I hope to have that down to between 35 and 45 minutes before too long!

Grassy Byway Sunset Byway

[Update] Took me 50 minutes door to door, once I get fitter that time will definitely go down!

[Update – Sept 07] Now down to as little as 40 minutes! Usually do it in around 42 to 44 so thats a result! So far I am managing to ride about 2 -3 times a week. Going to have to try and continue that through the winter – which will be a challenge!