Checking out RideWithGPS.com

Over that past few couple of years I’ve hopped back and forth with online mapping tools.  Since I don’t have a GPS on my bike (would love one, but the fundage is a little short these days), I rely on a bike computer for distance, and a mapping tool for elevation.  I’ve used Sanoodi, Gmaps-pedometer, and MapMyRide at various times. Bicycling Magazine also recently released a training log/mapping tool, which I may review down the road, so to speak.    Each one has there own strengths and weaknesses, and I’m sure a comprehensive review at a later time would be a very good blog post. (none of which, by the way, will embed in a WordPress.com blog, which may be a reason to move this blog to my own host eventually).  For now I’m just checking out RideWithGPS.com, which I found via this very old, but recently updated, thread at BikeForums.net.  (You know it’s old first by the fact that the thread began in 2007.  Secondly, one of the members suggests using RouteSlip, which was purchased by MapMyRide some time ago.)

I’ve only been checking out RideWithGPS.com for a couple of hours, but here are some initial thoughts.

1.  There is an easy import feature directly from MapMyRide.  I loved this feature, as it allowed me to migrate my content easily, with a simple click.  If you’re tired of the MapMyRide ads (free version), then  this a great way to get your content to a less cluttered online service.

2.  The ride profile screen, shown below, is awesome. I love the fact that it is uncluttered and ad-free.  MapMyRide drives me nuts with the ads.  Yes, I know if I pay the ads should go away, but I’m on a budget.   I also love the fact that RideWithGPS.com gives you the total elevation in the top right of the ride screen, as well as an elevation profile below the map.   You’ll also noticed that there is a Gear Used section in the bottom right of the page.  If you have multiple bikes (or motorcycles) you can select which one you used, and it will show up on this trip details page.

3.  Drawing a route is easy as it can be.  There is a feature to have the program “Follow Roads”, which means there are a lot fewer clicks when drawing a route on your computer.  I found this feature to work pretty well, although for some reason when merging onto a major highway on a route, the software did something a bit crazy.  I just select the “Undo Last Point” option, and changed the drawing options to “Draw Lines” until my route got off the major highway.  Other than that little hiccup, the “Follow Roads” option makes it so you have to click fewer times when creating a route.  As a result, creating a route is not nearly as tedious as with other programs.

4.  The activity log (image below), which tracks what you did and when, looks to be intuitive and easy to read. With limited use, I only have one ride posted thus far.   There is both a month view and a list view to suit your viewing preferences.  My only complaint with the activity log is that you are required to select a route when entering a new activity.  There are times when I would just like to say “I rode 18 miles on the bike path in 65 minutes” without having to actually map or draw the route.  Otherwise, I’d have to map out the route to specified turnaround points, which is very difficult to do on a bike path.  I’d have to map the turnaround points as specific landmarks, such as a road crossing, which is not always convenient, as there are times when I just ride as far as I can for 45 minutes, then turn around.

Overall I like what I see at RideWithGPS, and I’ll likely continue using it for the time being.  It has most of the features that I need, is easy to use, and seems to be fairly quick and stable.  The developers also have a blog which they use to promote  features and post updates.  This looks to be a really promising tool for recording bike rides, and I am very interested to see where the product goes in the future.

The Sufferfest – Spinning & Indoor Cycling Resources

The Sufferfest is a site devoted to videos and podcasts for indoor training.  The videos can be downloaded for free.  Now I just need to figure out a way to stream them from my PC to my Xbox on my TV.

It’s snowing. Or raining. Or dark. You’d rather be riding outside. But you’re not – you’re inside, riding and going nowhere so you can hurt other people’s legs this spring. We’re here for you. The Sufferfest is dedicated to indoor cycling workouts and the people who suffer through them. It’s your resource for podcasts, downloads, workouts and music to make indoor riding fun (fun? really?), more punishing, and more worthwhile.

via The Sufferfest – Spinning & Indoor Cycling Resources.

2009 Bike Tours

The last organized ride I did was the MS 25 in Chattanooga, Tennessee, when I was around 14 years old.   I’m looking to get a few tours and charity rides in this year.  Here’s a list of a few bike tours that I’ve got my eye on.

For other rides in and around Ohio, take a look at the Ohio Bicycle Events Calendar.

Today’s workout

This morning I did a half-hour spin on the trainer while watching Heroes on Netflix. I mixed it up a little with a couple of fast sprints, but nothing too crazy. It’s only the second time I’ve used a trainer, and it’s kind of odd having to pedal for 30 minutes straight. It’s a pretty decent workout. Seeing how it’s tough to get as many miles on the bike as I want to, the trainer may be the best approach for getting my legs in shape for the longer rides.

I also spent 30 minutes this afternoon on the eliptical trainer at the gym. I tend to enjoy doing the interval mode, as it simulates hills to a certain degree. The work and recovery helps to really get my heart rate going.

Current weight: 211