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Moving already?

I initially started this blog at WordPress.com because I did not know if I wanted to commit to having another blog.  I’ve enjoyed blogging about my cycling interests a bit more lately, so I bought a domain and set up a WordPress install on my own host.  I’ve been using WordPress for a number of other blogs since the 1.0 days, so it makes little sense for me to have a blog hosted at wordpress.com.  WordPress.com offers a lot in convenience, but the tradeoffs, such as not being able to embed iframes, javascript, and flash, make moving to a self-hosted blog alot more attractive.   As such, this blog has packed up and moved.  Please visit the new location at http://redneckinspandex.com.

I’ll likely leave this blog up for a little while here to pick up any stragglers and redirect them to the new home.  But since the blog is relatively young, the move shouldn’t be too unsettling for most folks.

Thanks for reading, and I hope to see you at http://redneckinspandex.com.  For those reading via RSS, you can get the new feed here.

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.

To the randonneur, a century is so 100 miles ago – OregonLive.com.

This article from OregonLive offers a good introduction to the sport of randonneuring.  It also includes a glossary of key terms.  I appreciate that the article is written by someone who had just finished her first 200k brevet, which gives it a good beginner’s perspective.

The Cycling Issue | Outside Online.

Outside Magazine has a good page devoted to Cycling, as part of the latest issue of the magazine.  There’s lots of good information there, including setting up a home bike shop, fitness information, and repair videos.  There are even videos that showcase some of the new bikes of the season.

Found via Bike Commuting in Columbus.

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.

Here’s a  video I took last September on a loop around Fox Lake. As I mention in the video, the ride took me to almost 800 miles for 2008. Yesterday’s ride took me over 100 miles for 2008, yet I felt almost as strong as I did when I rode the same route in September.

I was in a hurry yesterday, so I didn’t stop to take video or pictures. More pics and videos of upcoming rides are definitely in order.

Click to view route at Sanoodi

Click to view route at Sanoodi

Today I rode my  Fox Lake Loop route.

21.87 miles in 1 hour 28 mins.

14.85 mph avg speed.

34.78 mph max speed.

551m (1870 feet) of climbing, according to Sanoodi.

Chased by 3 dogs.

The ride was great.  This was my first ride not on the bike path this year, and it felt truly awesome.  I’ve done this route serveral times last year, so I am very familiar with it.  I have to say that while this is only my 7th ride of the year, I felt stronger on this ride than I have in the past.  I was able to go a bit faster, and muscle over some of the hills in a harder gear.  I only had to use the 32 tooth cog once, and that was on the last hill of the day.  I’m really excited that some of the conditioning that I’ve been doing over the winter seems to have had some effect.  It’s really encouraging that I’m in decent shape this early in the spring, and I don’t think I’ll have much trouble doing the 45 mile leg of the Tour de Forest on Saturday.  Now to lose the 10 pounds I gained back from last summer, and I’ll be flying.

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