Friday, September 26, 2008

Open Cycle Map

I've recently bought a cheap second-hand GPS and have been playing about with it. One thing it's introduced me to, is Open Cycle Map, a sub-project within Open Street Map. The idea behind OSM is to generate open-source map-data, which people can use without the usual restrictions that apply to data from Ordnance Survey (see this for the whole story). The Open Cycle Map project plans to use this data, to plot the National Cycle Network, along with other useful cycling features (shops, cycle parking, etc).

The map already seems considerably more user-friendly than that on the Sustrans site and will presumably only get better. I've already started contributing to OSM (tagging up some pubs in my local area, natch) and hopefully once I get a bit more up-to-speed with my GPS, I can start adding some cycle routes too.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Armstrong in, Contador out (probably) at Astana

The newly un-retired Lance Armstrong looks set to join the Astana cycling team. This is a bit of a shame for their other big signing of the year, last year's Tour winner Alberto Contador, who has hinted he'll be offsky if this happens.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Aldi Bike Bargains

Before I begin, I should point out; I've never bought any bike gear from Aldi, so have no idea of the quality (or whether it's made by 8 year-old children in Bangladesh). However, by the look of things some of these are at least worth an investigate. Most eye catching has to be the SPD Cycling Shoes for £19.99! Although looking at the picture they look like they're made out of some plasticky, non-leather, non-breathable material. Perhaps most practical are the overshoes (£5.99, including cap!) and the bike holder

Not sure about the locks though, I've heard rumours of groups of friends buying locks from Aldi/Lidl and finding that all the keys opened each others locks.

It all goes on sale tomorrow (18th) - more details here

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Latest Purchase

Well, a birthday present actually. Despite sounding quite dull, the bike stand is one of those incredibly useful things that I can't believe I haven't bought thus far. If you've ever tried to do any kind of cleaning or maintenance, that requires the turning of your pedals and back wheel, you'll know you have two options: turn the bike upside down, or ask your partner to come and help you while you swear a lot. Neither of these is ideal, I find.

The Minoura DS500 Bike Stand takes the place of your partner, lifting the wheel a few centimetres of the ground allowing the back-wheel and pedal to turn freely. Note, if you want one of those full size ones you see in bike workshops (so you can fix the bike while standing up), you'll have to splash some extra cash, plus they tend to be quite big. The strength of this model is that it folds down to about a foot-and-a-half.

Even better it has some of the best mistranslated instructions I've seen. I particularly liked:

"Do not ride bike while is on DS500. The man will be injured when the bike fallded down"

Thanks to Jen for buying it for me.