Technology

Route planning

Prior to the ride all the ride planning had been done using Komoot. Each day’s ride is stored as a separate route. The Komoot application is recommended for planning. It allows one to click on the start and finish points of the ride, specify the kind of ride that it will be (e.g. bike touring, hiking, …) and then drag parts of the route to match the background Open Cycle Map which shows NCN68.

Anyone thinking of repeating the route is welcome to download my Komoot or Strava routes (where I actually rode is detailed on each day of the ride) and then you can plan a new ride based on my ride modifying it to visit particular places and to correct any mistakes I made when riding. Note that to see the Komoot or Strava routes you need to be registered with each of the websites (free).

The Komoot app offers a single mapping region (e.g. Derbyshire) as a free download and other mapping areas can be purchased for £30 (for the whole world forever) so these maps can be used when there is no Internet coverage. Komoot is available as a phone app and as a website. I tend to do the planning on my computer at home using the website but did make some minor changes using the app whilst actually on the ride.

Although I own the Sustrans paper maps for the route, I made very little use of them in the planning. The quality of the online mapping through OpenStreetmap and other sites is now so good that the days of paper maps are probably well past. I still like looking at old maps but now use them very little.

As a side comment, I would also not suggest you plan to follow the route using the Sustrans blue route stickers and signs. Whilst these were well organised on some parts of the route, other parts had few or no signs and a single mistake causing you to leave the route means that you would struggle to regain it. Treat the signs as an occasional complement to the gpx route (and maybe as a backup in case of an electronic disaster).

Electronics

Each Komoot ride (one for each day of the ride) was uploaded to my Wahoo ELEMNT bike computer using the automatic synchronisation feature of the ELEMNT (over wifi before leaving home).

I also marked each ride in Komoot to be available offline using my worldwide maps (if you haven’t got the worldwide maps you can only do this for one region) as a backup if the ELEMNT stopped working. This downloads the mapping to my Android phone (which has the free Komoot app) so that you can still see mapping in areas where there is no mobile coverage.

As a second backup I would also have Google Maps on my phone.

Given that the biggest problem could be running out of electricity, I made sure to charge everything each night and also carried a supplementary battery that would plug into my phone or bike computer.

After completing the day’s ride, the Wahoo was set to automatically upload to various tracking sites – I set up Komoot and Strava to accept the details of the ride. The ride within Strava can then be edited on the phone to change the name, etc. and to add photos from the day.

Photos taken using my Android phone.

Loads of music downloaded to my phone for evening entertainment when the excitement of the pub dwindled.

I also took a Nook e-reader for reading during the ride.

Ride replaying

Each day’s ride is available on the pages for each day of the overall ride. The details can be seen in both Strava and Komoot (you’ll have to have a at least a free account with each web site).

In addition, Ayvri has been used to create a virtual fly through of the route. This allows for the viewer to see my progress through the landscape including where I stopped and where I went slowly. You can zoom into and rotate the landscape as the ride replays and can also alter the speed of the replay. This functionality used to be available with Google Earth but Google have decided to scrap the product (or at least change it dramatically so Google Earth does nothing like this any more). Ayvri is a very impressive bit of software and I believe there are lots more capabilities to explore when I have more time.

While the display is impressive on a PC, I haven’t managed to make the Ayvri replay display correctly on an Android phone at the moment. The phone display will replay the track but not show any of the terrain so is useless! Could be operator error?