Bristol to Whitby

Bike at the side of the road

Last week we had a few days planned up North in Whitby and I didn’t need more than a seconds thought to take the bike.

It was a great ride up with a highlight of crossing the Humber Bridge and enjoying the trip over the Moors (A169).

My GPS device, igotu worked a treat and now I can add ride data to my holiday collection with memories, photos and….trip data haha – very happy.

Oh and Whitby was worth visiting for a few days least I forget the reason for my trip and the food, particularly the sausages at Bothams was a welcome distraction from the pub.


A46, A164 (dull), A15, A169
273 miles one way
943 ft elevation (max)

igotu – first impressions

i-gotU is a GPS logger device (maps your position) that is aimed at the traveler, suspicious partner and photographer.

iGotU GPS location logger device

Essentially you set off and it claims to record up to 262,000 waypoints with the interval set between 1-60 seconds thus mapping your route. I was talking to fellow biker @davidhartland about recording travels and he successfully used it last year for a trip on mainland Europe and for under £50 from my local Maplins I figured it was worth a punt.

I have the Gt-200e model which includes bluetooth that should let me connect to a mobile phone and laptop according to the packaging, which I must say looks rubbish and hides the key features of the device. Also the website is pretty crap too and I think they’d sell a ton more by sorting it out as it comes across as a Dragons Den dream catcher.

Out of the packaging I was surprised at how small it was and impressed that it charges via USB. That said, the USB connector is some weird design that looks like it could easily break – not exactly travel friendly as I have no clue how i’d ever get a replacement.

The key features are – gps logging and the ability to put the data on things like Google Maps and also sync a waypoint with specific photos from your camera which sounds cool on a PC.

So being a crap scout I didn’t realise that the software is PC compatible only… luckily somebody has made their own software which will hopefully work (albeit without the photo syncing which I can live with).

It is on charge right now so my brief trip to Wales tomorrow will be my first test.

Dear makers of igot-U please fix the PC only software for us mac folk and sort your packaging and website – you’ll get richer quicker.


Considering telemetry data for a biker

Not just content with photos and video for memories I am considering how I can collect data too.

The aim is to setup some gizmo to record trip data and then put that online, preferability in real-time.

First, Hein Gerieke plotted the location of Nick Sanders world travel. Then I read about a Nascar/indy car driver who was obsessed with using data to improve his time. Most recently the Mclaren F1 team started to show their car data.

I want in.

I met Tony Hirst in Manchester this week and we got to talking about collecting race data which of course helped me to move doing this from idea to challenge.
My initial thoughts on what I’d like to achieve are:

1 – Learn how to correctly spell ‘telemetry’. Check, sorta.

2 – Identify possible useful data to collect (location for a Google map, speed?, braking amounts on both brakes, G wind speed, air pressure, humidity, engine temp, brake and tire temps?, distance traveled, fuel consumption, weight of rider, pillion and fuel, heart rate… )

3 – Identify what datalogging kit is available and what may work with my Honda CBF 600

4 – Cost the above

5 – Install.

For the thrill of it I would love to have this data being beamed live (and maybe announce on my site/twitter a journey has begun) though would settle for collecting the data and then transferring to USB/phone for later upload.

I’d like to do this for all trips and hopefully future track days once I pluck up the courage to book my first session.

Already I have spoken with the pilot of a Boeing 747 and he uses AeroWeather for flight planning and so it may be that a bunch of data can be cross-referenced with static data-logging services…

I know nowt about data collecting or the bike tech but here goes nothing and if you have any suggestions please do drop me a line.

Oxford Chill out gloves

Riding in cold windy rainy conditions is completely fine save the trouble keeping the visor clear and wet hands.

Riding gloves keep my hands dry for about an hour but eventually they get very sodden which leads to cold hands and risk of an accident. My solution to date has been to switch to a dry pair but for long rides this is not workable as i’d need up to five pairs.

Enter the Oxford Chill out ‘inner’ gloves which claim to be waterproof and I hope so to keep my paws dry. I picked a pair up today for £11 in the sale.

They also claim to be comfortable but my first impression is that each finger feels like it has newspaper stuffed into them.

As an aside, the product photo on the website has to be one of the least attracting product photos I have ever encountered.

I will write about my success with the rain as soon as it rains next – shouldn’t be too long then.

Heated hands, happy ride

After a freezing Bristol – London passport dash two weeks ago for a friend and blue fingers, I decided enough was enough.

So this weekend I had some affordable heated grips from bike it installed from the helpful duo of Kellaway motorcycles. I had considered the Honda set (£150 plus install, no thanks) and some Oxford options, but  plumped for the in-store no frills bike it grips (£45).

First reports are positive and my only gripe is that the grips themselves feel a little rough and BMX like, but no doubt in a few miles I won’t know what the old grips felt like.

Once I get a long single trip out of the way (next week to London) then I will know if they will last the winter.

MotoGP, Twitter and leading by example

Last month Robert Scoble wrote about one of my favorite things: bikes,  specifically MotoGP, and Lorenzo’s use of twitter for personal branding.

What I like about this post, is that we can see Jorge Lorezno actually wants to connect with fans and sees Twitter as the most obvious way. You can’t shake everybodies hand or sign all the autographs, but you can make connections to everybody by tweeting.

Robert actually met with Jorge and thus his observations are based on this meeting as opposed to  heresay.  He has no hope of out shining Rossi in the popularity stakes now – but when Rossi hangs his boots up, Jorge is better positioned to be the most well-known after him, I certainly paid more attention of noticing that he tweets.  That and he is completely dominating on the track.

If the by-product of using twitter is that we as fans think we know him better and it raises his profile,  and he gets paid more in sponsorship, than good on him. What makes it interesting and refreshing also is that is is clearly  Jorge’s tweets and not some marketing angle. If he wants to know what film to watch, he can ask his ‘fans’ and share what he is doing outside of the office job – just like you and me, and that’s the beauty.

Photo credit – Robert Scoble