Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Almost Off The Radar

Well, the problems I anticipated having with connectivity with the rest of the world have come to pass. I have lots of photos and lots of scribbled notes, but spots of mobile reception have been brief and rare and Internet access even more so and plagued with slow speeds. There's no broadband on Skye, Remember the good old days of telephone dial-up?! It's still alive and well - and a precious lifeline - in remote parts of the UK.

The photos I do have are only available to view on small screens, often impossible to see in natural light. So it has not yet been possible to review and cull the  'mistakes' and blurry out-of-focus shots, much less edit or crop the 'keepers' and caption them.

All that said.... I've been able to post onto Facebook from my mobile at fairly regular, if not frequent, intervals, especially since we arrived in Portree.

So, until I have the full range of tools available to me, may I point you to the velovoice Facebook page.

Sunday, 8 June 2014

This is only a test...

Further to my post earlier this evening, I thought I'd try posting from my mobile phone straight to Blogger. Amazingly it works! So this is plan B.

Meanwhile, enjoy a moment from my commute home the other night.

Blogging from the Back of Beyond

Preparations are nearly complete for our trip to Scotland. A few things like phones and MP3 player will need to be charged the night before we go and there's this matter of having three more days of work, but otherwise... everything's packed and we could leave tonight.

One decision I've had to make is whether to try and post to the blog while we're away. My preference would be to post little and often -- I haven't got a great memory and don't want to be taking notes of everything as we go along, saving it all up for a marathon writing, photo editing and uploading session on our first weekend home -- we have other plans!

The hitch is technology. Ideally, I could take the Kindle tablet and post with that. But... turns out none of the ports are USB and none of them can handle incoming data i.e. uploading photos, even if I were to get an adapter.

We're working on updating drivers and configurations on a very small Linux laptop of Adam's. The issue at the moment is ensuring that it can and will recognise memory cards from the camera.

If all else fails, I am sure I can take a few snaps as we go with my mobile phone and upload straight to Blogger. Posts like that will each be very short: just one photo with essentially a caption. And I'd probably post several times a day, so those of you on my newsletter subscription would get a collection of several short posts each morning.

I'd rather post as normal though - sit in a cafe or pub for an hour every other day and write up my thoughts and our experiences with a selection of nice photographs.

Meanwhile, we're doing all the experimentation beforehand so if it turns out "We don't have the technology", I'll let you know before we leave... and you can sit back and brace yourself for an onslaught of words and images from me in almost exactly two weeks' time...!

Frankly, if it wasn't for the blog, I'd quite like 12 days without any connection to the outside world. Well... I say that now.... but this was pretty much me at regular intervals during my last visit to Scotland's Western Coast.

Image: mobilephonecoverage_shutterstock_394186.jpg

Oddly enough, we had great reception in the most uninhabited places like Eigg and Rhum!

Saturday, 7 June 2014

Easter Rides - The 100 Mile Smile Ride Reccies

This coming September, local Sustrans volunteers will once again host The 100 Mile Smile Ride, a loop through parts of Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire. We ran this last year based from the Travel Choices Hub in Dunstable and had a wonderful time

Adam and I have done a couple of reconnaissance rides (commonly called "reccies") of parts of the route already. This included two lovely days out over the Easter Bank Holiday weekend in April. 

The first segment we rode on Good Friday was from Bedford to just beyond Knebworth. It was a grey overcast day with strong winds. While we made fairly good time -- including various stops to discuss turnings and possible obstacles or route questions -- I never really warmed up. 

The route has long stretches of off-road tracks that were in surprisingly good condition. Some stretches near parks (with car parking) were very busy with people on foot including parents with prams and children on balance bikes, but with a little care we were soon through those congested areas and enjoyed many miles of smooth paths at a steady pace. 

Cycling along National Cycle Network Route 51 through Priory Country Park east of Bedford --

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Public Art IV: The Alban Way

A few weeks ago, the city of St Albans held its official "opening" of the new mural in one of the underpasses along The Alban Way. Sustrans, as the key partner in maintaining the route for walking and cycling, provided some "entertainment" in the form of a smoothie bike (which promptly broke, as it always does) and more practical assistance in the personage of Dr Bike (played here again by Adam).

The mural was created by young people from the Cunningham Hub Youth Cafe, with community input and under the guidance of a professional artist, and is located on the walls of the tunnel under London Road. 

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Taking Stock

It's been a busy few weeks: settling into the new job, preparing for our Skye trip and getting some miles in.

The daily commuting has seen my monthly kilometre-age jump from 251.54km in March to 352.94km in May to 567.1km in May. Most of those are frequent short trips, but I did get two 100+km rides in during May.

The first of these was the Historical Commercial Vehicles annual London to Brighton Run, undertaken with a merry band of Friday Night Ride chums.

The second took place yesterday, where we rode to a charming tea shop near Potterspury (about 10 miles northwest of Milton Keynes), where a group of CycleChat members were stopping for lunch en route from London to Marton (somewhat near Warwick).

along the Sewell Greenway between Dunstable and Stanbridge

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