I was contacted by a rider looking to plan a long distance charity ride in memory of the 96 victims of the Hillsborough disaster. With his permission I’m posting up parts of his email, along with my answers. Hopefully they’ll be useful to others as well. And if you’re thinking of planning something similar then please get in touch. Work and cycling mean I may not be able to give you a perfect route, but hopefully I can help you through the technicalities or offer some suggestions on roads
So on to the email:
> On April 13th, 14th and 15th, I’ll be riding from my home near Norwich
> to Liverpool, via Sheffield to raise money for Hillsborough
Sounds like a good ride for a good cause. I’d offer to meet you for the section across lincolnshire and nottinghamshire but I’m booked in for a 300km Audax in wales that weekend.
> an Edge 800.
> So all the mapping stuff is foreign to me (I’ve not even used courses
> on my Edge 500 due to some bugs).
It’s a bit of an aquired taste, it’s taken me a while to get used to.
> 1. Do I need to shell out for maps, or can I get by with OSM?
You should be able to. I tend to us OSM for almost all of my routes. The problem is that they’re only as good as someone else has made them. When I’ve encountered patchy areas I’ve had to decide whether I can get by with a little note, or would be better off with the Garmin maps I got in the bundle.
I use the pregenerated OSM img files from http://talkytoaster.info/
> transfer to the Edge 800?
> 4. What is the best process to do so?
Going to do both of these together as they fit together:
For a long route I find that Google Maps set to walking mode is the easiest way to get a basic route. For instance your basic route looks like this: http://g.co/maps/y66f2
I’d then look at the route at a large scale an pull it off of obviously main roads (this depends on how happy you are on big main roads, I’ve cycled bits of the A1, but don’t really like doing it for long stretches. The street view is good for this as it gives you an idea of whether the roads a Dual Carrigeway and if it’s got a cycle lane or wide shoulders. So with yours I’d be avoiding the A17 across lincolnshire as it’s not pleasant in car let alone on a bike – http://g.co/maps/mwrjg
Also I’d check how much city/town cycling there is. Going through a big centre can be stressful and slow, so I’d rather skirt round.
Then I go through at a higher magnification checking what the smaller roads are like. Google has started routing down some fairly marginal trails recently and a bit of street viewing can prevent a trip up a mud track in the dark.(http://Bikehike.co.uk can also be good for this as it shows the OS map of the section of google map you’re looking at, so it’s easy to spot footpaths and bridleways.
I’d then use one of the online tools to convert a google map route to a GPX track. I prefer Google Maps Cuesheet – http://winthefight.org/cuegle/
While that tool gives you the option to send a route straight to your Garmin, with OSM that might not be the best option as any slight differences in the map will confuse the routing on the device. The way I prefer is to take the GPX file and import it into Garmin Basecamp.
In Basecamp make sure you’ve selected the right map, and then right click your track and select Create Route. If it asks you how many points to use, try about 100. Then comes the fun of finding the oddities, this is a post explaining how I do it – http://napalmgram.co.uk/
Eventually you end up with a nice route which you can then send to your Garmin
Its sounds a lot of work, but it’s a couple of hours and it saves a lot of time when you’re actually on the road
Make sure the bike fits you well.
Practice with the GPS and routing a lot before you rely on it. There are a lot quirks, so get it wrong when you’re not relying on it.
Keep eating and drinking well throughout the days.
Take it steady. If you’ve got the HR strap for the Edge it comes in handy as you can make sure you’re not pushing yourself too much. I find that about 65-70% of max HR is a level of effort I can keep up for a long time.
Get a rechargable battery pack to keep the Edge running for long days (the battery normally only lasts ~10 hours, I’ve got one of these – Tecknet 5000mAh USB rechargeable pack