I am an avid cyclist, riding on the road and mountain bike trails. Lately, with all the texting-while-driving auto accidents, MTB trails seem a lot safer. When I ride, I like to map my rides with GPS. It is simple to do, and fun. You don’t realize how big a trail is until you map it.
I used to have a Garmin eMap (pocket GPS) mounted on my MTB bike, on the handlebars, until the mount snapped in half, while riding down a steep “rock garden”. After the mount was broken, I would have to ride with the eMap in my jersey pocket. This was more ‘weight’ on me and something else to drop/break or accidentally leave at home.
Yesterday, I rode a trail, near Cincinnati, Ohio, called the England-Idlewild Park Trail, for the first time. I decided to try out the freeware GPS Logger software, to map my trails, on my BlackBerry Bold. How difficult is that? Simple, as you will see.
Before you ride, install the program and set the path, to save the data in. The path is simply where the physical GPS files will be stored. I made a folder called “\SDCard\GPSLoggerFiles\”. You can access this folder when you get home, over the USB cable.
To log your ride, just start the program up, and choose the “Start Logging” menu option. Then ride, ride, ride, and when you are done, tell it to “Stop Logging”. As you ride, this program will draw a map on your screen that shows your path. Don’t worry about interrupting the application while you are riding; you can answer the phone, read a text, whatever, and it will not stop the GPS logging of your ride. Try doing that, all you iPhoneys! The BlackBerry can multi-task! Ironically, while I was riding, I got a text message from Lance Armstrong’s website, giving me the status of the Tour de France.
You can also pause logging, if you stop, e.g., to eat, and don’t want to count that time. Just be sure to remember to re-start the logging after your pause.
When you get done with your ride, simply Export the files, and copy to your PC, from your BlackBerry over the USB cable. They will be *.GPX (always) and *.KML (optional). The KML format is used with Google Earth (free), and the GPX format is used by virtually everything else, including MapMyRide.com (you can get a free account on this website).
On Google Earth or MapMyRide.com, all you have to do is import the file that you exported, and then copied from your BlackBerry to your PC. It will draw your path, and you can underlay the satellite images of the terrain (trees, lakes, roads, hills).
Once again, to be sure, the five steps are: Start Logging, Ride, Stop Logging, Export, Import.