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BlackBerry Bicyclists – Map Your Rides With GPS

England-Idlewild Park Trail Ride

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.

5 total comments on this postSubmit your comment!
  1. I forgot to mention that you could also use this GPX file if you were a runner, to GPS log your runs, in MapMyRun.com, which is for runners.

  2. I’ve been using this App since early this year and absolutely love it. It’s quite simple to use and exports any format you need (I import GPX into Google Earth just fine). It’s very accurate and doesn’t drain the battery much when in use.

    Nice to point out it also has a nighttime mode (which saves battery because it uses a black screen), as well as a compass and a few other options.

    Kudos to the developer for providing this app free of charge. He is also the same developer that makes BBFileScout – a great file manger for the BlackBerry.

  3. Where do you store your berry while riding so that it continues to pick up the GPS satellites?

  4. I just had it in the front pocket of my shorts. I think it would also work fine, in a rear jersey pocket, if that pocket had a zipper. Wouldn’t want it to fly out of the jersey pocket, when you hit a bump!

    I think there is a perception that a BlackBerry must be laying flat, face up, to see the satellites, but it doesn’t have to be – it still sees them.

  5. wikipedia has some other sites, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GPS_eXchange_Format

    i didn’t like the ones mentioned here, MapMyXXX

    most promising seemed this free site http://www.circuitderando.com/

    no registration required. just upload gpx and then you have a link or embed code of your route

    ciao!

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