GPS mobile phone applications make Guernsey bicycling even more fun

July 7th, 2011 by Richard Lord

The number of people bicycling regularly in Guernsey appears to be increasing.  The many days of fine weather and rising fuel prices have helped this trend.

There have always been people who bicycle throughout the year.  Some people do this because they don’t own a car, or because they wish to keep fit or reduce stress.  Others enjoy the freedom the bicycle provides.

Mobile phones with GPS capability have given people another reason to enjoy Guernsey bicycling.

Simon Hancock embarks on a cycle ride using the Endomondo application on his mobile phone to track the distance travelled and his speed (click image to expand - ©RLLord)

Simon Hancock participated in Ian Brown’s 30/30 Challenge to raise much needed funds for Les Bourgs Hospice.  He downloaded the Endomondo application to his mobile phone so that he could track the number of miles he cycled each day during the Challenge.

Google Maps records each cycle ride.  His Facebook account announces when he begins his cycle ride. By clicking on the Facebook link, his friends can follow his progress around Guernsey.

Simon Hancock's mobile phone is attached to his bike's handlebars in a waterproof pouch so he can track his progress (click image to expand - ©RLLord)

Simon found the Endomondo application a great motivation to cycle more.  The application can be used to compete with friends or challenge oneself to greater speed or greater mileage.  The application provides a variety of statistics about one’s journey from distance travelled, to fastest speed and average speed, altitude traversed and calories burned.

The Endomondo application provides a summary of statistics

Simon Fairclough of BBC Guernsey uses a free mobile phone application called the Cyclometer to track his commute to work and back home again.

Simon Fairclough tracks his journey home using the Cyclometer application on his mobile phone (click image to expand - ©RLLord)

Simon Fairclough said “there are lots of apps available but this one is free, and it’s very user friendly.”  “Using Cyclometer has been great fun,” he said.

Cyclometer on Simon Fairclough's mobile phone (click image to expand - ©RLLord)

“The things you can do with it are incredible.  You can compete against friends.  You can set yourself targets and on those days when you’re not feeling very energetic the app provides motivation.  If you’re listening to your music or to a podcast on your way into work, a voice cuts in and says ‘you’ve just reached three miles, you’re 22 seconds behind your best’ – that sort of thing, so you tell yourself that you need to get going a little faster,” he said.

“Another feature of the application is that you can set it so when you set off it posts to Facebook that you are on your way and then friends or colleagues can type in messages on Facebook, which then get sent down your earphones to tell you to go quicker.  It is incredible technology.”

The GPS enabled mobile phone shows the bicyclist's location (click image to expand)

“If you have any mobile phone that has 3G technology you can download the application to your mobile phone or to your computer for free off the Internet.  The application isn’t just for cycling.  You can use it for walking or running.  “It has been a real boost for me,” Simon said.

Simon has set himself a target this year to cycle 3000 miles.

“This means I have got to cycle to work every single work day,” he said.  To reach this goal he has to cycle the six miles each way to work on Bulwer Avenue and then cycle a little more on weekends to make up for holidays and other days when he is not cycling to work.

Cycling has improved his aerobic fitness.  He said “it is a great way on your way into work of clearing your head ahead of a day’s work and then at the end of the day when you can be highly stressed a cycle home really helps reduce stress.”

“I have saved literally hundreds of pounds by cycling most days to work,” he said.  “I think I have only filled up the car with petrol twice this year.”

“Last year I just wasn’t doing enough exercise so this year I decided to set myself a goal and I am more or less on target with the goal.”

“I found out about this technology from a friend and it has been immensely helpful to keep on target to reach my goal.”


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