Sunday, March 01, 2015

Google Earth Pro is kind of free

I was excited when Google announced Google Earth Pro was going to become free. A lot of geographical data comes in Shape files, but these aren’t usable in any free applications I know of and can’t really be used on the web without converting to something like KML first. But Google Earth Pro can load up Shape files and convert them to KML/KMZ.

Downloading isn’t a problem but getting hold of a key doesn’t seem to work as far as I can tell. Following the link to grab a free key just keeps redirecting to the download page. So I gave up in the end and grabbed an illicit key instead. Not sure of the legality of that, but if it’s meant to be free and I still need a key and Google won’t give me one, what choice did I have? Anyway a search for “google earth pro serial key or number” gave me a link to a site that produced a key I could use.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

UK house price data January 2015

I have uploaded the latest Land Registry house price data to my site. Prices continue their gradual ascent.

The BBC reports the blindingly obvious that there is a wide gap in regional house prices. This is clearly visible if you compare my place of birth with my current abode. Blackburn, like many areas outside the South East, has seen pretty much static house prices since 2008. Kingston upon Thames, like most other areas in London, took a bit of a breather in 2008 and then continued on its upward trajectory. I guess the interesting question is whether this is a permanent change or if the differences in regional prices will revert back to their historical average at some point. I can’t pretend to know the answer to that, but I do know prices in London are insane…

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

UK Postcode data for February 2015

The ONS have released the latest version of their postcode dataset and I have now uploaded it to my website. A few sanity checks suggest it is OK but let me know if you spot anything strange

Sunday, February 08, 2015

How to beat a Strava PR on every ride

I think getting to, or maintaining, a healthy weight is fairly straightforward, in principle at least. Match your calorie intake with your calorie burning. Riders on the Tour de France eat 9000 calories a day, but don’t put on any weight for the obvious reason that they burn through all those calories. Eating less has never appealed to me, so the exercise side of the equation is the one I try to work on and it generally works OK for me.

But motivation can be a problem. Cycling is my exercise of choice and a winter of cold, wet and windy weather can rather reduce the will to get out on the road. I’ve found a few things to motivate me in the past, signing up with Endomondo (and trying to beat various personal bests), buying a new bike and training for the Ride London 100 to name a few.

Strava is the latest motivator. Every ride gives the opportunity to beat a PR on one segment or another, so there are many more chances to get a little boost from receiving a medal at the end of a ride. But sometimes, nothing. A ride of an hour may lead to no achievement.

But there is a way to almost guarantee a PR on every ride. First, sign up with veloviewer. This provides even more geeky information about every segment you’ve ridden. Next, filter the segment list for ones you’ve only ridden once or twice. Next, check the weather to find out the prevailing wind. Now find some segments where the wind will be behind you. Then plan your ride to include those segments. And finally, ride the route!

And voila, chances are you will beat one of your PRs on that ride. And even better, you’ll probably have ridden some new segments during your ride, which will now be in your list of potential PR segments.

I’ve been using this technique for the last few months and I’ve still got 140 segments within 5 miles of my house that I’ve ridden 2 or less times. Of course I’ll get bored of this at some point, but maybe I’ve already found my next motivation tool (aside from Ride London 2015), increasing my Eddington number

Monday, December 15, 2014

Grading bike ride climbs

I’ve updated the route elevation page on doogal.co.uk so you can now grade climbs. It uses the same rating as Strava, which is based on the UCI climb categorization. Hopefully it will be useful if you can’t find a matching segment on Strava.