Tag Archives: gadgets

a slightly cyc-hotic idea

2 May

In just over a month’s time this half of the His and Hers will be heading south to Barcelona to spend a few days head nodding to the bleeps and wobbles at the excellent Sonar Festival.

And to get there I will be traveling… by bicycle. Yep, in a moment of bravado / stupidity / drunkenness, a good buddy and I thought a great way to warm up for a weekend of jogging on the spot would be cycling the 900 odd kms from Paris to Barca.

Usually in my travels around London I don’t use a map to guide me – I think that’s half the fun of cycling in London. Getting lost on the one way back streets and mews of Fitzrovia, or seeing how steely your nerve is when all of a sudden you’re heading into the Blackwall tunnel (this hasn’t actually happened to me, although the homing pigeon in me does have a penchant for lanes of the A40).

With the increased level of cycling in preparation for our impending adventure, without fail my geeky tendencies have come to the fore and I’ve been utilising a little technology to help out.

Bike Hub is a ‘cycle satnav’ app that uses Sustrans (pioneer of the ‘Safe Routes’ cycling in the UK) routes to plot quickest or quietest cycle routes in UK & Eire, and Cyclemeter is a GPS app that continually records your time, location, distance, elevation and speed.

What’s great about bike hub is that you have the choice of plotting a number of different route options – from simply A to B journeys or, if like me you want to do one long ride and end up in the same place, it will plot you a round route across whatever distance you want to go (brilliantly you can do it by points of interest – i.e. Pubs).

Once you’ve plotted your journey you can download the journey to your phone and it’s a Satnav to guide you on your merry (cycle)way. The other thing I haven’t mentioned about this very useful app is that its free!

The cyclemeter app on the other hand is more of a post ride / fitness tracker (this appeals to my competitive nature). You can plot regular journeys and sync them to your calendar to see how you’ve improved over time. Warning – if you’re anything like me it can make the journey to work slightly dangerous…  Yes I will make it to work in under 17 minutes!  (I am that much of a loser).

This app will set you back £2.99, but it can also be used for gauging running and walking, so I guess its worth the outlay.

From my pretty regular use of the app it appears to be pretty accurate – the only discrepancy sometimes seems to be with measuring fastest speeds.. However I quite like this, it’s flattering to think I could reach 65KM/H heading down Constitution Hill towards Buckingham Palace.. Watch out Sir Chris Hoy!

why i love my kindle

18 Apr

I was anti e-readers for a very long time. I love the smell of books…I like seeing them lined up on my bookshelf…I like lending them to friends. Actually, I don’t like lending. Because who has ever seen a lent out book again?

When the Kindles were finally released at the tight arse friendly price of 89 pounds last year, I succumbed, justifying the purchase as ultimately a money saving exercise – a Kindle would be a very cost effective way to roar through the classics, as they’re out of copyright and therefore free.

What I didn’t realise was that the Kindle would become my best friend. Any Londoner knows that you spend a lot of time waiting around…and having a tiny library in your bag at all times is a godsend. I’ve read more books in the last few months than I’ve read in years because I can pull out the Kindle whenever I’m killing time.

I’ve also saved a fortune on trash mags. Who’s got time to read about Pippa Middleton’s weekend when I need to find out if Jane Eyre and Mr Rochester are going to hook up?

And my favourite thing about the Kindle? Nobody can see that I’m actually reading Confessions of a Shopaholic.

My Kindle is protected by a Gelaskins cover.