Posts tagged 'Cycling'

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Friday, August 11, 2023

Based on some useful feedback some time ago (thanks Denis!), I've added a new feature to the segment explorer to help you grab more KOMs or QOMs. You can now view and filter on the upcoming wind direction for the area you are viewing. I don't really chase KOMs these days (too old and slow) so I can't vouch for its usefulness, but I think it could be quite useful for those that do

Thursday, April 6, 2023

In my never ending quest to find ways to motivate myself to get out on my bike, I've tried lots of things. I started with trying to grab KOMs on Strava segments, but soon realised that I wasn't enough of a sprinter, climber or descender to have much success at that activity.

So next I moved onto visiting tiles in Veloviewer. The OS Grid divides the UK up into numbered squares of varying sizes, depending on the precision required. Based on the 1.5km square extended all round the world, Veloviewer challenges us to visit as many of them as possible. This has the advantage of not requiring any speed but the downside is that fairly quickly you need to be riding long distances to reach a square you've not visited before.

The next step was to attempt to ride every road, which is where Wandrer comes in. Ride a new road, get some points and climb up the leaderboard for your local area. This was lots of fun even when spending a large amount of time riding up and down dead ends and cul de sacs.

But back to those squares. What about if we split each 1.5km square into 64 tiny squares? And then tried to visit as many of those as possible? And what about if we tried to join all of them together, but only counting squares that are touched by other visited squares on all sides? That would be quite bonkers, right? That was my initial thought as well, but Squadrats still piqued my interest. 

As the pandemic wound down I realised I'd soon have to start going into the office occasionally, joining Kingston to Guildford via Squadratinhos seemed like an interesting, if pointless, challenge. 

My initial attempt was down the Portsmouth Road through Esher. After some off road fun round Esher Common I made it to Cobham, but then I was thwarted by what I came to realise was the biggest challenge in this new game, agricultural land. Urban squadratting is generally fairly straightforward since most squares are accessible by road, but rural areas have large areas of farm land, golf courses and reservoirs.

My next plan was to go via Epsom, Ashtead and Leatherhead and then follow the A246 to Guildford. This went well until I hit Effingham and couldn't figure out how to get any further.

So then I thought I would try going via Walton, Weybridge, Byfleet and Woking. I'd ignored this approach at first because there was no direct route to Walton. A bunch of reservoirs and nature reserves meant I had to go North to Feltham, then turn South through Sunbury to reach Walton.

Getting to Weybridge was easy enough but linking to Byfleet was blocked by the oligarch estate at St Georges Hill. I managed to blag my way in there by claiming I was meeting someone at the golf club and then continued on my way. Byfleet to Woking was simple but then I hit the Guildford green belt. I couldn't figure out a way past Sutton Green. For a while, I went East to see if I could find a route that way, I even considered riding up the A3 before I regained my senses.

I looked again at Sutton Green and realised a farmer's driveway was the key to getting past it. One misty morning, I gave it a go. His gate looked to be electronically controlled but there was enough play in it for me to fit my bike through the gap. I rode halfway up and turned round. A little bit more off roading and I was in the outskirts of Guildford.

I wasn't the first person to Squadrat to Guildford, although I think I was the first using that particular route. But Squadratting has made commuting much more interesting and I've visited places I didn't even know existed, even though I've commuted back and forth for several years. The squares initially seem far too small, but it means you can keep going in your local area for a long time before you run out of squares to visit. 


Posts on the old blog tagged 'Cycling'