Blogging and Riding, Riding and Blogging

I’ve been playing with different ways to update the blog whenever I go out on extended day rides. Most haven’t worked at all, some haven’t worked quite the way I wanted them to. Updating automagically through my SPOT Tracker falls somewhere in between. The posts themselves, as you can see here and here, are ugly. I was hoping I’d be able to control more of the content within them, but, alas, I cannot. The verdict is that for one of my longer trips I think they might be useful, but for short day rides…. Not so much. I think I’ve found a way to post a map of the tracking data in the sidebar through SpotAdventures, but I need to find time to investigate that more as I think it’ll involve me doing some coding (and, therefore, breaking stuff).

I have found, however, a great little plugin (WP GPX Maps) that I can use after the ride to display the route. I initially used it here, and want to get more and more familiar with it (especially since the developer is very active and very responsive to feedback). Using it is very straightforward…

After a ride, I transfer the GPS tracks from the Zumo into Basecamp (Garmin’s Mac mapping software) and then export it in the GPX 1.1 format. Garmin appends the filename with *.GPX, which the plugin cannot read for some reason, but if changed to a lowercase extension, it uploads just fine. Once it uploads, all it needs is a shortcode to insert it into a post. This, for example, was yesterday’s ride:

It took me all of 3 minutes from export to display, so it’s really simple. And pretty much everything is customizable under the settings tab for the plugin, too – line color, what gets displayed, graph colors – and there are loads of shortcode parameters that I haven’t played with yet, but I don’t really feel the need to. With the exception of the route color (greyish-blue is a little dark on the map-view), all the default settings work fine for me. I may end up changing the red of the speed line in the graph (or take it out all together, even) as it overpowers the altitude line, but for now I’m good with it.

All in all WP GPX Maps a really, really good tool and I can’t wait to start using it more and more, especially now that riding season has returned. We’ll probably get more snow soon, but I’m ok with that. Hell, I got stung by a bee yesterday on the ride! In March! And I’m totally ok with that, too!