Start Here : Explanations


Section One is about the blog and how to use it. 

Section Two is bike routes, maps and notes.

Section One 

The dictionary defines 'pootle' as 'to move somewhere slowly and with no real purpose'.

This isn't a diary or (usually) a diatribe. Rather, it is a home for:
* My collection of bike routes in the countryside outside N & W London. 
* A gallimaufry of notes. Some provide context on history and landscapes for the bike route and others are simply things about offbeat places and that interest me. 

The format is configured primarily for reading on a phone so brevity is (usually) my lodestar. One result is inconsistent formatting between platforms, and typos are almost my trademark, but at least it proves I am not using AI! Everything will always be 'work in progress' and I do this to enjoy it and grant myself a dispensation to digress, widely, frequently and pointlessly and to update older stuff when I get around to it.

I am not treating walking simply as an end in itself, but rather as an excuse to leave London for the countryside and to explore not just the visible stuff, but also the history, geomorphology, gossip or gobsmackery. If it is weird or funny, all the better, so don't expect anything too serious. 

The stuff in the gallimaufry reflects a long-standing interest in places and spaces, real and imagined, and the odd ways in which people create their worlds. 

I do try and source information properly but the limitations of the format leaves chasms in which you can exercise your own curiosity or imagination. If you have a yarn worth sharing or see an error that needs correcting - and there will be many - please let me know. 

The Blog uses 'PAGES'  and 'LABELS' to organise and navigate the posts. As you can see, the Pages are self-explanatory entitled 'Bike Routes' and 'Other Stuff'. The Labels form a (very!) crude index and can be found via the three-bar menu in the top left-hand corner of the site. 

I use links a lot here. Many are internal, they just take you to the relevant blog post. Others are external; some go to my OneDrive repository where you will be asked if you want to continue to  download a GPX or pdf file. You can. Nothing guaranteed, but I haven't had a virus yet. 

Contact or 

Section 2 

My published cycling routes are, as the name suggests, aimed at slow cyclists and pootlers; not lycra-clad asphalt eaters on fancy racing bikes. Most are 25 - 45 miles long and circular or at least start and finish on the same railway line out of a North London terminal. There are a few longer rides which I treat as overnight trips but which addicts or electric bike users might do in a long day. 

You can easily use the maps to shorten or extend them and rest assured you don't have to be super-fit. It is amazing how far you go while taking it slowly if you simply give yourself enough time.

Each route consists of a GPX file and text notes covering the area of the tour in general and 'waypoints' of interest along it. I try hard to avoid busy roads. Most follow country lanes and many include an off-road section. Analysis in the mapping apps sometimes refers to these as gravel, but in fact many are compacted earth. My bike is cycling's equivalent of a Land Rover and doesn't mind this, but if your mount is aircraft-grade carbon with a paint job by Michelangelo and gossamer tyres, you might want to miss those. The gpx format doesn't allow me to show convenient diversions but they are usually obvious from the underlying maps. 

How to access and use this stuff......

My aim was to allow you to upload the file into whatever mapping app you choose. That proved to be tricky. In practice, each of them handles this stuff differently and makes no effort to be accommodating. Very few import the waypoint notes but they do usually find space for adverts, some misleading analysis of surfaces, restrictions etc. and occasionally a bit of local detail scraped off Wikipedia. So if you want the waypoint and other notes, check the blog or use Outdooractive. 

As it stands you have two options. You can use the material on the blog, starting from the 'Bike Rides' page. There you will find links to:
* The blog post with updated background and waypoint details for each route.
* A pdf note and schematic map based on the version published on the Outdooractive site & app. 
* The same route on the OS, Bikemap,  Route You, Google Maps, Ride with GPS and Komoot apps. 

Beyond that, OS is easy but limited, and can be a bit buggy, while Outdooractive has more features and gives you the most detail but is cluttered and complicated. Both give you some access to OS mapping as well as a more basic option. I recommend that you use one of them. The restrictions in the others make them fairly useless for my purposes. If you want to know how and why, check this post:  Mapping Apps Review

OR, if you like the challenge of navigating the clunky, unhelpful and inaccurate search and discovery features to find the routes on the apps themselves, feel free. 

There is more detail on these options below.

Critical notes. Different people are interested in different things. In this case, I know more about social and landscape history than flora and fauna and I like bizarre stuff and a bit of entertaining gossip too. If I tried to get everything into the route notes they would be unreadably long, so a lot of the general background on landscape and pre-history detail is covered in the  posts listed on the 'Other Stuff' page on the blog. 

On a bike, you are never far from a pub, so they have to be truly exceptional to get a mention. Good cafes are rarer so they get more mentions. Again, please, please do point out my errors and omissions. 

More detail: 

The information on the blog itself is regularly updated, but the rest rarely. 
GPX and PDF files of each route are downloadable from my OneDrive account. Everything that I think is worth having is there. The pdf's are based on the Outdooractive version of the routes. 

Basically, a GPX file consists of  the route itself  and metadata i.e. information on the route including waypoints and  other guff.  Most mapping apps facilitate the import of the route, but their appetite to digest and show you the metadata varies. Sometimes there is a good technical reason for this but usually it is just because they are protective about access to their precious little (weed-infested) Walled Gardens.   

There are notes on mapping apps and options in my post here:  Mapping Apps Review.
All work up to a point. None are ideal. Frankly, a lot of it feels like medieval cartography interpolated into the worst Artificial Unintelligence. Here be dragons! 


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