BikeBlog

An easy way to maintain a diary of your cycling, hiking, or running. The intent is to make the diary readable via the World Wide Web, but a web server is not required. For personal viewing you can simply use a web browser. Check out the README file included in the distribution for more details. An excerpt is printed below.

Download version 0.5 here. To use BikeBlog you should have Perl 5. After a long hiatus, development of a more advanced version is underway.

What is BikeBlog?

It is a Perl script to maintain a travel database in HTML, suitable for viewing via the World Wide Web. The script was written for cyclists, but could also be used by hikers, runners, boaters, or any other class of people in motion. The script takes as input time and distance measurements, as well as route descriptions and general log notes. The output is a hierarchy of HTML files containing the user's input data as well as calculated speed, average speed, and historical time and distance totals. The log is designed to be easily navigable through a standard Web browser.

Why BikeBlog?

In the summer of 2005 I began keeping track of the time and distance I rode my bike each time I went out. My first attempt at distance measurement was using a ruler and a city map of known scale to determine the length of the route I had taken. I soon realized that a much better way to do the task would be through the use of a GPS unit. Thus, I purchased a handlebar mount for the GPS I already owned, and took the unit with me on my rides, to tell me distance traveled, speed, and even to remember where I'd been, thanks to its track logging function. I used a serial data cable to download the info to my computer, on which I made maps of my routes and kept up with the stats as I rode more and more. This was a great system, and I wanted to be able to browse my log files with ease, so I thought I'd do them in HTML and make them link to each other in sequence. That would enable me to easily view them in a Web browser.

Making the HTML log files by hand was tedious and after a few weeks I gave up. I was too lazy to do all the formatting and to change everything that needed to be changed every time I made a new entry was far more work than I wanted to do. The only solution would be to write a program to do the hard work for me; all I would then have to do is put the data in and it would take care of making the pages and linking them to the right places. I didn't get around to doing it during the schoolyear, so it was Summer 2006 before I completed the first version of the script.

Interestingly, I no longer use the GPS on my bike. Road vibration permanently damaged it--it still works but now it loses power and shuts off if it is subjected to all but the weakest of shocks. (Let that be a warning to anyone who wants to use their GPS on their bike.) Instead, I use a regular cycling computer to maintain distance, time, and speed records, and my memory for recording routes.

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