Planning a busman’s holiday around the weather isn’t that easy. Camp set-up and break down, cycling between locations, working, keeping an eye on the weather, finding suitable places to work and charging power sources all need to be thought about. The key to success here (in our wonderfully changeable weather system) is to be flexible between 10:00 and 16:00 when there’s a possibility to get something out of the sun. Outside these hours there isn’t enough power in the sunlight to make it worth any effort or planning.
The original plan was to cycle during the day with the solar panel across the back of the bike however, a 25W panel is too big to lay in a useful, efficient position across the back of the bike so either I suffer with 50% energy loss or I stop when the sun shines. Having thought about it for about 2 seconds I think the latter idea is rather good and in fact, the objective of the tour is not to cycle as far as possible, its to test and learn about how UMPCs can be used and powered in mobile situations.
A rough dry-day plan could go like this.
- 0730-0830 wake up. Check email/RSS, Cuppa, Breakfast and pack up.
- 0845-1100 on the road for a concentrated 40km ride. Panel 50% deployed on bike but not expecting any usable power at this time of day.
- 1100-1600 Weather watch! If its sunny then stop and charge! Work, play, read, eat during this time. If not sunny try to get to campsite before midday in order to deploy trickle charge solution. Best charging period is 1200-1400 here.
- 1700-1900 If not already at campsite, set up tent. Find food. Shower. Food. Relax. Connect mobile phone and AA batteries for top-up from lead-acid battery.
- 1900-2100 Work (max 1.5 hours)
- 2100-2130 Prep for morning.
- 2200-2300 To bed with RSS, emails or book. Pray for sun! Earplugs in (camping by the Rhein is always noisy) and sleep…
Next job is to get the Google map started. I’m using RoboGeo to generate a live route map (here’s one I prepared earlier!) with images but I’d like to merge Google ‘My Map’ KML data with it so that I can build more than just a track map. If anyone has any ideas about this, please let me know.
Update: I worked it out. You can create the My Map in Google Maps by doing the usual drag a nd drop, draw etc etc. Then export the KML. Uload the KML to your web server and add the following two red lines into your RoboGeo ‘map.htm’ file after the ‘var map’ line. Obviously you need to adjust the URL to point to the KML file you uploaded.
var map = new GMap2(document.getElementById(“map”));
var geoXml = new GGeoXml(“http://www.solar-
Once you’ve done that, upload the RoboGeo dir to your server and link to the map.htm file.
Here’s one I’ve just made with a previous RoboGeo route and photos and if you zoom out you’ll see the start and endpoint for the tour and the current location of my bike. The great thing about it is that as you update your ‘My Map’ the created map changes too as it pulls in all the data from the Google servers. Wonderful!
I’m now off to
do a bit of shopping. Packet soup, sultanas and muesli bars. Yum yum! create some maps!