So far in the St. Louis, MO area we’ve had some really nice weather in April which is an intoxicating antidote to the awful winter we just endured. I’ve been finding it very difficult to stay indoors to actually do any work (except in the garden of course!). As if I needed any more motivation to get outside, I’ve recently tried out a couple of applications that really help pump my enthusiasm.
The first is one that a lot of people have heard of but I only discovered it last week. It’s called MapMyRide.com and since I like to hike, ride my bike, kayak and explore the outdoors, there are a lot of things I can do with this app. On my computer, I can plan out a route and then send it to my smartphone. I can use the smartphone app to record an excursion then look at the map later on my computer. Why would I want to do this? I can look at the map in satellite, road map or topo map view and see if there is anything interesting I missed that I might be able to find on a return visit. Some features are only going to be visible on one of these views so to be able to toggle back and forth is a great help. If I want to share my adventure with others I can take screen shots of the maps to make them into a graphic. Topo maps sometimes show old roads and old place names and can be a help when researching an area. For people who like to explore old roads such as Route 66, the satellite view is a great way to find things that are very difficult to see from ground level. For example, this old cut-off piece of Route 66 had to be shown to me by a guide and I didn’t remember how to get there again. Now I think I’ve found it with the satellite map and will be back to see if I’m right.
What if you are in an unfamiliar area and want to find a bike trail? Or you just want to find some new ones in your own area? You can set the app to show bike trails and zoom out to move along your route. When you see some green lines, zoom in to see details about a trail! It doesn’t seem to have a feature for finding walking trails only but most bike trails are also ok for walkers to use so it’s a good start. When you record your workouts, MapMyRide also tracks the calories burned for you and you can enter in your meals to use it as a calorie counter. And all of these features are in the FREE version.
The combination of MapMyRide and the weather had me so amped up last week that I walked 12 miles and rode 5.35 miles on my bike in six days. That’s not a lot for some people but it is for me. I’ve also started logging my miles on another web site also called 100 Missouri Miles, where the Governor and First Lady challenge you to match their active miles. It includes running, walking, hiking, geocaching, rolling, cycling, paddling, riding, swimming and skating. Missouri residents can use this site to motivate themselves to keep up with other active people. You also get badges when you reach certain goals. There are also features for finding interesting trails and events. A great way to enjoy the “Best Trails State” in America!