Reduce the risk of your bike getting stolen with a ‘Geo-fence’.

Geozone – Are you protected?

I last wrote about criminals using Strava to identify high-value bikes and their storage locations in June 2018. Over the last few weeks, I’ve read numerous social media posts about high-value bikes thefts from garages in close proximity to Seaford. So, at the risk of being repetitive, I thought it might be worth reminding people how to create a geofence to combat the problem. This article is specifically Strava orientated but I’m sure most tracking apps have a similar feature. 

Creating a Privacy Zone

On the website, go to your Settings page by hovering over your profile picture in the top right and selecting “Settings”.

Click on the Privacy tab on the left side of the page.

Enter a location in the text field provided under “Hide your house/office on your activity maps”, select the size of the privacy radius, and click “Create Privacy Zone.”

https://support.strava.com/hc/en-us/articles/115000173384-Privacy-Zones

How it Works

The portion of your activity that starts or stops within your privacy zone will be hidden from other Strava athletes who view your activity. You will be able to see data inside your privacy zone, but other athletes will not.

  • If you stop in a privacy zone during the middle of an activity, this portion will not be hidden.
  • Your privacy zone will be automatically applied to all past and future activities.
  • GPS location-based lat/long coordinates can be used in place of a street address for cases where there is no street address.
  • Only one privacy zone can be applied to the start or end point for each activity. So if you have multiple, overlapping privacy zones, only one will be applied to each start or end point.
  • If a friend starts their activity from within your privacy zone, the portion that began in your zone will not be hidden on their activity.
  • You will not appear on any segment leaderboard that starts/stops within your Privacy Zone and you cannot hold or earn any KOMs/CRs on those segments. Removing a Privacy Zone will reinstate your segment matches and any associated KOMs/CRs.
  • Your Privacy Zone will be respected when you share on Facebook.

Manage Followers & Block Athletes

From your profile page, you can easily manage your current followers from the “Following” tab. When you block an athlete, it stops him/her from following you again, seeing certain Profile details, or accessing your activities. You will be removed from his/her list of followers and Activity Feed. Someone you’ve blocked will be able to see your activity entries in public areas like segment leaderboards, club feeds, and segment explore.

https://support.strava.com/hc/en-us/articles/115000173484

Save your trails before they are lost for good

Over 10,000 miles of paths across England and Wales are at risk of being lost forever unless we make an effort to put them on the map. Cycling UK campaigns officer Sophie Gordon explains how we can save them before they disappear.

Whether you use them for riding, running or walking the dog, our public paths are a gateway to adventure – a way to take time out, connect with nature and explore new places. They bring to life our history and heritage, your path could be an old Roman road or a way used by pilgrims to travel to church. 

However, many of these routes that have been used for centuries aren’t officially recorded on the map, and if they aren’t added by the cut-off date of 2026, they could be lost forever. 

Identifying and recording these lost ways is a huge task, but by combining efforts with individuals and groups all over the country, you can help make sure they are put on the map. 

The clock is ticking 

The Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 (CRoW Act) brought in several improvements to public access, like allowing open access on foot on some areas of land and promoting strategic planning of rights of way networks. It also introduced a cut-off date of January 2026 for any rights of way created before 1949 to

be added to the definitive map (the legal record of public rights of way), so the public right to use them would be officially recognised. If these historic paths are not recorded, the legal right to use them will be extinguished in 2026. 

Find out more about how we got to this point. 

Many historic paths may be in frequent use by the public already, but as they are not recorded as rights of way, the landowner is able to close them off at any time. Others might be forgotten and overgrown, but could potentially be a useful route. 

This is particularly significant for off-road cycling and horse riding due to the fragmented nature of the bridleway network. There are many places where adding historic rights of way to the map could form a crucial link between existing rights of way. 

There are other cases where rights of way were incorrectly recorded as footpaths but actually carry higher rights, for example where they were previously used as a road for horses and carriages. Making sure these are recorded correctly could open up more rights of way for cycling.

Adding rights of way to the map 

Proving that a right of way exists involves gathering evidence from historic maps. Any route shown on old maps as a public road or bridle path that doesn’t appear on current Ordnance Survey maps could be a contender. 

Ever spotted one of those odd bridleways that suddenly turn into a footpath at a parish boundary? Chances are the footpath was incorrectly recorded when the council first produced their definitive map, and actually carries higher rights. 

The more evidence you can find to support your claim, the greater the chance of success. Once you’ve gathered all your evidence, you can put in an application to the local authority for a Definitive Map Modification Order (DMMO). 

Then sit back and pat yourself on the back, but don’t hold your breath – councils have a large backlog of applications and some take years to go through. 

Help and resources 

Researching historic rights of way may seem like a bit of an undertaking, but the British Horse Society and Ramblers have produced some great information and online tools to help steer you through and make life easier.  

Rather than reinventing the wheel, we’ve gathered all the resources here in one place so they are easy to find. 

Changing the status of rights of way

Cycling UK’s briefing is a good place to start for an overview of the processes for recording and upgrading rights of way.

British Horse Society – Project 2026 

  • BHS’s Project 2026 is designed to help groups and individuals start researching and recording lost rights of way, and is as relevant for cyclists as it is for horse riders.  
  • Their Project 2026 toolkit is an excellent place to start for a step-by-step guide to researching historic routes. 
  • Once you’re ready to dive in, there is also a more detailed guide with everything you could wish to know about doing the research and making the application. 
  • To share information and avoid duplicating efforts, BHS has created a mapping tool to help gather evidence and mark routes that an application has been made for. 
  • Financial support is available to recover any costs incurred in researching and making an application, and there are also training sessions for a systematic approach to researching historic rights of way. Both of these are available for anyone researching lost routes, not just BHS members. 

The man behind all of this is Will Steel, BHS’ 2026 project manager. He told us why it is so essential that these routes are protected: 

“Project 2026 is so important as it could be our last chance to safeguard thousands of rights of way that will otherwise be lost at the cut-off date of 1 January 2026.  

“Protecting these routes will help people to get out and about – on a horse or bike, driving a carriage or walking – and experience the natural environment avoiding the ever-busier road network.   

“The missing routes can often be key links in the minor highway network that also provide an opportunity to meet wider objectives around active and sustainable travel. I would really encourage anyone interested to get involved before it is too late.” 

Ramblers – Don’t Lose Your Way campaign 

Jack Cornish, Don’t Lose Your Way programme manager, explained his passion for lost rights of way and why you should get involved:  

“Our paths are one of our most precious assets. They connect us to our landscapes, and to our history and the people who formed them over the centuries.  

“If we lose our paths, a little bit of our past goes with them. This is our only opportunity to save thousands of miles of rights of way and time is running out.  

“Joining our group of citizen geographers is a really easy way to help and by doing so, you’ll become part of the movement that puts these paths back on the map for generations to come.” 

What’s the significance of 2026?

The National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949 placed a legal requirement on all local authorities in England and Wales to create a definitive map of public rights of way in their area. This process took a long time (decades in some cases), and many rights of way were left off or incorrectly recorded.

The Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 aimed to create some certainty by defining a date when the definitive maps would be deemed ‘complete’ and no more historic rights of way could be added. This was set as 1 January 2026. Any rights of way that existed before 1949 but have not been added to the definitive map by then will be extinguished and the public right to use them will be lost.

In 2001 the Government set up the Discovering Lost Ways project as a systematic research programme to ensure that the definitive maps would be fully complete by the cut-off date. However, the lengthy bureaucracy involved with processing claims for historic rights of way meant that six years later the project was deemed unviable, having not achieved very much in the time since. So the task of researching lost ways and submitting claims was left to volunteers.

The Deregulation Act 2015 was designed to make the process simpler, but five years later it still hasn’t been brought into effect. 

Lewes Cycling Map – help needed

For those that cycle in and around Lewes, please share your experiences and thoughts for an updated cycle map.

Drop by the Nutty Wizard corner of South Street on Sunday 23 April from 1.30 – 2.30pm to share your thoughts and ideas on what should be included in the new cycle map for the town. We are looking for useful short cuts, cycle racks and storage, easy cycling avoiding the hills and where might be the dangerous junctions when getting across the town or to/ from the station; also we’d like to identify good routes for getting to and from schools and colleges.  Please also share your favourite countryside days out. Any levels or ages

Full details are at this link on the Lewes Town Partnership Newsletter – April 2017

 

How to plan a new route

Ride leaders, have you ever thought, “I’d like to go somewhere different today.”  Cyclists, have you thought, “Not Firle Road and Bopeep, again?”

Don’t despair, help is at hand.  Cycle Seahaven has produced a video guide to help you to plan new routes.  It gives you the skills and tools you will need to explore many exciting new routes and find parts of the countryside you never knew existed.

You can access this at   https://youtu.be/rl31gNbvtMU

When you’ve planned them, recce’d them, and proved them with a group, why don’t you put them on our website where you will find nearly 20 others with maps and directions.  Find them at “Rides and Events”, “Cycle Routes”.

Bridleways and Byways

One of the key elements of the Monday daytime rides is that we seek to use bridleways, byways and quiet country roads, with as much off-road as possible, sometimes over 75% of the route. Most of the bridleways and byways would have been in existence from the time of the enclosures, if not earlier, and were the usual means for farmers and labourers to access fields and villages and for villagers to get to church. They are very irregular in direction and, when converted into roads, give rise to the famous “rolling English roads”. Those that were not made into roads, remain as unsurfaced byways (open to wheeled traffic), bridleways and footpaths. Part of our vision is to seek out and use these routes so that they do not disappear through neglect. Full details of all rights of way can be found on the  East Sussex Rights of Way website and on any Ordnance Survey map.

There are many bridleways on the South Downs giving access to wide open vistas and bracing fresh air. They are usually firm, grassland tracks, sometimes stoney, with gentle slopes or very steep hills.Down in the low Weald, they are more secluded, tree-lined and calm with dappled sunlight peeking through the branches. They are flat or have low hills and in places suffer from deep puddles or stretches of cloying mud.

One of the major problems we have experienced is the degradation of these routes. We have found that access to the wide range of routes is being restricted by problems at several, usually narrow, key nodes or pinch points which are difficult to negotiate particularly for less adventurous cyclists, walkers and riders and those with younger families.

The problems seem to be:


The overgrowth in summer of nettles, brambles, hawthorn and other vegetation which render the use of the route unpleasant or dangerous. Two of the group recently emerged from such an overgrown path streaming blood from bramble scratches. Even when the ground may have been cleared of vegetation, overhanging hawthorn and bramble can cause serious injury to equestrians and cyclists. A good (bad) example is on the path to Bopeep at the top of the Golf Course.

Whether it is increased use or increased rainfall, a number of bridleways are suffering from severe erosion, even on chalk. This renders them difficult negotiate as deep V-shaped gullies are created with loose rocks in the bottom, sometimes leaving no level surface. These may be sufficiently deep to catch pedals and throw off riders. An example is the upper part of the bridleway in Poverty Bottom.

Areas of deep mud remaining all year which, in narrow sections, leave no dry area to bypass, in others, deep puddles extending across the width of the track or a series “poach holes” up to 15cms deep where hoofs have sunk into the mud. These are often in gateways and near streams. A particularly bad example is the bridleway from Bates Green Farm west of the Cuckmere River.

Byways are open to wheeled vehicles, and tractors, 4x4s and motorbikes can cause serious problems. Wheel tracks, sometimes three across the byway and up to 20 cms deep, leave only a narrow and discontinuous pathway between. An example would be the track to Folkington from Wilmington. Byways may be closed in winter but this does not apply to cycles.

All paths get overgrown in summer, most paths get wet and muddy in winter, but a few key places are getting to the point where they are unusable all year and are restricting access to a large network of adequate routes. The main point is that these are small areas that are restricting access to a much greater length of excellent bridleways and byways which could provide exercise and interest to many. It should be possible for remedial action to be taken to remove these problems and improve access to all parts of the network. Another point is that these pinch points force users onto a few easier paths which may, in turn, become overused and suffer erosion.

According to ESCCs Rights of Way Team, it is the landowners’ responsibility to maintain Rights of Way across their land. The Team advise that if you find a problem on a Right of Way, report to them, quoting the number of the route. This can be found from the on-line Rights of Way Map by clicking on the route at full magnification when a drop down box will show the Parish and number of the route, even of each stile and gate.

With traffic on the roads increasing, it is essential that these off-road routes are used and not lost.

Route Maps

A new page has been added to our website that lists a small selection of our favourite rides. The list can be sorted by mileage or total climb so you can look for routes by distance or effort. You can use the search function to filter routes by destination, distance or type (Road, MTB, Track). A link to an online map is also provided,  allowing you to try out these routes on your own,  or to get a good feel for the ride before you join us.

We plan to increase this list to include more routes. If you have a favourite route that’s not listed then please let us know.

The route maps page can be found under the Rides & Events menu bar or by going direct to http://cycleseahaven.org.uk/routemaps/

RouteMapScreenshot

Electronic mapping

If you’re looking for a new cycle route then online maps can help you avoid the traffic and take you to some interesting places. At the moment they are no substitue for a proper printed map (or a helpful guide/ride leader, who can also fix punctures), but they can certainly spark interest in where to go next.

Free Online Mapping
There are a number of free online maps that you can use to help you decide on a route, so here is a selection of some of the ones I’ve used.

Google Maps has a number of display modes including Aerial photo (Satelite), road map and also has an excellent option to include ‘Bicycling’ routes. This includes Trails, Cycle Friendly roads and dedicated cycle routes. You can also plan a cycle ride from point to point using cycle friendly routes then save and share a copy via email (Clive does this for most of his rides). Printing the map falls short of ideal when venturing off-road. The map willl show the route in relation to highways and towns, but will it not show O/S style features or paths, thus making it quite useless for off-highway excursions.

StreetMap has a range of OS maps at different scales that are free to browse. You can print a very small section with OS detail for free, but not enough to be useful when you’re out on your bike.

Bing Maps is Microsoft’s own offering, and like Google it has Satelite and Road Map options. But unlike Google it drops the ability to see cycle friendly routes in favour of an excellent O/S option. Like Google the printed version is a basic road map and you lose the OS overlay that is important when venturing off road.

Ordnance Survey provide superbly detailled maps that are invaluable for the off-road explorer, and their online ‘Get a Map’ service is a free way to get a piece of the action. A half-page a4 O/S map is free to print, and might just about be enough if you know most of the route but need a little help on a small section. Anything larger is by paid subscription or one-off fee.

ESCC RoW maps use a combination of O/S maps overlayed with Rights of Way data that make new routes very easy to find. For cyclists it’s very easy to see Bridleways and Byways, along with Stiles, Gates, Bridges and planned closures. There’s no print option, but it’s a great way to discover what’s out there.

Friston Forest has a great network of trails for families and the more experienced off-roader. There are many unofficial trails in the forest, so we recommend you take care when following trails as you may come across jumps and other trail features.

Paid for electronic mapping
If you are serious about electronic mapping then you may consider paying for the priveledge.

Memory Map provides PC, tablet and smartphone software for O/S mapping. You can define and download your own maps, plot routes and upload/download to and from most GPS devices.

Ordnance Survey  have a similar service to Memory Map, but it’s all done online.

Cycle GPS Devices
Dedicated cycle-specfic GPS devices have been available for a while from companies such as Garmin and Memory Map. These fit onto your handlebars; some provide a map with a ‘you are here’ pointer to make navigation easier, while others simply remember where you’ve been and how fast you were going.

Smartphones are often very capable GPS devices with free apps such as Strava, Endomondo, MapMyRide, and many more. Free versions can be upgraded to paid-for version for improved functionality including navigation. Most of these apps don’t require a data connection for basic functionality, so you shouldn’t rack up any additional data bills. If in doubt then check with the developers or disable data on your phone. Battery life may suffer when running these apps. To preserve battery life try turning off WiFi and any data hungry features you don’t need.

Online GPS Sites
A GPS device on your bike can give you basic information like speed, average speed, total height climbed and distance, but they come into their own when coupled with mapping software. This software lets you review the route you took and lets you share it with others. Some also compare your ride with the last time you took the same route, so you can see if you’re getting quicker or are having a bad day.  Many allow you to ‘race’ against others over defined ‘segments’, placing you on a leaderboard with all other riders with the same app.

Here are a couple of free GPS mapping and tracking apps for smartphones, though there are many more:

Strava – https://www.strava.com/
Endomondo – https://www.endomondo.com/

RideWithGPS – We have a number of club rides mapped with this free software on our website here: http://cycleseahaven.org.uk/routemaps/

Paper maps
For worry free navigation when you’re on your bike you can’t beat a paper map, ideally laminated or printed on plastic for proof against the rain and hard use. They don’t run out of batteries and there’s no problem with small screens. But they do get out of date, and may not show the latest rights of way.

If you have a favourite mapping application that’s also free then we’d love to hear about it.

See you on the trails.

Andy

 updated 20th July 2015