blackberry

Last time I bought a cell phone, there weren’t many good choices – the too-trendy iPhone, some weird new things they called “droids,” and a cool new BlackBerry. Obviously I got the BlackBerry, and it has served me well, but it’s apparent that BlackBerries have now been surpassed by iPhones and Android devices.

Need proof? Strava’s app is only available for Android and iPhone.

I like to ride with as few gadgets as possible, but Strava just sucked me in, and I had to figure out how to at least try it out! But with no Strava app available to me, I didn’t have a clue where to start (without buying a Garmin Edge or Samsung Galaxy, that is.)

Fortunately, Strava doesn’t require anything too fancy – if you can create some sort of GPS data file and upload it, Strava will take care of the rest!

Here’s how to get set-up for Strava on your BlackBerry:

1. Download the Free Geocaching App, GPSLogger II

You’re going to need some sort of app that works with your built-in GPS, and the one I use is called GPSLogger II. The difference between it and something like the pre-installed BlackBerry Maps is that it makes it easy to record your movements.

I believe the app is intended for use during geocaching, but it will record your runs and rides just as well.

You can learn more about the full functionality of the app at its website, but if you want to get started now, download the app through BlackBerry App World.

Just search for “GPSLogger” and you’ll see “GPSLogger II” in the results list – click that and initiate the download.

2. Configure Settings

gpslogger logo

Once downloaded, run the app. (If you aren’t prompted to run it immediately, you can find it in your “Downloads” folder.)

Before going out for a ride, configure the settings for the best possible experience. This is under “Options” in the menu.

In “General Settings,” set the “Sample Interval in seconds” to 1. This means it will record your position every second, which is how a Garmin Edge does it.

Then make sure you check the box for “Record only GPS-Locations with speed.” Right below that, you can set a minimum speed. The default is 0.03mph; I’d set it at about 2.00mph. This makes it function like a cyclocomputer which auto-pauses when you’re at a stop sign or stopped to fix a flat, etc.

Going back to the main menu, go under “Appearance & Startup.” Here you can change the units from Metric to Imperial (i.e. mph instead of kmh.)

Then go back and find “Export Settings.” This is where you can add “Export as eMail” recipients. Put your personal email address in here.

Below that, I selected the “GPX 1.0” file format.

That will get you started, but if you want, you can mess around with other settings covering everything from types of views to emergency alerts!

3. Run the App During a Ride

When you’re getting ready for your next ride, load the app and wait for it to find your GPS coordinates. When it’s ready, you’ll show up as a red dot on the map.

When you’re reading to take off, go in the menu and choose “Start Logging.”

When your ride is finished, go back in the menu and choose “Stop Logging.”

You have just completed your first recording!

4. Export Ride

Go back in the menu, scroll down, and choose “Path Manager.”

Your rides are listed here, automatically labeled with the date and start time.

Select the latest date, click for the menu, then choose “Export Path via Email.”

That emails the file to yourself. Once back home in your email client, save the attachment to your computer. It will be a .GPX file. (Make sure you save it somewhere you can find it later.)

5. Upload to Strava

strava logo

Go into your Strava account, click Upload Activity, and use the “Upload file from computer” option. You’ll browse and select your GPX file, click upload, and Strava processes it in less than a minute.

That’s it! Now you can show off your hill climbing skills and share your routes online!

The process takes a bit longer than plugging in a Garmin Edge that automatically syncs with Strava, but if you don’t want to buy a new device, it’s a good workaround.

It’s also easy to find belt clips and arm band cases for most BlackBerry models, so if you want to run or ski with it, that works, too!

 

Strava and GPSLogger II FAQ

I had a few random issues when I first started this – hopefully you can learn from my mistakes!

There’s no GPS data – what am I doing wrong?

If you disabled your internal GPS to cut down on any corrupt, big brother sort of tracking like I did, you’ll need to go back into your main BlackBerry options and enable that.

You go under Options > Advanced Options > GPS. For the “GPS Services” field, make sure it says “Location On.” If you did it right, there will be a new icon (I think it looks like a GPS satellite) under the service bars on your home screen.

Why does it take so long to connect?

Sometimes it would take 10 minutes for my phone to connect to satellites and find my position. I don’t know if it was my fault, the phone’s fault, or Verizon’s fault, but my friends’ Garmins would connect in 30 seconds or less, so this was annoying.

To remedy this, I would always start GPSLogger II before suiting up for my ride.

Why can’t I export my long rides?

If you ride for 2+ hours as a single ride, the resulting GPX file will be too large for the app to export via e-mail. I don’t know why, but it gave me an error when I tried. This meant I’d have to pull my SD card or connect the Blackberry to my computer to pull the data. No thanks.

I ended up splitting all my rides apart, only focusing on categorized hill climbs and not recording much else. Unfortunately, this meant I had to pull over, stop and start the path logging, then get going again.

Basically, start a new recording if you’re riding longer than 90 minutes.

Are there any other Strava alternatives?

Yes. Aside from GPSLogger II, I’ve heard good things about two other apps you can get on BlackBerry.

These apps are Endomondo (a site similar to Strava) and Blackstar Navigation (another geocaching tool.)

Should I just buy a Garmin Edge?

If you can afford it, I highly recommend a Garmin Edge 500 – you can get one for as low as $250 now that the Edge 800 is out. They are very nice, and they eliminate the need to run a smartphone app or use a normal cyclocomputer.

 

If you need any further information, the best place to look is on Strava’s unsupported devices and workarounds page. They give you tips on using your BlackBerry phone or other type of GPS device in conjunction with the Strava site.

Anyone else here using an unsupported device with a workaround like this?

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4 Comments
  1. There is another App available in BlackBerry App World that works really seamlessly with Strava. Fitness Tracker records you rides (and runs and other activities) using the GPS in your BlackBerry. When the activity is done it automatically uploads the GPS data to Strava over your mobile data connection. Super easy, no messing around with GPX files and a PC. Just start the App, ride and stop the App when done.

  2. @Adam

    If I still used my BlackBerry I’d jump on that for $2.99.

  3. Thanks for the tip!!! i downloaded the Fitness Tracker last night and it links seamlessly with Strava…no messing around. Cheers

  4. I downloaded Fitness Tracker but it refuses to sign in to Strava. I get the following message:

    Connection refused:
    www. strava.com :443

    Any ideas?

    The e-mail and manual upload works, though… But a bit of a hassle….

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