Include CTC events in your electronic calendar

If you keep an electronic calendar on a device attached to the Internet, the chances are it understands the iCalendar standard (also known as iCal or ICS).  In which case you can add selected Portsmouth CTC events into your calendar automatically.

The following sections provide general instructions for adding our events, plus specific instructions for some common calendar tools.

iCalendar is a standard way to represent the entries in a calendar.  It is used to export and import calendar entries.  Our site provides a list of events (for example: all Wednesday and Saturday rides) as a web page in the iCalendar format.  Calendar programs that understand the iCalendar standard and that have an internet connection can automatically read the web page and add the entries to your calendar.  Any changes on the web site will automatically update your calendar too.

First, you will need a link that gets the events you are interested in from our web site.  If you want all the events, the link is simply:

http://www.portsmouthctc.org.uk/ical.php

Note that the leading http:// is important.  Your calendar program might not understand the link without it.

To get just the events that interest you, you need to add a 'c' parameter listing all the event categories you are interested in separated by a comma.

The next section is an iCalendar link generator.  It allows you to decide which events you want to include in your calendar and generates a link to match.

You need to plug the link into your calendar program.  There will usually be two methods: internet import and file (.ics) import.  You want the internet option.

Most calendar programs will allow you to:

  • See our events as a stand-alone calendar
  • Merge your imported calendar with your normal calendar so our events appear alongside yours
  • Import multiple calendars so you can create separate calendars for different types of event
  • Give calendars a colour so you can quickly see what types of event occur in a given day

There are more specific instructions for some popular calendar programs below.  If your calendar isn't in the list, or if you find our instructions hard to follow, try searching the internet for your calendar's name and "ical import".

Select one or more event types to create a link to a feed containing just the events you selected.










Select at least one type of event

Although widely used, the iCalendar standard is relatively crude.  It uses simple text only.  So, for example, entries cannot contain bullet points or different coloured text.  That means we cannot reproduce the text of our event descriptions exactly as you see them in the web page.  On occasion, it might be difficult to read the description.

Similarly some special characters might appear as question marks or odd sequences of symbols.

Some calendar programs - such as Windows Outlook - allow you to get the latest version of a calendar whenever you like.  Others - such as Google Calendar - automatically retrieve calendar details on their own schedule and you cannot force an update.  You should learn how your your program gets updates if you want to rely on seeing the latest version (just before joining a ride, for example).  To be sure of seeing the latest version, you might need to go to the Portsmouth CTC web site.

Please let Andy Henderson know of issues you encounter.  Screenshots usually help explain the problem you are seeing.

You can see instructions in the Google Calendar help text at:

https://support.google.com/calendar/answer/37100?hl=en&ref_topic=1672445

Note that you will need to log in to Google before you start.

The 'iCalendar address' it refers to is a link to the Portsmouth CTC web site.  See 'iCalendar feed link generator' above for the link you should use.

You can add as many calendars as you want so, for example, you could create one for each different type of event.

To show Portsmouth CTC events alongside your own events, or to hide them, click the square box to the left of the calendar name shown under 'Other calendars' in the left hand pane of the Calendar page.

You cannot force Google Calendar to update the calendar.  Instead, it has its own schedule and automatically updates the calendar every few hours, or so.  If you are about to join a ride and want to see the latest information, you should go straight to the Portsmouth CTC web site and not rely on Google Calendar.

You can add our events to the calendar held in your Android smartphone or tablet.

First, you need to:

  • Create a Google account, if you don't have one already
  • Add the events you want to see as one or more calendars in Google Calendar (see above)
  • Link your smartphone or tablet to your Google account
  • Synchronise the calendar application

Your Portsmouth CTC event calendar(s) will appear automatically.

You can then show Portsmouth CTC events either as a stand-alone calendar or combined with other calendars in your Google account.

Note that for your calendar to be up-to-date:

  • Google Calendar must first update itself.  You cannot force that to happen, instead it happens automatically every few hours, or so.
  • You have to synchronise your smartphone or tablet with Google Calendar.  That happens automatically - again every few hours, or so - or you can force a synchronisation through the Android 'Setup' app.

If you are about to join a ride and want to see the latest information, you should go straight to the Portsmouth CTC web site and not rely on the Android Calendar.

To add an internet calendar to Windows Live Mail, you first need to subscribe to a Windows Live account.  You then add the internet calendar to your account on the web.  The calendar then gets copied down to your PC so you can see the calendar there.  Alternatively, you can see the calendar online as a web page.

You can find out more about Windows Live accounts and calendars here.

This page explains how to add an internet calendar to your Windows Live account and show it in Windows Live Mail.  It explains how to add a Google calendar using its iCalendar interface, but adding our events uses exactly the same process:

  • Ignore steps 1 and 2
  • In step 5 you need to paste a link to the Portsmouth CTC web site.  See 'iCalendar feed link generator' above for the link you should use.

You can add as many calendars as you want so, for example, you could create one for each different type of event.

The first procedure on this page explains how to add a Google calendar using its iCalendar interface, but adding our events uses exactly the same process:

  • Ignore steps 1 to 4
  • In step 7 you need to paste a link to the Portsmouth CTC web site.  See 'iCalendar feed link generator' above for the link you should use.

You can add as many calendars as you want so, for example, you could create one for each different type of event.

I found it useful to arrange to update the calendar on demand, rather than have it update automatically.  That way I can be sure I am always seeing the most up-to-date information.  To do the same, you need to create two send/receive groups: one for email and one for calendars:

  1. Click the Send/Receive tab in the ribbon; click the 'Send/Receive Groups' button and select 'Define Send/Receive Groups...' to show the Send/Receive groups manager.
  2. Add a new Send/Receive group called, say, 'RemoteCalendars'.
  3. Edit the 'RemoteCalendars' group; uncheck 'Include the selected account in this group' for all accounts; check 'Include Internet Calendar subscriptions in this Send/Receive group' for the 'Internet Calendars' account and check the CTC calendar(s) in the 'Internet calendars' pane.  You should see something similar to this:
    OutlookInternetCalendar1
  4. Click 'OK' to update your Send/Receive group.
  5. Repeat the above to create a second group called, say, 'EmailOnly'.  This time, include every account except the internet calendars.
  6. Finally, use the Send/Receive groups manager to:
    1. Deselect all the automatic send/receive options for group 'All accounts'
    2. Deselect all the automatic send/receive options for group 'RemoteCalendars'
    3. Set up send/receive options for the 'EmailOnly' group; I use these options:
      OutlookInternetCalendar2
  7. When you are displaying the calendar, you can update it manually by clicking the Send/Receive tab in the ribbon and clicking the 'Update folder' button.

If you have any issues, please let Andy Henderson know.  He might be able to help.  Also let Andy know if you can help with instructions and screenshots for other calendar applications.