Sunday, March 27, 2011

At last, a day with no rain, and a bike ride!

Tricia on Mix Canyon

The famed Lance Oldstrong plotted a custom outing, and took Tricia and I on a 72 mile, 5500 feet of climbing ride that started in Fairfield, took in a piece of the Knoxville Double route, tossed in a climb up Cantelow and a taste Mix Canyon. It was my first real ride in a while. What with all the rain, and catching a cold, I haven't been out on the weekend. I've just been commuting.

The weather was cool to cold. The sky spit on us just a bit at as we kitted up, but only enough to encourage us to wear our rain jackets. We were glad we did, just for the warmth. The lack of rain today and the stunning green hills and rushing water in the creeks we rode past made the ride beautiful. And, best of all, I felt pretty darn good for having had a layoff for a bit.

I keep telling Dan he could start a touring service. He'd be darn good at it!

 Dan and Tricia Fairfield ride 2

UPDATE: Here's a Ride with GPS map. Should I keep doing this, or does sticking them in the post slow the connection speed too much?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Drying bicycle clothes and shoes

My little fan
I keep reading “tips” on the best way to dry rain-soaked cycling clothes and shoes. Many say “Stuff newspaper in your shoes." That's just a plain ol’ bad idea. Stuffing newspaper in may absorb a bit of moisture, but mostly it traps the moisture inside where you don't want it.

The trick isn't newspaper, or even heat; it's airflow. What you want is a lot of air moving past your your soaked items and carrying the wetness away.

I bought a very small — just a few inches tall — electric fan at a hardware store. It was less than $10.00. It's cute (like that matters) and doesn't make much noise. Even with fenders and a rain jacket, and sometimes rain pants,  on a really rainy day my cycling stuff can get pretty wet on the way to work. Just aiming this fan at my shoes and socks is enough that, when I'm ready to go home, my stuff is dry. Just the blow-past wind aimed in the general direction of my outer wear drys it off as well.

It’s works well enough that I have another tiny fan at home too. Aiming it at soggy shoes drys them out overnight.

Next time someone suggests newspaper in your shoes, feel free to roll your eyes and just move along, secure in your new superior dampness-fighting knowledge.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

My bike books

I've been making books about our trips for a few years now. The first was of "The Gates," Cristo's 2005 art installation in New York. I've also made them for our Oregon Coast ride, our Washington bike tour and now, our 2010 Cycle Montana, Idaho and Oregon summer. Even though I like to think I'm a digital guy, there is just nothing like having a physical book out on the table. And, like I tell my photo students, no one is ever going to go through an attic and discover an interesting shoe box full of pixels. Hopefully, the embedded link will work and you'll be able to flip through the pages here. You can even click that little four-headed arrow and get a full screen view. Just in case it doesn't work, here's a link: Montana book

I've created books using Kodak Gallery, Snapfish, Qoop, MyPublisher and Blurb. Several use a web interface, and some use a downloadable program you run locally. After messing with them all, I like Blurb the best. Mostly because their program does away with a slow web interface, and works pretty well. It's no InDesign, but it's easy to use.

This book covers our Cycle Montana ride with Adventure Cycling (which we loved. I can't say enough good things about them) as well as our stop in Idaho and our Crater Lake ride. It's the largest book I've done at about 11 x 14 inches. I'm happy with the reproduction and so far it looks like we spelled all the words right.

My other Blurb book: One Thousand Miles, and a Little Bit More
I had so much fun making the Montana book I decided to make another one commemorating the quest for the California Triple Crown jersey undertaken by Lance Oldstrong and myself in 2010. I used recycled blog posts, screen captures from posts, photos and "liberated" ride reports. After all, this may well be my pinnacle of cycling achievement, so a book seemed somewhat reasonable. It will give me something to reminisce over as I sit on the porch with my mint julep.

I made two, and gave one to Lance Oldstrong. My trick totally worked. At first he had no idea it was about him, he thought I'd just found a book about the Triple Crown. It was fun watching it dawn on him that he was in it.

If you ride, make photos, or take vacations, I strongly encourage you to consider making your own book with any of these services. It's just plain ol' cool to have a physical memory, and in making the book you get to relive all the fun you had.