Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Location: - Charleston SC Miles = 0, Ave MPH = 0, Cum. Miles = 0, Cum. Ave MPH = 0

Hi Neil here ....

this is a test run of my new blog. I've been fooling around now for about 15 minutes trying to get the voice recognition to capitalize the first word of the paragraph. I just want to point out that I know the word "this" should be capitalized but I am NOT going to fight it for the rest of my blogging experience:-) :-). (how in the world did it know to capitalize the word "not". Did it hear the emphasis in my voice?) Flynn had to help her Luddite father initialize the blog. It was a good bonding experience. Also this is my first go with a samsung galaxy tablet that I bought in order to be able to journal and blog on the trip. I'm forcing myself to use it rather than a MacBook that I'm used to. This is compounding the issue and I think Flynn believes we're doing just a little bit too much bonding at this point.

you may be wondering why I have decided to start a blog. Some have heard me talking about traversing the country on a bicycle. I got this crazy idea from a book called Life is a Wheel by Bruce Weber. Weber, a New York Times reporter, made this journey when he was 57 years old, replicating the journey he had made 18 years prior. The difference this time was he wrote a book as a result. I've only gotten halfway through the book but it only took the first couple chapters to get me thinking about doing this. But I have to say I have been waffling a bit so just to get the ball rolling I booked a flight to Seattle for July 9th. To further commit, and since I didn't have a real touring bike as all my bikes are carbon fiber light-weights, today I bought a bike from a Portland Oregon bike shop. Here are photos of the Kona Sutra.....



I decided to keep this one at home. Do you think I made the right choice?




I'm calling this "The find a job/stamp out texting while driving/use no chain oil across America cycling tour". I'll try to explain each element of this crazy title. Regarding finding the job - I have been out of work since late February. Efforts to find a job locally have not been successful. Plenty of opportunities to move north however :-) :-) While I am traveling I will be observing the companies/industries and opportunities along the way as well as evaluating places to live - will have resume in tow :-) :-)

now to the texting reference. As I thought of what I'm might fear in making this journey it wasn't really having the physical ability to do it, or the mental tenacity to stay with it,  but rather this issue of drivers being distracted with handheld devices. I have put the last few months to good work putting in a lot of miles training. However  these miles were mostly all done on a bike path near my house. Just to stay away from the traffic I would do reps back and forth on the path usually about 50 miles a day on a 7 mile long bike path - yes boring but safe!  I've done some hill work both in Virginia and New York recently as well,  and that was out on the roads but they were mostly rural. In New York I did climbs up to the wind farms around the ridges of the hills. There are hundreds and hundreds of these huge windmills generating electricity and it is now adding substantially to the New York power grid. Back to the texting thing - In the next few days I'm going to try to reach out to some anti-texting-while-driving organizations and see if I can partner with them just to create some sort of publicity. Here is a picture of some of the windmills in New York.





I have purchased maps for the trip from http://www.adventurecycling.org/routes-and-maps/. Adventure Cycling is an organization that works to put together information from many different cyclists about the best routes to get from point A to point B. They pride themselves in creating safer routes by using rural roads (this of course makes for the most beautiful routes as well) and roads with wide breakdown lanes.  They keep in touch with what's going on on the roads and modify as required. As an example they avoid routing through North Dakota currently because of all the fracking that's going on and the many trucks and heavy equipment that are taking up the road to accomplish that.

I will explain the "use no chain oil" aspect in greater detail later. Let it suffice to say that I haven't used chain oil in a long time. I have found a simpler way to keep the chain clean and durable for many more miles than using traditional petroleum oil.

I need to mention one other experience that helped get me motivated to make this trip. I was on my way back from Savannah to Charleston and I met a touring cyclist on the road. He was on route 17 and he was stopped so I turned around and went back to talk to him. He was so excited about being out on the road. We exchanged phone numbers and have kept in contact since. He was heading to Colorado to get residency so that he could purchase legal "medicine" there. :-) :-) Every time I would call him he would say "you gotta get out on the road man you gotta get out on the road". I called him today however and his phone was disconnected. Maybe that medicine made him forget to pay his bills. Here is a photo of Milton.




another inspiration for me regarding making this trip is young man named Brandon Smith from Canada. Brandon traveled across Canada from Vancouver BC starting on May 1 and ending in Halifax Nova Scotia on June 9. He took five or six down days during that period which left him with 34 cycling days. At a little over 4000 miles he averaged approximately 115 miles per day. Two of those cycling days he encountered snow. Many days were very cold also. He kept an interesting and fun blog with good photos and I followed with great interest. Brandon's secret which he never told anybody was being powered by Tim Hortons coffee. The best coffee in the world. http://www.brandonsmith2014.blogspot.com

Photos of Brandon



So we are going to blame these three guys, Bruce Weber, Milton Gibson, and Brandon Smith. But you all know it's just because I'm crazy. 

I put an ad in  www.adventurecycling.org about six weeks ago for cyclists to join me on the trek. 6 people responded and looks like potentially two folks will be joining me - one to Montana and the other to take the full trip. I will keep you posted and introduce you has this actually materializes.

For those old friends who haven't seen me in a while this is me:





the next days will go fast making lists of things that need to be included and then purchasing them and getting them shipped out west. I probably won't be blogging again until July 8th or 9th or maybe even the 10th. I will share more about the route that it Aventure Cycling maps will take me on the next time that I blog.

so this has been my dry run for learning how to blog and use a samsung galaxy tablet. I don't want to tell you how long this took so I won't. I still don't have it down yet how to properly use the voice recognition system and will have to make a trip back to the store for tutoring. And mum I just want you to know that this voice recognition has a mind of its own and it's going to make grammatical and spelling errors. I won't catch them all. Just let it go. In fact I left a few in here for you.

13 comments:

  1. I was going to tell you about your spelling errors but after reading the last thing you said I guess I won't. haha

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  2. Hi! Its Darcy from Samsung! It was so nice to meet you today and I cant wait to follow you on your journey!

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    1. Thanks for your very patient help. Oh yes sorry that I can't use voice recognition to type this in as Samsung's VR is so pathetic:):):)

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  3. We talked on the trail today, good start to the blog! Looking forward to following your trip. I posted the info on our tri club page and already have some people who are wanting to follow as well.
    Have a great trip!

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    1. Thanks so much Ed - It is greatly appreciated

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  4. Great start to the blog, looking forward to reading more about your journey.

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  5. Looking forward to your journey, good luck!

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  6. Looks good to me, best of luck to you on your journey.

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  7. Very cool, Poppie! Wish I could join you but will have to settle for following your blog!

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  8. Hi Neil, I had to pick up something at the bike shop on Main St and saw their display of your business cards for Soldiers Best Friend. They're very enthusiastic about your trek. So you have some local fans ;-) Google is only allowing me to post under my former organization Haitian Health Allies which is linked to my email. It's me, Florence cheering you on... and keeping posted!

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  9. All the best to you Neil. As a former bicycling junkie - if not chain oil ... what lubricant will you be using??? I'll be monitoring your blog closely. Knowing you for a decade + ... I've no doubt you'll be wildly successful. You're behind some great causes (Soldiers Best Friend, no texting, green cycling, etc). With your vision, focus, endurance, and spirit ... Im looking forward to your updates and exploits! safe travels my friend! Steve O

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  10. Hey Neil. Wishing you the best of luck on your journey. As a former bicycling junkie – if not chain oil … what lubricant will you be using? Knowing you for a decade + … I have no doubt you’ll be wildly successful. Impressed with your intent and the causes you’re backing (Soldiers Best Friend, green cycling, No Texting, etc)!!! I have every confidence in your vision, focus, endurance and spirit. Safe travels my friend.

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  11. Hi Neil! I just tuned into your blog, and its looking great! I am happy to read that I helped inspire this trip for you. I will be following and sharing your blog with others. I wish you the very best in this trip and if you have any random questions at all don't hesitate to message me! I believe in your success throughout this trip :) Happy cycling!!

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