Glove Grief

Gloves challenge my natural tendencies, but their absence can cause my body grief. That kid who doesn’t want to bother with a jacket still lives strong in my inner world, and she is interested in gloves even less. I may ride an entire summer without them unless I’ve been leaning into the handlebars enough to need the padding. Winter is different.

I’ve trained myself to look at a weather report before I walk out the door, not because it is natural to me to care, but because I’ve done so many things that require knowing, And the reason I wear gloves is to manage that Raynaud’s diagnosis I had sometime back. Based on what other people with that same diagnosis suffer through, I have a mild case, really mild. But, I still have a weak grip, lower O2 readings from a finger sensor, constantly cold hands and feet, and I will suffer frostbite before other people experiencing the same conditions. So, while I have low interest in the bother of covering my hands, I have high interest in the functionality. As soon as the temps drop, forgetting my gloves can prevent me from riding. One recent cool day, I forgot to retrieve my bike gloves from the clean laundry and I salvaged the ride by covering my hands in a thick pair of Russ’ boot socks that were in the car to be donated. I put my thumb in the heel. Fortunately, my sock clubbed hands didn’t cause me to wreck.

I’ve been known to wear everyday gloves for cycling sometimes too. For everyday use, I tend to like microfiber, but microfiber is a guilty pleasure. I’ll wear natural fibers when I can to avoid contributing to microplastics pollution that is so pervasive, it’s even in our bodies. That has me seeking Merinos like Smartwool first (but not their blends). The Smartwool blend I bought recently felt fine, a comfortable step above department store knit gloves, but, the fibers loosened and they looked old after the first wash. They were a merino synthetic blend, but after that first wash, they looked like old separating angora. How practical are gloves that don’t stand up to washing? I wanted to take them back because Smartwool isn’t low cost, but they looked like I had used them for months. So, the very reason I wanted to take them back, was the same reason that I didn’t actually. I didn’t want to look at the clerk’s face when I said they’d only been through a single wearing and washing.

The cycling gloves in the photo are my everyday riding gloves right now. What I like about the Wiretap body geometry gel gloves are the fit, the fabric, and the padding. The fit is nice. The fabric suits me throughout the wide range of the temperatures in which I ride. They keep my hands warm enough, and not too hot with good breathability. The pads are firm and they’re lasting well.

What I don’t like about these gloves is that they’re not good at the very thing they’re named for. They’re called Wiretap because of threads running through the fingertips that are supposed to make contact and allow the use of screens without taking off the gloves. But, I do have to take them off to use my phone. I had to take them off when they were new too. I rub and rotate and rub and the phone doesn’t respond, sometimes not at all, sometimes not consistently. Every time I miss a phone call or don’t get a picture of the biggest rafter of turkeys I’ve ever seen, I wish I was wearing fingerless gloves, which is crazy. Fingerless gloves expose the very thing I need to be keeping warm. This has been my experience with every pair of gloves I’ve had that were intended to work with phones while you’re wearing them. So, I just ignore the feature when deciding to buy a new pair. It is never a factor in my buying decision. I buy the gloves that look like they will give the best utility in every other aspect, and if them claim to work with screened devices, well, that won’t stop me from buying, but it won’t be an incentive either. If I ever get a pair that does work, it’ll be a pleasant surprise.

Fantasy Island

Fantasy Island for my gloves would be that I never have to keep up with any. When my hands need the warmth and padding, it will just grow out from my skin, silky and minklike, the same way Wolverine grows those frightful claws.

Tuesday Trippin’ February 2

It’s been a mixed week. I’m lucky to live in a place where I have the expectation of any riding through the winter, much less the expectation that I have a good shot at riding 200 miles frequently through the winter. But, I’m bummed that the cold fronts are when the skies are crystal clear and the warm fronts bring rain, but not usually enough warmth to avoid hypothermia if you end up getting caught in the rain.

So, I have rules I follow. They haven’t let me down so far. I have a max riding temp in the summer that shifts with my fitness level. Basically, if it feels like I’m triggering a migraine, I end the ride as soon as possible and drop the “it’s a go” temp down for a bit. In the winter there is less shifting. At certain temperatures, I don’t care if it rains on me. At other temperatures, I will get hypothermia if I get wet, and riding 15 MPH puts a wind chill on that temperature. Humidity matters too. I have a slide rule in my head. The colder it is, the lower the chance of rain has to be for me to ride. I don’t adjust that much. It seems to be working pretty well. Of course these rain predictions and the high and low temps apply to the entire ride, so the favorable forecast has to last at least as long as the ride will. The last ride I got in this week was in a small window. It wasn’t a great ride, but it made the difference between feeling good about my miles this week and not.

One of our rides this week was on the Greenway. There was a lot of flooding last year, 2020. I was noticing how some areas of the trail are showing the damage with a lot of felled trees and moved earth. When stormwater from the surrounding urban areas flows down to the stream bed, silt builds up on the trail. Little dozers come in and push it off in rows. That happened several times last year and some parts of the trail have rows of banked earth. They look a little like the war trench earthworks on Kennesaw Mountain, except that they are smaller. I wondered about the habitat disturbance.

There is Chinese Privet in some areas. It’s an invasive that was imported intentionally to make English style hedges, but it took over in the understory of edge habitats like beside a trail and/or a stream. It’s sprawling when not cut into hedges. Birds do like the berries. That is how the seeds get spread far and wide, but Privet crowds out native plants that would provide food for a more diverse number of animals. The berries on these bushes are gone and some of the privet has been covered in mud, so instead of being the year round green foliage that the plant was imported to be, it’s this mud grey color that would prompt some farm boys to crank up the tractor to pull a bush hog across it. As I rode along looking at some of the places, I thought that they looked worse than I had ever noticed, even during some of our more infamous droughts. This was where I was when I decided that filming through the seasons and changing conditions was the thing to do. I wondered how long it would be before these spots looked better. Don’t get me wrong, there are still pretty stretches, and they will look better in the spring, but if you are recording a smaller run, the less desirable spots matter more. Of course, capturing change over time is the plan, and I may not even end up working one of the scenarios that has me recording on this trail. All of the trails have less desirable spots, I’m just hoping that the less desirable changes don’t stick or increase

What to Leave In, What to Take Out

This project is for collecting a lot of video and uploading some of it to Youtube for other people to enjoy. It’s not a processing project. That doesn’t mean we might not take something out of a video we choose to upload. Here’s a list of how we plan to handle what to leave in and what to take out. This is, of course, for things we notice. There is going to be so much video. We won’t be able to look at it all, and we may not notice everything that gets captured off in the distance while we are riding. Of the things I’ve listed under “Take Out” the only one I’ve personally seen in over 20 years of riding out there, is the accident. I have seen a rider taken away in an ambulance from an accident that involved no foul play. And, I’ve also seen a rider that probably shouldn’t have gotten back on his bike. I edit everything constantly. It’s one reason I take so long to write anything. This is likely to be edited often for a while, but any edits after video starts will have a date and probably a reason as well..

What we will leave in

Creepy crawlies, including snakes

Hazards along the trail

The sewerage treatment plant

People who appear to be homeless

What We’ll Take Out

Serious illegal or criminal activities that get caught on video

Violence

Accidents that result in significant injury

Any intensely personal moments we notice that a person wouldn’t want to share with the world (like if we ever notice someone doing more than kissing and taking selfies up on that giant boulder where couples climb to kiss and take selfies.)

Any intentionally sensational or attention seeking behaviors

Intentionally offensive acts

Maybe, Maybe Not

If we have to walk up Trash Mountain (steep hills beside the landfill) because it’s not very interesting to someone using the video for a work out.

Politically motivated signs or activities (Because people will be using this for escape, not getting triggered).

Tuesday Trippin’ January 26

I’ve changed the name. I tend to write about more than just training, and I’d like to keep it that way.

Russ has been lucky to ride a little more than usual this week. That’s great for training over all, because he’s my riding video partner and if he can’t make the long rides when it’s time for them to start, then he’ll be doing support in the car. That won’t be low a impact start, and it won’t allow two camera set ups. So, it makes me pretty happy.

His big toe is still multicolor from the cycling accident he had in early November, but he says it’s pain free.

I’ve been pretty happy since the isolation break. Often the kind of foot problems that I have get worse with sporadic exercise. I was expecting to hurt, but everything’s fine, even on the longest ride I’ve had. That makes me feel good about my overall progress and increasing readiness, and I’ll be trying to remember my stretches to keep it that way.

The training ride at the Greenway was pretty crowded, and someone needed an ambulance. It was the first time we had to yield for an ambulance driving ON the trail there. I’ve seen a much larger than normal number of ambulances all over this week.

There wasn’t a lot of other excitement this week, other than that we got to ride plenty. The general goal over the winter has been to keep mileage around a hundred miles a week and to reduce the number of rides it takes to get there. I’ve been fairly on target with that with the exception of our two week isolation period. Today is my birthday, I’m 60 and this is the year of this 60 week project. I’m reaffirming my goal. From here until the official video begins I’ll do at least 100 miles a week, and by the end of February, I’ll be doing that in 2 rides or less. I’ll do that for the next year, riding a minimum of 5200 miles, even if the project doesn’t make.

So, I’ve changed the name, and written this week only about training. That’s ok. I had to make trips to train.

Logistics and Overnighting

As we ramp up, hopefully to our full Multipass plan, flexibility is going to be the key to making all the logistics work. I have several plans for each level covering all of the situations that have occurred to me, and I feel like we can adapt to the ones that haven’t. The goal that we are hoping for is, of course, to do the full trail in both directions every week for 60 weeks. But, we’ll also be happy just to know the idea has support at any level.

Goal

Logistics isn’t complicated at the lowest level. We buy the additional photography, safety and other equipment as needed and use as much cycling and other equipment that we already own as possible. We check Maps and weather for current conditions and look at our checklists so we bring everything we need. We plan repair, maintenance and additional work to interfere as little as possible with spreading our 60 rides as evenly across 60 or more weeks as possible. We upload and work on rewards. At this level we offer 2 calendar varieties.

Stretch Goal

Stretch level remains fairly uncomplicated. We do the same, except for producing and uploading twice as much video. So, we record for twice as long, or twice a week. We’ll definitely move to a power supply set up at this level, but, will probably have already done so for the first level. These two plans just add a photography commitment and increased attention to timing to a number of miles that is not physically challenging. I say “just”, but I’m not implying that getting good video will be simple or easy. At this level, we might vary locations if conditions allow. We add one more calendar variety.

Super Stretch Goal

At this level we’ll be recording the entire length of the Silver Comet and Chief Ladiga Trails once a month. Super Stretch Goal is a big jump up from Stretch in budgeting, planning and commitment. That’s because it moves to century plus length videos, overnight stays, equipment storage at both ends and a more complicated level of planning. We’ll need to start using new recumbent bikes for at least half of our ride time. We’ll be working with one of the two the weekends that we have available per month, so there’s no loss of employment/income required to complete the project at this level, but we will be giving up the ability to do anything else with our weekends for the duration of the project.

Our weather requirements are less limiting than those for a balloon flight. That probably seems random, right? But, the relevance is that when I was doing balloon festivals regularly, we expected half the scheduled flights would meet flyable conditions. So, it seems reasonable to guess that if we have 2 weekends available per month for a bike ride, 1 is likely to be rideable. The reason I say that we’ll be giving up doing anything else with our weekends is that we won’t be able to plan ahead. If something happens spur of the moment, and our ride for the month is not at risk, we will be able to do that.

The primary Super Stretch scenario would be for one of us to drive support for the other in one direction, and switch places the next day on the way back, or, we might even split our days and do 50/50 miles and back up each day in the beginning. We will spread the rides as evenly across the 12 or 13 months as weather and hiccups allow. If we get to make any of these rides on 3 day weekends, we can potentially have a rest day and both ride both ways. When we both ride, the project is lower impact, and, if we have the cameras, we get twice the video. By the time we’re done, we might be able to ride back to back centuries, but it seems imprudent to assume that at this point.

The drawbacks are 1.) This scenario is higher impact (carbon emissions) than we want. 2.) We won’t have as many chances to catch cool happenings as we would in our extraordinary Multi-pass plan. and 3.) The rides plus kickstarter obligations combined with full time employment and family obligations could make for a pretty stressful year.

The positives are that it will definitely get 12 long videos for upload (possibly more if we can do back to backs later in the year) and these rides will span changing seasons. It’s a fraction of what we want, and the opportunity to catch extraordinary wildlife is smaller, but it’s a decent accomplishment and worth doing.

If we can put some of these rides on 3-day weekends, then we could have a day of down time would give the day recovery that allows both of us to ride both ways on those weekends, and if we have two sets of photography equipment, for those 3-day weekends, we would be briefly operating at low impact while achieving our peak goal. We won’t have any control over which weekends are free ones though. Every other weekend is tied up with firm child care commitments. Sometimes that falls on 3-day weekends.

Multipass

This is it, the dream, the mixed blessing of getting exactly what you asked for. We ride and record there and back again, from Smyrna, GA to Anniston, AL, 2 of us riding both ways every week for 60-ish weeks to record a year on the trail, taking in the nature and seeing how it changes over the year. The commitment is 3 full days of time away from home per week, plus another 20 or so other hours working on the rewards, the uploads, the website and posts, along with various other tasks and maintenance. Our lives will be busy from now while the country is still ravaged by Covid-19 and its scary new variants through the decline of the outbreak (at least I hope the pandemic will end well before the project) and past when the hordes come out to enjoy all that they’ve been missing. Through all of that, we’ll be out on both trails riding and adapting to whatever happens. I may sound like I’m emphasizing the negatives, but I don’t want to give the impression that I don’t know what a challenge this project will be. For some true athletes, it may seem a small thing, but for me, I’m not an athlete, and I’m only young in my aspirations. I’ll come out on the other side of this project a different person in a different place, and hopefully sharing the project will allow others to have a piece of that too.

Our weeks will be ruled by the weather. When we expect the riding days to be good, we’ll start on the east end of the Silver Comet Trail in Smyrna, GA near Nickajack Elementary School and ride out to the west end of the Chief Ladiga Trail one day, then spend a day in Anniston recovering. The recovery day will be a still photography day for the reward projects. On the third day we’ll reverse that and come home. We will ride our road bikes in one direction, store them and ride the recumbents in the other, or if necessary, convert to the recumbents full time. We’ll need safe parking and storage on the east end, and storage, lodging and possibly parking on the west end. If the hotels closer to the trail are filled, we’ll need transportation on the other end too.

I considered a potential house sitting solution. After looking at the house sitting, it seems unlikely. Most of those positions are looking for pet care. Not only do I have a severe allergic reaction to dogs, we can’t arrange our schedule for pet care. We have to prioritize the project and ride when the weather is good. Another idea might be an efficiency apartment, possibly at or below the cost of a hotel. It would reduce risk of Covid-19 sickness, give a place to store food, gear and equipment (think battery chargers, food and clean clothes), plus the ability to keep a few things that would be good to have on recovery day. It would also save time with reservation complications when the weather changes. It wouldn’t come with those little soaps I love at the Longleaf Lodge on Ft McClellan, but streamlining the million small things could be the most valuable decision we make.

The production level for “multipass” could be as high as 4 videos per week (2 directions X 2 riders with cameras) for 60 weeks that’s 420 videos (twice that if we do 360 degree cameras as well). That’s a huge difference. Some weeks we may need to revert to one of the simpler scenarios due to unrideable conditions, but producing 100 mile videos anything near that rate is something I could feel pretty good about.

We’ll be officially doing 60 weeks to make sure we get a full year’s worth of video, but we could pick any number above 52 and adjust according to actual conditions. We picked 60 because this year is my 60th birthday, so it seemed appropriate to mirror that number. When this project is “complete” we’re not going to be able to quit distance rides cold turkey, our bodies would hate us. So, it should be fairly easy to fill in any gaps that occur.

The nice thing about budgeting all of this is that for many of the scenarios, the cost is similar no matter how we do it. That makes the unpredictable become very manageable.

Fantasy Island

For this section, Fantasy Island is that someone has a pet free Spartan Carousel on Cheha Mountain. It has a little detached garage or storage building and a truck. They are looking for someone to house sit a day or three per week for a year and a half or so and they don’t mind if we leave some things there while we’re not house sitting. They also know where we can park that truck that we’re free to use in a safe spot near the Anniston trailhead (it’s a truck to make transporting the recumbents easier) so it will be ready to take us there when ever we arrive.

Training Tuesday January 19

When I’m riding regularly and I take a break from it, two things happen stamina wise. The first is that I have a few days of high energy. I’m using energy on a much lower level than usual and I have loads of energy to spare. The second is that my cardio fitness level immediately starts to decline, and it feels like I get booted back to my pre-training starting point. I didn’t notice much of the high energy boost that normally comes from time off this time. Things were hectic, stressful and I got sick (We were isolating for Covid Exposure, but I never had a temperature, so that’s not likely what I got).

On the whole, there were some benefits to the break that isolation forced, but my body has always seemed to lose fitness faster than most people in a similar age and fitness range and regain it slower. The third ride marked when things caught up to me. The first two were short and I had some residual energy. The third ride was when the residual energy took a nosedive and the reduced fitness reared its ugly head. I was working hard. I was really stiff, and tired the day after. I had an opportunity to ride that next day and I didn’t take it. I only felt a little bit bad about that.

The third ride also showed some excitement. A rafter of, probably 30, turkeys crossing the trail in front of me. I remember the first time I ever saw a 7 turkeys. I was so excited. Then Russ said “That’s nothing. Wait till I take you to Tennessee.” In Tennessee there were groups of 12 or 20 fairly often in the fields beside the roads. My grandson said “Well, if you think there were 30, then there were probably only 15” when I was telling about it. All I have to say about that is, he should have been there. This was over the top, and they were strolling leisurely when I first saw them. My phone wasn’t in my pocket. As soon as I hit the brakes to get it out of my bike bag they took off like a shot. I don’t know if it was my change in movement, or if the brakes made some noise I couldn’t hear, but they were scattered before I even had my hands on the camera and my gloves that are supposed to work with electronics don’t. I shot footage anyway, just in case I could catch any little bit of what I had just seen. No photo, it didn’t happen, right. Man, I wish I was filming already.

I first thought of the idea of filming rides to capture sights like this and other nature through seasonal changes for people who can’t enjoy them in person on the Big Creek Greenway. The Greenway has a lot more urban encroachment than the Silver Comet and Chief Ladiga trails do in most areas. It is built in a streambed. That’s good urban planning, to put recreational space in a flood zone. It protects the stream and habitat fairly well, and provides some flood water management in a place with no building potential. Because there is so much urban encroachment right up to the greenway, the animal population is more crowded and less skittish around humans. That sometimes makes for more individual sightings. The Silver Comet doesn’t have as much human pressure, but the animals are not as used to people constantly crowding into their space, so you may not actually notice the animals so much out there, even though the urban pressure is much lower. It’s also possible out there to get lost in the ride and miss the wildlife with the wide open stretches. In on the Greenway, the traffic of all kinds really prevents a responsible trail user from checking out mentally, even during non-pandemic crowd levels. I still think sometime that recovery rides on the Greenway would add a nice variety to the mix. Each trail has its benefits. On the Silver Comet you won’t get reliable nearly daily deer sightings. On the Greenway you’re not going to see a giant rafter of turkeys. That was a really awesome first.

Part of what makes this project perfect for Kickstarter is that the Kickstarter process will be in a sense a “market test” of sorts and that test will provide me some invaluable guidance, I will ride as much as I can regardless. As long as I am physically and financially able, I’m going to go out here and ride. How much that happens and whether or not I film it will depend on the Kickstarter. I believe in the video project, but people have to know it exists to make use of it. If the project gets support, then people will know and I will film and press for the max, if it doesn’t, i’ll know that the idea didn’t catch and people wouldn’t have seen it anyway. I have a constant flow of ideas. I have committed to this one, in part to make it through Covid-19 and beyond. In part to help others do the same.

Rewarding Rides

The rewards for this ride project will be many, both tangible and intangible, personal and shared, from Biophilia to entertainment and meditation, we hope to create rewards that just keep on giving, and you don’t even have to support us to get some of them.

We are doing this a bit atypical in that we want to give away what we produce at the goal level. But that’s really the point, to give people something to make their lives better regardless of the level of technology they have. We plan to make that easy by uploading goal level video to Youtube. There is some video already available to people on Youtube, but much of it has music audio instead of natural sounds, so it loses much of the effect and I haven’t found anything that is long like what we want to do, not in duration of the ride nor in the changing of seasons.

We also want to go low impact on as many different levels as we can, from all of the choices we make while doing the project, to helping people get some of the benefits of traveling for their ride without having to go anywhere and, of course, low impact rewards.

We will give three choices in rewards for supporters with an fourth that will become available as stretch goals are made. The rewards are: A digital photo calendar, an iNaturalist listing, or a small personalized bit of our writing talent.

Rewards Category 1, Digital 2022 Screen Saver Calendars

We’re offering Digital 2022 Screensaver Calendars for Tablet, Phone

We will use photographs taken before, after, during the rides to make several digital calendars to be used as a desktop wallpaper or phone screensavers. I chose digital 2022 screensaver calendars because of how much I enjoyed those at a former place of work. It was a file of photographs to be used as desktop wallpaper, a new photo that changed each month. I liked to reason to update screens as well as the ability to check a date without opening an app. Feel good is the goal and the digital calendars can remind you, for a year or more, that you helped fund a Kickstarter project.

The background will be photographs I’ve taken over the course of the project and can remind backers that they helped someone complete a project, or just give them something pleasant to look at for a year or more. The calendar will be merged into the photo in a contrasting font. No big white calendar squares, like some of these have. We’ll start with 12 month Calendars for 2022 showing photos from Georgia and Alabama, primarily in, on the way to, or nearby the project area. Each month will have 2 image options to choose from. There’s no upper limit on the number of calendar rewards a supporter can buy. Tell us which format you would like when you order.

Using these calendars will, I hope extend the enjoyment of the trail and the project a bit beyond its primary goal. Every calendar will have 2 or more photo choices per month so that you can have options They will be available for download before January of 2022. Most of the photography to date in this website was taken with one of our phone cameras. Photography for the calendars will be primarily taken by me with my Nikon D810. I think I could get lost enough in this reward to make it a project on its own. Well, it is, kind of.

The Calendar options will be:

The first calendarSky Shots, Birds, Trees, Plants and Wildlife” will be available at the beginning as we approach goal level. For “Sky Shots, Birds, Trees, Plants”, many sky shots will include birds, trees and other plants, so I have combined these things for this grouping. If we get 1500 backers for this reward, we’ll do 18 month Calendar instead of a 12 month calendar

Landscapes: Landscapes and Covered Bridges:  will be available as we are moving to te stretch goal. There are two covered bridges near the trail and countless beautiful landscapes seen from the trail and on the way to the trail.  If we get 2000 backers for this reward, I’ll increase the number of months to an 18 month calendar and the number of bridges to include all accessible covered bridges on the National Historic Register in Georgia. Some of them are a little non-traditional, and I think one is a site where the bridge once was, last I checked there were 16.Mostly viewed from the trail, but there are some pretty nice landscapes in the surrounding areas

The Third Calendar, “Local Sights and Culture, Movies and Architecture” will be available as we move into the Super Stretch Goal.“Local Sights and Culture, Movies and Architecture”: Local sites all along the trail are fun to explore. There is unique architecture. With the only Georgia slate mine still in operation, Rockmart has slate roof construction from way back. The unique character makes great favorite spots and sometimes movie sets. This calendar will cover the best shots I take of these sites. Some will be close ups, some will be almost landscapes. If we get 1500 backers for this reward, we’ll do 18 month

“Signs” will become available when we move into Super-stretch Goal.We see all kinds of signs. Funny signs, serious signs, signs that would make Bill Engvall laugh, from incredulous to  beautiful, from street names to hand made, signs everywhere. We may do some artistic  alteration on some of these  If we get 1500 backers for this reward, we’ll do an 18 month

“Animals and Best Video Stills” These two subjects are combined because I expect that most of my best animal shots will be caught on video. This calendar will become available as we move into the last level, multi-pass. That’s because it’s trail time dependent, and the more time we spend out there, the more likely we are to capture the spectacular. If we get 1500 backers for this reward, we’ll do 18 month Calendar

A Poem by Karen or Russ

Did you ever want to have a poetry written just for you? We’ll write you a short bit of verse on the not too shady subject of your choice. Haiku $30, limit 400,  20 lines of free verse $75 Limit 100

This will be an adventure. Dad was a writer. He used to surprise Mom with sweet or funny poetry from time to time, so poetry and prose are in my world, but I personally haven’t really written verse as an adult. Not any that I recall anyway. I do remember what was probably my first attempt at poetry, I think I was around second grade.My parents were really tired. This popped into my head and out of my mouth. It made them laugh, agree, and tell me I was creative, so I was really proud of myself. I think this particular poem could become pretty relevant to the project. So, here it is, a rare sample of my early attempts, the first poem I remember writing:

I am so tired

I would have admired

It

If I could have hired

Someone to be tired

For me

I think I was around 2nd grade.

Tell us in 50 words or less what you’d like us to write about, and whether it’s alright if we share it on the website. We’ll take these in the order we receive them. Delivery on these will be spread across the project and all should be delivered before the project is complete.

Rewards Category 3

We will upload a species from the trails and nearby areas to iNaturalist $30. If you are the first person to buy this, the first upload is yours, second upload is for the second supporter, and so on. We’ll send an email when yours is posted and let you know what number and species it is. My guess, between choosing, photographing, counting, communication and other miscellaneous parts of the task, it will take an average of 2 hours per listing. Some species will be well known local natives. We will also leave some spots open and wait, hoping to see more unique species to upload.

iNaturalist Listings

The second choice for rewards is iNaturalist listings. Really, all of my rewards are additional side projects to some degree. I’m offering this one because I think the kind of person my project would appeal to would like this. Also because I know that once I promise it to someone other than myself, I will make the time and do it. It is worth doing. Last year I signed up when it was promoted in relationship to E. O Wilson and his Half Earth Project. Making it an offering in my project is a way of showing appreciation to supporters while committing myself to do the work. This will be limited to 365 listings. I’m calling that a limit of “one per day”. While the project itself will last well longer than that, I think trying to do more would be a mistake. I will do those as I can. I tried to think of a way to let people choose a species, but it seemed too complicated. I’ll be trying to limit the time I spend on any single species to 2 hours and, I don’t know how things will work on my side of this, but there should be a way for me to let you know which species was uploaded for you.

Training Tuesday January 12

We are ecstatic that our isolation has ended, and even happier that no one ever became symptomatic.

We’ve been on one short ride since we gained our freedom. I spent a lot of time over the last two weeks deleting video clips that I think are awful, and naming video clips I might potentially use in part, and setting up other parts of our plan.

We’ve spent too much time absorbing the national news. I feel like riding my bike the way that Forest Gump started running, or finding a deserted island somewhere. I’m afraid to look and afraid to look away.

I’m optimistic about having something good to say in this spot next week. See you Then.

Cameras and Tech

The Cameras

Up to now, I thought, that at the first or lowest goal level, this project would be accomplished with the GpPro Hero Black I already own. But, I went to see if it was a 4 or a 5 while researching some options and discovered that my Gopro camera bag is full of accessories, but no camera. Until now, I hadn’t looked much at new cameras because I didn’t plan to buy one unless we got to super stretch (or beyond) level funding. As I looked to see what the lost camera would mean to us in terms of dollars, I saw that the newer cameras offered newer options and better features, and there’s a “special” now, putting the price well below what I paid for the older one I lost. As a percentage of total expenses the cameras just aren’t that expensive. If I’m going to put in the kind of time I’m planning on putting in (at any goal level) I should produce the best quality video I can.

We’ll still make upgrades and additional purchases in stages, but one or more cameras is now a given in the lowest level of the project. If we make it past one level, but not to the next, I expect surplus to be spent on recording and other equipment and upgrades. The first priority would be to get cameras on both of us. It would be nice to have a back up for failures, and the extra footage under regular conditions. And of course it will be important to have those cameras be the best possible cameras within whatever price range we end up working. The last thing we’ll do with our camera budget will be to add 360 degree cameras. If we can do that, it will keep the door open for doing a virtual project later.

The Video Challenges

Our three biggest video challenges will be battery life, eliminating sound noise, and finding stabilization solutions, that is, controlling shake or vibration. All three problems seem to have good attainable adaptations, which will be a little different now that we’ll be working with different camera models than the ones I researched. But I expect the solutions to transfer.

There is a way to rig a power supply and it looks like it will work with the Hero 9 too, but I need to look at things anew to be sure. Long lasting battery life will be a big improvement over a stack of batteries. It will allow us to make stops in natural locations instead of when the juice is gone, and it will prevent us from having gaps if we don’t notice the battery running out. Battery usage can be monitored, but that mode uses a lot of energy. Opening up the camera to change the battery also risks introducing trash into the body of the camera, so fewer openings lead to longer camera life. The biggest importance though is in streamlining. This is a big project with a lot of details. We will be exhausted, and I’m sure to regret having the idea in the first place. The more I can streamline the project on the front end to create smooth easy processes, the easier it will be to manage the rough spots when they arise.

Recumbents

The recumbent trikes will be better for carrying extras like the power supply. They will also be lower to the ground, Since we plan to switch back and forth between road bikes and the recumbent trikes for physical reasons. We’ll be experimenting with different set ups before we decide how different the image height will be between the them. I do not anticipate finding a good way to raise the image taken from the recumbent to the same height as the image taken from the road bike. I think if we try to use something like a vertical selfie stick, the unwanted movement will be too much. Here is where I’d really like to have readers who like to film their ride chime in and tell us what we’re doing all wrong, and what we’re planning well. I like the activity of planning, but I’m very happy to learn from others.

Other Tech

I expect that we will stay close to each other as we ride, but maybe not right on top of each other, especially if we both have cameras. We’re looking to make the trail the subject of our film, not either of us. If we’re not side by side, communication will be an important safety need. Russ or I might be only 20 feet apart, but if something happens to the back and the front rider doesn’t notice, that’s like riding alone. I’d like to use something like a Fly 6 or a smart watch that detects a fall and communicates distress immediately. There is also a new Kickstarter communication device called Milo. Sure, we’ll have phones, but the Milo truly is a hands free device. We don’t plan to be chatty in these videos, but being able to convey an emergency or a hazard immediately with hands free is a significant advantage.

Fantasy Island

Fantasy Island for the cameras and other tech is just being able to assemble or disassemble the great gear for the best possible images in 5 minutes or less. It would also be super cool if we found a way to upload remotely or live stream in real time as we shoot. The Hero Black 9 will do that. The impediments are battery power, signal strength in remote locations, and additional layers of complication.

Training Tuesday January 12

We are ecstatic that our isolation has ended, and even happier that no one ever became symptomatic. We’ve been on one short ride since we gained our freedom. I spent a lot of time over the last two weeks deleting video clips that I think are awful, and naming video clips I might potentially use and setting up other parts of our plan.

We’ve spent too much time absorbing the national news. I feel like riding my bike the way that Forest Gump started running, or finding a deserted island somewhere. I’m afraid to look and afraid to look away.

I’m looking forward to having something good to say in this spot next week.