Multi-Use, Multicultural, Multipass

A conversation I had last night has me thinking about one aspect to our trail video project that I haven’t said much about yet, the production of a multi-use trail safety video. Just as I’m looking to shoot enough video to get some “you had to be there” glimpses of nature, I will surely also end up with plenty of footage of people doing thoughtless things that could hurt (or kill) themselves (or worse, innocent others).

That “killed” part sounds a little dramatic for a multi-use trail doesn’t it? But, just last night I was telling a fearless mountain biking teenager I’m very fond of that the 15 MPH speed limit on Big Creek Greenway was important to follow, especially because of the huge variety of users on the trail. I said that falling when you are 90 could be a life altering event. I wasn’t reaching him with that. Maybe he can’t relate to the age difference, so I looked for an article about a fatal head on collision I remembered on an adjoining trail. Until you hear of it happening, people don’t really think about cycling collisions with other cyclists on fairly flat multi-use trails ending in death.

While looking for the incident I knew about, I found one that was more recent and actually on the Big Creek Greenway itself. There’s a small “s” curve on the Greenway. I slow more at this location than any other place on the entire Greenway because of exactly what happened to the woman that died. She couldn’t see that people were riding through that short curve in her lane, probably just shaving the curve to straighten it a little. They all had a head on collision and the woman riding in her correct lane died. I didn’t reach my favorite mountain biker with the story. He was set in his argument and unmoved, except for his mouth. That kept moving.

I love that kid. I don’t want him to assume he can break the rules because everyone else will follow them, or even that they’ll be predictably moving while he’s passing, Seriously, you can only assume that you will be the only one breaking trail rules, and, or moving predictably when you’re the only one on the trail, and following the rules is the only thing that helps trail user movements to be somewhat predictable. I go intentionally to some pretty remote areas, and I’ve never been the only one out there. That other person shows up just when you thought they wouldn’t, and wasn’t anticipating seeing you either.

Multi-use trails that are busy have a lot going on, with as many perspectives as people. Cycling groups can be the definition of cliquish, complete with derogatory slams. Experienced cyclists of all kinds can be the worst about thinking they’re in control, and while they may act like they think they are, they’re not even close to being the only trail users out there. Every kind of wheeled device that’s allowed shows up, all of them, and some that are not. And there’s foot traffic too, lot’s of it. Walkers wandering because they’re too young, or too old, or too distracted, or too invincible to walk straight-ish in their own lane. And oh, look, a butterfly, or a copperhead, ar an alligator snapping turtle that’s HOW BIG? Wait! somebody liked my post.”OMG Will that (foot long rat snake) kill me?” It doesn’t happen all of the time, just often enough to catch you unawares each time it does happen. I don’t want him (or anyone else) to be the vehicle through which someone commits suicide by selfie.

Few trail users will look up safety rules or even glance at the ones posted. And, even fewer will look at things from the perspective of other users.

All of the users of all kinds, in all of the age brackets with all of the different interests, perspectives and languages belong, but so many use the trail from inside their bubbles. There’s a self-fulfilling bubble for every user. It’s like Facebook, only on the trail we’re not bumping into each other virtually.

I had different conversation with a mountain biker while on the trail some time back. I grimaced. He not only noticed, he stopped and said “Wait a minute. What did I do?” I told him. He apologized, and it made all the difference. He took the trouble to pay attention and make a connection.

I’d like to create a safety video from a multi-user point of view with humour and connection that pops some personal bubbles. People aren’t going to read the safety rules, but some of them might watch a funny video that shows a little of what it’s like to walk or ride in the other guy’s shoes. There could be interviews, maybe not. We’ll have to see what works. Don’t worry. Russ will narrate, he’s the comedic tallet between us. We’ll put it on youtube and if we come up with something salient, I’ll promote it actively.

Training Tuesday October 7-12

Goal    99 miles, or whatever gets me back in the swing.

Actual Total  miles 48

1st Ride 14 miles

2nd Ride 16 miles

3rd Ride 18 miles

The bug I had hung on for a bit. I was tired enough to fall asleep while sitting up a couple of days in a row, so it wasn’t a great week. Back to back health issues wasn’t the most fun either, but, hey, there was no point where I thought “This feels different from anything I’ve had before, I wonder if it’s Covid?” While I stayed home a little more and was a little extra careful just in case it turned for the worse, there was no time when a Dr would have suggested that I be tested.

Nearing the end of the training week, I was feeling well enough to ride in the rain, but Russ was dragging too. Before we got too far we cut it short. The last wave of Hurricane Delta’s was due to bring in the deluge before long, but I stopped to take a picture. The skeleton on the white bike changes props a bit from time to time, but, it’s always there. I think it’s gallows humor intended to call attention to the a sheer drop behind it. No one wants to be the reason a ghost bike memorial was placed. The skeleton on the stump is a little Halloween extra.

While I was taking the photo I called out to Russ that I was stopping. That set off the resident dog, who barked up a little phone tree like reaction among dogs all around us and stirred the Great Pyrenees that was out previously ignoring us. He moved in hot pursuit of me, but didn’t quite catch me. It was the biggest thing that’s ever chased me, but I was more wary years back when a German Shepard came after me. I read a Silver Comet review recently complaining about dogs and thought that dog issues are actually rare. Since then, I’ve had as many dogs chase me as I’ve had in the previous 2 decades of riding on the trail. We made it back to the car wet and had a lot of trail grit slung on every part of us, but no canine wounds.

It was a sluggish week, but I’m feeling optimistic for 99 miles next week

Training Tuesday September 30- October 6

Goal    90 miles, or whatever gets me back in the swing.

Actual Total  miles 95

1st Ride 12 miles

2nd Ride 20 miles

3rd Ride 20 miles

4th Ride 29 miles

5th Ride 14 miles

Total Ride  95 miles

So much for combining my miles into 2 rides! The first ride was a 12 mile “test out the new tire” ride. I was still feeling iffy, but it was an easy ride that felt fine.

2nd ride was 20 miles, which should have been easy if I wasn’t recovering from whatever that bite was. At the end of the ride I was a little wobbly getting off of the bike. I was afraid I had over done it, but by the time I’d been in the car for a few minutes, I was blasting the stereo and car dancing.

3rd ride, I didn’t have much time in the first place and I got out late, but I wanted to do the ride so I wouldn’t be stressed getting my miles later in the week. 20 miles again. I was chasing sunset, so, the last 5-7 miles were pretty fast for me. I had that sprint energy boost afterward.

4th ride, was nice. I could have made it to the goal for the week, but Russ didn’t have the miles in him, so we cut it short at 29.

5th ride. The grandson wanted to ride his mountain bike, so I took him out and put in those last few miles. I figured where I needed to ride to get the exact number of miles, but someone had stolen the street signs on the overpasses, so I ended up doing the extra 5 miles.

I was beginning to feel back on track and the rides were so short and spread out that there was none of the endorphin roller coaster. But as soon as I got back up a little, one of the grandchildren caught something, and now I’m fighting it off. We’ll see how next week goes.

I have 5 extra weeks baked in to my schedule for setbacks and holidays, but I’d prefer not to use them when I don’t have to. It feels really good to have them out there in the future, much better than the feeling of having them back there in the past.  The “Etsy store” is moving into the “busy season”, and organization is still my challenge. I don’t want a crunch week when weather and everything else hits at once and I have no more space to stretch the schedule.

Training Tuesday August 25-31

Training Tuesday     August 25-31

Goal    67 miles, still shifting toward 2 longer rides

Actual Total 67.5 miles

Wednesday 26th, 24 miles

Thursday 27nd  14.5 miles

Saturday 29th 29 miles

I planned to go out on Tuesday the 25th, but there were heavy thundershowers all day. I was restless and ready to go. By the time Wednesday got here, I was dragging. Sometimes it’s difficult to sleep the night before a ride. I don’t know if it’s related, or just more irritating because I’m sensitive about being rested. I didn’t sleep much and was already dragging when I went out with little rest and a deadline for when I had to be home. I had hoped to stretch the longest rides longer in keeping with my goal to reduce the number of days I drive 97 miles, but on this first ride it became obvious that wasn’t happening this week.

The middle ride is where I put my added 10% of miles this week. I did that on the Greenway. More about that later.

The 29 mile trip this week was from Rockmart to Cedartown and back again, just like last week, except that we stuck an extra mile in there. Pirkle’s Deli saved my helmet for us and we came back with it hanging on handlebar. I think we handled the hills a little better this time, but we started late and I got overheated.

I’m looking at where I am in training and where Russ is. He’s building some of his cardio fitness running, and I think that will be ok in the end. I made goal, but mostly because I had a 3rd day riding in a location that makes me uncomfortable. I like riding 3 days for the distribution of heartbeats. It’s just the fossil fuels I’m burning and the pain in my pocketbook. I like riding in what used to be my go-to location. It’s a pretty winding streambed with good wildlife viewing. But, there’s always a bottle neck or 3 where people who are walking 2 or 3 abreast (or in even bigger family groups) meet other people walking 2 or 3 abreast in the other direction while cyclists allergic to braking enter the mess, as though they could just change states of matter and slide right on through. None of the people who fail to yield or walk single file are ever in the 1 or 2% who wear masks. Covid transmission is a lot less likely outdoors, but, if someone who’s sloughing contagion breathes on you in one of these bottlenecks, well, the damp humid Georgia air is going to transmit it better than any other kind of air, and there’s no way to plan for the traffic jam on a curvy, unevenly crowded path.

I’m looking for a better riding mask solution (sewing project on the way), but that’s still something that protects other people from anything I might have much better than it protects me from them. It’s the people who don’t think about others who have the habits that make them more likely to be contagious and transmitting. Every time I ride that path, I think I won’t do it again until I’ve had a vaccine that I’m confident about.

I’m also trying to figure out how I’m going to shift to accommodate both reality and goals. I don’t want a start date that could actually be anything I choose to push me into riding where there are frequent bottlenecks. I’m looking at some potential shifts, thinking of making 60 a significant number. I may start my recorded full trail rides on or near my birthday at the end of January, when I’ll be 60, and then do it for 60 weeks. That would give me 3 or more extra weeks to be ready. We’ll see. The weather in January could make for delays even if I’m trained and ready on the first. And, at the end of 52 weeks, who knows how I’ll feel. I won’t be able to quit cold turkey, but an extra 8 weeks of full time could feel like an eternity by then.

And Then, The Etsy Store

At one time, seems like it was around our unemployment year, I thought I (or we) might make a business with Etsy. I love crafting. I love up-cycling (not sacrilege, I only up-cycle things that can’t be restored). I love thrifting, when it’s in vogue, when it’s not. These were all things that had a robust market on Etsy and with Russ’ help, that had to be a good thing for a Second Hand Rose like me. If our shop became big enough, Russ could “quit his day job”. Yeah, everybody wants that, right? For a while there was an amazing market on Etsy for a nice range of things that Russ and I could do, but we weren’t in on the first years at Etsy and so we didn’t get the heyday halo.

One of the things that people are looking for when they shop Etsy is “One of a Kind (OOAK) The biggest problem with OOAK is time. Everything takes so much of it, and so many customers have had a steady diet of mass produced economies of scale. It is really hard to get a handle on how different things are, in production costs as well as costs to bring anything to market, when you move to OOAK, and then there’s the cost to get what you’ve got in front of a customer’s eyes. Each one of a kind item has one-off photography and listing requirements. And every business has its life cycle. Soon there was a lot of competition from people who didn’t keep track of their time or expenses. One person would undercut prices, and the next person would more than match the undercut. Artists often find it exhausting to become adept at marketing and Search Engine Optimization (SEO). People trying to earn a living were competing with people who just wanted to defray the cost of supplies so they could keep on doing their thing. There’s a lot to learn and you need to learn it from the people who are finding success on all those disparate fronts while competing with people who are selling at a loss.

On top of that, customers can’t often tell the real handmade from the mass produced. Most of the things I truly appreciate and want to do take a great deal of time on a level few people understand, and far fewer want to pay for. Big course stitches is the only way some people can recognize hand stitching and, on Etsy, things can be called “handmade” because a person sat in front of a sewing machine. Big course stitches can be beautiful, but tiny stitches with fine threads are too. It is just hard for some shoppers to comprehend that a person would voluntarily take all of those stitches with a needle and thread in hand. People who are interested enough to know the difference in these things are usually interested enough to be doing it themselves.

And then came all the side services SEO and advertising, and then coaches and productivity specialists. Then Etsy changed management and went public so, suddenly there were shareholders to please. The maximizing profit roller coaster created frequent changes that ate time. Dedicated artists and sellers had whiplash. It was, and is really hard to keep up with. And then that old issue of valuing time intensive original and handmade items, it still doesn’t jive with trying to match Amazon style margins and productivity. Even selling vintage things is time consuming for the one-off nature of listing what you find. Researching, photographing, writing up and packing up are a couple of hours, or more, per item and there’s a limit to how much efficiency can be squeezed into of the process.

And then there was the personal life. The first go ’round we lost all our crafts, supplies and items in a house fire. That was at least 50K uninsured. And then, It took time to rebuild the “stuff” of our lives. We briefly considered spending a few years as homeless vagabonds boondocking in a travel trailer, but made a more family oriented choice instead (no regrets there). Part of the reason we’re still selling is that same fire. We decided to replace things by buying as much second hand as we could. We couldn’t replace our own grandmothers’ things, but we could substitute someone else’s grandmother’s things. We both love the weight and feel of how things used to be made. And that’s when I became a borderline hoarder. I really dive into the thing I wander into. The housing market at the time was a seller’s market and it took a while to find the right house (whether we were successful in that is a long story in itself). I was spending a really insane amount of time in every thrift store, estate sale and garage sale we passed. “This is nice and I may never find it again…Oh, that’s better and I can put the other one in the travel trailer, or sell it, or give….”

The store has been a success in a lot of ways. I’ve had some cool experiences, united some people with the work of deceased relatives, made some people happy. I’ve always treated my customers like I was in business, but we’ve had the Etsy store since 2009 and, on average, sold just less than 1 item per week. It’s not a “real” business by any standard. Don’t get me wrong, it’s been worthwhile. If I didn’t like knocking around in thrift stores and estate sales, I wouldn’t have a basement so full that I’m overwhelmed just trying to organize it. The difficulty in organization is spilling over. I’m not really sure where the shop is going next. I don’t know if we’ll expand and turn it into a legit business on Etsy or elsewhere. Maybe we’ll shift into something altogether different. But one thing is for sure. The basement and my mind need some clearing. So, take a look in the store and see if there’s anything you’ve been longing for, something you didn’t know you needed, or that perfect gift. https://www.etsy.com/shop/sixdegrees

Training Tuesday August 18-24

Goal:    61 miles shifting toward 2 longer rides

Actual: 63 miles

Tuesday 18th 24 miles

Saturday 22nd  28 miles

Monday 24th 11 miles

This week I got in the two longest rides I’ve done since Shelter-In-Place (SIP) and I feel really good about that, both mentally and physically. I met my total mileage goal and put most of those miles in 2 rides. That helps me move toward two rides a week for better transportation economy while training. I had settled into three 16 mile rides at the Greenway before SIP. The Greenway is the closest multi-use trail to my house so it was my primary location pre-pandemic. I would think about riding it twice per trip to up the ride miles and keep up with former levels of fitness, but I was near often at the trail to take a child to their sport and I was fitting the ride into available time rather than making time for a longer ride. General fitness was the goal then and I feeling lucky just to get to ride at all.

I’ve increased my mileage more than the recommended 10% per week for a couple of months now. I’m not too worried about that at this point because my mileage had gotten so far below what it was a few years ago, but staying really close to the goal rather than exceeding it is the point. This week was also higher than a 10% increase over the one before it. I’ll have to be more careful as I get further beyond recent norms, the increases will take a toll soon enough.

The 28 mile trip this week was from Rockmart to Cedartown and back. Russ was with me for that ride. It was the first time I had ridden to Cedartown in years, and the first time Russ had ridden there ever. This section has some of the prettiest views and some of the biggest hills. We did walk up some hills. The toughest hill dubbed “Trash Mountain” got its name for being beside the landfill. It’s a place where many people turn back. On a hot afternoon when the landfill has it’s full bake goin’ on, it’s the last place anyone want to be walking slowly, or pumping heavily. I won’t be able to capture the full essence of every aspect of the ride on video. That’s not a bad thing.

The Cedartown Depot is a popular place for a Support and Gear (SAG) station. There was one waiting on a large group of riders when we got there. In Cedartown, we went to Pirkle’s Deli, the place where we picked up sandwiches for our own groups when we worked SAG for whole trail rides. It’s still yummy. There is more outdoor seating than there was pre-pandemic. I was wearing a new Headsweats cap, so there was something on my head that I don’t usually have. Not noticing its absence, I forgot to put my helmet back on. When I realized it, we were looking at a hill and far enough away that I wasn’t sure I could make the whole trip back to the car if I went back for it the helmet. We called. They found it and are saving it for us. I have another helmet we got when we supported a Lumos Kickstarter and so I have something to wear until I get back. I was taking the really carefully on the way home. There are some curves close to hills in some places.

Training Tuesday

As I train to be able to make a full century ride twice a week beginning on, or near, the first of the year, here is where I’ll update my progress every week on Training Tuesday.

I’m feeling healthy again, so that has me feeling positive, but I’ve been overestimating my mileage due to some incorrect mile markers, so I also feel behind before I’ve even started. Last week, according to Google maps, I rode 50 miles, a mark I thought I had made 2 weeks ago. 50 miles a week is a benchmark for me. I read that insurance companies give a discount on life/health insurance to people who ride that far. So, it’s a general lifetime goal for me to never fall below that. Not for the discount, but because actuaries think and know things. I felt pretty good when I learned about the discount because I thought I was riding that far, but first one thing and then a shifted commitment and if you’re not keeping up with actual mileage, it’s easy to lose track of actual miles. Google maps sent me a message about my cycling at the end of the year last year though. I was stunned. Google told me my real miles and, it was more than most people ride, but less than I thought.

Now I’m looking to leave 50 miles a week in the dust. Flat tires, or minor emergencies, weather and childcare obligations that won’t always line up properly and any number of other things can cause me missed goals. If I can get my target number of miles in two rides instead of three, it will be easier to stay on target, and it line things up closer to how rides need to be when I make the official recorded video start. So, as I try to balance needs and goals, I’m working toward fewer rides for longer times. Last week my longest ride was 20 miles. Today, I rode 24 miles. If I can get in a 26 mile ride later in the week, I’ll have moved last week’s mileage into two days instead of three. Then if I can get in a third ride whatever mileage I make will be an increase in weekly mileage and to some extent gravy.

I started my original calculations at 61 miles for the first week based on where I was before the pandemic. Maybe I’m too lazy to do the math again, maybe it’s psychological, but that’s the official starting point I want to keep. With that starting point, training up at 10% mileage increase per week because that is the recommended max, I should be ready to do the stretch goal distances in 16 weeks. That will be the first full week in December giving me almost 3 weeks for a buffer before the new year. With winter and holidays and family time, I’m nervous about only having a 3 week buffer. I remember how hard we pushed in the end last time we worked up to a century. There’s no real reason it needs to be a January 1st start, but it seems fitting for the year of Silver Comet Centuries to coincide with a calendar year

So,well see how it goes, and I’ll see you here next Tuesday, and I hope I’ll be telling you I did 61 miles in two long and one short ride.

How to be a Karen Without Being a Karen

That is the question.

It is really a big question, in some ways the question of a lifetime, certainly the question of our time. What it means to be a Karen, a Bad Karen, has morphed from simply the “May I see your manager?” type with a bad Posh Spice/Victoria Beckham bob complete with brash highlights, to a broader caricature that is offensive to a larger number of people (with a racial/racist component that kind of blindsided me because I didn’t realize it was a part of it all until the whole birding in the park incident). See this Guardian Article (or countless others) for more on Karen evolution. https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2020/may/13/karen-meme-what-does-it-mean.There  

Posh, BTW, does seem like a more fitting moniker for a Bad Karen than Karen. Just think about it, from its elitist origins, to its current choice for an ungendered name. What other word ‘come name has a Snopes page about its etymology AND can apply to men and women equally? Because you know deep down Karenhood really isn’t a girls only club.

The first “Karens” I personally noticed were not older women, they were teens of both sexes. I used to volunteer in a local high school, and there were some kids who would say whatever phrase (to the principal if they had to) that got them what they wanted. It was never a true statement. It was simply saying the words that made the exception that got around the rules, an unscrupulous manipulation of the system for the purpose of having one’s way. The very epitome of entitled Karenhood, and yes, they probably learned the skill from their Boomer parents whose decades of egocentrism was peaking, or, at least I thought it had to be peaking. Not. The. First. Time. I. Was. Wrong.

“May I see your manager?” can be a fun question if you have something good to say. I once asked to speak to my postmaster, and afterward my letter carrier beamed smiles at me for a year. She smiled bigger than big when she saw me right up until she was given a new route. It can be an important question if you have the right motive. Or, it can be meme worthy if you want a refund, privilege, reward or result you don’t deserve.

 “If you see something, say something” is where the real challenge comes in. We’ve been “Together-Apart” in so many ways since long before the pandemic. Doing your part to be part of a community is a challenge. Sometimes talking to the manager does need to happen when things need fixing. The phrase “If you see something, say something” was promoted by Allen Kay of the New York MTA after 9-11, and it resulted in a real reduction of crime.

We’re about to switch off of “Karen”. I can tell because there are so many articles out there on Karenhood. One of them suggested to just not be a jerk. That is nobler. We need to be involved, talk to a manager, or a representative, or a businessperson when it’s time. We all know there’s a lot that’s broken, and together, as well as apart, we have to fix it.

Just try not to be a jerk.

Karen Goes, Cycling

Cycling on local trails in Georgia, I get to see nature that awes me. One day a pileated woodpecker flew beside me for 20 yards on the Silver Comet Trail. Before the pandemic I was riding more on Big Creek Greenway, a path in a streambed north of Atlanta. There a Great Blue Heron was feeding in the shallow puddle of a drying pond and I didn’t know there were otters at Big Creek until I saw them one day. One of the coolest sights was when a Great Blue Heron flew from the stream below to the bridge I was about to cross, and then, just as I approached flew on across right in front of me. Deer are often out on many trails. Oh, to have had a camera going for some of these sights.

Sometimes the interesting things I see are people, all kinds.  A person on stilts, on a pennyfarthing, on a stand up bike with no seat, even, once, a person walking with his head buried in a textbook. He never looked up as far as I could see. I don’t know why he didn’t walk into people. One day I saw a woman tethered to her phone (not as in listening to great music and working out in the zone, but, as in, really never letting go of being connected to the device). Do those people get the same benefits from being out on the trail as people who are attuned to their surroundings, or is it merely cardio benefits for them? And, where do the benefits of being in nature come from? I mean there are obvious things like vitamin D coming from the sun and the endorphins that come from the exercise itself, but what about things like your mind space? So, I read some things, including Nature Fix by Florence Williams and while I began as a skeptic about some things, like bird calls having a positive effect, she did convince me in the end that they do.

So, my next thought was; just as the person who is wired outdoors loses some of the benefit of being in nature (and some of the safety in being alert), maybe there’s a way for people who are home bound to gather some benefits of being outdoors. I don’t just manage to get myself back on the bike when the outdoors is part of the picture, I want to (most days) ;). How can people who would attend to nature and their surroundings if they could get some of those benefits? What if I video a large amount of trail time, capture some of the more extraordinary wildlife sightings as well as changing seasons and provide a varied distraction for people to watch while exercising?

Video isn’t the whole outdoor experience and can’t provide all of the outdoor benefits. But, maybe, at bare minimum, it could help people who can’t get out, or can’t get out as often as they need to, find a more enjoyable experience for exercise and help with the motivation to get back on that stationary bike or other cardio machine. I want to collect video that could be used to give a more varied experience for the homebound, or those who don’t get to travel for exercise as much as they’d like to, an experience that is closer to nature, or just enough different to help with motivation. Maybe it could even be a meditation guide for some.

When I first thought of this plan fitness centers were open and I used one. I’ve kept my membership to the Y current through the pandemic so far, but haven’t been in for months, not since the first Covid-19 cases came to town. When I did go, I primarily used strength training. I’d never really do cardio for more than short 20 minute span, sometimes less, usually on the water rower to give my arms some attention (maybe I’m a sucker for a gimmick, but I really like it better than traditional rowers). Back when I did use stationary bikes there was never a cycling video that provided variety, or even actual real scenery to watch, and daytime TV choices on other available screens fall way short of inspiring. If I couldn’t cycle outdoors, I’m not sure I’d have the motivation to keep going. If my video helps people who can’t get out there in person, get out there in spirit, that would make me pretty happy.

A base goal could be to film my roughly hour long ride 2 or 3 times a week for a year (originally planned on the Big Creek Greenway, a paved multi-use trail that goes north-south along the Big Creek stream bed in the suburbs north of Atlanta), but now more likely to be on more remote areas of the Silver Comet). Partly a photography or data/film collection project to capture nature and the changing seasons on, but there was/is a creative aspect too. At the lowest level of funding, the project would just subsidize rides that I already take and commit me to filming them. I would capture video that as long as some people want to work out, and it would provide an experience for people that changes weekly with the seasons.

When the Shelter in Place order was given, outdoors was one of the few escapes people had. The bike shops sold out and the trails were filled with crowds (on those trails that were open). The numbers of people wearing masks was, and still is, very low. The best research that seems to be available points to 20 foot distances being more appropriate for cyclists because of speed and exertion than the 6 ft recommendations for people who are stationary or moving slowly. That’s a nearly impossible distance to maintain on the Greenway. The base plan needed to be altered before I got it out in front of people.

I had been building up to my plan, researching successful Kickstarters, and working toward one of my own. But, now Big Creek was filled with so many people, and the Silver Comet was closed in the two closest counties. We went out to Big Creek in the early morning one Sunday, normally the slowest time there, to see if that was doable. Out of 100 or so people we saw spread out over 8 miles, one other couple had masks on, and many were walking 2 or 3 abreast, so that didn’t allow safe passing distance. As that ride ended the numbers of people on the trail increased markedly.  That was an unpredictable risk too, choosing to start a ride with conditions at one level, and finishing at another level. I thought my plan was on indefinite hold. I settled into sheltering. And, I thought I was doing fine. I was so wrong.

A friend posted about going out past the two closed counties to ride the Silver Comet (SC) where it was open. She’s someone I’ve worked Support and Gear (SAG) for on overnight rides for the entire length of Silver Comet and Chief Ladiga trails. Together they make the longest paved paved path in the Rails to Trails (RTT) system. I had ridden my bike out as far as she was driving, and I had driven out there if I was working SAG for her, but I’ve always tried to limit the amount of gas and transportation expense I was willing to use in order to cycle. It seemed too much to drive that far for a bike ride, and to spend more time in the car than I do on the trail. But, we did it. Russ and I went out there for what turned out to be a ride that was both pathetic and necessary. 12 miles was all we had in us. But it was a very important 12 miles. I felt alive again after not having realized how far from that I had drifted. I said to Russ “If I get sick, you need to remind me that there are things I still want to do.” I didn’t know that my voice was going to tremble when I said it. I started going out often, and as I did, I realized that my project is more important now than ever, and that I have to build back up to spending more time on the trail than I do in the car, even when I have to drive this far.

So, now my base goal is to get an hour of video per week at the most sensible place, whether it’s the Silver Comet, or the Greenway. I’ll stay flexible as conditions change.

This will be a stretch in many ways. I’ll be happy enough to have the base goal fund, but the big dream is to make the stretch goal. At a higher level of funding, I will film the entire Silver Comet and adjoining Chief Ladiga trail in two directions weekly. For this, I will have to reach a level of physical output that I have never before sustained. I’ve done a century before. I’ve done the Silver Comet and Chief Ladiga together before, but not repeatedly twice a week. And, though the goal is to get a year’s filmed record of the longest paved RTT trail in the country, I really expect it to consume me for 2 years. While building up, increases in mileage of 10% per week are recommended. I may have good weeks, but I’ll likely suffer setbacks if I try to build up faster than that over time. I won’t be able to stop that level of riding abruptly either. I expect to fill in weather or other unavoidable gaps that may happen by continuing to film as I slow my level of riding gradually.

I’ll be sharing my best film shots with supporters and making some digital wallpaper calendars with different themes. Some of the unbelievable things I see while riding are wild life, and some of them are crazy stupid. I also hope to get some good footage for a multi-use trail safety video. I do understand that this will be grueling at times and there will be days when I wonder what I was thinking. I’m looking forward to the challenge, and working through it to the other side.

Karen Goes and Goes

After changing careers a while back, I was thinking about “What next?”. My sysadmin (also my son) recommended Karen Goes as a url that would easily be relevant to whatever I might do next, then next, and then after that. It was just before “Karen” became synonymous with the mother who wants to speak to the manager, and well before the name morphed into the world’s most heinously entitled woman exemplifying everything wrong with people who have “First World Problems”.

So, now that I’m off again. My next project is underway and the title “Karen Goes” is particularly appropriate, but I still thought about leaving “Bad Karen” behind until I remembered Dad’s favorite Jim Croce song. I had other favorites, but his liking it made me notice what a really nice song it is.

Like the pine trees linin’ the windin’ road
I’ve got a name, I’ve got a name
Like the singin’ bird and the croakin’ toad
I’ve got a name, I’ve got a name
And I carry it with me like my daddy did
But I’m living the dream that he kept hid

Movin’ me down the highway, rollin’ me down the highway
Movin’ ahead so life won’t pass me by

Like the north wind whistlin’ down the sky
I’ve got a song, I’ve got a song
Like the whippoorwill and the baby’s cry
I’ve got a song, I’ve got a song
And I carry it with me and I sing it loud
If it gets me nowhere, I’ll go there proud
Movin’ me down the highway, rollin’ me down the highway
Movin’ ahead so life won’t pass me by

And I’m gonna go there free

Like the fool I am and I’ll always be

I’ve got a dream, I’ve got a dream
They can change their minds but they can’t change me
I’ve got a dream, I’ve got a dream
Oh, I know I could share it if you want me to
If you’re goin’ my way, I’ll go with you

Movin’ me down the highway, rollin’ me down the highway
Movin’ ahead so life won’t pass me by
Movin’ me down the highway, rollin’ me down the highway
Movin’ ahead so life won’t pass me by

Like the pine trees linin’ the windin’ road
I’ve got a name, I’ve got a name
Like the singin’ bird and the croakin’ toad
I’ve got a name, I’ve got a name
And I carry it with me like my daddy did
But I’m living the dream that he kept hid

Movin’ me down the highway, rollin’ me down the highway
Movin’ ahead so life won’t pass me by

Like the north wind whistlin’ down the sky
I’ve got a song, I’ve got a song
Like the whippoorwill and the baby’s cry
I’ve got a song, I’ve got a song
And I carry it with me and I sing it loud
If it gets me nowhere, I’ll go there proud

Movin’ me down the highway, rollin’ me down the highway
Movin’ ahead so life won’t pass me by

And I’m gonna go there free

Like the fool I am and I’ll always be
I’ve got a dream, I’ve got a dream
They can change their minds but they can’t change me
I’ve got a dream, I’ve got a dream
Oh, I know I could share it if you want me to
If you’re goin’ my way, I’ll go with you

Movin’ me down the highway, rollin’ me down the highway
Movin’ ahead so life won’t pass me by
Movin’ me down the highway, rollin’ me down the highway
Movin’ ahead so life won’t pass me by

 

I always thought that was written by Jim Croce, but it was actually written by Charles Fox and Norman Gimbel and I’m a sap for it.

So, about that name change? Nah, it’s my name. And, I’ve got a dream.