Rewarding Rides

Our project is atypical in (at least) two ways. The first, this project will appeal to a wide variety of people for very different reasons. That makes it difficult to focus the campaign. And, second, we want to give away the project video. Making it an easily accessible resource and giving people something to make their lives better at most levels of personal technology really is what it’s about. But we need supporter rewards, so, they are side projects.

That’s right. All of our supporter rewards are additional side projects. Not all supporters are looking for intangible rewards. We need a lot of supporters so it’s important to give them something no one else can get, so we came up with great rewards to appeal to a wide range of supporters. There should be something for anyone. The choices are: Streamed Rides, Monthly sets of Meditation loops, One of several digital photo groups for desktop or phone wallpaper, a wee bit of poetry or prose, and last, for a little bit of giving back, we can do a trail species upload on iNaturalist.

Category 1: Streaming the Rides

Our tech guy recommended streaming, so we’re offering streaming. There are are cell towers visible all along the way. The trail follows loosely along a significant highway, but there are still some low signal areas over the course we will be covering, it won’t be perfect, or even have complete coverage. There will be gaps. And it will be just an hour or two per week if funding stays in the lower levels.

We decided the positives outweigh the negatives and will offer it anyway. Streaming is popular and the up side is that supporters who opt for streaming will get video earlier, from a different camera, and they’ll get two directions every week, where people who don’t choose streaming will just get one video and it will be later.

How we offer it will depend on how many people sign up and some other parameters. It will probably be offered to a closed FB group, but we will do something better if it becomes practical. YouTube could be a potential if we get enough followers there, and there are other options. The video will stream from its own camera. At this time, we don’t foresee an upper limit to the number of people who can sign up for this, but it requires 750 supporters to “make”.

Cost: $100, which is 96 cents per stream if we finish in 104 rides over 52 weeks. There will be weather and other unpredictable events. The actual number of streams could be more or less.

Category 2: Monthly Meditation or Stress Relief Video Loops

We will make available for download 3 video loops per month for 12 months (or 18 months if 3000 or more supporters choose this reward).

You can sit in front of the video in a lotus (or any other) pose. You can project them on the ceiling and listen as you fall asleep, you can play it in the background while you work. You can play them on any screen in the house while you are home, or to set the mood while you are your house for sale, whenever and wherever you want, play it for mood improvement, entertainment or a little escape.

The videos will be taken in, or near project locations. This will include the trail itself, trails where we take recovery walks, or nearby areas of interest in Georgia and Alabama. Area trails in Alabama include the highest peak in Alabama and trails that may become a part of the Appalachian Trail extension.

The location and a bit about it will be included with each loop so that you can have a sense of place if you want to add that to your experience, and if I get to go to the beach anytime during the project, I’ll throw in a shore loop for extra because shore sounds are wonderful. At least 1 loop per month will include water sounds of some type.

Cost: $60 which is $1.67 per video loop if under 3000 people sign up and $1.11 per loop if more than 3000 people sign up.

Category 3: Photography, Digital 2022/2023 Wallpaper

Photographs of the trail or local areas to be used as a desktop, tablet or phone wallpaper or to add to a collection of scrolling screensaver photos. Using photographs I’ve taken over the course of the project can remind backers that they helped someone pursue a dream, remember their own joy from being on this or other trails. As a wallpaper for a screen, these photographs might b a great conversation starter or just give supporters a collection of pleasant things to look at.

Most of the still photographs on this site to date were taken with one of our phone cameras, and If that is what I have when I capture the shot I want to, that’s what it will be, but I expect most still shots to be primarily taken with my Nikon D810. I will be acquiring photo editing software. I don’t know how much I’ll use it. I’ll shoot RAW with the Nikon. There will be some editing. but I don’t like the idea of producing surreal images that are passed for natural. I even see excessive amounts dodging and burning as skewing a viewers sense of the real. I may offer a section of artsy stuff, but for the most part, this project is about making a what’s real outside enjoyable inside. The exception to using the phone camera and the D 810 will be “Best of” screen shots taken from our video. Those will come straight from the GoPro.

I think I could get lost enough in this reward to make it a project on its own. Well, it is already, kind of.

We’ll send a link at the end of every quarter for 5 quarters beginning when funding finalizes. There will be, available for download, at least three of our favorite shots and they’ll come with a creative commons license. More categories will unlock as we progress through the levels. Our reward prices are low and our budget is a stretch, so we’re offering an incentive.

If we get 2500 backers for each photo reward category below, we’ll make our top funding goal from this reward alone. That’s out happy place, so for each photo reward, we’ll add another 2 quarterly downloads for a total of 7 quarters.

Options will be:

“Animals and Best of Video Stills” I saw a squirrel running up a stump beside me as a rode the other day. It was so cute, but not the kind of thing you can capture with a still camera. It might have made a good still captured from a video if I had cameras running. That’s the kind of thing we’ll do here, take the stuff that we wouldn’t have gotten any other way. The photos in all categories will likely get better as funding levels increase because the top level puts us on the trail for the most hours, and the more time we spend out there, the more likely we are to capture the spectacular.

Landscapes and Covered Bridges:  This category is inspired by two covered bridges near the trail and countless beautiful landscapes seen from the trail, or on the way to the trail. Many of our photos will be as viewed from the trail, but there are some pretty nice landscapes in the surrounding areas. Driving out to the counties with open trails during the pandemic was a trip, but it had therapeutic elements and great views.

Like the other categories, if we get 2500 backers for this reward category, the photos increase to cover 9 quarters. In addition, if we get 3500 backers the number of covered bridges will expand 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, but last I checked there were 16. If we get 4500 backers, we will add in the 11 historic covered bridges in Alabama.

Plants and Flowers will unlock when after we make goal and move toward stretch funding. We will take photos of any plants that are beautiful, interesting or strange and will tell you about them if we know, or can find out. We tend to appreciate native plants for their role in stabilizing ecosystems, so those will be prominent in our selections. Plants are at the bottom of the food chain, through photosynthesis they feed us all. Strong, beautiful and necessary, they aren’t just nice to look at. They make all of this possible.

“Local Sights and Culture, Movies and Architecture” With the only Georgia slate mine still in operation, Rockmart has slate roof construction from way back, but that’s just one example of the unique character makes great favorite spots and sometimes movie sets throughout the area. There are unique sites in this category all around. This category and the next will become available when we make stretch goal and are moving toward super stretch.

“Signs” We see all kinds of signs. Funny signs, serious signs, signs that would make Bill Engvall laugh, from incredulous themes to signs that are beautiful, from street names to hand made signs everywhere. We may do some artistic alteration on some of these.  2500 backers in this, or any, category adds two extra quarterly links with photographs.

Cost: $30 which is $2 per photo or $1.40 if your category gets the 2500 supporters that bring extra photos.

Category 4: High Intensity Interval (HIIT) Training Videos

We’ll produce 52 videos, 30 minutes each, designed for High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). During a high intensity time frame the trail will be going by fast, then for the low intensity segment it will go by more slowly. We’ll stick with popular time intervals, but won’t make them all the same and put a noise in to sound the change. We’ll keep them as close to one week intervals as conditions permit. We need 200 supporters for this reward to make and if we get 2000 supporters we will double the reward to do 2 per week for a total of 104. These will be unedited like the YouTube videos. We’ll just add a signal tone for the time intervals.

Cost: $78 which is $1.50 per video, or 75 cents if we get 2000 supporters for this reward.

Category 5: A Poem by Karen or Russ

Did you ever want to have poetry written just for you, or someone you love? We’ll write you a short bit of verse on the not too shady subject of your choice. We will do Haikus with a limit of 400 Haiku rewards, or 20 lines of free verse with a limit of100 free versa rewards.

This will be an adventure. Dad was a writer, professionally and personally. He used to surprise Mom with sweet or funny poetry from time to time, so poetry and prose are in my circle of life, 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 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. And, I think this first poem could become pretty relevant to describe my feelings about the project.

So, here it is, a rare sample of my early work, the first poem I remember writing:

I am so tired

I would have admired


If I could have hired

Someone to be tired

For me

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. We’ll start before full rides are up and happening, but delivery on these may be spread across the project and all should be delivered before the project is complete.

Haiku $40, limit 400,  20 lines of free verse $75, limit 100

Rewards Category 6: iNaturalist Listings

We will upload a species located on the trails and nearby areas to iNaturalist. We’re offering this one because it is a way of giving back to the trail and natural setting we are out to record. We think it will appeal to many people who would like our project.

We chose iNaturalist for the database to use because of its relationship to E. O Wilson and his Half Earth Project. I signed up when it was promoted on his birthday, and now it will be a memorial tribute. Making it an offering in our project is a way of showing appreciation to supporters while committing to someone else to do the work.

This reward is individually time intensive, so it will be limited to 365 listings that may be uploaded by either one of us. I’m calling that a limit of “one per day”, though we plan for the actual project to last longer, I think trying to do more would be a mistake. I’ll be trying to limit the time we spend on photographing, identifying and uploading any single species to 2 hours.

If you are the first person to support this reward, the first upload to iNaturalist 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 start filling these as soon as the first level makes, but also hoping to see more unique species as well.

I tried to think of a way to let people choose a species, but it seemed too complicated.

Cost: $30

Rewards Category Extra: Multi-use Multi-user Trail Safety Video Link

I’ve read those rules posted trailside at more than one trail, but have you ever seen anyone else reading them? What I have seen is a lot of people doing things thoughtlessly. All those trail users in a bubble not thinking about the needs, mindset or limitations of other users. Sometimes it is hilarious, but I’ve seen an ambulance drive down more than one trail to retrieve someone and I think everyone has seen a ghost bike.

Ghost bikes are not funny, but our goal will be to make a video that is, one funny enough to be very sharable so that people will pay attention, learn to look at things from every other trail users perspective and avoid causing or feeling pain, especially on the ghost bike level. It will automatically come with a creative commons license for supporters who choose this reward. We will get feedback from biking organizations before releasing. We’ve been out there a lot on the trails, but we want the best advice we can get to make this something that gives the best advice.

I’m listing this close to the top, but it will be the last thing that we produce. We’ll work on it a little along all the way through, but save it for the end because, as sure as we finish it ahead of time, there will be that perfect something that should go in it, and Russ’s new video editing skills will be at top level by then too. That means it will be 18 months to two years out.

Cost: $0

*This article was heavily edited after changing some of the rewards. How much to edit has been a difficult decision. Showing progression of the project planning and preparation is important, but in a category that sets supporter expectations, having old articles that say something different from our final rewards could be confusing and lead to mistaken expectations.