Saturday, 22 July 2006

Tuesday, 11 July 2006

The Big Here

You live in the big here. Wherever you live, your tiny spot is deeply intertwined within a larger place, imbedded fractal-like into a whole system called a watershed, which is itself integrated with other watersheds into a tightly interdependent biome. At the ultimate level, your home is a cell in an organism called a planet. All these levels interconnect. What do you know about the dynamics of this larger system around you? Most of us are ignorant of this matrix. But it is the biggest interactive game there is. Hacking it is both fun and vital.

There's a 30 question quiz, how many can you answer without Googling or asking for help?


  1. Point north.

  2. What time is sunset today?

  3. Trace the water you drink from rainfall to your tap.

  4. When you flush, where do the solids go? What happens to the waste water?

  5. How many feet above sea level are you?

  6. What spring wildflower is consistently among the first to bloom here?

  7. How far do you have to travel before you reach a different watershed? Can you draw the boundaries of yours?

  8. Is the soil under your feet, more clay, sand, rock or silt?

  9. Before your tribe lived here, what did the previous inhabitants eat and how did they sustain themselves?

  10. Name five native edible plants in your neighborhood and the season(s) they are available.

  11. From what direction do storms generally come?

  12. Where does your garbage go?

  13. How many people live in your watershed?

  14. Who uses the paper/plastic you recycle from your neighborhood?

  15. Point to where the sun sets on the equinox. How about sunrise on the summer solstice?

  16. Where is the nearest earthquake fault? When did it last move?

  17. Right here, how deep do you have to drill before you reach water?

  18. Which (if any) geological features in your watershed are, or were, especially respected by your community, or considered sacred, now or in the past?

  19. How many days is the growing season here (from frost to frost)?

  20. Name five birds that live here. Which are migratory and which stay put?

  21. What was the total rainfall here last year?

  22. Where does the pollution in your air come from?

  23. If you live near the ocean, when is high tide today?

  24. What primary geological processes or events shaped the land here?

  25. Name three wild species that were not found here 500 years ago. Name one exotic species that has appeared in the last 5 years.

  26. What minerals are found in the ground here that are (or were) economically valuable?

  27. Where does your electric power come from and how is it generated?

  28. After the rain runs off your roof, where does it go?

  29. Where is the nearest wilderness? When was the last time a fire burned through it?

  30. How many days till the moon is full?

Ride: Darlington to Hamsterley, plus a HTB group ride

Rode from home to the forest by a backroad route, to avoid the A68; took a little longer, but some of that was navigation and it was a much better route. The ride round the forest was cool, rode some of the SSUK route in the proper direction (Goat Track), plus the bottom half of the Rabbit Run and the old Downhill Course. Plus, I rode my first bit of North Shore on the Skills Loop!

I was feeling the extra riding by the end of the ride, but that was partly down to riding the first couple of climbs in the middle ring, because my mech has siezed a bit and needs a bit of help to shift to smaller gears.

Kiwi offered me a lift home, so I did some extra riding in the forest instead of riding back.

Distance: 37 miles
Surface: Road (38km) and off-road (22km)
Time: About 6 hours total; (2.5 hours from Darlo to Hamsterley on the road)
Weather: Warm, wet and windy
Bike: Inbred

Sunday, 9 July 2006

Riding tomorrow

I'm riding with the HTB bunch again tomorrow. In writing a comment on Tom Levell's blog, I realised that tomorrow will be the first time I've ridden a geared bike since March 12th and only the 9th non-utility ride I've done this year. Strangely, I'm probably the fittest I've ever been. Odd.

Monday, 3 July 2006

Solitude first design

When I got back from my ride yesterday, Alex had sent me the first draft of his design for my Solitude Cycles frame. He sent two pictures, which show how the bike will compare with my Kona And On-One bikes. Riding on the drops, my hands should be marginally (maybe 2cm) lower that on the Kona, which should be about right; my neck was a little stiff after yesterday's ride, but there were a lot of occasions yesterday when I would have been riding on the hoods anyway.

Solitude Cycles design: comparison to Kona Hahanna

Solitude Cycles design: comparison to On-One Inbred

Solitude Cycles design

Sunday, 2 July 2006

Ride: Darlington to Barnard Castle to Hamsterley to Darlington

Well, despite getting to the Market Place with 5 minutes of registration time for the Darlington 70 mile tourist trial remaining, there was no-one to be seen. So, I went home to collect a couple of maps and rode to Ingleton, where I joined up with the Sustrans W2W route to Barnard Castle. Had lunch in Barny, when followed the W2W to Hamsterley Forest and then back to Darlington.

About 65 miles, including the faffing about in the morning, which makes it my first metric century! All on the ss Kona, which was great until I blew out the rear tyre near Archdeacon Newton, meaning I had a very slow last five miles or so (I wore right through the tyre, so there was a 1.5 inch gash right in the middle of the tread; I could have bodges a repair with a crisp packet or something if I'd been further from home). 55psi leaving a tyre in one go is loud!

Distance: 65 miles
Surface: Road
Time: About 7 hours with the slow last few miles
Weather: Hot and sunny
Bike: Rigid singlespeed Kona Hahanna, with Panaracer Cinder on the front and semi slick on the back (32:16)