GoPro, Again…

Wheel full 70pxSeveral months into using a GoPro I’m still on the fence as to its utility as a device used for general purpose photography during bike rides. I really like the ability to shoot “on the move,” but that is almost outweighed by the fisheye character of the shots you wind up with, plus the fairly work intensive nature of getting them off the GoPro and onto a computer or handheld in a form that they can be used. It annoys me that you have to hand add geolocation to each photo.

Wheel full 70pxAnyway, the thing I had in mind when I took these shots was to note another drawback and my fix for it. The internal battery in a GoPro- at least a Hero 4 Silver GoPro- literally lasts for minutes- not hours, minutes- of constantly connected use. Then they die without warning. The best accessory purchase I have made so far is two of these “re-fuel” six hour battery backs [link]. They snap right on and are ready to go. Six hours is a stretch- I get about four, tops. But two will carry me through most days. I don’t know what folks who have the newer model GoPro can do- I understand that they are caseless, so these won’t fit. But there must be something like them.

And Wow!! again

Wheel full 70px My friend Jean Aime Bigirimanawho goes by JaBig Chocophile on facebook [link] is on the Dempster Highway north of the Arctic Circle bicycling across Canada to the Arctic Ocean. I first posted about him here [link].


Wheel full 70px He has been on the road a little over a year and has ridden a single speed bicycle all the way from the Atlantic Coast in the Maritimes to the Pacific Coast in British Columbia then north up the Alaska Highway headed for Tuktoyaktuk, an Arctic Ocean coastal village in the Northwest Territories.  He has less than a week to go.  His facebook page is one of the most incredible accounts of a long-distance bicycle ride that I have ever seen.


Wheel full 70px Every so often something happens in the community of touring/endurance cyclists that just has one stopping to catch a breath.  I’m not talking about the incredibly sad events involving injury and sometimes death (the community suffered two tragic losses in the last 10 days when ultra-distance cyclist Mike Hall was killed in a competition being held in Australia [link] and then the legendary Steve Tilford died in an auto accident in Colorado [link])- those are terrible occurrences that just leave you shaking your head, and they seem to happen far too often.  Some things, though, just capture what inspires people to get on bicycles and ride, and ride, and ride.  The story of Montrealer Jean Aime Bigirimana, who goes by the name JaBig Chocophile on facebook [link], is one of those.


Wheel full 70px This guy is in the last weeks of a 14 month, 17,500 kilometer/11,000 mile plus ride from the Atlantic to the Pacific to the Arctic Ocean in Canada.  He is currently cycling between Whitehorse and Dawson in the Yukon on the Klondike Highway and will then head north on the Dempster Highway and then ultimately an ice road to Tuktoyaktuk in the Northwest Territories…

…wait for it…



…on a single speed bike!!

Wayne and Garth way no way 800px

Wheel full 70px For those of you who live in the balmy south- meaning anywhere south of Duluth, Minnesota- you have no idea what this guy is doing. Here’s the weather right now in Dawson.

Dawson Weather 170407

That’s a balmy day for this time of year up here. And it was still winter when JaBig rode up the Alaska Highway, something that can be a challenge in a car.

Wheel full 70px He’s riding Centuries (100 miles/160 kilometers in a day) on a regular basis.  And he’s had his bike stolen during the trip. And been charged by buffalo. He seems to be unstoppable. His facebook page is well worth an extended look – highly recommended.

A Couple of Figures

Wheel full 70pxI just realized while posting on facebook today that my Surly Disc Trucker as equipped including the racks and panniers cost just under a dollar per mile for each of the close to 3,600 miles (5,800 kilometers) that I rode it last fall.


Surly LHT 800px

At the Bike Gallery, the shop in Portland that put it all together.  The pedals
at this point were temporaries and that bottom water bottle clip came off and
was replaced by a frame pump, but that’s pretty much the way it looked (plus
an Ortlieb seat stem tool bag) when I rode down the Atlantic coast.

Wheel full 70pxI’ve also figured that the 80 or so pounds (36 kilograms) I lost in preparing for and during the trip cost me a little less than two hundred dollars apiece when you figure in the cost of the whole trip. You can do the math- it’s why I never want to gain any of that weight back.

Toto, I don’t think we’re in Kansas any more

Wheel full 70px When you make lodging arrangements at a non-chain hotel or motel through an online service- as an example- in a distant place of which you have no current familiarity it has been my experience that you quite frequently wind up surprised when you check in- sometimes in a good way, sometimes not.  Yesterday when circumstances- a credit card transaction at Dunkin’ Donuts for coffee and two plain old fashioned that was declined, which led to the discovery when I called Wells Fargo that the card had apparently been compromised the previous day when I stopped for breakfast and had been run up by $3,000 or so- required that I scramble to reserve lodging somewhere so that I had a fixed address at which I could receive a Fedex package from the bank, I wound up having just that happen to me.


Wheel full 70px Provincetown- P-town– Massachusetts shares with Key West, Florida the longstanding reputation for being the center of the gay scene on the Atlantic Coast.  This goes way back to a time long before the current widespread acceptance.  I have had a few openly gay friends over the years and a few others who had never come out, but my exposure to any ubiquitous gay cultural environment was nil.

Wheel full 70px Until yesterday, when I found myself in a hotel lobby conversing with a number of really friendly men (in a nice way), all of them seemingly fascinated by a guy dressed in black spandex and polyester wearing shoes with cleats on the bottom that made this just wonderful “click-click-click” sound when I walked.  It was fun, and was repeated at the hotel’s continental breakfast bar this morning.

Wheel full 70px It appears I am staying in the premier gay hostelry in P-town.  I was personally invited tonight to the “Underwear Party” in the club, which happens to be in the basement of where I’m staying, seen in the picture above but I probably won’t go, as my stock of good-looking bicycling underwear is woefully short.  Cool to be included, though.


Uncool Shoes

Wheel full 70px Specialized is going to get a very unhappy email from me.


Wheel full 70px You might recall that I bought these shoes in June of this year.  They are less than three months old.


Wheel full 70px I don’t walk on the toes or otherwise mistreat them. The stitching on the left shoe came apart first. The right shoe has  followed in recent days.

Wheel full 70px Looks like a design defect to me.   I  don’t think a replacement pair is an unreasonable expectation.  If those come apart we’ll just have to deal with that when it happens.