Monday, August 30, 2010

Awards and Superlatives for the Qualitative Crowd

So, we also spent a lot of time talking about our favorite places/ events/ etc. and have generated thew following list describing some of the Best/ Worst/ Biggest/ Most-est things of the bike trip:

Favorite town/city: Aberdeen, MS
Worst town/city: Shiloh, TN
Favorite State/Province for bike touring: Ontario (Honorable Mention: Ohio)
Worst State/Province for bike touring: Tennessee
The Jason Haserodt Award for Monster-Related Greatness: Rachael
The "Sasquatch Hands" Award for Smelliest Gloves: Michael
Best Bike Bling: Shira
The Perfect Bike Award: Serenity (Rachael's bike), for no bike problems of any kind

Favorite Biking Snack: Corn Nuts
Favorite Biking Drink: Chocolate Milk
Favorite Quote: "You guys must like sweating. I'll sweat to make money, but I won't sweat for free." (Random dude in Alabama)

Favorite Biking Snack: cracker sandwiches/ fruit set in Jello
Favorite Biking Drink: Tea
Favorite Quote: "Pardon me, I don't mean to be rude- but, what's your purpose?"

Favorite roadkill: Armadillos
Worst roadkill: dogs
Favorite drink: 44 ounces of Dr. Pepper
Favorite snack: Krispy Kreme (preferablly left on a table by someone else)
Favorite quote: "You guys sure do have an aroma about you" (Postman in
Crump, Tennessee) and "Well, you're still kind of homeless" (Manager
of grocery in Coffeeville, AL)

Favorite roadkill: unknown things
Worst roadkill: dogs
Favorite drink: Tea [ed.: Bill refers to what is know in the north as "Sweet Tea"]
Favorite snack: Krispy Kreme, Cheetos, and Fritos

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Facts and Figures for the Quantitative Crowd

A semi-random selection of facts and figures about the bike trip:

Trip Details:
Total distance: 2177 miles
Total time: 36 days
Total time spent riding: 190 hours, 8 minutes
Total Climbing: 55,000 feet
Average speed: 11.45 mph
Average riding time: 5.3 hrs per day
Daily mileage: 60.5 miles/day
States visited: 9
Canadian provinces visited: 1
Longest day: 100 miles
Shortest day: 32 miles
Fastest speed (Eric's bike): 40 mph

Bike Details:
Flat tires: 12
Broken spokes: 3

Cost Details:
Total Cost: $4,007.23
Average cost per person-day: $33.67
Average cost per person-day in Canada: $47.36
Average cost per person-month: $1,010.23
(These costs do not include the gear or initial train ride)

These statistics are interesting to compare to the bike trip that I took with Jason. On that trip, we had a significantly higher daily mileage (17 miles per day more), but just about the same average speed (11.85 vs. 11.45). The difference was made up in time on the bike: on the last trip, Jason and I rode about an hour and a half more each day. The daily costs worked out to be about the same on the two trips. I think that some of this may be due to economy of scale, since we had several more riders this time. Oddly, we had more flat tires this time, even though there was less person-miles covered.

The Content of the Future - Tomorrow!

The bike trip is officially over. We are back in Pittsburgh and will be focused on putting everything away, getting back to work, and enjoying a non-hobo lifestyle. But do keep checking this space, as I plan to put up some interesting stuff in the next few weeks, including summary info about the trip, a better edited picture gallery, and videos from the footage I have collected.

But for now, it is late and I am tired and still smelly. A shower and my bed await.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Exactly Like America (Except Not Quite)

So up here in Canada, they have a whole country of their own, with roads and money and everything. Instead of Dollars, they have Canadian Dollars (which are worth almost as much). Instead of miles, they have kilometers (which are about half as much). And instead of Outback Steakhouse, they have Turtle Jack’s. But there are a few differences, which I sort here into those that I like and those I do not:

The good:
-Cars are generally more polite around bikes. While they are willing to pass you, they usually do so in a safer way.
-The baked goods (breads, mainly) at grocery stores are of much higher quality. I attribute this to the French influence in Canada.
-Stores no longer ask “Credit or Debit”, since they apparently don’t have a distinction on the retailer side in Canada. I like this mainly because I have never understood why there is a distinction made on the retail end and the question has always annoyed me.
The bad:
-Campsites in Canada seem to be generally so high-class (which also means $$$) that you are forbidden to put up clotheslines. You guys need to rein that in a bit.
-The town/city system is absolutely baffling. We frequently are welcomed into towns/cities that are several miles (sometimes dozens of miles) away, on the other side of 2 closer towns. Or welcomed into a city, then into a second city, then the first city again. What is up with this?
-The junk food distribution system is second-class. They don’t seem to have adopted the super-sized gas station model of the US (at which you can find everything from breakfast cereal to donuts). Also, their McDonald’s are lacking some of our favorite things: fruit smoothies and sweet tea.

In the end, the Canadian bit has provided us with some of the most fun and interesting parts of the trip, as well as some challenging biking. Overall, I give the country an “A-“. Work on the roads a bit, get me better access to junk food, and that will come up a bit.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

To Pennsylvania & Beyond

Biking in territory that is familiar is really comforting after being far from home for weeks. We stayed at my childhood home in Ohio, and my father biked with us into Painesville. Yesterday I biked the same day of biking that I did three years ago when I joined Eric & Jason on their Northern Tier route. Familiarity is comfortable. As we move on from Ohio to PA I find myself excited to be approaching unfamiliar territory again. I am very excited about our upcoming bit into Canada. I've never been to Niagara and have seen very little of Canada. I'm shifting back into adventure mode.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Another one bites the dust (by Shira)

After 1708 miles and 150 hours of biking, Neil (aka my right knee -- see photo) has decided he is done with this trip, so I am heading home. It started a few days ago (I am still running on bike trip time, which means that I can't quite remember any past dates or times) when the wrong combination of downhill, gravel, pothole, clipped in on a loaded bike and a right turn caused me to wipe out. Eric and Bill slowly siphoned weight off of my bike, until today, when I was riding completely unloaded (Eric was quite the site with all of my bags on his bike, in addition to the 130 pounds he was already carrying, pictures to follow). I'm not sure if it was the pain from my knee or the shame of riding an unloaded bike, but as soon as we hit Painesville, Ohio (no joke), Neil decided he would go no further.

In the spirit of the bike trip, like a real homeless person, I just got a ride to a shower from a cop (and learned that I have no criminal record!), and am enjoying the good will of the people of Painesville.

I plan on eventually completing the final 400 miles of this trip, let me know if you want to join!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Video Update #5

Hey guys, we have biked almost all the way across Ohio, and have a video to talk about the trip. It includes: Purple People Eater Bridges, Rail trails, delivered feasts, and campground ducks.


Underground Railroad Video Update #5 from Eric Hittinger on Vimeo.