Hello world!

Whew, so I decided that I wanted the latest and greatest version of WordPress.  Unfortunately I ended up having to nuke the gratefully short WordPress database to get things working again.  At least the newer version looks a lot prettier.  Also, thankfully, I haven’t actually left on my trip yet.  This makes this process a lot easier.

Anyway, the software chose Hello World! for the title of the first post by itself.  Which is kind of funny, because this blog is about bicycling, more or less, around the world.  I was kind of thinking it should be called Eric’s Triumphant Freedom Tour, 2011.  Or maybe The Adventures of Axl Lane.  Why?  I just like that name.

So, this is a continuing story of something I began a few years ago.  Somehow I got it into my head that I was going to ride a bicycle across the United States.  I don’t know why, I’ve just been a cycling nut since I was knee high to a grasshopper.  I’m a software engineer by trade and mission creep kind of comes with the territory.

First overnight was to pick up a car 150 miles away or so.  Second time was San Jose to Salt Lake City.  Third, I rode from Santa Cruz, California to Boston, Mass.  Really, I’m just too lazy to figure out how to

write out Massachusetts.

Ping Yao

Fourth, I took a few weeks and rode a few hundred miles in China.  It just got a little too

hairy for me and I cut that one short.  Plus those thousands of miles through the desert in China and Kazakhstan didn’t excite me.  I’m trying again this year, just a little wiser.

Hopefully.  All this with a full load and solo.  The interesting thing for me going to China is that I frequently go to bed at something approaching sunrise.  When I go to China I’m perfectly in sync.  Maybe I’m living a few time zones away from where I should be.

It’s getting kind of fun to pick up things out

of my touring box that I’ve bought along the way as I’ve packed up

my gear.  Socks bought in Nevada.  A lupe bought in Beijing.  That kind of thing.  Oh, the memories…

This time?  I’ve got my eyes on the Big Kahuna.  Again.  Friday I’ll be in Beijing, heading north through Inner Mongolia to the Russian border.  Then on to Irkutsk, Yekaturinburg, Moscow, and St. Petersburg.  Followed by a good dose of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, (or maybe Belarus?) Poland, Czech Republic, and Germany.  Not sure if I’m going to hit the Atlantic in the Netherlands or France.  Sometimes I like to surprise even myself.  I used a web program called Marengo GPS Route to create a route of my own.  Estimated distance, about 7,500 miles.  Or 12,000km  for those of you who don’t speak American.  That’s what I like about the metric system.  Makes it sound more impressive.  The trip might go over 8,000 miles for all I know.  Especially if I’m feeling spry at the end of this and want to ride down to Morocco.  I was kind of thinking doing this sort of thing in Africa, even having done Eurasia and North America, might be the definition of insanity.  But I guess other people do it.  There’s also Australia, which is crying out to be circumnavigated, and South America, which I would genuinely look forward to.  Europe itself needs at least a summer to pick through.  Crossing the country in 2009 I met a couple in South Dakota that were heading for Tierra Del Fuego.  I guess they made it, too.  I’ll try my best to update this blog, but I’m going to be in Siberia, you know.  Plus it can be a bit of a battle to find the energy.  This is really an exhausting way to travel.  As the French well know, to travel is to work.

I’m on a new set of wheels, now.  My Novara Safari was getting a  little sketchy so I left it in China in 2010.  Gunnar Bikes, a part of  Waterford Bikes has a nice frame, designed for the Great Divide Route called the Rock Tour.  I bought one from American Cyclery in San Francisco and rode it 60 miles home.  So far, I like it.  I think it’d make a good full rigid or hardtail trail bike as well.  The only thing I didn’t like is that my Pletscher Twin Legger kickstand didn’t fit, so I had a local builder braze a bracket on for me, then blacked it out

Just barely fits. Bummed I had to let the air out of the tires.

with some Chassis Black, a spray paint used for restoring car frames.  A useful though expensive addition were S&S Couplers.  A little searching around local discount stores netted a suitcase big enough to fit my mountain bike wheels.  Altogether, my two bags are just a bit under the 50 pounds (20 something kg) each limit.  One bicycle and another one for gear.  With my clothes in one pannier as carry on.  Clever, eh?

Why Freedom Tour? Well, it sounds like a ’70s rock band tour.  Plus I sign divorce papers Wednesday afternoon.  We were just a little too different.  Reading this, I reckon some of you might empathize with the petitioner.

Just a day and a half or so to my flight.  Bags are packed.  This server, which has been in my house for the past ten years, has been moved off into a big room of them somewhere in Fremont from Host Virtual.  I gave up on my DirecTiVO a few months ago and my Roku streaming video player has been quieted.  Netflix and Hulu canceled.  My aquariums, which actually netted a few admirable specimens for credit at Dolphin Pet Village, are empty.  Call me self confident.  I don’t expect to be back for a while.  If it wasn’t for the dishwasher, all I would be able to hear is the ringing in my ears.  Some of you are probably getting tired of all of this name dropping.  I’m actually hoping to accomplish, at some point, check in my hand placement.  So I can do this on someone else’s nickel.  Sure.  Go ahead.  Call me a sellout.  BTW, it’s a Kenmore dishwasher.  Maybe if it wasn’t for the Seven Up and Seagrams 7 I wouldn’t be getting this jocular.  Google Adwords, are you listening?

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