27 September 2009

Maybe making amends

I almost never take my camera on bike rides, so I have very few pictures and almost no video footage of my friends and I riding the trails around Flagstaff. A scant few pictures from back-in-the-day have survived.

And there's this old, crappy edit I shot with my Aiptek (at 8 fps) several years ago with my buddy Dave when we went on a cyclocross ride on Mount Elden. It's one of the few videos I have to show for nearly 20 years of riding around here.

But that's really about it. Sad, huh.

I've taken my camera to Sedona on more than one occasion over the years, and some of the stills have come out okay, I guess.

But the only video I have to show for it is this horrible thing. What a mistake, to think my chest-mounted ski-camera apparatus would work while riding. Alas, at least the music is good.

Lately, just about once per weekend, I've been able to get out in the woods with my kid to ride the trailer-bike together. Technically, I didn't bring the camera on these rides either, but I'm grateful to my wife, who hikes along behind us with the dog while we ride out-and-back a few miles, for shooting a few images now and then.

Today we rode about a mile in and out of Pumphouse Wash out behind the Kachina Village area.

However, as of this week, I'm kinda excited to maybe make amends for my lack of good images of our local trails. I've got a plan and a deadline to write a piece for publication on Trailnation.com about riding the trails around here. And I'm kinda especially stoked about it because my editor is sending me one of those fancy helmet-cams so I can add a little multimedia-appeal to the piece. Could be fun. We'll see how it goes.

18 September 2009

Oh, The Places You'll Go! Trailnation.com 2

At the end of a long week, and an even longer day today, it was nice to get online tonight and find my second article for Trailnation.com has been posted. Even better, they chose to run some of my (lame) photos along with the article. This article, like the last one, is mostly about riding bikes, but I think it's far less navel-gazey. This one is all about practical advice for riding your bike off the beaten track, where bikes don't always get ridden. Curious? Please, click-thru!

By all appearances, Trailnation continues to be targeted at the motorized, quad-crowd, making my articles on mountain bike riding and bicycle commuting feel a bit out of place. But, as long as they'll have me as a writer, I'm committed to continuing to work to see if we can change that some... I've got a few good ideas, I think.

05 September 2009

A Confluence of Dogmas: El Nino, Part Two

I'm probably the only person in the world with daily, up-to-the-minute, ongoing Google News search filters for both Calvinism, and Rick Renzi.

I have Google scour the news for mentions of Calvinism [Wikipedia] because I enjoy reading almost anything either for or against this particularly contentious theological position. I think it's fundamentally one of the most important religious debates of all time. But that's just my opinion.

I likewise have Google comb through the news for mentions of Rick Renzi [Wikipedia] because I simply never liked having a resident of the state of Virginia as my Representative in Congress. Our differing political persuasions notwithstanding, I just always thought it was wrong, in a Constitutional-sense, that he could be allowed to do that, chiefly because he had lots of money, enough anyway to buy a house in the district, a house in which he never really lived. When he got into other trouble a while back, and chose to not run for reelection, I must admit to being pleased. He may be gone from Congress and Arizona Congressional District 1 now, but in my heart he's not forgotten. And, as he awaits trial on a number of serious charges, I read each update with great interest. I try not to gloat. But it's hard not to feel a little bit vindicated even though what he's accused of has nothing to do with his lack of concern for the democratic principles established by our Constitution.

But, these days, in the midst of this strange confluence of dogmas, there's my new favorite Gooogle News filter. I created it just a couple of weeks ago and it looks for news about El Niño every day. Not a day has gone by recently where Google hasn't aggregated a host of fascinating El Niño [Wikipedia] headlines, which seem to uniformly point to an ever-strengthening El Niño situation building in the eastern Pacific. If you live in Arizona, like I do, and you've lived through an El Niño winter or two in the past, as I have, this news makes you very optimistic about the prospect of big, deep snow on the mountain this winter. For both Argentine soybean farmers, and skiers in North America's southwestern region, El Niño winters are often a real boon, as they usually tend to be abundant producers of rain and snow.

Of course, if you're an Australian wheat farmer, or a Chilean sea lion pup, El Niño's nothing but bad news all around... starvation, reduced crop yields, and even death.

And that probably really sucks.
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. -- Ed Abbey