March 2013

Month: March 2013

Illustrated bike tour pack list

Loved this… from Amelia Greenhall with a hat tip to Elly Blue. I would normally retweet this, but it was too cool not to give the sketches extended props. I also really liked the efficiency and lack of “extras” that I so often drag around with me on tour.

illustrated pack list

 

Since my next tour is a working tour, I’d need to add a few more electronics to this list… hopefully just the iPad though! I’ve long advocated being ok with a heavier or bulkier item if it brings that much more functionality (i.e. my ridiculously big foot pump or my enormous stove) but I might reconsider for this trip…

Wanna hear something funny?

podcastrobotMy blog as a robotic podcast… you can subscribe to the feed at:

http://podcastomatic.com/podcast/an-uncommonly-silly-blog/feed.rss

I discovered Podcastomatic months ago and tried it on my blog just as a proof of concept… it’s kind of hysterical hearing the overly automaton voice read blog posts. All you need to do is give it a feed and it spits out a podcast of each post. I suppose this could be handy for listening to blogs you normally read while on long road trips… but the voice needs some help.

Still, it’s free and kinda cool. Check it out!

 

Hacking my vintage touring bike

Longtime readers* of the blog know I own a “west coast” bike called the Goblin, purchased ostensibly so I could avoid paying outrageous flying fees to various airlines, and take up space in my brother’s NE Portland garage.

Behold, the Green Goblin!
Behold, the Green Goblin!

The Goblin is a bit of a project… to call it vintage may not be totally accurate, but it’s pretty old. It got a good makeover from the shop I bought it from (used) and I also bought a new rear wheel in Brookings, Oregon since said bike shop missed the fact every spoke was chewed up. These wheels are 26 inches, which is pretty standard for a mountain bike, an old touring bike like the Goblin, but not modern road or touring bikes.

Dilemma: I would like to get a dynohub wheel on the Goblin to keep my electronic gear in the juice for this summer’s ride.

Dilemma 2: I am very, very cheap.

Wait… maybe that’s an overstatement. I’m frugal when it comes to the Goblin. While I’d love to  drop $300 on a new wheel with a dynohub, that’s more than it would cost to fly my good bike back and forth. The whole point of the Goblin was to save money, but have a good bike out west I can tour on.

Solution: I have a wheel with a dynohub… but it’s a 700c wheel… on my bike out here. 700c wheels are slightly bigger than 26″ wheels:

26v700c
700c (left), 26″(right)

The problem with just slapping a 700c on a 26″ frame is the brakes don’t match up. Like at all. And I like front brakes. I really do. They’re super handy descending some of the crazy ass hills between Portland and San Francisco, so for my cheaper side to win, I need to fix the brake problem.

Et voila: the brake converter:

brake adapter

A similar looking little bracket is the ticket. It bolts to the frame and allows one to attach the standard brakes higher, hitting the rim on a 700c wheel. At $41 with shipping, this isn’t cheap, but way cheaper than a new wheel. PS, these were apparently easy to find a few years ago. Mavic made them and so did Xtracycle. Now, the only place in the known universe that seems to carry them is (maybe) a shop in Arizona I found. I’m sure they’re around, but given the ease I can generally procure things online, I was a bit surprised at how oddly… gone… these were.

I’ll bring my 700c dynohub wheel and the front fender with me. Since it’s just a wheel, the airline won’t get me for the bike fee as long as I can get it into a bag properly. I’ll also bring the front fender since a 26″ fender won’t fit a 700c wheel. Swap the wheels, refit the brakes… boom.

Weird part: the bike will ride off kilter – a 26″ wheel on the back and a 700c on the front. I’ll try this out a bit before I leave to make sure it’s not ridiculous, but I don’t expect it to be a problem. I’m sure it’s “geometrically problematic” or something else that would bother an ounce-phobic roadie, but I’m hauling 40 lbs of gear… methinks that’s more strain than this can cause. Also, better to be higher in the front for all sorts of obvious reasons.

Plus… brakes!

*I’ll have you know this blog goes all the way back to 2012.

Advice to me, circa 1996

Kimberly and I hit the podcast for another listener question again… this time tackling advice we’d offer ourselves at age 25. I thought this was a little reminiscent of my “memo to past self” posts I put up from time to time… check it out!

microphone

 

We’ve received some really nice feedback on these shows. More to come, and I think a pretty big sized announcement for the one in April if I’m not mistaken…

Unsticking being stuck

cabin picsI wish I had all the answers, I really do.

Tonight, I finally listed my cabin for rental on AirBnB (hey, want to rent a super cool luxurious cabin in WV?) after about 9 months of spinning my wheels trying to build a website that I found deeply unsatisfying to build. I was stuck. I was procrastinating. I missed opportunities (probably).

What got me unstuck? Seeing how easy it could be to act. Sometimes an external impetus can be the thing that shines a light on your stuck ways… and then in a big flurry of activity, BAM! You create what you could have done months ago.

Why is that? Not sure… see line 1.

Time your posts

Greetings from snowy, chilly Montreal… I’m up here working on a variety of things, but I understand there will be poutine for lunch. Poutine is Canada’s gift to the world, and Canada says, “you’re welcome.”

I ran across this really interesting infographic from kissmetrics that I want to share… with all of the analytics data we get from various sources (I use Google Analytics for websites, Libsyn’s data for podcasts, plus the open and click info from MailChimp and Constant Contact… it’s an ocean of data!) but sometimes the data needs interpretation that’s over our heads. Here’s where kissmetrics weighed in based on their data:

  • The highest percentage of users read blogs in the morning
  • A higher percentage of men read blogs in the evening and at night. 
  • The average blog gets the most traffic on Monday. 
  • The average blog gets the most traffic around 11am Eastern Time. 
  • The average blog gets the most comments on Saturday.
  • The average blog gets the most inbound links on Monday and Thursday.
  • The average blog gets the most inbound links at 7am Eastern Time.

I know my data confirms early posts tend to do better than later posts, so when given the choice, I prefer to post about 7am (think about that when scheduling a post in advance!). I also tend to like posting podcasts on Sunday night – based on data I have, there’s more engagement between then and Monday morning than other days.

What do you think about this? Does your blog get more attention at certain times of day over others?

science of timing from kissmetrics
The science of timing – thank you kissmetrics!