Mountain Bike Shenanigans

Haute Savoie
July 7th, 2009

In France for a well-earned break, checking out some interesting areas near the Alps and exploring the area. Packing the Remedy for the trip might have been over kill for the 60km randonnee around the Rhone Valley on mostly riverside trails. That was a ride that could have been executed in a fraction of the time on something that didn’t have 6” travel and 2.3” knobblies.

Yet for that one day of riding with my great friend Jamie Carr on his local trails the bike was more than suitable. In fact any hardtail would have soon have been way out of it’s depth. There was only one near death over the bars and off the mountain experience as the front wheel washed out on an off camber singletrack section encroached by lush mountain grasses and spiky shrubs.

From the second of the two cols on the route, the brake burning run down to the valley bottom was interspersed with beautiful sections of flowing woodland singletrack with natural berms and drops as well as groomed switchback turns. This is what mountain biking is all about and I can’t get enough of it.

Mountain Biking Last Summer

So with another week to go, the Tour de France in full swing and my French improving I’m wondering what it’ll take to make my backyard trails look more like this one day soon.

Soft Touch
August 1st, 2008

Back in May this year Apple opened a new store on Boylston Street in Boston. It’s the company’s largest in the US, and second-largest in the world. It would of course have been rude not to go and take a look (there’s a page detailing the opening and lots of pictures here). It is a good looking store. So I went along and checked out some of the things on offer.

Now I’m quite interested in getting my hands on one of these new touch screen iPods. Then you think – maybe I should get an iPhone. The reason I ditched my personal mobile a few years ago was that I never used it, so it would have been pointless getting another one. I’ve been talking to iPhone users too, especially those who also have Blackberries too and the consensus is that there is no way that you’ll be able to text or email quicker on an iPhone. So if you do that a lot it’s not  good alternative.

So really all you need is an iPod touch. Basically an iPhone without the phone – all the same applications, although no camera, not that this is an omission that would make any difference. The iPod is lighter and thinner too. Thing is since Apple brought out the new iPhone the playing field has been thrown out of kilter. According to MacRumours you’d have to be off your rocker to buy an iPod touch right now because a replacement is imminent.

In fact the real reason you’d be nuts to buy one is because the iPod Touch 8Gb is $300 and the iPhone 8Gb is $200. So for $100 less you get an iPod Touch. And a mobile phone. And a camera. In one device. I felt like saying something, but clearly Apple know best, right? Despite the exchange rate savings, there’s no point buying one until some better kit come out. I think I’ll be waiting until they bring out a 64Gb version…

I wandered off and headed down to the great little Back Bay Bicycles store for some retail therapy instead. They have a neat little calculator on their website where you can see how much riding could save you in comparison to driving too.

July 30th, 2008

So I’m at a technology conference in Boston right now. It’ one of those places where you get bombarded with content – lots of people sharing what they are using to do certain things. One of the more interesting things I’ve discovered is Frappr. It’s the product of three UC Berkeley students and it’s rather neat. Here’s a map I’ve created:

The biggest issue with it in terms of integration is that it comes with some very complex imbed code. So the plan with the map above was to be able to add it to one of the Singletrackworld forums. Any way I’ve put a post up here to try and see if this gets any uptake.

Clustrmaps was also discussed in one session. Here’s a map for (see below) it’s really something that needs to be added to the sidebar or footer and it’s an aggregation tool so it will collate content over time. What would be really need was if it was possible to integrate it into Google Analytics to use visitor data to create a retrospective summary at install stage.

Locations of visitors to this page

California Photos
July 28th, 2008

I’ve uploaded some photos from California to Flickr. It was worth going to Stanford just to see all of the Rodin sculptures and Berkeley was a great campus to visit. I want to go back!

Three Flags

There’s some more photos on Flickr.

Bay Area Baby
July 24th, 2008

In northern California on business and it’s my first trip to the Golden State. Warmth, sunlight, people with suntans – pretty much everything that the British summer has failed to produce. From a base on Alameda Island, meetings have taken me to downtown San Francisco, the wealthy and art rich campus of Stanford and up to the home of the Golden Bears, UC Berkeley. Fantastic insight into some of the world’s leading universities and life in and off campus. Tomorrow I’ll be in Boston… Still at least’s there’s still Tour de France coverage, although no escape from Liggett and Sherwen.

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