Archive | April, 2012

Testing the Waters

30 Apr

This past weekend was our first training outing. As a side benefit we cycled to the West coast of Vancouver Island, making our journey from all the way West to all the way East that much more complete. Actually as of the writing of this entry we are still cycling. The itinerary:

Day 1: Maria’s to Tsawwassen Ferry (9km), Swartz Bay to Victoria (33km), Victoria to French Beach (65km) — 107km
Day 2: French Beach to Sombrio Beach and back — ~80km
Day 3: Day 1 in the opposite direction — 107km

Though we still need to get a few more things and get more fit, we are very satisfied with our trial ride. We go at a compatible pace and are travelling well together. The gear we already have is holding up well to the elements. Some things we accomplished on the trip:

100+km days — check
camp in the rain — check
ride in the rain — check
steep gravel roads — check
yoga on the beach — check
not killing each other (yet!) — check

Stay tuned for photos, videos, and further commentary.

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Well Spoke-n: What Are We Talking About?

26 Apr

As we talk about our upcoming journey, we get a lot of questions. How many km is that? What’s your route? How long will it take? Are you taking a tent? Are you out of your mind?

Today I was asked a much more interesting question: How do you get people to start talking to you about sustainability?

This is a most excellent question. If we learn to do this, then we will have, in some measure, succeeded.

On our journey we are going to meet a lot of people. They might be fellow cyclists or fellow campers. They might be campground hosts or couchsurfing hosts. They might be vendors at roadside food stands or cafe staff and owners. They might be bike shop staff. They might be community residents curious about our bikes loaded with a large amount of luggage.

Notably, these people are likely to be ‘regular people’, not necessarily having any particular inclination to think about complex sustainability concepts.

To approach each person we will let conversation happen organically, and if people want to comment on-the-record, we will film it. Perhaps they will ask us about our project, and we will be happy to elaborate. Or perhaps we will start talking about tangible things that the person deals with on a daily basis and bring it to the spotlight in terms of moving towards sustainability.

For instance, we would come across a food stand beside the road. The vendor would be selling local fruits. We would ask him how he got his fruit to be so tasty. He’d tell us how he came up with a recipe for a natural fertilizer that does magic in his orchard. He started doing this because it was good business — to care for his soil and his crops — but his actions made his farming more sustainable. By avoiding synthetic compounds used in generic fertilizers, he also keeps his family, farm animals, and the surrounding ecosystem healthy.

And here is what our conversations will NOT look like:

Do you have a burning question for us? Post a comment!

Projecting Change

21 Apr

As we prepare for our journey, we are enjoying the plethora of amazing environmental initiatives taking place in Vancouver, our departure city.

This week we attended the Projecting Change Film Festival. Its focus is documentary films about environmental and social issues. Some inspiring movies we saw were “World Peace and Other 4th Grade Achievements“, “In Organic We Trust” and “Urbanized” and we recommend them all.

We also attended a workshop about documentary filmmaking, held for the first time at Projecting Change. We experienced information overload. (In a good way.) There were four speakers talking about crowd-funding, marketing, storytelling, and interactive media. If you’re jealous and want some information overload for yourself, check out Waterlife, an interactive media piece about water.

Anya Arrives in Vancouver

14 Apr

After an excitement-packed four-day train ride from Toronto to Vancouver, Anya has arrived. The team is assembled. Let the preparations begin!

Maria Buys a Bike

5 Apr

A video is worth 1000 words x 30 frames per second x 42 seconds = 1260000 words. I think I just wrote War and Peace?

After long and arduous consideration I settled on a Brodie Elan. Essentially, I spent a long time reading about optimal frame geometry and other technical blog posts, but made my decision based on actually sitting on the bike and testing the fit for myself. I added a Brooks saddle, clip-in pedals, and a front and rear rack.

The clip-in pedals are something else. Rob from Bikes on the Drive warned me to try clipping in/out in the living room or at least on a quiet suburban street. But I couldn’t wait of course. The same day I got my bike I tried the clips and  ended up falling over twice. (I am undamaged with the exception of some bruises.)

As further training I did a relaxed cycle tour to the Olympic Peninsula over the long weekend. Besides trying the bike I also tested out my Icebreaker merino wool bike clothes. I’d never really owned a pair of cycle pants with built-in cushioning for the, ahem, derrière. When I first put them on, it felt weird and I wasn’t totally sold on it. But after four days on a brand-new leather saddle I felt no real derrière discomfort. Pretty impressive.

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