Thursday, March 26, 2009

Anatomy of a Media Firestorm 3-25-09

Yesterday (I am writing this on 3/26) was more about ride administration than rolling the miles on the Eagle. And yet I did collect some sobering insight about the amazing machine I am riding. So please bear with me, as before I got to my bike and riding it, I had other fires to stoke. With my '86 ride as a blueprint, I am assigning attention to those parts of my ride that I feel will bear the most fruit to make it the media sensation I know it can become.

I found Ines Brunn and Rebecca Wallace in my inbox when the day began. Rebecca was trying to get a feature together about the Ines Brunn SHOW (link) in time for her Arts and Entertainment part of this Friday's (tomorrow!) Palo Alto Weekly. A very popular and widely read newspaper, it has a very big on line and print presence up and down the San Francisco peninsula here. And since what they write in any of their sections often finds its way into  papers throughout the Bay Area, I knew that what she was trying to do was huge.

So I contracted Ines, who drives for bicycles very hard over there in China. She was still up and I got her and Rebecca in dialogue. No easy feat when you consider that Ines is 13 hours ahead of us. And within the context of their exchange, some of which I was cc'd, I acquired a fairly complete bio for Ines that she doesn't much circulate. I rewrote it for our show. See it HERE

The postscript to that effort was that Rebecca got all the camera ready (and not lower resoluton web ready) photos she needed and even has an on line interview scheduled for the two of them today!!

I then went about the work of getting the bio I rewrote for Ines out to my mail lists and on to Facebook and Twitter before I then tried to adjust my brakes which have gotten loose with all the downhills I've been doing. What Jeff and I had thought would be a simple fix with a washer ended up being a non fix because I ran out of time. Casey Scheid and Whitney Dafoe from the Palo Alto Weekly arrived before I could attempt a work around to the fact that I could not just insert a washer because there would be no way for me to hold a needed cotter pin in place.....

Nor was this like any of the hundreds of interviews I have ever done. I was on film the whole time! That's right, as Casey asked me questions, he also had a small video capturing device trained on me as I answered him. This as Whitney was busy taking photo after photo of me and all that which I am surrounded by out here in the garage. In and amongst all the bikes and tools and nuts and bolts, computers, hard drives and scanners, etc, his viewers will have a lot to look at! 

Of note is the fact that Whitney got here on an old beater Peugeot, the kind of bike I told Casey it makes me happy me to see people on. When Casey asked me who inspired me, I told him it was not racers but the guy who uses his bike for transportation, many of whom are unsung heroes who travel sometimes great distances to heal the planet, and their own bodes, minds and spirits

Next we went out to the street where there was more video and tons more pictures taken as I showed them what it was like to mount, ride and dismount the amazing Eagle! When we were all done, it was time for me to finally get some riding in!! And some dancing.

In Rewood City, ten miles away, starting at 7 PM, there is a weekly blues jam that I try to get to so I can squeeze in some jump swing to live music. The ten miles there were flat but I rode them hard. In doing so, I finally understood what Jacques Graber meant when he said that his 56" G&J Ordinary HiWheel was faster than the Eagle that he handed over to me for my ride. As hard as I pushed in getting to the dance club, I didn't arrive any sooner than when I was on my regular HiWheel. On the one hand, I felt a small measure of disappointment, while on the other I knew the amount of flat riding like what I had just ridden was not commonplace in a bike trek across America. On a cross country cycle journey there is a ton of up and down pedaling to be done. And I want to ride that stuff and not walk it.....

Home at 10:30, there was a lot of email to address and just before I was getting ready to do the yoga that keeps me from being an invalid from riding these HiWheel bikes, I got a email from Jay Thorwaldson, the editor of the Palo Alto Weekly. He knew I stayed up late and got up early. He asked me in his email if I could flesh out the interview I had done with Casey with about a dozen questions he had. I climbed into my sleeping bag at 2:30 AM instead of 12:30 or 1..........

And yet the long day that yesterday was pales in comparison to what some of the dog days of my ride ahead are going to be like. I take inspiration from some of the scouts that went before me in our six previous Mayors' Rides. From Andrew Heckman, who was paralyzed when he was hit by a car while doing a relay leg for us to Andrew Morton who rode the entire west coast in honor of Heckman to all to all the rain that Gil Gilmore and Dave Rabinowitiz suffered through to the courage of Don Loomis, to Skot Paschal, who lived for our annual Mayors' Ride and recently died of cancer to Scott Campbell and Pam Slocum who were such a perfect coast to coast NBG ambassador team to Faye Saunders who gives ad gives to the NBG effort to  Mayor Bob from Arcata who put his city of Arcata on hold to ride for us, the list goes on and on of all the people upon whose shoulders I stand.

What a day! I look forward to the ride I will soon be doing on the Eagle today!!!

THX 4 all of U!!  

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