Sunday, June 28, 2009

2009 Eagle HiWheel Mayors' Ride Terminated

As I posted to my Twitter and Facebook communities, my Eagle HiWheel ride is over, done and complete. In sum, I ran out of

* money
* weather (I lost 18 days to electric storms plus the $800 cost of doing so)
* routing (the interstates that flattened out the climbing, gave me a WIFII signal and afforded usually accessible lodging were far busier beyond Nevada and would have added many hundreds of miles to my next destination - Denver)
* support (the ride Sherpa(s) I needed to get through remote and mountainous northeastern Utah on the way to the Rockies and Denver never showed up)
* proper nourishment (without Sherpas to carry the higher grade of nutrition my bigger efforts were going to require, I knew I could not find what I would need in the smaller stores between SLC and Denver - the three days at the SLC truck stop that ran my batteries to a very weak low, showed me this)
* spokes (I had four broken spokes)

All, however, is not lost. As a trial balloon for next year, I was able to build a huge plethora of contacts as well as better define my needs. I now see and can justify every budget line item I am calling for. What some had dismissed as wild eyed luxuries, I now see as the difference between failure and success on my next run. As well, I am now able to see what part of my ride will keep the media interested and how much energy will need to be assigned to the Busycle and also to my book to help the 2010 Mayors' Ride dominate a lot of next summer’s news.

There are so many of you to thank that all can say is you know who you are and without you, this journey could not have happened. As well, I hope my ride showed all those who tuned in, how much love fills this nation. WOW - THX 4 all of U!!

Special THX to Penny Farthing Winery and all the love that holds that operation together for making most of this ride possible. If you want to honor the important part they played and keep their powerful energy interested for next year, please buy a commemorative t-shirt or a bottle or a case of their wine HERE!!

Friday, June 19, 2009

100 (gritty) Miles for Andrew Heckman to Salt Lake City

Photos from Wells, NV to Wendover, UT to SLC - iPhone photos

The ride I did yesterday ranks as one of the most difficult I have ever done. And I even had to cheat - I had to call on God to get me through the head winds and some of the other gotchas that kept coming at me. But I am just on the outskirts of Salt Lake City after having been stuck in Elko, NV for ten days.

Nor do I regret not pushing the weather envelope. Not only was I able to see why conditions had to be right for me to make this run, but as I pushed today to honor all those scouts who have powered through countless obstacles on their rides for us, I thought about Andrew Heckman. About six years ago, while doing a Mayors' Ride relay for us, he got caught in a storm. Andrew, who almost died, is paralyzed now.

So the 95 pounds (with food and water) that it took me 13 hours to pedal across the Salt Flats and the Great Salt Lake basin on a 50-inch fixed gear bike are all dedicated to Andrew Heckman. In his excitement to add what he could to make our Greenway real, his life will never be the same. So that Andrew's efforts will not be lost and so that I can keep the NBG flame burning, I chose to wait until the skies were clear.............

In fact Andrew would have been the first to suggest that I sit tight like I did......

Since I am stuck in my hotel room in the middle of yet another thunderstorm which is also forecast for tomorrow, I will better qualify yesterday's ride. My breath was labored from start to finish; as though I was climbing a mountain pass the whole day. The effort sucked almost every last ounce of my gut. Literally. I pushed the pedals so hard to go a mere 6-10 mph, and I cannot coast or I will get launched from the saddle, that once I pedaled the 45 miles across the Bonneville Salt Flats and reached my first shade, an overpass, my urine was blood-colored once again. It took me until the day was over and I could eat real food and cool my body down with cold drink for my pee to return to yellow. Guess drinking well over a gallon of warm Gatorade was just not enough...........

I will say, however, that without rain, I did feel reasonably safe on I-80 even though cars and trucks roared past me at an average speed of probably 90 miles an hour. I especially appreciated the mile markers. They told me when to drink and eat, and they helped me chart my progress (instead of one every 40 or 50 seconds in a car, I saw a new one every 6 to 11 minutes!). And yet there again, it. would have been suicide to be on this part of I-80 in less than perfect conditions. By waiting for them in Elko, I got a view of the Great Sslt Lake Basin that few besides Brigham Young and his early settlers have ever seen. Out there one could only wonder what lay beyond the far away distant mountains that ringed the flat lifeless lands that seemed to know no end. For me, as I am sure was the case with the early settlers, it was hard not to wonder if it was easier in lands that seemed so far away.

At times I did find a way to immerse myself in the present by trying to study the Salt Flat art few people ever see. Once beyond the 40 miles of salt flats, a shoulder traveler such as myself, of which there might be a few a year to make such a trek, can be entertained by the small words and initials people have used rocks, bottles and pieces of retreaded tire to create. There must have been a few hundred peace signs, people's names and other slogans out there. One even had a US flag on it and was fashioned to look like an Iwo Jima war memorial. While that is what I took pictures of,  countless others were buried under the water that covered them. Did I say it's been raining out here?

While it took me 45 miles to get my first shade, I was rewarded with a chance to rest my legs when at mile 56, a small downhill showed up!! As has been par for the course out here on I-80 my final destination was marked by the five miles of speed divots that were cut into the full width of the shoulder that preceded it. But I am here and dry and trying very hard to find things I can eat in what is one of the biggest truck stops in the western US.....

THX for all of U!!

btw: Out on the Flats, I was also getting a great cell phone signal. Also excited about all these new iPhone updates. The Recorder is going to make my life out here a lot simpler. Ditto for cut and paste and the new search feature. WOW!!

btw2: This is by far the wettest June anyone I have talked to has ever seen out here in Utah and Nevada....

Monday, June 15, 2009

Why Elko's Gold Mines #1 in US, #2 in World - Podcast

While I sat tight in Elko, NV, waiting for better weather for my safety and for the welfare of this rare bike, I had the privilege of learning a lot about Elko from one of its natives, an amazing man named Greg Parker. Long gone are the days of using one's naked eye to mine for such precious metal, what comes out of the ground now are microscopic particles. So as such here is Greg on

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Why I am grounded in Elko, Nevada

For the very few of you (I know of at least one, while most everyone I talk to fully understands my dilemma) who think I am a pansy for not powering on, I offer this insight. I was 60 miles away from Utah when I chose to retreat back here to Elko, 120 miles from the border because of the weather. Which I will talk about now.

I have no problem riding in wet weather. In fact, as a car free cyclist, I ride year round and never let rain stop me from getting somewhere. Granted, I try not to go out in storms, I just wait until the heavy stuff lightens up and then I go out. What's more is that if you ride a bike and are afraid of rain you will ride far less than those with slightly thicker skins. Which brings me to one of the points of this discussion.

This is not regular precip I am facing. This is thunder and lightning charged rain fall I am up against. (see why it is especially unsafe to ride a Hiwheel in the desert when there is lightning) with no where to run for cover.and with the two towns that break this up spread 60 and 120 miles apart. Did I say there is nothing in between?

As well, everything has to be right for me to make the 120 miles to Salt Lake City. Since I will be on I-80 through the Bonneville Salt Flats and then past the Great Salt Lake itself, I can't be out there with 75 mph traffic in rain or other stormy conditions. Motorists need to have a good line of sight for me out there. This not to mention the fact that side wind gusts of 30 and 40 mph are notorious out there. And getting blown into the "slow" lane with not enough time for cars or trucks to react is a real game-ender.

Nor would Hwy 50 have been a whole lot better. They've got the same weather mess down there. So instead of Elko, I would be stuck in Ely. And once the front does pass, I'd be up against 240 miles of mostly wilderness for which I am not prepared for to get to Salt Lake City, instead of the I-80 I face now...........

And even then, I would be getting into a Salt Lake City and all the cities beyond and all the way into and through the Rockies into Boulder and Denver that are also being punished by these thunderstorms. And in so doing, am I not making cycling look like a hardship instead of the joy that we as cyclists know it to be?

And so, in sum, that is why I have chosen to regroup in Elko where there are services that can give this effort the longer term staying power it needs. It also gives me a chance to work with Paul Guttenberg, over in Davis, CA, in fleshing out the bicycle sculpture auction he has initiated..

THX for all of U, especially those of you who have needed this explanation from me!! Onward soon!!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Lightning Kills - Myths about it & Why I am grouunded

lightning picture

1. MYTH: Lightning Never Strikes The Same Place Twice
TRUTH: Lightning often strikes the same place repeatedly, especially if it’s a tall pointy isolated object. The Empire State Building used to be used as a lightning laboratory, since it is hit nearly 25 times a year. Places prone to lightning are places to avoid when thunderstorms are nearby!

2. MYTH: If It’s Not Raining, Or If Clouds Aren’t Overhead, I’m Safe From Lightning
TRUTH: Lightning often strikes more than three miles from the thunderstorm, far outside the rain or even thunderstorm cloud. ‘Bolts From The Blue’, though infrequent, can strike 10-15 Miles from the thunderstorm. Anvil lightning can strike the ground over 50 Miles from the thunderstorm, under extreme conditions. Lightning in clouds has traveled over 100 miles from the thunderstorm.

3. MYTH: Rubber Tires Protect You From Lightning In A Car By Insulating You From The Ground
TRUTH: Lightning laughs at two inches of rubber! Most cars are reasonably safe from lightning. But it’s the metal roof and metal sides that protect you, not the rubber tires. Thus convertibles, motorcycles, bicycles, open shelled outdoor recreational vehicles, and cars with plastic or fiberglass shells offer no lightning protection. ikewise, farm and construction vehicles with open cockpits offer no lightning protection. But closed cockpits with metal roof and sides are safer than going outside. And don’t even ask about sneakers! ☺

5. MYTH: If Outside In A Thunderstorm, Go Under A Tree To Stay Dry
TRUTH: Being underneath trees is the second leading activity for lightning casualties – enough said?!

7. MYTH: When Playing Sports And Thunderstorms Threaten, It’s Okay To Finish The Game Before Seeking Shelter
TRUTH: Sports is the activity with the fastest rising rate of lightning casualties. No game is worth death or life-long severe injury. All people associated with sports should have a lightning safety plan and stick to it strictly. Seek proper shelter immediately when lightning threatens. Adults are responsible for the safety of children!

8. MYTH: Structures With Metal, Or Metal On The Body (Jewelry, Watches, Glasses, Backpacks, Etc.), Attract Lightning
TRUTH: Height, pointy shape, and isolation are the dominant factors controlling where a lightning bolt will strike (Read HiWheel). The presence of metal makes virtually no difference on where lightning strikes. Mountains are made of stone, but receive many strikes each year. When lightning threatens, take proper protective action immediately. Don’t aste time shedding metal off your body, or seeking shelter under inadequate structures. But while metal doesn’t attract lightning, touching or being near long metal objects (fences, railings, bleachers, vehicles, etc.) is still unsafe when thunderstorms are nearby. If lightning does happen to hit it, the metal can conduct the
electricity a long distance (even over 100 yards) and still electrocute you.

9. MYTH: If Trapped Outside And Lightning Is About To Strike, Lie Flat On The Ground
TRUTH: This advice is decades out of date. Better advice is to use the ‘Lightning Crouch’: put your feet together, squat low, tuck your head, and cover your ears. Lightning induces electric currents along the top of the ground that can be deadly over 100 Feet away. While lying flat on the ground gets you as low as possible, which is good, it increases your chance of being hit by a ground current, which is bad. The best combination of being low and touching the ground as little as possible is the ‘Lightning Crouch’. But the ‘Lightning Crouch’ should be used only as a last resort. Much better would be to plan outdoor activities around the weather to avoid thunderstorm exposure and to have proper shelter available.

Where's Martin by Ron Bishop

Where's Martin?
Martin Krieg Bikes Across America Promoting a National Bicycle Greenway Network

Martin Krieg is riding his 1891 Eagle HiWheel bicycle across America, promoting a “National Bicycle Greenway Network” on the “Seventh Annual Mayors Ride” and collecting proclamations from mayors to build support. The trip started in San Francisco on May 3 and will arrive in Salt Lake City soon and Boston in August. There have been many bumps along the trail: his support vehicle and driver failed to materialize, sponsors cut funding, and transporting supplies is challenging. Martin, in true American spirit, with support from his friends and devotees, continues to ride. Hail, rain, and roads not designed for bicycle travel have not thwarted his efforts. But thunder and lightning filled skies have.

Martin will spend a few more days in Elko, Nevada determining how to cross the great, dry, unpopulated western desert. He has found local support in Elko, and will soon be back in the saddle and rolling westward along I-80. Research confirmed it is legal, though not pleasant, to ride the Utah part of I-80, as there are no adequate alternatives. The lack of services and bicycle friendly paths is exactly why Martin is riding. He wants to raise awareness of the lack of inclusive design for transportation throughout our nation.

Many cities have started to provide planning and funding to become more bicycle and pedestrian friendly. There are new trails sprouting that take you short distances, but there is no overarching plan for connectivity. Martin’s vision is to raise awareness and build consensus to create that connectivity. In the late 1800’s the League of American Wheelmen bicyclists, lobbied to have roads paved. They were successful in paving roads and the automobile came along and drove them off. One hundred and ten [110] years later cyclists are back and want to complete that dream of long ago to safely bicycle or walk across America from coast to coast, north to south on the "National Bicycle Greenway Network". Martin is out there on I-80 on a HiWheel bicycle to bring attention to our lost dream. Visit his web site at and join his efforts.

When you are out on the road, look for him, invite him to bend your ear, share some bread or provide lodging. Get radio stations to provide updates, put it on your CBs, tell your friends, and follow Martin on his quest. This can become a shovel ready project and collect stimulus money to actually build a greenway, not another freeway, across America. Give your representatives, radio talk shows, and friends a call to support the National Bicycle Greenway Network.

“Where’s Martin”, not Waldo, should build quite a buzz. Keep track of the progress and answer the question, “Where’s Martin”. Help him bring the dream to reality for a better, greener America.


Ron Bishop - Architect- ADPSR
Sierra Club NAC Ex.Com.
"Energy Efficiency, Green, Sustainable"
Bicycle & Traffic Skills Instructor - LCI
[510] 652-4667

Thursday, June 11, 2009

6/14 SLC Bound Eagle HiWheel Needs Gear Carriers (Sherpas)

At left is the parking lot in Elko where train tracks used to stand

Now that the weather is starting to climb into the low 60's, even though thunder and lightning are still in the forecast, I have a ride planned back into Wells, NV for tomorrow, Friday, so I can start riding to Boston once again. Between myself and the Utah border stands the Pequop Mtn Range. While they climb to 9,200 feet, I will summit them at 6,900.

And just as the California/Nevada state line is made up of casinos and other gambling operations, the Nevada/Utah border at Wendover, also is made up of gaming businesses. Of interest is the fact that it was from Wendover that the Enola Gay began its flight to drop the atomic bomb that decimated Hisroshima and pretty much ended World War II.

During my regroup here in Elko, while recycling and water conservation are foreign words and plastic bags are issued with reckless abandon, I have grown to really like this place. This is so especially as I learn more about it. I spent a good deal of time yesterday taking to Ross Andreson, the photographer from the Elko Daily, who came out to take pictures of me and the bike. A California transplant, Pacific Grove, no less, the city I used to ride to near Monterey when I was training for my 1986 TrasnCon, he told Lynette, Greg and I why there is an 'E' on the hills outside of town.

The 'E' was used for airmail drops as a way for pilots to be able to recognize the stops they needed to make along their way. I had always thought that the town fathers had initialized their mountain sides in an act of civic bravado. We laughed about the 'BM' for nearby Battle Mountain.

I also learned that since Nevada was a so called swing state during the last presidential election, Barack Obama made three visits to this city of 20,000 people during his presidential campaign. Also of note for Palo Altans, is the fact that Elko was the first city to move its railroad tracks from its downtown where a number of fatalities had occurred to less than a quarter of a mile away where there was open space which ended up being along the Humboldt River. And they did so with federal funding. Where the eight to twelve freight trains that came through once made life complicated for locals with crossing guards and the like, now sits a huge parking lot in what is now a revitalized and peaceful downtown. While not far away one can see the four new overpasses that carry cars over both the waterway and the railroad line.

With its at least 50 or more high speed trains roaring through its busy streets, why can not Palo Alto relocate its rail to its nearby baylands? Something worth studying in the face of all the other alternatives.....

Back to my ride, I still need a SHERPA(S)!! So that we don't have to involve fossil fuel in my ride, who wants to have the ride adventure of their life as we visit Mayors and other luminaries while carrying my gear and food (20 to 25 lbs) for me? An easy task on a regular bike, it would mean almost a 50% increase in speed for me from 7 to over 10 mph........

Also, if you are a Salt Lake City cyclist, who can come out to Lake Point in Tooele to help me get into your downtown? It would be truly awesome if there were a small brigade of such pedalers to help me carry gear and to navigate accordingly. Lou Mellini has outfitted me with directions, but I will have a lot on my plate as I try to document my arrival with pictures and the like. Here is my contact information.......

THX 4 all of U!!