Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Tuesday Musette

A brief word about links...

You'll notice there isn't a long list of links in the sidebar here at CycleDog. Those I've included have been notable in some way, whether it's the quality of the writing, the timeliness of the information, or wealth of knowledge to be gained. These are not the only blog posts I read. Far from it, in fact.

I use Bloglines to aggregate posts from a wide variety of cyclists, journalists, and businesses. The big advantage for me is that I don't have to fiddle with the code on the CycleDog template, and I can add or remove sources very easily. Bloglines has an “Add via Bloglines” button that goes on the toolbar, making the addition of new blogs a simple affair. Trust me, I like simple. There's less for me to screw up! One other benefit of Bloglines is that it's easy to see if there's any new content without having to click on a bunch of links.

So if you don't see your blog listed on the CycleDog sidebar, please go look in Bloglines.

Training opportunity...

My supervisor came by earlier today to tell me that I may be going to Florida for training on some new test equipment. Most likely this will happen in a few months. I haven't been to Florida since I was 10, so I'm kinda looking forward to it. But the training may be for as much as 2 weeks, and since I'm a homebody at heart, I'm not too keen on that. More as this develops.

Tulsa Tough Do-Betters...

Mike Schooling is compiling a list of do-betters for next year's Tulsa Tough. I've developed a short list of items, but I'm sure there are many more. In fact, if anyone has something they'd like to see done better on a big charity ride or a tour, feel free to add to my list in the comments.

Teach how to hand off water bottles. Volunteers at the the Sunday rest stop opened water bottles and removed the caps. Many bottles were dropped during the hand-offs, and we were lucky that no one fell by running over one. Also, if at all possible, rest stops should be located on uphills or the tops of hills where riders will be going slowly.

Enlist the cooperation of law enforcement. Rumors of mass ticketing followed the event. Did this actually happen? Regardless, riders need to be briefed that all traffic laws are to be followed. Additionally, by asking for law enforcement assistance at some tricky turns or crossings, we reduce the likelihood of over-zealous enforcement of the law by some of our less informed law enforcement professionals, or even the Tulsa County Sheriffs Office.

Test radio and cellular communications from rest stops prior to event. Amateur radio contact was difficult from Ochelata, and cellular telephone was spotty, depending on the service provider.

Develop a webpage to aggregate links that mention Tulsa Tough. I'm using a search function on Bloglines that looks for “Tulsa Tough” in any blog posts. This may be of limited use for participants, but it would centralize the information for media and any other interested parties. Would live blogging offer any PR benefits?

List emergency numbers for each rest stop by responding agency/police/fire/ambulance. Have GPS coordinates for rest stops. Air ambulance services use GPS to locate landing zones. In Ochelata, for instance, emergency response depends on local volunteer firemen and paramedics. We could shorten response time by alerting them in advance of the ride dates and approximate times, as well as having local contact numbers.

Could a course map developed from GPS data provide an elevation profile? One of the bloggers, a Colorado cyclist formerly from Oklahoma, noted with some astonishment that the Tulsa Tough routes included 4000 feet of climbing. Including statistics developed from GPS route information may bring in more cyclists, and in some cases, will discourage those who aren't fit enough. It may be possible to include this information via Google maps, but I'm not proficient in their use.

And finally....

Don't think I've forgotten about my best friend Wally Crankset, wandering alone (maybe) across the Mojave Desert. The story is in outline form. All I need is one day of over-caffeinated inspiration to finish it.

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Blogger Apertome said...

Bloglines looks pretty cool. I'm still evaluating some various services like that. Right now, I use Firefox Live Bookmarks, and that's not a bad way to go, but I'm sure there are better things out there.

Some GPSes provided elevation data, so if you used one with that feature, you could have an elevation profile. Also, some software will use elevation data built into the maps in place of GPS elevation data. If I can help with this somehow, let me know. I'm not an expert, but I enjoy messing around with GPSes and mapping software. Oh, and yes, 4,000 feet of climbing is quite a bit! How long a route are we talking?

8:43 AM  
Blogger Paul Tay said...

Where's the fun in getting a feed at the top of the hill, going slow? Where's the fun in NOT surprising Deputy Barney Fife with a whole lotta funny looking UNIDENTIFIED bicycling objects, while he's taking a Krispy Kreme break? And all this crap about GPS. Whatever. Gotta love it, people!

9:22 AM  
Blogger Fritz said...

Props to you for beginning to plan the next event now.

What's this about free bikes in Tulsa?

3:01 PM  
Blogger Ed W said...

GPS information is valuable for numerous applications. I know someone with a GPS/heart rate monitor that tracks his workouts and can display them on a map. He can save the data and compare different runs over the same course.

I like the idea of a small GPS mounted on the handlebar. It's more accurate than any bike computer and it's easily moved from bike to bike. No calibrations!

Now, I believe that 4000' of climbing was on the century routes over both days. Still, that's a lot of hills. At least they didn't have to contend with gale force winds too.

And, yes, it's true. There are free bikes in Tulsa. The city is installing racks that release a bike when a credit card is inserted. If the bike is returned in a specified period of time, there's no charge. But if the bike isn't returned, the card is debited. Also, the bikes are a nauseating pink color that no self-respecting thief would want. I think the bikes are tagged with an RFID chip too. I'll get some pictures if I get down that way.

4:50 PM  
Blogger Apertome said...


I have a GPS with a handlebar mount. But I've had some problems with this GPS with it shutting itself off when I go through a bumpy area. I think the batteries aren't held in place very tightly. Also, the whole unit has been messed up lately, so I just haven't used it.

I'm not really sure a GPS would be more accurate than a bike computer, but you certainly get a lot more data and, if working properly, they can be pretty accurate. Although if you lose the signal, weird things can happen when it reacquires.

8:28 AM  

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