Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Hunt's Photo to Help Equip Biking for Birds!

I am proud to announce a partnership with New England based Hunt's Photo and Video! I have been shopping at Hunt's since I moved to Boston 3 years ago, and they have always provided me with great service and gear. When I approached Hunt's about a potential partnership, they responded with great enthusiasm and support for the Biking for Birds project. They graciously offered to fill in some notable and critical holes in my gear arsenal. They have also offered to promote my project on the Hunt's Facebook page. As they have a very large and loyal client base across the country, their support will be sure to generate additional interest and exposure for Biking for Birds! The help will be incredibly helpful over the course of 2014. I highly recommend Hunt's when you are ready to make your next gear purchase. 

Friday, December 27, 2013

Building Up Good Karma

Today I went into a camera store in Boston to have my gear appraised for insurance purposes. This process takes a bit of time, so I was milling about while a staffer checked out my gear and recorded the model information and serial numbers into the store computer system. While I was waiting, this older gentleman (probably in his late 70s) came into the store and tried to print some photos. He came over to the service desk where my appraisal was occurring and explained that he couldn't print his photos. Another staff member took his memory card, put it into a card reader, and explained that his files were in the wrong format; They were in "raw" format instead of the required jpeg and they needed to be converted. As they did not have the software to do this in the store, the staffer started to explain to the gentleman how he could at home convert raw files to jpegs. It's actually very easy, but given his very limited experience, it was clear the gentleman was completely lost from the outset. He simply had no idea about the intricacies of today's digital photography formats. At this point he looked rather deflated. I grabbed the gentleman and said, "I have my computer with me. If you give me your card I will do the conversion for you." I told him it is very easy and wouldn't take but 5 minutes. I did the conversion and handed him the printable jpegs on his memory stick. The photos were of his 2 daughters and his grandkids from Christmas. After thanking me profusely and offering to pay me for the help (which I declined), he printed out his photos and left the store. The staffer meanwhile finished my appraisal. He leaned over and told me that he was going to waive the $25 dollar appraisal fee since I was so nice to the older guy. It was nice to save the $25, but it felt even better to know that I helped the older gentleman to preserve, in the print format with which his generation is so familiar, his Christmas memories. Score a win for everyone involved. I'll definitely revisit this store in the future......

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Best Western to provide complimentary hotel rooms for Biking for Birds!

I am very excited to announce that Best Western Hotels has agreed to provide a very generous hotel package for me during Biking for Birds. The brand's generosity will ensure that I have safe, comfortable lodging for a significant portion of my journey. Best Western has taken great strides to consider the environment in its business practices, and they are currently setting the standards for the entire travel industry. You can read all about Best Western's efforts under the "Sponsors" Tab at the top of the page. As a personal note, I would like to add that this partnership would not have been possible without the help of my long-time girlfriend, Sonia Giddens. She spent an immense amount of time not only helping me craft my proposal to Best Western, but also liaising with representatives from the brand on my behalf.

However, I still want to stay with YOU on my journey, so if you are interested in hosting me, please email me at bikingforbirds@gmail.com.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Bike purchased!

After a fair amount of research, I purchased the 2014 Surly Disc Trucker on Saturday.  It is an industry standard touring bike that has been used on many cross country cycling trips.  I gave it a ride today and it handles really well.  I think the most significant feature I noticed is the smooth ride; This bike handles the humpy Boston roads without problem.  I would liken this ride of this bike to a Lincoln Towncar.  It is big and sturdy, and it than can carry a lot of stuff while providing a very smooth ride. I am sure there are sportier bikes, but this beast is definitely built for the long haul. I'm just looking to average 10-12 miles per hour when averaged over the entire year. I have ordered some front and rear racks, and I will post another update as I start the customization process. I have a custom fitting scheduled for Friday.  Please stay tuned.....

Sunday, November 3, 2013

November training update

This morning was rainy and made for a wet ride to work (8 miles).  The afternoon cleared up nicely, and I was able to take an extended ride (32 miles).  This 40 miles is the most riding I have done in one day, and it taught me two things.  First, I confirmed that 40 miles a day is totally manageable as I suspected it would be.  I won't know for a while how it will feel to do this day after day as next year will require, but this is a good start.  Second, I learned that I can comfortably ride in normal pants, a T-shirt, and a very light polyester shell in 43F weather. There was a fair amount of wind today, but it was not a huge issue. I did, however, wear fleece gloves at all times today and they helped for a very comfortable ride. Much of the next two months will be spent trying to figure out exactly what I will wear while cycling and birding in various weather conditions. This was a good first experiment. It will really get interesting once the temperature gets down into the 20s! This is a map of the 32-mile afternoon ride.