Riding in San Francisco !

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So the first day, or rather first afternoon in SF had been pretty rough, with the realization that I had just jumped into the unknown. Still, I managed to open a bank account and get a mobile phone deal. These were the most pressing objectives I wanted to reach before leaving the city. I also met a former colleague and we discussed the ups and downs of Ubisoft. And by sundown, I found a Burger King to wash it all out.

On saturday morning, I decided it was time to put my bike back together. It was a stressing moment, hoping nothing was broken, and that I wouldn’t make a mistake – the kind were the front wheel suddenly gets free on a steep downhill.
But bike mechanics are not overly complex, and everything seemed to be ok. I was especially happy that I had all necessary tools between an army knife, an allen kit, and a monkey wrench. I had bought a complete tool set that was way too heavy, and decided not to keep it, and these three seem to fit all uses.

And so I got to ride in San Francisco ! It was exhilarating, going up and down, in a different city, a different country. The streets are wide, the drivers are courteous, the weather was perfect. There is a lot of wind though – I thought it was Chicago which was called the windy city. Anyway, I was on my bike, exploring the city, much faster and much easier than on foot.

I did a complete circle all around th city, going along Market street, the whole Embarcadero, up until the foot of the Golden Gate, then south to the golden gate park, then back into the city. It was a fantastic experience.

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Getting to see the bridge was both exciting and intimidating. It’s the starting point of the journey, and the final, real jump into the adventure. Right now, I’m still cosy into a downtown motel and I have a bed, a shower and a lot of space. It’s tempting to stick into the warm shower each morning rather than go outside and start the day. Still, I felt I should not wait too long, and get moving earlier than planned.

While I was going around the city, I had a few objectives in mind. I was looking for a printing shop, to try and get a smaller version of the flag to be mounted behind the trailer. The one I have is too big, too heavy. But they couldn’t do one print on both sides. What I just did is use the larger stickers on top the of original flag provided with the trailer. It’s not perfect but it should do the trick.

I was a lot more successful in solving a big issue : battery life. I got a new iphone to avoid the dying battery of the old one. But after a couple of days, it’s clear the totally new iphone 5 has a battery life on par with the very old iphone 3. It’s really a shame. The phone is supposed to double as a camera, but if doesn’t last more than a day, I won’t get to take pictures.

But I found a bike shop that fitted the bike with a dynamo plug providing a usb charger ! I can get any electronics charging while moving. The short test I did today proved that it was working, and I charged 5% in about 5-10 minutes. That should be well enough to keep me up in desertic areas :p Now I just need to find a way to store, or upload the videos I’m making… I can transfer from the video camera to the iphone, and then upload them on the cloud, but it takes one hour for a 4 minutes video. I have to find something more efficient πŸ˜‰

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How many cookies does the cook cook ?

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Well, tomorrow’s my 41st birthday and I’m preparing to welcome guests with many cookies πŸ™‚

I’ve tested and perfected a cookie recipe that I like a lot – it contains lot of chocolate, almost half of the cookie dough actually ! Here I’m preparing almost 50 cookies for tomorrow.

The anniversary will be a chance for the guests to win presents ! As I’m moving out, and most of my stuff will be stored away for months, I figured it would be better to give most of it. So, based on their success in a musical quizz, they’ll have a chance to go back home with a Wii and 30 games, boardgames, a few DVDs, video game collectables, a hair dryer, cooking books, etc πŸ™‚

This small post is also a test to publish using the equipment I’ll have on the road ! And that is, an updated iphone with a folding keyboard πŸ™‚

My old 3GS iphone is not able to withstand a day without getting charged, so I had to get another one. I figured it would replace a small laptop, as well as a camera, a gps, etc.

However, typing long texts on a small screen can be difficult, so I’m trying a folding bluetooth keyboard from iwerks. Of course, it’s a qwerty keyboard, but I’m used to switching back and forth and that shouldn’t be an issue. Much better anyway than getting mad at all the mistyping, I was having nighmares when I started with the iphone 5 years ago !

Another thing I’m testing right now is the wordpress app – will it live up to the web application quality ? I’ll see that in a minute πŸ™‚

 

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Packing list 3/3

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This is the third and final part of the packing list I’ve drawn up πŸ™‚ This part here is about me and what I’ll wear. This is not a photo of me πŸ™‚

This one is pretty straightforward really, all of us, at some point or another, will have to wear clothes and go out in the world. It’s a classy place beyond these walls, and you can’t go naked ! People will be judging you and if the colors dont match, boy will you be in trouble.

Ok I’m watching “Good morning Vietnam” and this might just be Robin Williams’ influence πŸ˜‰

Seriously though, there are some points I’ve noted on the subject of clothing. Being as clothes uneducated as I am, I didn’t know what kind of material to wear while riding, in order to “wick away the sweat” as the saying goes. The current state of my research points to a 60/40 mix of polyamide and polyester. If anyone knows better, I’m interested.

Another point is the volume of clothes to take. I intend to be in a motel every 4 days or so, in order to enjoy a real bed and do some laundry. So that means I’ll need at least 4 days’ worth of clothes. I’ll also include clothes for the evening, as, whatever the magical qualities of the material, I’ll be sweating like a horse by the end of the day.

I’m still on the fence on more evening-quality type of clothes, to go to restaurants or such. That seems like a waste of space. Another point here is the weight. I’m used to biking with a standard bike, and nothing beyond that. I need to train with more weight, but the 20 or so kilos that are planned will be a huge load.

Another point I’d like to adress here is the electronics. I originally intended to go with a gps, a small laptop, a camera, etc. And then I thought my iphone would be able to do all of that, if the battery would ever last more than a few hours. I have a 3GS iphone that’s 3 years old, and yes, the model itself is 5 years old. I’m a little bit behind the curve πŸ™‚ So, I just might upgrade to the latest iphone, if I find a deal that doesnt cost more than a bike πŸ™‚

Next up is a data deal. I won’t be doing many calls, and more so of uploading photos and text on this blog. I did a little research on mobile deals, and I can say that the US is expensive. Best I’ve found is the T-mobile all-inclusive deal at 70$ a month, or 50€. For 30€ here in France, I got my mobile, internet, landline, television, all in one, with no limits.

I *could* use the iphone as cycling computer, GPS, music player and book reader, but then I’ll have to carry a power station on my back. No, I’ll still go with specialized electronics here. Some ipod shuffle, a reader of some kind (I’m thinking Kindle here), a small Garmin-like thingie to give me speed, distance and cadence. As for GPS, I’ll go with the old trick of printed maps, especially the ones from Adventure Cycling, giving you motels, camping sites and welcoming neighbours all in one πŸ™‚