Thursday, June 25

Patrick Leigh Fermor: The man who walked

Catching up on Alastair Humphreys blog I was inspired to do a little reading up on Patrick Leigh Fermor and stumbled upon one of the best news paper articles I've read in a long time. It's long, well written and chuck full of interesting facts and details.

Patrick Leigh Fermor: The man who walked - Telegraph: "Patrick Leigh Fermor: The man who walked"

There is a great overview on Fermor on wikipedia, a good introduction, but most of the details come from the article anyway.

Sir Patrick 'Paddy' Michael Leigh Fermor DSO OBE (born 11 February 1915, London) is a British author, scholar and soldier, who played a prominent role behind the lines in the Battle of Crete during World War II. He is famous for his travel writing and is widely regarded as "Britain's greatest living travel writer".

His books
  • The Traveller's Tree (1950)
  • The Violins of Saint-Jacques (1953)
  • A Time to Keep Silence (1957)
  • Mani - Travels in the Southern Peloponnese (1958)
  • Roumeli (1966)
  • A Time of Gifts (1977)
  • Between the Woods and the Water (1986)
  • Three Letters from the Andes (1991)
  • Words of Mercury (2003) edited by Artemis Cooper

The Thames Ring 250, the UK's longest non-stop running race

Via: Alastair Humphreys – The UK’s longest ever non-stop running race, the Thames Ring 250

The UK’s longest ever non-stop running race is the Thames Ring 250. 250 miles, to be completed within 100 hours. Nearly ten marathons in four-and-a-bit days…
In wonderfully understated British style, the Thames Ring doesn’t even have a website. You can see the route map here and some photos here from this magnificently understated, yet heroic challenge.
I went along to the start of the race in the unlikely surroundings of Streatley Village Hall in Berkshire. Here’s a 90-second video of what I found.

Wednesday, June 24

Touring at 34lbs

Did a quick overnighter (about 140 miles) in about 24 hours this last weekend. For kicks I decided to try getting all my touring gear on my newest toy, my Salsa Campeon.

The trick was doing it with no racks as the Salsa has absolutely no braze-ons.

Not only was it a success but when I threw it on the scale the whole thing came in at about 34lbs.

For a touring bike it's wicked fast and climbs like the devil.

It's a whole new level of freedom.

This could get very addictive.

34lb touring setup

the ever changing gear list (annotated)

updated post for first Salsa Campeon (ultra-lightweight) overnighter
updated Sunday, 6/21/09

Less stuff, more freedom.

*please note there may be a few missed items or miss-types, the gear list is everchanging.

the bike
Salsa Campeon 62cm (2006/07)
Shimano Ultegra (full groupo, including hubs 2001/2003?)
Velocity deep V front / Mavic Open Pro rear rim
Continental Gatorskin tires 700x25mm
Specialized Ribcages (2)
Ideale saddle (1970s / 80s)
Planet Bike ultra bright LED blinky (2 AAA)

wireless computer
Brunton ball compass
south central michigan map (rolled up in plastic map holder)
dry bag (1L Sea-to-Summit for electronics wrapped around stem)
park headband (not enough wicking capability)
bedroll (contents below)

bedroll (handlebar bag)
OR Aurora Bivy
MSR tent footprint
Lafuma 600 45+ synthetic bag
Exped Airmat 7.5
Frog Toggs Dri Ducks rain jacket
two packs ramen noodle
6 aluminum needle stakes
first aid kit
25 ft para cord (around first aid kit)
camp towel
cook kit (more below)

Epic designs stem bag
cell phone
battery pack for headlamp (4 rechargeable AA)
Browning hat clip light
Bag Balm in tiny tin

Jandd top tube bag
4 spare rechargeable AA (for headlamp)
spare ziplocks (2 for cell phone/wallet)
24oz of denatured alchohol
Topeak Road Morph tire pump
electrolyte / vitamin c water supplement (3-4 packets)
2 spare pens
micro Leatherman + P-38 can opener + keyS
spare tubes (two)
Park multi tool w/ chain tool
Park heavy duty tire lever
generic lightweight tire lever
spare cleat and screws
tiny tube of chain oil
skin so soft (small tube, trying as alt to deet 100)

5L Sea-to-summit dry bag (behind seat)
convertible backpacking pants
smartwool socks
boxer shorts
cotton t-shirt

cook kit
kit bag w/ drawstring
1 quart aluminum pot
1/2 quart aluminum pot
aluminum lid

These contain:
- DIY aluminum windscreen
- citronella / emergency candle
- Trangia alcohol stove
- Sea-to-summit aluminum spoon
- salt
- sugar
- olive oil (small tube)
- waterproof matches
- cheap lighter
- tube Campmor biodegradable camp soap
- instant coffee
- instant grits (2 packs)
- hot pad
- green pad


136 lumen / 6 volt / 4AA / River Rock headlamp (on helmet)
Louis Garneu helmet
bike shirt
multi-panel bike shorts
smart wool socks
Lake 165 bike shoes

Pulse jet bike

From: BikeHacks

From Oregonlive comes this article on oregonian Robert Maddox, the worlds top pulse jet engine builder/designer. The engine is currently selling on ebay for a cool $1200 (+ $95 for shipping/handling), however if you really want to splurge you can throw down $8500 for a fully assembled jet bike from Bob. The engine pumps out 100lbs of thrust and there is a ‘warning’ on the ebay post that states ‘jet engines are dangerous, buy at your own risk, and that the engine runs at 140 decibles’…so you may want to think twice before firing it up in the suburbs. Bob has been working on pulse jet engines for about 10yrs, and now his handiwork brings the possibility of becoming the Rocketeer to your fingertips (if you can afford it). Here’s a video which shows the bike in action, but averaging 1.5 gallons of fuel per mile this is probably not the best way to commute to the office. If you commute by bicycle regularly, riding on this thing will probably put you there in record time.


When wide open, it will top out at around 75mph so before you hop on you may want to up the payout on your life insurance policy.

Wednesday, June 10

Penny Farthing Racing


Singlespeed mountain bike racing was fun until the fast guys figured it out. We need a new racing fad and this could be it. Who’s in?

I’d love to see some penny farthings on a car bike rack with a race number on the bike.

I second these sentiments. :)

Tuesday, June 9

Bicycle Dreams Trailer

"Bicycle Dreams is the true story of the Race Across America, a 3000-mile bike race that challenges riders to pedal across the country in just ten days."

Nough' said.

Via Urban Velo

Saturday, June 6

Jason Hackenwerth: Balloon Artist

Holy cow, it's been to long since I've watched any Lo-fi St. Louis. His interviews and mini docs (mini-documentaries) with artists are simply wonderful.

From: #232 Jason Hackenwerth: Balloon Artist | LO-FI SAINT LOUIS

I first became aware of ’s amazing balloon sculptures when I did a video about Doc Popular last summer. He was at City Museum creating an enourmous balloon sculpture and in retrospect I was foolish for not stopping to talk to him then. But as luck would have it, Jason came back to St. Louis recently (he is a hometown boy who now resides in NYC) to show some of his work at his Alma Mater, . I was able to corner him for a few minutes at his opening to ask him some questions. The show closes at the end of this week so catch it if you can. Jason’s web site is here.

Note: Bill seems to have misspelled a url in the original post. The artists official website is not (He dropped an "n".) I've fixed it in the quoted text above.