Kickstart My Heart

Kickstart My Heart

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Cracker Swamp 1000k Brevet

Cracker Swamp 1000k Brevet

I’m one ride away from earning my RUSA Cup award in 10 months. The significance of the “10 months” is that I am allowed to take up to 24 months to earn it, and I’m going to do it in much less than that and in my first year of doing this RUSA stuff. Way back in January I was mapping out my riding schedule and had considered doing the Cracker Swamp 1000k event coming up in 2 weeks. However, the organizer’s Web site was not listing the ride as available at that time. So I discounted the ride and gave up on trying to attend. Then the day before I left for North Carolina to do my 1200k ride a little over a week ago I was reminded that Cracker Swamp might be an option. And this time the organizer’s Web site provided the necessary information to enter.

The nice thing about the Cracker Swamp event is it will be flat and shorter than my last ride which I successfully completed. How can things go wrong? Plus entering this event down in Florida is a nice excuse to go for a mini trip. I haven’t gone south of South Carolina for several years now. CLICK HERE to see the entire 637 mile route at RWGPS. Click on the map below to see the route at RWGPS split into three routes since the event takes three days to complete. I’ll be starting this ride at 4 AM on October 27, 2017.

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Calendared 1200k Rando Ride

Calendared 1200k Rando Ride

CLICK HERE for the results list. Click on the following map of the route to see it at RWGPS.
Early this morning around 1:30 AM I arrived home from my five-day trip to North Carolina to do a 1200k (750 mi) bike ride initially starting with 14 participants. By the end of the first day of riding we were down to 12. And since I was the third rider to complete the course, I left for home before all riders were accounted for. So there might have been one or two other DNFs? I completed the course in 81 hours and 56 or 57 minutes. Basically just shy of 82 hours. At the halfway point (600 km) the clock registered 35 hours exactly. And I took 3 hours of sleep on night one, 4 hours on night two, and something like 8 hours on night three. I had one spill in a controle parking lot, wore my butt raw, and injured my left achilles tendon. Both pinkies on my hands are still numb as I type this post. But I was very pleased with the event, my effort, and my result.

The course had some hills to climb, especially during the first day. And it got pretty hot during the afternoon on that day. Instead of pushing hard on day 1 to get off to a good rhythm I held back quite a bit and just plodded forward. I knew the first-finishers would not be departing before 4 AM the next morning. So I just got a little less sleep than they did, but I didn’t need as much recovery either. On Day 2 I was part of the 4-man first group to depart: me, Mark, Metin, and Alex. Actually, it was Mark, me, and Alex that departed as a threesome, and Metin caught us on his fixie at the first controle. Mark is from the Seattle area, and Metin is from San Francisco. Both Alex and I are from NJ. The four of us rode together for the entire day and got to the second sleepover controle before anyone else. At this point we had each ridden about 470 miles in two days of riding. The remaining two days would involve a flat 165-mile course, and a somewhat hilly 116-mile course. I was the first to leave the motel on Day 3 and tackle the 165 miles alone. I was never caught and obviously was first to arrive at the sleepover for night three. That’s the night I agreed to wait to ride with Alex the next morning at 4 AM. That’s why I got so much sleep that night. If I’d charged on with my normal 3 or 4 hours of sleep, then my time would have been in the mid-70 hour range. Not bad for a first time attempt.

On day three the really nice thing about the ride was the side-wind that also became a tailwind from time to time.  We’d had to face headwinds on Day 2. So it was not a surprise that we were able to enjoy some tailwinds. But from past riding experience I rarely get to enjoy tailwinds. For some reason it seems to shift all the time and in the wrong direction. Not so on this ride!

The only tough heat during the ride was in the hills on Day 1. There could have been some hot days to follow, but there was cloud cover and/or actual rain to cool things off. Interestingly, we only had a real rain on Day 2 in the late afternoon. All the other rains were very light or misty. They might have made the roads look wet, but there was no spray coming up off the tires while we rode. All in all, this was a really fun event. I’m kind of sore right now, but I should recover somewhat quickly and be ready to ride a 200k event on the 21st, and a 1000k event on the 27th.

The organizer did a nice job with the food he offered. There was a delicious picnic on Thursday late afternoon when we signed-in for the ride. I had quite a bit of grilled pork on shiskabob sticks. I also had some rice and veggies. We were fed by the organizer at all three sleepovers during the event. The first night was OK, but nothing special from my perspective since I have to avoid foods with wheat, rye, and barley. I’m gluten sensitive. But I made due. On night two I was fed like a king. There were all kinds of options for me to choose from. I probably ate more than I should have. And on night three I was provided ample food to meet my needs. I was kind of sore from so much riding, so I wasn’t really all that hungry.

Alex and I shared rooms for the first and second sleepover nights. I ended up getting my own room on sleepover night three (nobody was assigned to bunk with me for some reason). I had wondered how the sleepovers would work out before entering the event. Worked out very well.

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A How-To-Create PFW Ride Listings

A How-To-Create PFW Ride Listings

Below is a screen captured image of a PFW Ride Listing I created for a 10AM start on September 1, 2017. If you click on the image you will be taken to the actual Ride Listing. The large red letters in the image are markers for the five different hyperlinks I have embedded in the listing. Hyperlink A is represented by an icon image automatically created by the Ride Calendar application. Hyperlinks B and C are represented by a copy of “Image A” that I downloaded to my personal computer and then uploaded once into the Ride Calendar application so I could use it as an icon image for any hyperlink I want to create. Hyperlink D is represented by an image I downloaded from the Internet to represent Plotaroute dotcom route map links, that I then uploaded once into the Ride Calendar application. And Hyperlink E is represented by a Text Button that the Ride Calendar application allows you to use instead of mere text or an image. You can label the button with any keyboard characters you like.

Hyperlink A is the easiest one to create of the five as long as you have a street address to identify the meeting location of your Ride Listing. Hyperlink B typically is used to identify the meeting location of your Ride Listing when you cannot use a street address, but instead you use GPS latitude and longitude coordinates you find using Google Maps. CLICK HERE to see a YouTube video that shows you how to get the GPS coordinates. Hyperlink C can be used to perform the same thing as Hyperlink B, but since it is tagged as “Additional Information” on the Ride Listing, it can also be used to link to a Web page that more fully explains the ins and outs of the Ride Event. For example, PFW has an Annual Ride Event in August usually. And that Event either has or should have a Web site devoted to it for marketing and advertising purposes. A link to that site would go here. But a one-shot Ride Listing like this one doesn’t have a Web page or site devoted to it. So this hyperlink would probably go unused this time. Hyperlinks D and E were created while drafting the Ride Listing’s description which was created by typing text as you would in a word-processing program. The hyperlinks can be identified by text, buttons, or images. Hyperlink D is an example of an hyperlink represented by an image, and Hyperlink E is an example of an hyperlink represented by a button. D goes to a route map I created at Plotaroute dotcom. And E goes to a blog post I created at my personal blog. Two other Ride Listings you may want to look at for examples of Ride Descriptions include: Example 1 and Example 2.

The basic approach to create a Ride Listing is to first go to the Princeton Freewheeler site. Then you click on the orange Ride Calendar tab on the left side of the page that will take you to the online Ride Calendar that looks like the following image.

Then you click on the button next to the Red-A labeled “Add QuickEvent” to go to the initial data entry page that looks like the following image.

CLICK HERE for another blog post that goes into some detail as to how to fill out this page. After saving the information you have entered, then your listing will look something like the following image. Take note that your ride description at Red-A in this image is the same as the bubble pop-up when people move their mouse pointer over the Ride Listing’s title in the calendar. Furthermore your ride description section will not have any hyperlinks in it as of yet.

At this time you have pretty much done all you can with your listing (Quick Listing), and you’ll have to click the little magic wand icon on this page (it’s to the right of the pencil icon under “Event Admin Tools”) if you want to convert your listing to a Full Listing. I recommend you do this – convert to a Full Listing so your screen will look something like the following image.

To get rid of the expected time of finish (i.e., until 7 AM) you will need to click on the icon to the right of the Red-A. While you are doing that you can add a hyperlink that will be listed at “Additional Information.” I recommend that you don’t add a hyperlink here typically. If you need to change the street address for the start of your ride, or you have a street address and you’d like to have a Google Maps link for that location show up, then click on the icon under the Red-C. Lastly you will click on the icon under the Red-B in order to create a wonderful description of your ride and probably include one or more hyperlinks that might pinpoint the start of your ride location, link to a route map for the ride that you have saved at Mapmyride, Ridewithgps, or Plotaroute, or whatever. You’ll use the Event Description dialog box as depicted in the following image.

This screen works much like a word-processing program. Type your text in the main box. And use the tool icons above the main box to format the text or add images or add hyperlinks. This system works slightly different than most. Usually I’m expected to insert an image (see the icon below Red-B) and then select it to create a hyperlink with it as the anchor (see the icon below Red-A). However, here the icon under Red-A is a one-stop shop for creating a hyperlink. You will be provided an option to create an anchor out of text, a text button, or an image. Here you only use the icon under Red-B if you simply want to insert a picture of yourself or something into your Ride Listing description. Maybe a picture of your bike so ride participants will recognize you when they show up for the start of the ride?

The image that follows is an example of ride description I have created in the past.

In this example above I typed a simple paragraph of text describing the ride and what conditions would cancel the ride. I also made reference to a map of the route I had stored at Ride with GPS (RWGPS). The hyperlinked image next to the Red-A was inserted using the hyperlink tool. And then I created a second hyperlinked image next to the Red-B that will take you to my personal blog.

When done with your full ride description and having saved it, then you have completed your Full Ride Listing. Congratulations!

CLICK HERE for another blog post that goes into some detail as to how to Build a Link whether it is for a ride location or not.

CLICK HERE for another blog post that goes into some detail as to how to put a link in the Ride Listing labeled as “Additional Info.”

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Filling in Data for Quick Listing

Filling in Data for Quick Listing

Below is an image of the Quick Listing (Quick Event) data entry form at the PFW Online Ride Calendar.

Next to the Red-A you need to enter a title for your Ride Listing. I recommend you title your rides similar to the way I title mine so it is easy to identify who leads the ride, how many miles it will be, what time of day it departs, and what category it is. My listings read something like: “Jeff X, 40mi, 10AM, B.” A title that includes the day of the week is redundant because the calendar already identifies the listing as being on a certain day. Where the ride starts or where it heads to could go in the title, but it would be better if that information were saved to be included in the Short Ride Description (see Red-B) which will display on the user’s computer screen if they hover their mouse pointer over the title on the calendar. Now that we are adopting the Internet for communications, we should drop the old ways of titling things that were used when the Ride List was distributed via pamphlets and PDF files.

Next to the Red-B you should include a short description of the Ride Listing which includes where the ride departs from, maybe where the rest stop will be, and definitely what conditions will automatically cancel the ride.

The default category for the ride is A. Change the category to the pace at which you are comfortable leading. I leave the next few defaults alone.

Next to the Red-C I think it best to set the radio button to “Everyone.” The users of the calendar shouldn’t have to log in every time they want to see someone’s email. I know the Ride Calendar has options for registration and notifications, but I don’t think those are going to prove to be very popular. Email is king! And for it to work well you have to display your email address to everyone.

I don’t like phone calls. So I recommend you say “no” to phone calls.

Next to the Red-D you enter the date and time of the ride. This is pretty self-explanatory. I would have liked this option better if only the start/meeting time was required. As it stands, I have to disable the “Ending Time” after I have completed the Quick Listing and converted it to a Full Listing. But since I highly recommend ALWAYS creating a Full Listing, this is not such a big deal.

Next to the Red-E you have options regarding a rider registration. I’ve lead rides for PFW for several years now and I almost never have gotten an email from a participant warning me they were planning to attend my ride. If you require registration, then you might get some. But I doubt you will get them all. This registration thingy seems to be a farce to me. Accordingly, I recommend you DO NOT REQUIRE REGISTRATION (ever). If you want some heads-up regarding attendance, then put a request for an email message in the Ride Description section when you are at the Full Listing stage of creating your Ride Listing.

Next to the Red-F there is an icon for “Locations.” John Powers has gone through and tried to create shortcuts or favorites you can use if you click on the icon. All the ones he has created use a street address regarding the location. I’ve actually added a few shortcuts to the list myself, but mine all key off of GPS coordinates instead of street addresses. If you use these shortcuts, then the location, address, city, state, and zip code fields will be populated in the field. I don’t recommend you use the shortcuts. Just type the location name, street (and a number if available), city, state, and zip. You can add the link to a map for the starting location at either Red-G or Red-H herein below.

Next to the Red-G you should select this radio button if your location has a street address including a number on the street. For example, Bruno’s Bike Shop has a street address, but Village Park does not. If you check “yes” here, then you do not need to deal with Red-H.

Next to the Red-H you should NOT select a Location Website if your ride’s start location has a street address. This is because your listing will already have an icon that pinpoints your start location on Google Maps. However, if there is no street address, then you need to determine what the latitude and longitude coordinates are for the start location of your ride. CLICK HERE to go to YouTube to see a video on how to do this. Armed with the coordinates, then you will need to Build a Link with the link address using the following format:

https: // com/maps?q=”  ”

Between the quotes goes the GPS coordinates you got from Google Maps the way the above video explained. Coordinates for Village Park in Cranbury, NJ are

40.313084, -74.511987

I should point out here that you need to be careful with the Web page address when you create your link. You may not be able to remove this link or edit it after you create it. The Ride Calendar application depends on javascript code to edit or remove this hyperlink. And javascript does not run on my computers and it might not run on yours. When I screw up the hyperlink the only recourse I have is to delete the listing from the calendar and create another one. The easiest way to avoid this problem is to create your ride departure location hyperlink in the Ride Description section when finishing off the FULL Ride Listing later (as compared to the QUICK Ride Listing now) in the creation process.

You’re done this step now. Click on Save, and see your Quick Listing. Remember, I recommend you create a Full Listing. So there is more for you to do.

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How to Build a Link Whether it is for a Ride Location or Not

How to Build a Link Whether it is for a Ride Location or Not

When building a hyperlink for your Ride Listing the first dialog box you will be faced with looks like the following image.

In every instance I can think of the Link Type (Red-A) will be an “External Page.” When you select “External Page” from the drop down list you will be given a blank box in which to type (or paste into) the Web page address for the external page. CLICK HERE to see a list of Google Map Links you could use for Web page addresses for various ride locations. Create your own using the same format, but with a different set of GPS coordinates you can find by studying a YouTube video. Of course, the Web page address could also go to any one you want it to go to. For example, a link to a RWGPS route you have created for the ride. Or a link to the PFW category pace listing so users of the Ride Calendar can easily see how fast your ride is supposed to be.

In the above image there are three options to choose from next to Red-B: Text, Button, and Image. The “text” option is selected, and thus Red-C relates to “Link Text.” You would type the text that will be underlined for the hyperlink you are creating. However, if the “button” option were selected, then the Red-C would relate to the creation of a Button. And if the “image” option were selected, then Red-C would related to the creation of an icon in the form of an image.

Next to the Red-D you have the option to have the link open in a new window, or not. I ALWAYS like to have a link open in a new window. So I recommend you hit the radio button for “New Window.”

Click save and you are done with the operation.

Now let’s assume you did not chose Text at Red-B above. Let’s assume you chose Image. You’ll be faced with a dialog box that looks like the following image.

When I first starting making hyperlinks for my Ride Listings I uploaded a file called “maps-icon.png”. You can see it listed in the image above. That image is available now for all users of the Ride Calendar. All you have to do is type “map” at Red-A and click on the button “Show Files” just below the Red-A. When you click Show Files “maps-icon.png” will pop up at Red-B. You then need to click on the filename you want, in this case maps-icon.png, and then the Select Button at Red-C. Voila, you have just set an image to anchor your hyperlink.

By the way, I have uploaded three other files to be used as icons if I recall correctly. They can be found by typing “rwgps,” “jlippin,” and “plot” instead of “map.”

I’m not going to bother explaining how to create a button as the hyperlink anchor. It’s really easy to figure out. It’s almost like the Text option.

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