[sent to the Wheeled Migration Yahoo Group on September 2, 2004]
Hi, folks! I'm safe and sound in Ann Arbor, MI, where I visited with some college friends last night, and where my sister will meet me for the next few days.
Battle Creek is much the same as when I interned there 7 years ago; the biggest change is that Kellogg's and Post have moved a lot of their manufacturing overseas, most notably Kellogg's Corn Flakes, which are now made in Mexico. That shook people up a bit.
The trip here from Battle Creek was uneventful... I covered about half the distance on Monday, so Tuesday was a very short ride to a campsite in the over-hyped "Scenic Irish Hills." I spent most of Tuesday afternoon doing some overdue maintenance on my tent, then woke Wednesday morning to find that a heavy dew had undone all the careful drying. So I waited a couple hours for the tent to dry again before heading into Ann Arbor.
Q: (Regarding Wisconsin produce) You didn't eat the bison and brats raw, did you?
A: Of course not, silly! The bison was jerked, and brats seem to be served -- cooked -- wherever food is sold in Wisconsin. I think it's a state law.
Q: (Regarding beer) Is there a DUI for cyclists?
A: Yeah, it's called Losing One's Balance And Smashing Into Something, or LOBASIS for short. I drink only rarely, and never during the day.
Q: Are the rail trails only for bikers, or can walkers use them too?
A: They're certainly open for use by walkers, but most of them cover longer distances than most people could comfortably walk, so I've only seen walkers close to towns and other parking places. Actually most of the trails are also open for use by rollerbladers, snowmobilers, and cross-country skiiers, though their appropriateness for any of those uses obviously varies with the seasons.
Q: I wonder, if you called ahead, whether any UU congregations would welcome an itinerant lay preacher/autoharpist who might be allowed to camp in somebody's yard with the prospect of an _indoor_ shower?
A: I tried that during my last bike trip two years ago, but I found that church staff were reluctant to volunteer anyone's home, even their own. I had better luck showing up to Sunday services and introducing myself, though getting to a church in time for a service without being all sweaty was a challenge.
Q: My 7yr old son has a question for you...Why does your bike look different than mine? (He has your standard kid looking bike!)
A: The kind of bike you usually see is historically called the "Safety frame," since it was more safe than the ones with big front wheels that came before. Nowadays they're more commonly called "upright" bikes, because your feet are underneath you as you ride. The kind of bike I have is called a "recumbent," because that's the Latin word for "lying down," and some recumbent bikes make you look like you're lying on a sofa. Mine is more like an easy chair or a car seat, so it's properly called a "semi-recumbent." Some people ride recumbent bikes for their speed -- the fastest bikes on Earth are recumbents. But I'm more interested in comfort. Upright bikes make my wrists hurt, which is bad for typing and other daily activities. Once I started riding a recumbent, it was so comfortable I thought, "I could do this all day long!" Then I thought, "Hey, if I did it all day long, I could really get somewhere!" The main disadvantage of recumbent bikes is that they tend to be expensive, which is why they aren't made for kids. But I have seen a kit that lets you turn a kid's bike frame into the front half of a recumbent bike for an adult!
That's all for now. Take care! --Ben