Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Count Down: 1 more day

June 29th, Sunny

One more day, I am not totally ready! I gave up working on my papers. I can finish them with two more days of works. However, then I won't be able to take care my move and my bike trip!

This is the last weekly lunch with my friends in Harvard:

I just finish boxing up all my books in my office. There are 15 boxes in total. I didn't count but I probably have more than 400 books! I still have couple other boxes at home that I need to take them here.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Count Down: 2 more days

June 28th, sunny

Two more days, still packing!

I will arrive the hotel in Vigrinia at June 30th midnight (or July 1st very early morning). Therefore, when I shipped my bike and camping gears with UPS, I made them arrive on July 1st. This ensures that I will be in the hotel to take care their arrival.

I just checked my shipping receipts. The total weight of my bike and the camping gears is about 85 lbs. I am not one of those extreme light-weight-backpackers who cuts off the handler of their toothbrushes to save weight. However, I did use my backpacking experience to pick the minimal list. And I also try to find all the "ultralight gears" I have. Anyway, just the weight will the trip tough.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Count Down: 3 more days

June 27th, sunny

Three more days, I will be biking across America.

I dropped off my bike earlier this morning to ACE Wheelworks and let them pack/box it up. Because the bike was bought within in a month (remember this is my second bike? my first one got stolen), they provide the service for free. Thanks a lot, Wheelworks!

I will need to pick the box up tomorrow evening and ship it (with all my other gears) to the hotel in Yorktown. The lady in the hotel is extremely nice. She even suggested me to put my reservation number on the box so they will ensure the bike can reach me.

There are lots of other things that I need to take care before I leave.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Planning Resume

I have been back from the KIAA workshop for a while. After re-considering my trip very seriously, I decided that I still need to go --- it's a Journey of a Lifetime.

I searched around the web but could not find a good used touring bike that fits my body. I took my wheel and back-rack to the bike shop and checked the price to rebuild another one. It turned out that, getting a new Trek 520 is cheaper. Therefore, I ordered another one --- the exact same model and size. Now I am very careful about my second bike and take it up to my office every night. And thanks for lorenzo's link, I very often lock my bike with two good U-locks.

More importantly, it's time to plan my journey. The book Bicycling Coast to Coast by Ikenberry recommends a 77-day journey. Adding rain days and rest days, the whole trip should take about three months. As I said at the very beginning, I will only have a 2-month gap between my current and next job. So I will have a very busy schedule.
By some simple rescaling (taking into account the steepness of the routes), I am now able to compress my journey down to a 62-day trip. And I have the hope to meet my friends up in Rocky Mountain and Yellowstone National Parks to do some camping. There is no rain day or rest day. I should find out how to take care unexpected events...

When my family visit three years ago for my graduation in the University of Arizona, we travelled around the American Southwest. I complained that there was no good software solution to plan a road trip. The same situation is still true nowadays. I cannot find a good application or website that will make my planning easier. TripIt is a great service when you have all the tickets and hotel reservations, but it doesn't do bike trip well. My dump solution is to enter all information to Google Spreadsheets. Once all the locations are entered, I will write some simple JavaScripts to convert the location data onto Google maps. Here is a published version of the spreadsheet. I will keep updating it.

There are more complications for my trip. Because I am now under an H1B visa, which will expire as soon as I finish my current position, I will need to fly to Canada and re-enter US on June 30th using my traveller visa. This is totally non-sense but I have to do it in order to be a legal traveller. I am going to ship my bike from Cambridge to Yorktown so I don't need to worry about flying with it and all the camping gears (especially my pocket knife, stove, and gas bottle).

I have booked my tickets for June 30th! It seems things are getting in line.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Biking with Friends in Hong Kong

I attended the KIAA Disk Workshop in Beijing and then stopped by Hong Kong to take care my visa.  On Sunday (May 30th) my friends and I rode a popular bike route.  The route is in a "sub-urban" area, although sub-urban still means lots of people.  We started in Tai Wai (大圍) and rode to Tai Mei Tuk (大尾篤).
The above google map roughly shows the route, except we bike along the coast most of the time.  The total distance is about 20km.  We had a large group of people so we rode slowly.  Unfortunately it was a rainy day.  The weather was just too wet for us to enjoy the ride.

Hong Kong is crowed.  Even horses live in apartments.  This is a picture I took near Penfold Park (彭福公園), where is indeed the Hong Kong Jockey Club Racecourse:
We then pedalled along Tolo Highway (吐露港公路) and stopped by the Hong Kong Science Park (香港科學園).
In the left picture, the "golden egg" is the main auditorium name after Prof. Charles Kuen Kao (高錕).  In the right, my friend was trying out the fancy bike inside the park.

We did a Hong Kong style BBQ after we arrived Tai Mei Tuk.  Look at all the tasty food!
And a few pictures taken by my friends:
You may wonder how to make the smiley face.  It's indeed easy. We simply use honey to draw the face on the bread before putting it on the fire. :)