Coast to Coast for the FFB: THE ONLINE JOURNAL

Welcome to our online journal brought to you by PocketMail!

Check back here daily to read about our progress in our cross-country bicycle tour to benefit the FFB.
Recent postings will appear at the top of the page. All posts have links on the right.
Please feel free to leave comments for all to read!

Be sure to check out www.biking4theFFB.com for more information about
the FFB, our motivation, retinal degenerative diseases, and more.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Party!

We have a lot to celebrate, so we must have a party!

First, our donors have been doing a great job of showing their support by making donations to the FFB! So, we need to throw a party for them!

Second, I finished up my Masters at UCSD! That sounds like a good reason to have a party!

Third, A.K. and I are going to start riding soon, so we need to have a "bon voyage" party!

Forth, I'm moving to Colorado after this ride to start my PhD at Boulder. I'm pretty excited about it, but I know I am going to miss San Diego. So, I must have a "good-bye San Diego" party.

And last, because it has been a long time since we last had a party!

So, here is the deal. The party will be on Friday, May 6th at Mission Bay Park (more details as to exactly where in the park to come later) in San Diego. All of our friends, families and donors are welcome. It will start sometime in the afternoon and carry on into the evening.

If you have to work on Friday, that is no problem! Just come after work and be ready to play some wiffle ball, croquet, or whatever other game people might bring.

Feel free to bring some food and/or beverage to share.

Like I said, more exact details to follow later... Just keep the 6th open for some fun down at Mission Bay. Anne Katherine and I are really looking forward to saying goodbye (and thank you) to all of you before we push off on this adventure.

See you there,
Jeff

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Time is flying by...

Well, A.K. and I have been very busy. There is so much to be done before we fly back east on May 12th to start the ride. As a result, the last few weeks have been brutally busy.

Imagine trying to study for a comprehensive exam for a Masters degree while at the same time trying to pack your apartment up for a move to storage, doing last minute shopping, practicing packing your bike equipment on your bicycle, figuring out when to ship your bike, figuring out WHERE to ship your bike, deciding which piece of equipment is really needed (I am starting to worry that we are carrying too much stuff), and a bunch of other stuff that cannot remember right now. The point is we are swamped! If I didn't have A.K. helping me out, I'm not sure what I'd do. She has been really helpful through all this, despite the fact that she has all the same stuff to deal with minus the test. But on the other hand, she is also planning a bachelorette party for her good friend as well. In the end, that may be tougher than the test.

Anyway, my comprehensive exam for my Masters degree was on Monday, and evidently I did well enough. The test is oral and given by four professors. The toughest part was staying calm. It is really easy to get nervous and struggle with the most basic topics. Weeks before the exam, I was speaking to one of my professors about how to prepare for it and what I should study. His jesting response, "It doesn't matter what you study, we'll ask you about something you didn't study." Well, he couldn't have been more correct. I certainly didn't study the first topic I was asked about. So, that was a struggle. Fortunately, I was a considerably more prepared for the second topic. In the end, I passed, and that is all that matters!

Sorry, this journal is supposed to be about biking so I should stop babbling. Although, if you really plan on reading about our progress across the country everyday, you really should get used to my babbling.

Anyway, today was a busy day packing, cleaning, going to the storage unit, etc. But I did manage to spend some time working on the bikes. Noting that this ride might make us very thirsty, we decided to mount extra water bottle cages on the Bob trailers. In addition to holding extra water, they are also for carrying a bottle of white gas for our camp stove. We have heard that it is best to keep this fuel separated from all your other stuff for obvious safety reasons and because it tends to make your clothing smell like a gas station. So, now each of our trailers have two water bottle cages. That makes for five total, three on the bikes and two on the trailers.




The Extra Bottles on the Bob Trailers


Since there are not threaded water bottle bosses on the trailers (something Bob could really stand to add), I mounted each bottle with a small automotive hose clamp. I wrapped a bit of a bicycle tube around the tubing before I clamped the cage on. That will hopefully keep the cage in place and not take off any paint. If you plan to do this on your trailer, I recommend Blackburn mountain bike cages. They provide completely enclosed opening in the center of the cage where you can put the clamp. Since it is enclosed, the cage won't fall off if the clamp ever comes loose.

I also spent sometime today trying to sort out our handlebar situation on the bikes. It seems like there is never enough space on the handlebars to mount a bag, a cyclo-computer, a map holder, etc. So, I had to get creative. On my Surly, I am carrying a Jandd handlebar bag which has a rather sturdy and elaborate mounting system. It takes up ton of space, but it does allow me to keep my cyclecross brake levers. As a result, I had to "shop around" for some space. I decided to mount my cylco-computer off of my stem with a zip-tie and an empty 35mm film canister. We'll see how long that lasts.


My Handlebar Set-up


I also had to mount the holster for the Halt dog repellent. You can purchase holders specifically made to clip the Halt spray can to your handlebars. But they are pretty worthless if you have no room on your bars. So, I took a saw to mine and "fixed 'em". I sawed off the portion that clips to the bar and then zip-tied two of them to my steer-tube. The end result is a sturdy mount that puts the spray right at my hand when I need it.

A.K.'s bike required no creative fixes to the bars. Everything seems to fit into place just fine.


A.K.'s bars


Notice A.K. is the one with the map. Anyone that knows me, knows that is a very wise decision!

Ok, that is all for now.

Jeff

Thursday, April 21, 2005

A Huge Jump...

WOW! What a huge jump in our donations! We are now just under the $13,000 mark and we cannot say thank you enough to all of our donors. This is AK writing and it is officially my first entry. Jeff is super busy studying for his Masters exam so I offerred to take over the job of updating the site tonight. All of my fingers and toes are crossed for his exam on Monday!

Tonight I went to an REI clinic called "America at Twelve Miles an Hour" presented by Phil and Merj Shrout. They toured across the country in 2002 and Phil wrote a book (same title) about the adventures they had. The session was funny and informative - a good salve for the nerves that have been building up in me lately.

AKB

Monday, April 18, 2005

Thank you PocketMail!

Welcome to our daily online journal brought to you by PocketMail.

The kind people at PocketMail have decided to show their support to us by donating a Composer and service for the summer. As a result, you will be able to read about our ride everyday in this journal.

Click here to visit PocketMail!


So, what is PocketMail?

PocketMail is a really cool device that allows the user to send email from any phone. When all you need is email service, it is the perfect alternative to carring a laptop. All you do is type your emails into the PocketMail Composer, call a 1-800 number, hold the device up to the phone and your email is sent! This device is better than one that works on cellphone technology because it does not depend on the availability of wireless coverage. When we are outside of a wireless area, we just use the Composer with a pay phone. It is so simple, light and cool, we could't be happier.

Thanks to PocketMail, you will be able to read about our progess and adventures everyday! We are very grateful for their support!

Here is a photo of our little composer.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Colorado

So far we have raised over $8.5k! That is an impressive number, but we are really hoping to keep that amount climbing! To all who have donated, we thank you so much.

It is official, we will be having a online travel journal for our ride! PocketMail kindly donated one of their devices and service plans to us so we can email from anywhere during our ride. This device is super cool, and we can't wait to set up the online journal. You'll be able to read about our progress and post your own comments. It will be fantastic. Plus, I think it will help attract a lot more donors.

On a totally unrelated note, as of today we have decided that we will be moving to Colorado after this ride. I will begin a PhD program at Boulder in mid-August. So, as we begin to pack for our trip I will also be saying goodbye to San Diego. That said, we'll be having a "Starting the Ride and Leaving Town Party" before May 15. Stay tuned to details on that!

Jeff

Saturday, April 02, 2005

The Ride 4 AIDS

Tomorrow is our 50-mile training ride in the Ride for AIDS. It should be a lot of fun, but we have to get there at 7AM and our clocks change tonight for daylight savings! Doh! Anyway, we plan to hand out a lot of cards with our website on it and we put some banners on our racks to advertise our website. Check out the Photos page for a picture of them.

A.K. and I also went on a shopping spree at REI last night. It is sort of fun wandering around that store with a shopping cart. We laid down a lot of cash, but we were expecting to. We bought mostly essentials like camping cookware, clothing, camp-fuel bottles, bags, dry bag... the list goes on. I'll be updating the equipment list soon, so you can see all the junk we bought and now have to haul around!

Time is flying by right now. Before we know it we are going to be riding!

Jeff