Nine Days Until the European Bicycle Tour

Just nine days remain until I fly from Minneapolis to Zurich, Switzerland, to launch a 1,950 mile bicycle tour, and a ride of the Paris-Brest-Paris (PBP) Grand Randonee. I am mostly prepared and excited about the adventure, but a bit nervous, too, as after four months of planning, there is more to prepare.

For this trip, which will combine bicycle touring and randonneuring, I have decided to retrofit my 1982 Trek 720 touring bike. The drivetrain is all-new, with Shimano XT derailleurs, cassette, and crankset, and Dura Ace 10-speed bar end shifters. Unfortunately, with its Dynasys system, the road shifters are not compatible with the XT mountain bike rear derailleur. So, an older model of Deore derailleur that is compatible has been ordered. This is critical, since the current setup shifts through only 8 of the available 10 rear cogs. The last two big cogs will be needed to climb the Swiss and French Alps. Happiness should return when the new derailleur will be installed by this weekend.

Also, I seem to be dependent (for good or bad) on iPhone apps such as Ride With GPS and Strava to navigate and track rides. While I will have the opportunity to recharge the phone and a battery pack each night while touring, I don’t expect there to be charging opportunities to recharge during the 90-hour, 1,230 km, PBP. So, I have ordered a USB charging device, called the Sinewave Revolution, that will connect to my SON 28 dynamo hub to provide USB charging capabilities whenever the headlight and taillight are not needed. It will be great to be “off the grid” and maintain iPhone power and have a reliable and bright lighting system with no batteries needed.

Check back in a couple of days when I will publish a route map and itinerary for the European tour and PBP. I have found that preparing is a big part of the adventure, especially if it is to be successful and misadventures minimized in number and impact.

No hatsuyume today

Well, I didn’t dream about Mount Fuji, a hawk, and an egg plant last night. A dream about these items, called hatsuyume in Japan, is believed by some to be a sign of good luck in the coming year.

But, I do remember a dream. It was about a former coworker hosting a big party, at his home, for coworkers and friends. What I remember is being the first to arrive at the party with my brother and son. A stream needed to be crossed to reach the house. My son crossed with no problems, but my brother fell in, face first, after stepping on the first rock. I dragged him out, and we proceeded to the house, where the host started a puppet show from a large upstairs window. And, then the alarm rang.

So, again, no hatsayume on the first full night of 2014. Even so, it may be a very good year.

Happy new year – and a pleasant hatsuyume, too

Last night, my wife and I stayed awake well past midnight to mark the arrival of 2014, but  slept well into the morning; a rarity in our household. When my wife tiptoed from the bedroom to the kitchen, where I stood, she asked, “Randy, did you have any dreams last night?” I replied, “No, none that I remember. From what I understand, people only remember dreams that they wake up during.” She explained that, according to Japanese tradition, you will enjoy especially good luck if you have dreamt, on New Year’s night, of Mount Fuji, a hawk, and an egg plant.

Good luck is always welcome, but why would dreaming about an egg plant be classified as brining good luck, alongside a world-famous mountain, or even a bird of prey? I researched this superstition, called hatsuyume, in Wikipedia. It is actually related to dreams on the first full night of the new year,  the night of January 1-2, since in Japan, New Year’s night often passes without sleep.

So, I still have a chance to see Mount Fuji, a hawk, and an eggplant, as I slumber tonight. Whether or not I do, I wish good fortune for you and me in 2014.

The Coming Year is Yours and Mine

At dinner on a recent New Year’s Eve, my brother asked everyone at the table, “What do you want to do when you grow up?” I waited quietly and enjoyed listening to the answers shared by my sister in-law, niece, nephew, and youngest son. My turn came last, and by then I was prepared to answer. I declared that when I grow up, “I want to be a writer and a photographer.”

Grand Canyon Sunset and Rainbow
This rainbow appeared during our first glance of the Grand Canyon from the South Rim.

Have you ever considered what you want to do in the future? The time of transition from one year to the next offers a great opportunity to consider and learn from the past, and to start to prepare for the future.

It has been nearly two years since I made that declaration, and writing and photography are still on my list of what I want to do when I grow up. In fact, they are an important part of nearly every day. Actually, I have been grown up for a long time, but it’s never too late to dream about the future.

Writing, photography, computing, software development, information security, cycling, fishing, camping, hiking, cross country skiing, and canoeing, are high on my list of interests and activities to enjoy and challenge me. So, finally, I have launched a series of blogs to continue to fulfill my dreams and propel me forward.

The blogs that I launched today cover the topics of computing and photography. Also, I published a photo gallery blog to highlight photographs of places and subjects that pique my interest. Next, I plan to add a blog on information security.

So, is anything holding you back during this transition from 2013 to 2014? Why not learn from the past, but plan for and make your future happen. After all, the future is just a moment away.


Welcome to This is just the starting point. Here are links to my blogs and photo gallery with comments on their latest posts:

Bike Nut Guide – Added on January 1, 2014, to cover bicycles, equipment, and cycling.

Computing – How to choose a web browser for a Mac.

Photography – Monopods for still photography.

Photo Gallery – A visit to Theodore Roosevelt National Park in Medora, North Dakota.

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