TAXA Outdoors

Gear We Love (for camping, for fun, for cycling, for life) #1

get in shape, camping, exercise, strava, apps

It was my birthday last week. My mom would say, “happy 16th prime!”. You can say “whoa, 53.”

My earliest memory is either of being in a VW bus with 4 kids, 2 adults, 2 cats and 2 dogs driving between Maine and Pennsylvania and asking after a long stint – “are we in America yet?” OR of being in bed and having ghosts come out of the closet what seemed like every single night, ghosts carrying large knives.

One pleasure of middle age is that I know some things now. I AM in America for sure. MY ghosts are mostly in my head.

Well, is that a lie? There are still a few places where I have a strong sense of something being there. In my ancestral house I have a sense of an older woman in the basement. Still, after 50 years plus, I hustle up the basement stairs after I turn off the light. I just did that recently at Christmas when visiting my parents. Either it is a tradition of sorts at this point or if I am afraid of meeting her after all this time. I would also swear I saw a cat disappear in Rome. Poof. Gone. Yes it was black. Event took place March 1982 on the Ponte Fabricio. Other than these few things I am not very supernatural.

I think I would be brave and interested if meeting an alien.

For some reason I have reasoned that aliens are less intimidating than ghosts. Also or And, and this relates to camping, I sleep poorly and think about axe murderers and crazy people my first night when camping or in the remote country. Following nights I sleep great.

I just started training for the MS150 Houston to Austin yesterday. This is, according to their website, the largest charitable bike ride in the USA. 10,000+ will make the ride. Now 10,000 +1. I am middle aged now, not fat but not in shape either. My wife and I are pushing each other to get again to the point where exercise is fun and necessary again. The bike ride is my goal. If we do not do this then our doctors are bumming at us and talking about the dangers of aging. Bla bla bla. I rode twenty miles yesterday. The gears of my bike squeaked. Do they need to get in shape too? Or do they just need a massage? Maybe I need a new bike ……

My new favorite app for cycling…and camping

STRAVA, my new favorite app, is my guide, my timer, my trainer, my friend.  If I was not a bit social media unfriendly it would also introduce me to other cyclists. The designers have been thoughtful enough to make everything large enough to read while riding even without glasses (or thus far). They provide graphs to show my declining energy. [They provide encouragement and training to change that graph around]. I think they will let me compare myself to others at some point soon. Technology is fun. Batteries are a bummer. Gear for life (longevity, feeling goodness).   Strava from Blue Lake Camping

How will this help with camping? Well, along with this goal of shape comes another of going camping more often, being outside and in touch. Camping most often comes with fun place to cycle. I have been boring myself telling the ironic tale of starting a company about camping and going less and less. Boring is boring. I am sick of this story. My kids are also older and it will be easier to escape. I will not be checking my email while riding. or camping.

Escape to see more of America, which I never left of course. I would like to find a moose, a loon and a buffalo and then surprises and interesting people. I think that means I am heading north.

google earth view

google earth view

It’s a New Year

All this new year, new way – ness (NOT a “resolution”, simply a set of resolutions!), means attention to gear in a selfish and personal fashion. STRAVA I know now. I recommend it highly.  Now I lust after bikes and heart rate monitors. I recommend lust. I will recommend against ten commandment kinda lust but FOR looking out for what makes you happy and running (cycling right now) towards it.

It is based on nothing to date, just a friend’s recommendation but my current lusts are Marin Bike’s Gestalt and Utilitour. Why? The friend. The description of going everywhere in their PR. I want to go everywhere. Two wheels sound great. Throw in a camel sometime.


marin utilitour



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