Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Ride Mapping Project

As part of Kim Dickey’s Graduate Ceramics Seminar and after Ilya Kabakov’s The Palace of Projects, I have decided to make ride mapping a part of my Book of Projects. This is inspired by the notion of making my work and my life more closely aligned, a sentiment borrowed from Alvin Gregorio.

Regarding the bike, I have been riding seriously for about 17 years and competitively for 16. Until recently I had reservations about making work related to cycling. I have not previously seen them in relation to each other. But what I am intrigued by is the possibility of increasing work production by incorporating what I already do into a new context. While I have never exactly mapped training and recreational rides I have at least recorded routes taken and times of completion since 1995. I don’t want this project to supplant my training records, but out of curiosity I’d like to see where I go, recorded visually. There are formats for mapping rides online, but I am not interested in them. I want to look at a topographical map and find the routes I’ve traveled on it. I’d like to see how many of my previous routes I can cover in the short space of this project and over the period of this spring (with room to continue indefinitely). I’m not yet sure how I will mark the map or record the number of times a particular route is taken, but with this single document I think my motivation to ride will increase along with the markations.

A great part of this motivation to see my rides in the space of one map is the soon-to-be-had addition to my stable, the Niner Air 9 in Kermit green. This will be my first new mountain bike in 10 years. The last was my Schwinn Homegrown from 1997, a bike which received upgraded and new parts save for the stem and (obviously) the frame during my time with it. This bike has been no slouch, recently taking me to the 1st overall position last season in the Men’s B division of the Boulder Short track Cross Country mountain bike series. But ten years is a long time, not just to hammer a bike, but to wait patiently for a new one. I am somehow skipping the purchase of a full suspension rig, something I have been thinking about since 1992. I suppose the purity of hardtail racing and the extra challenge of racing against supposedly better equipped riders is motivating me. I have heard so much about 29er bikes that I can’t wait to be on one myself. I hope this new bike is as much fun to ride as the 29er crowd has been promoting.

My rides will not be limited to the Air 9 however, as much of my early season riding happens on my Specialized Tarmac. At this point I will not be including my commute, especially when it is broken up by a bus ride. If I do get back to making the 15 mile commute by bike only I might include it, but I haven’t done that since October or November 2006.

The bike should have all of its parts by January 22, and I will wait for the shop to call when it is completely built up. I will do my final fitting on it and then it will be mine. The next step is to look for a good map of the area. I’ve never been in it, but there is a map store along my route home I have wanted to visit. I’m thinking I can find a good one of Boulder county, which should account for the majority of my rides. I will likely need one for Larimer and Jefferson counties as well. Having spent 15 or 16 years riding in Larimer county, I would like to get to some of my favorite trails and roads this spring to allow this map to account for some of those experiences.

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