Father & Son Bike Diary – Part One

2014-04-27 11.07.27
Xtracycle Edgerunner

This is the first post in what I hope to be a series. All about the adventures my son and I have together riding bicycles. Hopefully an illustration of how we can be healthy together now and into the future. First a little background information.

Recently I moved to Durham, NC. Previously I lived in Chapel Hill. While we loved our bike centric Towns, both Chapel Hill and Carrboro, we lived down in a valley. Combine this with two very steep and busy streets as the sole arteries to get into downtown Chapel Hill and downtown Carrboro. We biked and walked in occasionally. But not often. It was so bad we kept our son’s bike in the car so we could take him to a safe place to ride.

Now that we’re in Durham we live in a city street grid system with lots of ways to get places. Yes, there are hill. But they are on more narrow roads with somewhat slower traffic. Maybe even less congested in places. Plus there is more cool stuff nearby to motivate us to ride. Like the grocery, bars, the bus station, school, etc.

So I resolved to use the disruptive energy of moving to make a change in my life. I bought a Xtracycle Edgerunner 27D cargo bike and pledged to haul my son and lots more around Durham. Basically I started living a lifestyle I had only dreamed about and watched from afar in Carrboro.

Our five year old son has had his own bicycle for a few years. Recently when I upgraded his helmet I got him flashing light to go on back. I think it’s one of his favorite things about riding bikes. All the cool flashing lights that he controls. He has one and the Xtracycle has two.

This past week we took the Xtracycle out for a first ride together. It took awhile to get to this point. First I had to get a stoker tandem bike stem and handlebars.

Stoker Stem

This was an idea I had seen a few other Xtracycle riders use to help passengers hang on. As this isn’t a standard part sold by Xtracycle it required a bit of work. I hope to have a how-to blog post about this soon. Something I had a hard time finding online.

I took the Xtracycle with the tandem bike stem attached to Bullseye Bicycle for some advice, handlebars, and grips. Thanks to Tyler Kober for the help and encouragement.

Once I had the handlebars for my son to hold on to we took a ride. This first one turned out to be pick up at school. That day my car broke down on the highway. I got home in time to arrive on my bike by pickup time.

This weekend we took some more rides. Sunday we hauled a bunch of laundry, detergent, and lunch. First we stopped at a local park then went to get the laundry done. Fun and very practical first adventures.

North Carolina Tech Events

If you are organizing a tech event, big or small, in North Carolina you should promote it on SocialCarolina.org. This is a free site that a few volunteers are putting together. Its goal is to “Connect the Community to Events”. Simple.

To submit an event lets us know about it with our contact form or via email at events [at] socialcarolina dot org.

You can get event updates on Twitter here www.twitter.com/rdch/ and subscribe to the google calendar.

Techies Building Community in RDCH

So I told you about the creation of SocialCarolina.org the other day. Its a google calendar and blog about local tech events here in the Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill area. (That includes Cary, Carrboro, RTP, Morrisville, etc.)

Well.. some of the coolest events recently have been happening at the new Refresh the Triangle. They are organized by the folks over at Viget Labs. A new web design consultancy in Durham. Last night they had an event. Sadly I couldn’t attend. Next time hopefully.

So far there are seven people who can add events to this calendar. Today I added Peyton Crump to that list. He’s the Creative Director over at Viget Durham.

I’m blogging about this seeming mundane activity because I think its a milestone. Why? COLLABORATION! A bunch of cool people who organize amazing events are working together to inform a ton of people.

You would think this would be an easy thing to do. What with all the web 2.0 collab software out there. But… its not. I mean try to get a bunch of people to meet on a regular basis. Its hard. Syncing individual schedules is tricky. A group calendar is a good step towards making this easier.

In some ways the fractured nature of community is ok. Individuality is an important concept. We all have individual lives. But the concept of community is important too. I’m looking for a balance between the two.

To see the desire of people to get together and build community is awesome. We can all benefit from our collective intelligence. The more we come in contact with each other the smart we all become.

We have so much going on around here and lots more ways to find out about it. Very exciting times to be living in this part of North Carolina!

Props to the Refresh the Triangle folks for making a cool website for their events. Social Carolina isn’t a unique idea. I’m glad many of us are on the same page.

Social Carolina: Tech Events Calendar

Wayne Sutton is on top of local tech events in our area. So a couple of us asked him to create something to keep track of these events. He set up a blog at socialcarolina.org and I created a google calendar. Plus we have the Twitter user RDCH to follow and stay up-to-date.

Know about a cool event that involves technology of some kind? Is it happening in the Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill area? Then contact us with the blog form. We’ll put it up on the calendar and promote it. We already have a few cool events up there. Check it out.

Jackson Fox at Refresh the Triangle

On October 25 at 6:30-8:00PM Jackson Fox is speaking at a new event series called Refresh the Triangle. I’m signed up via Upcoming.

Refresh 001: Building User-Centered Web Apps in a Crunch

Durham, NC—Thurs, Oct 25, 2007, 6:30-8:00PM
Jackson Fox is a User Experience Engineer at Lulu.com, and a graduate student in Information & Library Science at UNC Chapel Hill. He is responsible for the community and marketplace functionality on Lulu.com, and is currently learning why MySpace is definitely not a “platform.” He and his wife live in Durham.

Its in Durham at Viget Labs, The Brightleaf District, 908 West Main Street, Durham, NC 27701

via Wayne Sutton

Eat Well and Blog about it

Anton has set up a cool Blogtogether food blogging event set for September 24. It starts off with a book reading at The Regulator and then a great dinner at The Peidmont Restaurant in Durham with Cleveland based author Michael Ruhlman. Ruby and I should be there celebrating my bday. 🙂

Schedule of Events

9/23 at 4:30pm: Reading and book signing — The Regulator Bookshop in Durham will host chef-author-blogger Michael Ruhlman for a reading from his celebrated books about the lives of American chefs.

9/24 at 7:30pm: A taste of food blogging at Piedmont Restaurant — BlogTogether will partner with Piedmont Restaurant chefs Drew Brown and Andy Magowan to host a five-course prix-fixe dinner based on local ingredients (featuring head-to-tail pig, perhaps). At dinner, chef-author-blogger Michael Ruhlman will share his insights about how to write about food.

When: Monday, September 24th at 7:30pm

Where: Piedmont Restaurant, 401 Foster St., Durham, NC

What: A ticketed five-course prix fixe dinner featuring local ingredients prepared by chef Brown and his kitchen.

How much: $65 prepaid (this will cover dinner, wine, & tip).

Who: Anyone who wants to enjoy a fabulous meal and learn about food blogging, a talented writer and a local chef. All dinner guests will be encouraged to write and talk about the meal and what they learn this night. SEATS ARE LIMITED

Get your seat at the table: If you want to attend this dinner, send a message to zuiker@gmail.com.

9/25 at 9am: Coffee with the Chefs — Chapel Hill’s 3CUPS coffee shop will host a morning coffee klatch for Michael Ruhlman to meet local chefs. Others are invited to stop by at 10:15am to chat with Michael, the chefs and 3CUPS proprietor Lex Alexander.

Share the Chapel Hill Wireless Map

April/May of last year (2006) I created the WordPress blog and Google Maps mash up Chapel Hill Wireless. The goal was to help people find wireless hotspots in Chapel Hill and Carrboro, North Carolina. Since then Anton created Durham Wireless and Zach created Asheville Wireless. Plus lots of other things have happened. Now we are on the cusp of the first Town of Chapel Hill public WiFi pilot project. I believe this is only the tip of the iceberg. Public WiFi is just the beginning.

But today I added all the locations I had on ChapelHillWireless.org in a new Google Map. You can go to this Google map page, click on share this link, and copy the code to embed it on your site. Hopefully this will be a good way to spread this valuable info.

Now that editing this map is super easy I plan on adding lots more info to the little pop up box. Maybe even photos and video. 🙂

View Larger Map

If you misplace this post you can always find it on a page linked at the top of the site.

Note: WiFi hotspots on the UNC campus are not included on this map. Those hotspots are not open to the general public. (People not directly affiliated with UNC) When I find a map of WiFi on campus I’ll blog about it.