Glenn Charles

AERIAL | TRAVEL | LIFE-STYLE

Photographer/Videographer specializing in Life Style, Travel, and Aerial Imagery.  FAA 107 Certified for sUAS flight operations throughout the US.  Fully insured.  Videography work is limited to Aerial productions.

Based in Maine (May-December) and SWFL (Jan - April). Available for travel year round.

Filtering by Category: Bike Around America

Going Skinny & Fat

Fargo is getting two new sets of sneakers this week.  First I am going back to 700x35 Schwalbe Marathon Supremes as my main form of road tires.  I love my 2.0 Supremes and think they are one of the best all around tires available, but I want something a bit faster for simple road travel.  The 2.0's are solid on pavement and hard pack dirt roads, gripping nicely and rolling fast.  The 700x35's are going to be a little bit rougher but will add some speed to my upcoming road trip on the Fargo.

Next up will be a pair of 29x2.3's for dirt trail riding, something I have been doing a good deal of lately.  While the 2.0 Supremes are adequate for short trail riding, it is certainly not their forte, so I will move up to something bigger and with tread.  When I get back on the road I will simply switch things out.  I have to say, the ability to do this type of switching on the same set of 29er rims is one of the great benefits of having a 29er bike.  It would be easier if I had a separate set of wheels built up, but in the end, it is not too difficult to just switch out the tires when needed.

As I alluded to in a tweet, I believe this next stretch of road work will be the last big haul for the Fargo on pavement.  I plan on converting it back over to a single speed, which is how it was originally built up when I bought it.  My replacement for the Fargo is still in the works, but suffice it to say it will be a bit more along the lines of a cross bike or a gravel grinder (aka, Salsa Vaya), something lighter and a bit faster.  I will still set it up as an ultra-light bike-packing rig which should make for a great bike on road and the occasional rails to trails type surfaces. 

While the Fargo has worked well as an all around bike, I would like to make it a bit more of a trail bike, more along the lines of it's intended DNA.  Going with a bike that is a bit lighter will mean I am more limited in where I ride, but I have found that for most of the touring I am doing right now, pavement and hard pack roads are the primary surfaces I am travelling on.  More details on the replacement as they evolve. 

Last day on the coast

My last day on the Pacific coast was spent with my good friend Andrea playing at Cannon beach.  Andrea was on a task to do another photo shoot involving biking and the ocean, to which I gladly agreed to play model.  After riding around the beach and the surf in my 'STEEL' Fargo I realized that might not have been such a good idea.  I quickly found a place to hose off the bike and hope for the best since several of my water bottle mounts are not in use, thus exposing the inside of the frame to dangerous salt water.  See, just one more reason to get a Ti Fargo :-)

Fargo does the beach

I get on the right side of the cameraAndrea does her thing, while I pedal the surfCannonn Beach

Wooldridge Creek Vineyard

Wooldridge Creek Winery is located in the heart of the Applegate River Valley in Southern Oregon. The winery and vineyards are located on a rolling hillside overlooking the Applegate River Valley.  I had the opportunity to stay here for a few days, relaxing, eating great food, and drinking great wines. If you have the chance to try their wines, you won't be dissapointed.

One Sweet Ride

I met Daniel yesterday at American Cyclery.  He was kind enough to talk to Juan and I about our travels and then show us his amazing travelling machine.  He has a custom Inglis, with a Rohloff rear hub and the SONdelux disc front hub, something I got to see on Errin's Ti Fargo a couple of weeks ago.  It makes so much sense to have one of these dyno hubs as you have power and lighting at all times. Daniel uses this rig both for ultralight weekend trips, with the Carousel Designs rear bag or with panniers for fully loaded trips.  Both he and Juan absolutely love the Rohloff hubs, something they say is worth the high cost.

Daniel has a really cool blog, pushingthepedals.com where you can read about the bikes he works on and his travels.  This year he has a big trip planned for the Himalayas, which I personally can't wait to follow.

San Francisco

I have been taking a few days off in San Francisco to see the sights and meet local cyclists.  Last night I had the honor of joining 6 other cyclists for a great dinner at David's house.  We swapped stories, told tales and added up our collective adventure mileage.  All toll, more than 80,000 miles of adventure travel just on bikes.  It was humbling to hear the stories, especially Dave and Juan's.  Both of these fellows have done the Tierra del Fuego to San Francisco route, something that is almost herculean in both effort and planning.

David and Juan, fellow long distance cyclists

Juan was victim to the earthquake a year ago, where a Tsunami ensued and washed away all of his possessions.  Dave traveled the road alone, meeting with people and doing talks on climate change.  As if that was not enough, upon reaching the tip of the Americas, he flew to Boston where he and Bill proceeded to bike across the US, stopping in cities and once again talking about climate change.

Juan and our host Caroline, on our way to the Adventure Round TableIt is encounters like these that truly inspire me and fill me with an even greater sense of 'wanderlust'.  There are so many things to see and so many people to meet, and you realize that the bicycle is the perfect vehicle for doing just that.  I am hereby dubbing meetings like this the Adventure Round Table and hope that as I move forward I can find other cyclists and adventure travelers that would like to come together for an evening meal and the sharing of stories.

You can read more about David's travels and writings on his blog, http://rideforclimate.com/.

I am also going to be making some changes to the web site, so please be patient as these slowly roll out. One of the major changes will be the Daily Trail, where I will no longer be posting each night, but instead attempting to roll up a weeks worth of travel, thoughts and images into a single, more comprehensive post. 

The Gila Wilderness

Route from San Lorenzo north up to the Gila Cliff dwellings and then down to Silver CityWell, it is official, I have fallen behind in updating the Daily Trail.  The last 6 days of travel took me off the beaten path and up into the Gila National Wilderness area.  Up there, no cell phone towers or wifi stations existed.  On top of that, I struggled to keep my phone charged so I was not even able to write each day.  The net result is I am behind and trying to catch up with all of my daily updates.  The daily trail will pick up tomorrow. 

Yesterday I landed in Silver City after a fantastic descent from the Continental Divide.  Pictures of that moment would have been nice, but by that time my camera battery was dead.  You will just have to trust me that it was a pretty spectacular drop down into Silver City, with one of the largest strip mines shining brightly in the distance, and this town of 10,000 people spread across the valley floor.

Over the past 6 days I managed to cross Emory Pass, over 8200 ft of elevation and the highest point on the Southern Tier route.  I then worked my way up into the wilderness area, crossing the Continental Divide for the first time and then crossing over a 7200 ft peak before a heart stopping descent into the Gila Hot Springs.  The descent was so steep that it made my brakes smoke and burned my hand as I was taking off the trailer at camp that night.  Up in that area, the USFS has done a wonderful job of providing really sweet primitive camp sites that are clean, safe, and often still have a bathroom, which can be quite a treat.

From there I worked my way up to the Cliff Dwellings, a series of caves that were created around 1200 AD and sit high up on the ridge line above the Gila River.  You an see images of the dwellings in the images that I just uploaded to the Bike Around America gallery.  I spent the day up there just meditating and taking it all in.  It is really an incredible sight to see what these primitive people were able to create out of stone.

I spent the night in one of the Gila USFS sites and then the next day  made my way to the Hot Springs.  All I can say is wow, these were awesome.  For 5 dollars I got a camp site right next to the river and full access to three springs, all of varying temperature.  The grounds of the camp have been done up in a very eclectic sort of art deco which made the springs not only relaxing but truly visually stimulating.  That night, relaxing in the springs, watching the moon cross the sky and the brilliant display of stars was simply breath taking.  It made it very hard to leave the next day, and were it not for my complete lack of food, I would have stayed another day.

Knowing the amount and size of mountain passes that I was to cross, I strategically began to limit the amount of food I was carrying in an attempt to reduce the weight of the BOB trailer.  I can debate the usefulness or event the intelligence of this strategy, but I won't, since in the end I did survive.  However, it was close, and the day before I rolled into Silver City I was down to a snickers bar, coffee and 4 fig newtons.  Lets just say I think I cut it a wee bit close.

The ride out of the Hot Springs was just brutal.  I now had to go back over the same 7000 foot peak, a seven mile uphill stretch on the insanely steep side, then go down it, and immediately climb back up a farm road that for over 2 miles was graded by someone who obviously hated cyclists.  I then crossed over the Continental Divide again, and then up and over another 7000 foot peak, all in the same day.  My legs quickly forgot how good they had felt after their hot springs soaking.  The final night was spent in another USFS camp, where a young family from El Paso took pity on me and provided me two hot dogs and then eggs and bacon the next morning.  So even though I was down to nothing, I was once again shown how Spirit looks out for those in need.

Rolling into Silver City I found the local bike shop, always a great place to meet people and get the lay of the land.  I had packages waiting for me, but it was Sunday, so at a minimum I had to stay one night, and I did not have a place to stay.  The folks at the shop quickly hooked me up with William, a kind gentleman that has a guest house he provides to wayward cyclists and hikers.  The guys at the shop then took to ogling over the Fargo, a bike they had been dying to see.  My rear wheel spokes had come loose, so before I knew it, the bike was up on the stand and things were being taken care of, all for what turned out to be a ridiculously cheap rate.  More people came by the shop and the Fargo continued to be the star of the show, with several of the passers by taking it out for a stroll.  I tell you, this bike is just the bomb!

I have now had the chance to edit some images as well as a video I made of the journey down the 8200 ft Emory Pass.  Next up is picking up packages and swapping out gear, then I should hit the road by Wednesday, heading straight for Tuscon and my friend Stan who I met up in Alaska 2 years ago. 

I am pretty excited to be back in more populated territory, something that will only increase as I move towards the west coast.  I am looking forward to opportunities to get in front of kids and parents and elevate the discussion of Childhood Obesity; the push to get kids back out into the world of Nature; and the benefits of living a simple life.  As always, if you know of organizations that would like to host me for talks and presentations, please drop me a note.

Please do not forget that your donations to JustGive.org are Tax free donations that go directly to specific organizations that are working hard to help our youth get fit and educate parents on healthy life style choices.  Making a trip like the Bike Around America tour is not easy and requires some level of funding to cover repairs to the bike and to replace broken gear.  If you have the ability, any donation you can make to help me continue the tour are so very greatly appreciated.  You can use the Pay Pal button at right to help support my efforts.

Crossing into Texas

It has now been a couple of days since I crossed into Texas and began my detour north.  I already miss the flat lowlands of wester Louisiana.  It seems like these Texas hills just go up and never come down.  I had a sweet little camp spot last night, but as soon as I got out to the road, I realized that camp was at the bottom of a hill.

You see, this violates two of my major biking rules.  First, never take a break at the bottom of a hill because it makes starting back up just way too painful.  I have now amended that and added a second rule, never set up camp at the bottom of a hill because it makes the morning way too painful. 

Another very interesting thing that I have noticed in Texas is the drive through doughnut shack or palace?  Now I first began seeing these in wester Louisiana, but now, well I see them everywhere.  I guess the sweet of the doughnuts balances out with the barbecue and tobacco that I see everywhere else.  It is so interesting how each and every place you visits has its own very unique culture.

I am now resting at my first coffee shop since who know when waiting for my brother to pick me up.  He flew in yesterday to visit our father who lives up in north east Texas.  After he picks me up I am looking forward to a few days of rest.  My body is sore for the first time in the entire trip, which is pretty good considering in 28 days I have had only one day completely off from biking.  I am looking forward to some down time and then adding some gears to the bike! 

The best I can do is a 1x9 setup, but this will give me some much needed lower gearing so that standing up is not a requisite for going up anything with a slight grade.  I have really enjoyed the single speed route, but it is time to make it a bit easier on the body.

Seven Days In

It has now been a week since I set off on my Single Speed Salsa Fargo with Bob and Bill in tow -- an attempt to travel the great loop of the country, more than 11,000 miles by bike.  The first week has not been a disappointment in any way.  The people I have already met have changed my life, and the country that I am peddling is breath taking.  The nights have been chillier than I would like, but the days sunshine has brought blue skies and warm legs.  The change from kayaking to biking is stark, to completely opposite ends of the travelling spectrum.

By kayak, life was largely solitary with only infrequent interactions with others.  Biking, well, you are constantly surrounded by people, even if they are only in fast moving 4 wheel vehicles. Small towns dot the landscape and the ever present corner market is there to satisify your food cravings or the need to refill your water bottles.  If nothing else, each one presents the opportunity to have a brief interaction with a store clerk that is most likely making way to little money and struggling to get by.  None the less the interactions are welcome, a nice break from the sound of my chain and wheels as the miles roll by.

I have had the opportunity to talk with a number of local residents of some of these small communities and they all share the same angst over the health of our youth.  The corner markets that dot the urban landscape specialize in selling that which the population apparently craves the most.  Candy, potato chips, soda, beer, and cigarettes.  When you look in these stores and realize that for many communities this is the only source of groceries it is no wonder that obesity is such a problem for many of the local residents, but most especially for the kids.  Lacking any alternative, they choose the junk over fresh,and thus the cycle begins. In modern suburbia this trend is easy to miss, but travel through these rural communities looking for a fresh bananna or apple and you quickly realize that this is a major problem.

I hope that having the opportunity to speak to community organizations, school groups, and church organizations about my travels and what I have learned can help to inspire some of the kids and parents to stand up and make a change.  It is clear that no one else will do it for us, it is up to each and every one of us to make the change.  If you can, take the opportunity to visit my JustGive.org registry and find an organization worthy of a $10 donation.  Many of these organizations are working at the grass roots level to help educate both kids and parents as well as provide funding for much needed recreational activities.  Your help is greatly appreciated.

 

 

On the Trail

Ocala horse country

 

I am two days and 130 plus miles into the Bike Around America tour. I am posting daily updates in the Daily Trail section, so please sign up for the RSS feed to follow along with my short daily ramblings. When time permits I will do more major posts here on the front page. 

Today, Day 3 will be a short day to give my body time to recover from the two very hard days up through Central Florida.  The Salsa Fargo is doing great, although I have a wee bit too much gear with me.  Funny how we start our loading small and then at the last minute more stuff magically appears.  I have spent a good deal of time the last two days deciding on what gets sent back to family so that I can get the loading and weight down.  The BOB trailer does great on the flats and down hill you really cruise (no wobble or push), but up hill is hard, especially with the single speed.   Ironically as I look at the speedometer, even at my slowest pace I am still going more than twice as fast as I did on my best days in a Kayak.  It just goes to show it is all relative :-)

New Start Date

After much delay, I believe that Spirit is ready to let me set off on my upcoming Bike Around America tour.  My delays have run the gammut from gear to weather, but now I think everything is finally coming together.  My current plan is to set out on the Southern Tier route starting January 2nd.  This will allow me to ring in the New Years with family and friends while also allowing the much needed change in the Jetstream to take place this weekend, bringing some welcome warm air to the south.

There are a couple of days left in 2010, so please, please, take a moment and make a donation to the fight against Childhood Obesity.  The donation is completely tax deductible and allows you to help make a difference.  I have said it before, but it is worth noting again.  This is an Epidemic and it will have profound affects on all of us.  The estimates of projected health care related expenses are staggering and as we are all well aware of, these costs are born by the population at large.  So if you are thinking that this fight is not something that you need be concerned with, well, you are just plain wrong.  While I know how bad the issue is in America, it is equally clear that this is a Global fight for children all around the world.  This is a problem that is not just simply going to go away.  It requires change to occur on a multitude of levels and these changes can't take place without your support and your voice.

Please, take a moment, follow the Give Now link and share $10 to help a worthwile charity.

The Daily Trail

Beginning in 5 days I start my Bike Around America tour, an 11,000 plus mile trip around the exterior of the continental US.  In addition to my normal postings, I am going to try and do something different for this trip.  In the past I wrote my daily thoughts and emotions in my hand written journals; to date I have filled up 8 volumes of these books and now count them among my most prized possessions.  For the Bike Around America tour I am going to attempt to write a portion of these entries on-line as a window into my thoughts and emotions as I tour the country.

The Daily Trail will be accessible both as an RSS feed and as a viewable item under the Adventure Biking menu item.  Here I will try and share the roller coaster of a ride that is Adventure Travel, especially travel done alone and with relatively no money.  I have learned from my past travels that this is a beautiful way of seeing the world, but often one filled with incredible highs and very low lows.  Traditionally I have not written about these items on my site, instead reserving them for the privacy of my personal hand written journals. 

Now, for the first time, I will expose myself bare and attempt to post a good deal of these writings here for all to see.  Even now, as I make this change to the web site, I am filled with trepidation about this move.  Can I truly find a way to expose my soul in such an open way?  Will I have the strength to write my innermost thoughts in such a public way?  Images float in my mind of the stereotypical journal from our youth, the one with the little lock and key intended to keep prying eyes away.  That is how I have dealt with my journals to date, kept private, for my eyes only. Can I really change?

This move is scary and yet liberating, it is the the thought of lifting a burden off your shoulders -- knowing how difficult the act will be.  At the same time there is an exhilaration from knowing how good it will feel to have freed yourself from weight of keeping those thoughts, feelings, and emotions private.  For those of you wishing to embark on your own long distance travels, no matter your choice of transportation, I hope this will give you a real, un-filtered insight into what life is like on the road.  Anyone who has made this kind of trek will tell you that the highs are worth the lows, but I don't think you as an observer are often given the chance to really evaluate that analysis for yourself.  In the Daily Trail, you will have an opportunity to do just that.

I hope you enjoy the journey as much as I do,

P&L

Free Images

This week as I prepare to start out on the third leg of the 50 in 5 challenge, I will continue working to get more images on-line for you to use as you like.  While I will have a good deal of them here on this site, I will also be relying on Flickr to manage the bulk of the images.  Flickr automatically provides you with the ability to download various sizes of the images thus freeing me from creating versions sized for different platforms.  The one exception to this may be for Smart Phones, where I will continue to provide images sized specifically for Windows Phone 7 devices.  If you are looking for something specific that you don't see, please just drop me a note and I will see if I have it.  These images will be completely royalty free for personal use only, but must provide me and this website with credit if used anywhere on the internet.  For commercial use, please contact me for licensing terms and restrictions.

Happy Holidays

Now you can give

I am excited to announce that I will be working with JustGive.org to manage the fundraising efforts for my upcoming Bike Around America tour.  As you know, the goal is to raise more than $11,000 for national and local charities that support the fight against childhood obesity and work to keep our children healthy and fit.

Using JustGive.org's charity registry you will be able to selectively donate money to a charity that best meets your personal objective.  I have created a registry with a cross section of local and national charities as well as organizations that focus both on the fight against childhood obesity as well as the pursuit of physical fitness.  I did this for several reasons. First, I wanted you, the donor to have a choice in how your money was allocated.  With this giving mechanism you can direct money towards a charity that is local and specific or national and broad. Second, I wanted to use a widely respected organization manage these fundraising efforts.  All money donated through JustGive.org goes to the charity other than their fees.  Just for clarification, none of this money goes to me.

JustGive.org was recently written up in Forbes magazine as one of the top on-line giving organizations.  It will allow me the flexibility to raise money for an overall cause, while allowing you to be selective in how your money is used.  The gift registry will be updated continually with charities that are specific to the local areas I am passing through.  Since the number of charities supported by JustGive.org is quite large, you may also browse through their listings and let me know of a specific charity that you believe should be added to the registry.  This is just one more way that you can have some control over the process of giving.

There is a few downside to this process, but as with all things in life, compromise is paramount.  3% of your donation will go to JustGive.org as a transaction fee.  They don't tell you this until you are completing your gift, so I wanted to be up front. I believe that this is a small price to pay for the choice that you will receive, so please, don't let this turn you off.

To access the registry and begin donating please follow this link.  If you have problems, questions or suggestions, use the contact button on my site and I and/or my support team will help you out.  Lastly, I realize that times are tough and money is tight for everyone.  However, that makes giving even more important than ever.  The epidemic of Childhood Obesity is real and will only go away with a true fight. Please find a way to rationalize a $10 donation and really make a difference.  Give up on 2 of your Starbucks Latte's or drink cheaper beer or wine for just one week out of an entire year, and you will have paid for your donation.  It really is just that easy, so please take the time to give and spread the word.

Happy Holidays