THE PEDALING ASTRONOMER PROJECT

THE PEDALING ASTRONOMER BLOG

Sharing Astronomy at the More Human Pace of a Bicycle

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April 4, 2016:

In addition to serving as editor for Astronomy Technology Today, I’ve worked for years as a writer of the least-glamorous journeyman sort, one of the faceless ghostwriters who compose the fluff that clutters the Internet. This? After thousands of blog entries, this is the first I’ve written knowing I’d be posting it under my name, which was more intimidating than I imagined.

I’m preparing to spend the bulk of 16 months traveling solo by bicycle. It’s something I do most days, but most days the ride brings me back to the comforts and conveniences of home. 25 miles out, 25 back – simple, safe, gratifying.

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         © The Pedaling Astronomer Project, Inc. 2016

         The Great American Solar Eclipse of 2017

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April 6, 2016:

Preparing for a Very-Long, Astro-Centric Ride

Although I’ve logged thousands of miles pedaling The Big – the bicycle on which I’ll attempt to visit all lower-48 U.S. states before August 21, 2017, the day of the Great American Solar Eclipse – I’ve made relatively few overnight trips on it. Truth is, I’m used to road trips in a spacious old van, with room enough to haul everything I might actually need when away from home. And still I managed to forget something essential to the trip … every single time.

The Big is … well, big. It has huge cargo capacity for a bike – more than 100 liters of rain-resistant storage, in fact. But that is a tiny fraction of what I’m used to loading into the van for extended road trips. I’m simply not going to be able to carry everything I’ll need for the long ride. Which means I’ll have to make do with what I can carry. Which means I’ll have to prioritize.

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April 11, 2016

The Big’s Public Debut

One thing all who attended NEAF and NEAIC 2016 have in common is that none had ever seen a bicycle carrying a telescope ready for solar viewing … or night-sky viewing, for that matter. ATT’s exhibit neighbors declared it the most photographed bit of astro gear at either show.

Which wasn’t a complete surprise. It has gotten similar reactions at other astronomy and cycling events. What was surprising, though – even eye opening – was that folks didn’t just take pictures of the scope-equipped Big, they took photos of each other posing with The Big.

When I mention this to daughter Rachel, who manages the project, she replied, “Of course they did, Daddy-O. They identify with the project. It resonates with everyone.” Which, if indeed true, is humbling.

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August 12, 2016.

Plans and Other Futile Exercises

Our plan for this blog was simple: post something of interest from the project daily. But the mundane tasks of the typical ride day -- eat, dismantle and load the tent and other camping gear, ready the Big for another 50 to 60 miles, pedal 10 miles, eat, pedal another 10 miles, eat, repeat, repeat, repeat, unload and assemble the tent and other camping gear, set the Big up in astro-lab mode, eat, show folks the Sun, eat, show folks night-sky objects, eat, sleep, wake up hungry and eat again, then sleep -- leave little time for composing blog posts. Throw in monthly magazine duties, and it was soon clear that posting daily images to Facebook will have to suffice. You'll find the Pedaling Astronomer Project's Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/pedalingastronomer/