Feb 28 2015

Aches and Pains? Get on The Stick: The Medium Is the Massage

It’s been a long winter, with few opportunities for snowshoe excursions in the nearby woods, and with the local roads in bad shape, not only from salt and grit, but also with deep gouges in pavement. This has robbed cycling of much of its joy and left only the drudgery.* And my activity of last resort—fittingly christened the Nowhere Bike—is no substitute for the Real Thing. The upshot? My muscles are slack and putty-like.

But the Wheel of the Year is spinning round. And the open road is already calling me. Duty is once again conjoined with pleasure. Those doughy muscles will need some TLC, however, and Team Tamia can’t afford a soigneur. So I turn instead to The Stick. I’ve been giving my aching limbs The Stick for several years now, and I have to say it does the job. Which is a very good thing, as there’s no doubt in my mind that it’s going to get a workout in the next few weeks. Then again, so am I.

And who’s complaining? Certainly not me. Not now. It’s spring, and the world is puddle-wonderful. Can you hear what I hear? Unless I miss my guess, it’s the whistle of the goat-footed balloonMan.

*Yes, Virginia, I’m very sorry to have to disillusion you, but unless you live in a world devoid of hills, cycling involves a certain unavoidable amount of drudgery. But then, so do most things worth doing.


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Feb 27 2015

Photo Finish for February 27, 2015: Weighed Down by Winter

Winter is a hard season, and this one has been harder than most. After a couple of months of nearly constant snow and weeks of subzero nights, even the stalwart cedars are weighed down.

Bowed Under

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Feb 26 2015

Taking the Measure of Some Map-Measuring Tools

It's Wheely Easy

A couple of weeks back, I described four techniques that you can use to answer that perennial question, “How far is it” — where the “it” can be the lunch stop, the next campsite, the take‑out, or the nearest ATM. And I then employed each of these methods to take the measure of a particularly indecisive stretch of New York’s Hudson River, as shown on the Newcomb, N.Y., 15 minute quadrangle. The map’s scale (its “representative fraction”) is 1:62,500. To put it another way, one inch on the map corresponds to one statute mile on the river. The correspondence isn’t exact, but the error entailed in making this simplifying assumption is less than one and one‑half percent — say 70‑odd feet in the mile. I can live with that.

In any event, I ended my earlier article by promising a head‑to‑head trial to determine which of the four methods I’d just described yielded the most reliable measure of distance. That time has come. But first, to put things into context, let’s pull an “official” figure out of the hat. In Alec Proskine’s Adirondack Canoe Waters: South & West Flow — this guidebook was published in 1998; I’ve picked it simply because it was near to hand — the author gives the distance for the stretch of the Hudson between its junctions with the Indian and Boreas Rivers as eight miles. There’s no indication how he arrived at that figure, however, and there’s no guarantee that it’s accurate, either. It will be interesting to compare it with my own determinations.

Now, without further ado, let the games begin! … Read more…

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