Using Bike Lights During Daytime? Why Cyclists Shouldn’t Be Shy About Flashing

Do you think bicycle headlights and taillights are just for night rides? Think again.

by Tamia Nelson | March 22, 2018
Originally published in different form on January 28, 2014

The months between the autumnal and vernal equinoxes are a time of short days and long shadows. This has important consequences for cyclists who venture onto public highways. The low winter sun poses the greatest danger. Late in a March day, an impatient motorist driving toward the fiery orb hanging just above the western horizon is sure to be all but blinded by the dazzling light. There’s almost no chance she’ll spot a cyclist in the road ahead of her in time to swerve or brake.

Are you feeling lucky today? It’s a question I often ask myself before pedaling away.

Of course, we cyclists are forced to rely on the kindness of strangers for our very survival all year round. Motorists who are alert, competent, and well-disposed pose few problems. But not every motorist embodies these happy qualities.

OK. What can cyclists do … Continue reading »

Devices and Desires Redux: The Facebook Follies

‘Tis not too late to seek a newer world.

by Farwell Forrest | March 19, 2018

A bitter harvest? It sure sounds like it. A swelling chorus of insiders are affirming what we’ve long suspected, that Facebook is harvesting the most intimate details of our (once) private lives and then turning a blind eye when their lovingly curated data is used to target political ads and influence the outcome of national elections. Facebook’s flacks deny this, of course. But maybe you don’t find their “hear no evil, see no evil” shtik convincing. (We certainly don’t.) Or maybe you’re simply tired of letting a bourse of billionaires decide what you should read and see and do. If so, why not “go commando”? Drop Facebook, leave tweeting to the birds, and start rediscovering the real world, in all its untidy, unfiltered splendor.

That’s where we come in. Tamia Nelson’s Outside and Back in the Same Boat are celebrations of freedom—freedom to go where YOU want, do what YOU want, and see what YOU want. Canoeing, cycling, hillwalking… … Continue reading »

A Clean Bike is a Happy Bike

Bikes are versatile beasts and will carry you through fine weather and foul. But they’ll protest if they’re not kept clean. A dirty bike—specifically, a dirty drivetrain—will eventually wear and give up the ghost. So, cleaning your faithful steed after each filthy ride will be rewarded with improved functioning and reliability for the long haul.

by Tamia Nelson | March 18, 2018
Originally published in different form on May 5, 2016

Bike Maintenance Article on

Ideally, bikes should be completely cleaned, checked, and lubed after every dirty ride, but in reality this isn’t always possible. Cleaning a bike is a time-consuming and messy job. When you return tired and hungry from a dirty ride, it’s too easy to roll the bike into the garage and forget about it. The trouble with this is that you remember quickly enough the next time you turn to your bike, usually when it’s inconvenient to give it a well-deserved cleaning. Maybe you spray the drivetrain with WD-40 or drip some lube over the rusty, grubby chain and ride away to the sound … Continue reading »

On Keeping a Journal: Fixing Images on the Emulsion of Memory

Alexander Mackenzie did it. So did Henry David Thoreau, Mina Hubbard, Raymond Patterson, and Sigurd Olson. And you can, as well. In fact, if you canoe or kayak—or if you just take an active interest in what’s going on in the world outside your door—you’d be foolish not to. Curious? Then read on. Tamia will tell you all you need to know about keeping a journal.

by Tamia Nelson | March 16, 2018
Originally published in different form on May 21, 2002

When Colin Fletcher smashed his only camera, far down a trail in the depths of the Grand Canyon, he cursed his luck. After all, he was walking through country he’d probably never visit again. Before long, however, his spirits had soared. He discovered that he’d escaped from the “tyranny” of photography. “Instead of stopping briefly to photograph and forget,” he later wrote, “I stood and stared, fixing truer images on the emulsion of memory.”

The emulsion of memory… It’s a wonderful turn of phrase, isn’t it? But there’s a problem. Unlike … Continue reading »

Voyages of Discovery: A Missouri River Odyssey

One man. A big river. And a very small boat—a 12-foot pack canoe, to be precise. This could be a recipe for disaster. Or a passport to delight. Tyler Higgins choose delight, and if you, too, are itching to light out for the territory, you’ll want to follow along as Tyler paddles down the broad Missouri.

By Tyler Higgins, with an introduction, note, and afterword by Tamia Nelson
March 13, 2018


What follows is the story of Tyler Higgins’ October 2010 journey down a 340-mile stretch of the broad Missouri, told in his own words. It’s not your everyday paddle. For one thing, Tyler covered prodigious distances between dawn and dusk. For another, he made the trip in a diminutive Old Town Pack. At 12 feet and 30-odd pounds, this little pack canoe isn’t often thought of as a “big water” boat. But it did Tyler proud on the mighty Mo. And vice versa. As you’ll soon learn.

Wavy Line Spacer - (c) and TM Tamia Nelson/Verloren Hoop Productions

Tyler’s Journal

I put in about four in the afternoon [Saturday], figuring to get to cousin Johnson’s place[, my … Continue reading »

Hasty Homemade Vegetable Soup in Less Time Than It Takes to Shovel the Drive

“Soup’s on!” Do you long to hear those welcome words? Then here’s how to make your wish come true.

by Tamia Nelson | March 11, 2018
Originally published in different form on January 8, 2013

Whatever your complaint—a bad cold, the flu, or just one dark winter day too many—soup is good for what ails you. But soup-making has now become a black art practiced only by a coterie of cognoscenti, something far beyond the reach of ordinary mortals. That’s what the Mad Men in marketing would like you to think, anyway.

To which I reply: Piffle. Making soup from scratch is no harder than shoveling the drive, and it won’t take any longer. So before you grab a can off the shelf, give this recipe a try. It will put a steaming pot of vegetable soup on your table in less than 30 minutes.

  • 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 32-ounce container of broth (vegetable, chicken, or beef—cook’s choice)
  • Medium-sized potato (any variety), diced small
  • Small onion diced fine, or a few green onions, sliced
Continue reading »

SameBoat Shorts: Outfitting Your New Canoe

You’ve bought a boat. Money has changed hands and you’ve taken delivery, but the deal still isn’t done. Your new boat won’t be yours till you’ve made it yours. And what does this entail? Farwell knows, and if you give him three minutes of your time, he’ll be happy to pass the word along. It’s his latest SameBoat Short for Back in the Same Boat.

by Farwell Forrest | March 6, 2018

The happy day has arrived. You’ve just picked up your new canoe. There are many like it, but this one is yours, and yours alone. So how do you make it yours for real? … Continue reading this article…Continue reading »