May 07, 2003

The bicycle is coming to life!

I received an email from Arvon today with two pictures attached. In the email he said, "The pics are of your bikes straight out of the frame jig
and look like 'not much' but thats just what they look like... Hope they are of some interest to you"
Well to me it was a very exciting moment, because now what has solely remained in the realm of the theoretic is now becoming a reality. I am now confident that I will have a bicycle that will be able to convert from a tandem to a single. It will allow me to take passengers on this adventure From northern Canada to the southernmost town in Argentina. Please have a look at the newest pictures in the link to Tandem Bicycle Development

As I talk to people about this expedition I have been asked several times... "where is Ushuaia? and c'est ou Inuvik?"
Please check out the link for the expedition maps. I will continue to add more detailed maps that follow the course of the trip. It will hopefully compliment your geographic knowlege of North and South America.

A big part of the preparations for this expedition is the physical fitness. So to keep up my backcountry skills I went up last weekend with Tania, Adrian and Stephanie to Tetrahedron Park on the Sunshine Coast. The weather forecast was poor but we did not expect to get as much snow as we did in May. We made the best of it and took the time to build an igloo and snowshoe up to Mt. Steele.
I have posted a series of pictures taken with Adrian's digital camera that include a whole sequence on the building of the igloo.

Posted by gwendal at 07:05 PM | Comments (0)

May 02, 2003

La Dérive

The neat thing about the internet and especially web-logs is that what I write can be a link to many other written pieces by other people, or possibly to complete falshoods. In that light one of the themes of this expeditions is the urban environment. Certainly one of my great facinations is urban space and how we negotiate it. How much of your city do you actually see in your life? Is your life restricted to really narrow corridors of function? How does the morphology of the city affect your standard of living. Arguably Vancouver is an excellent city, but like all cities it is a work in progress and there are great opportunities to make it a better city.

How often do we stray from our usual paths?
A "situationist" frenchman Guy-Ernest Debord had though long and hard about these ideas in the 50's and came up with a then avant-guard exercise called a Dérive that is still occasionally practiced. The idea of a dérive is that conventionally you negotiate a city in ways that are guided by the architecture and the urban form. A dérive is then an exercise to break out of our psyco-geographical habits. All that is needed is to start in a random place and let yourself be guided by a simple algorithms such as 'first street left, second street right, first street right, repeat'. The result is that you follow a path that is not governed by the psyco-geographical influences that you may be subjected to. I think that this is sort of a meditative exercise that can help to see a familiar landscape with new eyes.

This idea also reminds me of a very fun website GPS Drawings, that explores the art and the forms that can be created by keeping a 3d groundtrack from a GPS. The results are interesting. And thank you Tim Barber for pointing me to this ultimate geo-geek website. For all in Vancouver he is having a photography show on May 8th at Tinseltown

Finally I would be neglecting the cycling nature of this site if I did not mention this website about weird cycling lanes.

I am organizing a dérive this monday. So it should be interesting to see what the reaction is from the other participants and how I react. Having lived in this city my whole life I can claim a certain level of familiarity with most parts and as such I feel challenged to see the landscape differently. Usually I get the best impression of having new perspective when I have been away for a while. But it is so easy to fall back into old routines and find yourself molded by the city and its form once again.

Posted by gwendal at 06:03 PM | Comments (0)