It is Tuesday night and our bags are packed and we’re going to push off tomorrow AM for points North. We’ve been here a little less than a week and it has been a pleasant stay with some really fascinating people. We are starting to get the workflow down. How many people we can realistically interview and photograph, how much time it takes to get to the good questions, how many hours of pedaling a day we can do and still have some left over to update the blog, edit photos, sound, etc., The project is open-ended in more ways than our destination. How we’re going to convey the stories may change to the demands of bicycle touring, the design of the site may change as figure out the best way to share the adventure – so we are grateful for your patience.

I managed to talk to quite a few people and got some interviews on tape (iPhone voice recorder) that I have to edit down. That will take a few days, but I thought I’d give a sneak peek so you can see what we’ve been doing.
Swift Industries – Martina

Laura and I got the chance to meet the woman behind our front panniers. We always try to support small businesses and crafters, since we’re small businesses ourselves. I am always fascinated with people that have taken a passion/avocation and have taken the risk to turn it into a job. I first noticed Swift Industries when I was looking for panniers that didn’t have the same “ho-hum” boring kind of look. I was intrigued by the design, tested out a set for Epicurean Cyclist and ended up ordering two pairs.

Martina’s story is interesting because she comes from a strong punk/DIY/social activism background. It is reflected in her marketing and her approach to the business of Swift Industries. As her business grows, she has to find a business model that reconciles her ideals and the demands of participating in the marketplace.

Kent Peterson – Bicycling Bodhisattva
I started reading Kent Peterson’s blog many moons ago and found in him a kindred spirit. His internet writings vary from descriptions of rides he has done, gear reviews and more philosophical posts that reflect on human nature. He is also one hell of a rider, having set a record for riding the Great Divide Race on a single speed mountain bike (recently broken, but he’s preparing to do it again).

His story is a bit harder to pin down since it has so many facets. In one hand, there is the interesting thread of how he is preparing to do the Tour Divide Race. On the other, there is a whole other side of Kent and his work with BikeWorks – nominally a bicycle shop, but more importantly a place where children and adults find empowerment through the bicycle. I recorded about an hour long conversation with Kent, so I’ll have to listen through it to try to weave it together.

I also met up with my old college roommate, Thai, who left Los Angeles a few months ago to move to Seattle to play with his band, Veritas. He took the jump, potentially putting his job in jeopardy in a bad economy, leaving family and friends to play bass in the band. Is it fate or folly? What is it that allows some people to make these decisions when others don’t?

That’s it for now. It’s getting late. I’m updating this from a home stay and the cat (one of three) just jumped on my lap and is purring away. My sign to turn the computer off apparently and pet him.