Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Blogging Double Century: 200th Post of Pedals and Paddles Worldwide

Angel, Caro, me, Jason and Andrew at America's Stonehenge August, 2008 - first PPWW trip

This is the 200th Post on globalcyclist’s Pedals and Paddles Worldwide (PPWW).  So to celebrate, I am posting somewhere between a 1980’s sitcom clip show and a meta-referential blog about my blog.

The first post is nearly 5 years ago now: “The Road Not Taken, or maybe taken.”  Just viewing the changes in life of the five main characters show the path of adventure.  Jason has moved to DC and moved back; Andrew has gotten married; Caro finished her PhD and her first posting in Denmark and is now in Germany and Angel is now deep in the salsa circuit. 

While oddly we didn’t make the stop that gave the tour its name: “Our next stop was to be the Robert Frost Farm. But, we decided to skip that stop as the rain was coming in and we would have been rushed through the tour.” It did spawn this writing and a new sense of adventure in me.   

That adventure has taken the blog through 11 countries 715 miles of racing, 3611 miles of cycling, six different types of boats – including the inexactly named “Croatian wooden boat” (“They apparently don’t have another name but “wooden boats.” … They are kind of like Adirondack Guide Boats – just without the rowing part that makes the Adirondack Guide Boat awesome. So you sit in the back and paddle. It’s like trying to steer a truck by pushing the sides.”)

From the exciting and exotic: bungee jumping in Croatia:
Sibenik Bridge, Croatia

Manu kayaking the Western Beaches, Kefalonia
Aharon, me and Brian at Skaftafell
to cycling in Maine and Snowshoeing in Massachusetts, I hope you have enjoyed sharing my travels.

And from the issues with public transportation in Miami and Washington and greater concerns of broken cars and missed treni in Italy and lost and forced to hitchhike in New Hampshire, I hope you have enjoyed sharing my travails.

The blog has also morphed during the years.  Originally, it was only meant to be stories of trips (and bits of instruction to help people find routes).  But this has changed.  The two most read blogs (other than the 2012New Bedford Half Marathon, which people frequent to learn knot-tying – “bits of instruction”) are the photo blog of Lino and Dafne’s Wedding and a soliloquy on running the Pittsburgh despite the Boston Bombings.

This shows that what interests readers is not necessarily interest the writer (a scan of some cyclist blogs that groan with the weight of charts and graphs of wattage and pedal revolutions should have proven that).  PPWW is what I’m interested in. It has been everything from a simple picture of shirtless Seth in hot springs to bullet point descriptions of a ride to a long homage to Thoreau or the Icelandic Sagas.

The very undefined medium of the blog in general and the self-contained style of PPWW specifically has allowed me to play with style – from poetry to story to rather off topic tangents to “photo blogs” and video. 
I have been allowed to express my understandings or even reflect on my own understandings of trips and races.

My favorite trip still is Plitvicka Jezerra from 2009.  However, both 2012’s Skaftafeld Hike and 2013’s Lao River Rafting both gave it a run for its money.  My best races in the time of the blog have been the Miami Half Iron, Urban Dare 2008 and Providence Marathon.  My favorite races are listed in the 2013 GreatBay post.

But this is these are the experience.  My favorite blog post is either the 2013Martha’s Vineyard or the 2012 Cape Cod Marathon.  I believe the BEST written ones are Paddy’s Road Race 2012, Climb to the Clouds 2012 and Hub on Wheels 2012. 

To everyone who has read about and shared in my adventures - thank you

August 3, 2013 will be a Saturday.  Maybe for the fifth year anniversary of PPWW I can get a group together to do the Road Not Taken Ride and stop at the Robert Frost Farm.  Maybe, I can get Caro to drop her brain research in Germany to hop across the pond for the ride(?)

Tino Pai!


Urvi and I, rafting in Italy


  1. Great post, Jess. Glad I could make a couple cameo appearances in this blog over the years.

  2. Can't believe it's been 5 years... brings back so many great memories of a memorable day with you guys. Gosh, I should definitely hop across this pond to join you for a reunion. If only my legs were a little longer...
    Keep on travellig, enjoying the good life, and writing about it, Jesse!
    Hugs from old Europe - Caro

  3. Jess, you've really grown as a writer, and athlete, and a fellow traveler on the big blue marble. Wonderful stuff. Looking forward to reading 200 more. Mom