Friday, June 30, 2006

Bike Refugee - A Useful Writeup

I have been scanning alot of Bike Refugee's postings recently ever since I read about his mom getting in on the cycling and even cycling to work, which I thought was pretty cool.

In his posting "How to Always Stay Fresh" I was reminded of RV's first week or two of cycling to work and how he told me about the sweat, the stink, the dirt! (Hmmm...) I thought I'd put up BR's tips here.

1. Always shower in the morning so you start your ride clean.

2. Use a non-mild soap. (Something like Ivory is good. Dove is bad.)

3. After arriving at work, wait at least 15 minutes to cool down and stop sweating. This is a good time to stretch, drink cold water, read emails, etc.

4. Use a hot or warm wet facecloth to wash your entire body. Entire.

5. If you want to use cold water for your facecloth to cool yourself off, make sure you repeat using hot water on the facecloth afterwards. * (see note below)

6. Use a small towel to dry. A small towel can be carried with you every day and can be replaced at home with a clean one easily.

7. Apply deodorant liberally, not antiperspirant. My whole technique could be useless if you start messing with your body's attempts to sweat when it chooses. ** (see the other note below)

8. Put on a complete set of clean clothes.

* I don't know why exactly, but if I use cold water only, I'll sweat a lot more after changing into my clean clothes. My theory is that by using hot water the skin gets tricked into thinking its cold after you're done because it is now colder than it used to be, whereas the opposite happens if you cover yourself with cold water.

** For women, I think the only deodorants available (as opposed to antiperspirant) are the organic ones, which I find are less irritating on the skin anyways. I've found Tom's of Maine works well. A couple other brands do not work well at all, so it may require experimentation. For men, if you go for the organic stuff, it may mean using a scent like Honeysuckle Rose, which is not as bad as it sounds. You just may be more likely to attract flying insects instead of the opposite sex.

More can be found at Bike Refugee.

-RV Girl
Listening to KCRW Morning Becomes Eclectic

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Testing The Waters

Some recent pics. RV decided to do a test run on his bike with his gear. All went well.

Sure looks light though, hope he will have all he needs...I don't want to turn into a worry wart but damn, that load is really nothing!

But, I trust him. He can be pretty accurate in his planning.

Too bad I couldn't add his third pic because he looks

- RV Girl
Listening to Boom Bip

I'm Horny...

Enough said.

- RV Girl
Listening to Deerhoof

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Monday Morning Thoughts, Posted On Tuesday...

Another Monday morning. I have been conditioned to dislike certain week days more than others but really why should it matter. Soon it wont.

My little friend is excited and anxious, I feel it in her texts and emails. She is waiting for me, preparing herself for the adventure. Reorganizing, making her life compatible with the future. It reassures me knowing our ensuing life is anticipated with equal passion.

I am curious. How will we react? Seeing each other again after our longest period apart. What is she feeling now, only so much can be expressed electronically, its hard to assess without touch or sight.

Shit its my stop...

Sunday, June 25, 2006

SMS - Late Night Modern Poetry?


This country is a waiting room, ecstasy when the wait is over. This time shows me what a waste it is to wait. This sort of life is wrong, so much time stolen by inefficient design. I wait to leave, family are all I have here, nothing else will be missed. I have no regrets. I'm a boy I know, but I am sure.”


I am scared but I'm waiting for you with open soul and heart ready to support you through this period of change. Remain my love, but give me the same pleasure when you can begin to help me in the same spirit...”

...the absence of fences... RV you ready?

The Art of Not Sleeping

Dawn. 8 Am, 10, 12...unable to close my eyes and fall asleep.

After a three day sleep-fest each lazy afternoon in Marseilles, I was condemned to another torturous cycle of stolen sleep today. I hate it but it has been such a large part of my life that I can't really let it get me down too much. Ah, until the next bout of extreme fatigue hits me, my fingertips, toes will curl in delight!

My trip was pretty interesting, fun and very relaxed. The heat was intense as the humidity of the Sea rippled through me. Humid heat is the worst, it clings to you possessively and likes to remind you just how damn hot it is! I'm not going to complain too much, summer in France is beautiful and there's a wild and sensual vibe that I adore feeling and seeing on people's faces/bodies. It's the dance from now until winter, although, with the crazy climate changes it's hard to say if that'll be true...

I've got loads of new bike sites to sift through and will get some related writing up to start more frequent cycling info here. There is a lot out there which seems to be a mixed blessing right now.

However, all that will come once I can get some proper Zzz's. It's always the same ol, same ol; you come home all buzzing from your latest trip, return home in comfort and your brain is busy with inspiration; your burning from wanting to do too many things at once, everything gets blurred. I can't seem to stop myself from doing multiple things at once, which doesn't help but at least I'm inspired (and tired!).

Sunday so far has proven to be another stormy cocoon. It seems appropriate to my mood. The streets are quiet except for the pounding of the explosive rain and my home filled with the cool breeze of rejuvenation. I love the rain...I like starting over.

I've caught up with RV as we have become so used to communicating daily that even a small time apart (virtually) can feel quite long. We tend to have this pattern of chatting, surfing, playing with our side projects, all while being 'together' for most of the night. For special occasions I may even get a telephone call! Technology sure has made long distance relationships bearable and creative especially when you're forced to satisfy your longings by text.

I can't imagine the both of us abandoning our geeky ways even when together. One thing that comes to mind was this research project posted on BoingBoing a while back about couples who are plugged in, geeky and how they lived together. The first photo you saw was the author/researcher side by side with his then girlfriend with his/her laptops in a small flat in Japan. I thought that was quite similar to how we'll be, for better or worse!

- RV Girl
Listening to TelePopMusik

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Schools Out 4 Summer (Almost).

I feel like a school kid awaiting summer vacation. Even in my dreams, last night i was back in a school classroom under the reign of some tyrannical teacher, but this was not a nightmare. In this dream the children are free spirits they are victorious, they are puppet masters. Manipulating the tools, acting as one unit, their common strategy to disrupt the mechanism, to display their utter contempt for the truncated education they are forced to endure. In the end they drive their oppressor insane showing him that they are almost blind to him, they will leave soon and he has failed to sculpt them into unquestioning worker drones.

Now Im not saying i work in a gulag but maybe this ensuing freedom is starting to make me feel empowered. Making me see how trapped i was. Or maybe its going to my head.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

One Last Thing...

Interesting. (pardon me if this is lame but it does make sense...)

The Free Thinker
The Dreamer

- RV Girl out
Listening to the sweet silence of sleep

Packing, Tipsy & Exhausted

So, RV finally surfaced. I like it!

Alright, it's almost 1am here and I am enjoying a red wine, listening to Signor Ros and moving my ass to pack my things for a long weekend in Marseilles.

It'll be great weather and music on the streets as it will be the festival of music here in France. I am meeting a fellow artist who has just recently returned from the India and will continue on to Romania. I can't wait to meet him again and also a Canadian musician I met last fall.

Like RV, I do not possess a driver's license and never needed one. Sure, it gets more logistical but not by any means impractical or boring...actually it can be if you're not into that type of travel. But, I enjoy it tremendously! My heart races and I feel alive at each planned/unplanned voyage.

I've splurged on the TGV train for 80 euros since I tend to take this route a lot and unfortunately have outgrown the initial voyeuristic enjoyment of traveling south. That and the fact I haven't really slept in a day or so, I can barely muster up the courage to function past noon.

I felt this pang of excitement and nervousness while chatting to RV lately. The time is nearing, we will be together and mixed emotions as they are, I am just overwhelmed by my content. I miss you.

Talk soon.

- RV Girl
Listening to Signor Ros Takk

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

My First Post

Well I suppose I should start by telling u a little bit about myself. I think I would best be described as a sort of romantic geek with bohemian tendancies. I have all the hobbies and interests of ur average geek "electronics, robots, sci-fi, computers etc" but I do not uphold the habits and ideosyncracies of the steriotype. Combine this with a blatant disregard but not ignorance of the rules & behaviours exhibited by general society and u have a sort of picture of me and hopefully with this in mind I hope u can begin to better understand why I do the things I do..

Now i will talk about the other one in my life

I met my special lady friend almost 2 years ago now. Of course I was a different person then with different expectations and a different direction in life. We met under rather unusual circumstances when u compare us to the average couple. To explain these circumstances now is unnecessary & might overshadow the rest of my rant so I will not. So to make a long and awkward story short I will simply say this, we met in the US on the west coast, I now live in ireland and my special girl in France.

Now my little friend is in a sense indescribable. I do not really know what she is but she makes me feel very strange and for the first time in my life i am willing to turn my world upside down for a member of the opposite sex.

Our romance did not begin the day we met rather it grew slowly in the time since around a shared love of music, the internet and a variety of special causes and events. During the course of the last two years we have been conversing, traveling and living with each other all the time expanding our relationship and exploring each other. Oh yes, just to add some colour there is something I should mentioned, we are unrepentant party animals with a penchant for booze and excess.

All that aside let talk about the bike thingy.

Ill start by saying this, I am a total bicycle terrorist. I hate cars I have never owned one I do not even have a license. I only travel in them out of necessity. If I had my way cars would only be used for long journeys. I think our urban environment would be a far more beautiful place if this were so. We would be forced to rethink many components of our everyday lives such as commuting, the megamarket, satellite towns. You think this is impossible, well I am afraid my friends it is. We have been so convinced of the necessity for cars that we have moulded our landscape to accommodate them far beyond the point of return.

But there are a still those who are willing give up the comfort of a car in favout of setting an example for the rest of society (And get fit doing so).

I am one of those people.

Anyway, some months ago I made a promise to my special lady friend. I promised that I would quit my job, compact my life and come to her in France. By bike. I did say I was sort of romantic, and it was certainly better than my first idea which was to travel somewhere were gold could be extracted from the ground. Mine the aforementioned gold with my bare hand or perhaps one of those pan things and fashion some kind of token from it expressing my love for her.

And here i find myself committed to this epic journey which started with me quitting my job last week.

My plan is to wrap things up here and be on my way as soon as possible. Now I live on an island in the north atlantic and so some sort of boat or ship will be necessary for part of the trip but I have heard great advances have been made in recent years in this sector so I am not predicting a problem. But after the boat we will have the cycling.

So yesterday i booked my ferry tickets and my journey is scheduled to commence on the ninth of August 2006. I will travel from Dublin to Wexford by car :-( and from there take the big boat to Roscoff in the north west of France and from there i hope to move sort of south. Well thats the plan.

Stay tuned.


Monday, June 19, 2006

Take a Trip

Excerpts from a recent email from RV :

"Have spent the last day or so looking into my trip in terms of equipment and route....I plan to take the ferry from Rosslaire to Roscoff..."

"...its the only place I can get and Rosscoff is better than Cherbourg methinks."

"Have also bought a special bag for my bike. These guys have been making these things forever so they are probably very good plus its made in England so its totally in keeping with my ethics regarding child labour etc. also I like to support cottage industries."

"So between my tent,

my messenger bag,

and my bike,
I have the bare essentials in terms of being able to carry everything I need to transport myself efficiently and shelter myself when necessary."

"The only things I still need to buy will be a compass, a small gas stove, a HexMet stove as backup, spare tubes and tube repair equipment, a mallet, maybe a detailed road map or two."

"In the last day or two I have spent long periods of time looking at google maps something which influenced my decision to disembark the ferry at Roscoff. From there I plan to transect that peninsula in a southerly direction which should bring me to Nantes and after that follow the coast until I am at a latitude which is comparable with (RV Girl's home), then head inland..."

Good start!

-RV Girl
Listening to Tapes n' Tapes

Discovering Patience

One thing that constantly makes me smirk is how different RV and I are. Sure, we both have some morbid way in which our minds work and connect to others in general (you know the usual misfits, marginal people in society and the like) but we are SO different.

The two of us started doing some preliminary mini projects not so long ago and the first thing I noticed was how slooooow RV can be in making things happen. Look at his sandwiches! It's like a half an hour before the thing gets slapped together and sealed and put in the fridge! It's true, I tend to go through whims like a torpedo, tornado, Wild E. Coyote even, but I have never had to learn such patience!

I admit when we first met, it was under strange circumstances (entirely my fault) but he seemed so open and accepting of me but still he remained a frustrating puzzle I just couldn't solve. It drove me mad each time we met but I persisted because luckily I am one of those intuition, perception driven ladies. He'd show me something intimate but his words and actions just didn't seem to match up. He seemed to be used to the role of listener which I understand but I didn't/don't want that as I honestly felt he had things to say. I also think my wild partying ways emphasized and impaired my judgment so you can imagine my distress when left with sober analysis. What I am saying is, you feel so close to someone but their common actions just aren't showing the love or reception of your ideas/thoughts or more importantly themselves; you feel something more but you're afraid of your blunder cause nothing quantifies what you feel.

After much time spent throughout our long distance romance I grew to be more sure of my instincts and sometimes even forced him to say something close to confession in terms of his feelings towards this or that. It's not a nice thing to do but I was desperate to be closer. The reward of my efforts came this spring. He thanked me one night after a bout of crying and drunken courage...I think I cried in relief and also happiness because I felt so ridiculous for pushing him but couldn't swallow my instinctual feelings. We reconciled in the sweetest, most profound way...It was worth the wait.

So now here we are, closer than ever but with our differences. He's the tortoise, I'm the hare. You know who won... but does it really matter?

- A Nostalgic RV girl
Listening to Coltrane Prestige Recordings

RV's Girl Speaks

I fell for him probably at first sight. I am prone to that, it's true. If you ever met a crazy, neo-hippie artist type, long-haired and nomadic, chaotic yet loving, then that's me! I'm a complicated woman.

We met close to my 3rd gen roots in America; a vast, brilliant, often constricting yet liberal place for people like us, somewhere west. We became friends. He had a killer smile and an even cuter shy awkwardness.

As I got to know him between intervals of social hoo-hah, we clicked. I have to admit I am a bit flirty, often pulling men, boys, women, girls into my lair but this particular young man had depth, interest and a keen knowledge of his country, Ireland. I was immediately taken by his passion under a calm, quiet demeanor. I adored the abundance of detail and opinion, and like usual, I sort of fell in love with who he was but without it being sexual or reaching past friendship.

We ended up meeting shortly after I returned to Europe; him in Ireland, me in France. We exchanged the usual banter of friendship and I was happy he offered his place for me to stay as I had planned a mini trip up north in the fall. We met again...we kissed. Things slowly changed between us.

We started a relationship of sorts. Our faithfulness defined only by us and my heart continually curious to discover RV's intelligence, love of cycling, adventure and change. He hinted at the desire to disown the monotony in his life. I understood as I had made the same decision at his age and never went back...I embraced his dreams as a mentor and also as if they complimented my own. We were in sync, capable of connecting beyond the political rants, geeky past times and pop culture references.

Can I say we fell in love?? Sure.

My travels took me to him frequently (he visited me as well) and I realised that despite my adventures elsewhere, there was something bonding me to my relationship with RV. Our craziness eventually brought me to live with him for a short period and we welcomed it, embraced the realisation of being a “real” couple. We soon celebrated our 1 year anniversary together in his country with a bottle or two of Loire valley red, music and other romantic things. (If you don't know Broke Social Scene, look it up!)

Rv's cycling dreams became more real and possible as we lingered on future plans in our “weird domestic bliss”. Our shared life had suddenly found a new starting point of needing to break the borders of geography and logic, creating art and traveling and eventually being together again. He had told me earlier last winter he'd come to me in France on bike because before he never had a reason to leave but now he did...I couldn't believe my ears, I lost my breath. I said, “Do it! I'll be there when you get here”. However, it wasn't until this monumental passage that I truly believed what he said and supported, felt it wholly. I realized then that RV is a young man of his word, I loved that!

I am now back in Southern France waiting for him to complete his solitary travel from Ireland to France on bike commencing this August.

The adventure begins here on this blog as we dissect the whole journey and planning of RV's trip to me. I cannot wait and hope to learn more through accompanying blogs, websites and everything I can get my hands on. You see, I don't know the world of biking/cycling except my primary school experiences and unfortunate phobia ridden neuroticism. Despite my negligence and less than stellar capacity to do the same, I am entirely consumed by RV's quest. I hope to be there with him through this blog right up until he is back in my arms. Yes, we are nauseating but I seriously don't give a shit!

I hope you enjoy your experience. We will document the whole thing via email, pics, SMS and the like here on “RV & His Girl”.

Welcome readers, it's just the beginning!

In the words of Sheldon Brown on biking in Europe:

Reasons for:

  • 10. Cheaper than EurailPass (in the long term)

  • 9. You want to camp most of the time

  • 8. More satisfying - bragging rights

  • 7 Will make you incredibly fit very quickly

  • 6 You'll see more diverse areas of the country you're visiting

  • 5. You are very independent minded

  • 4. You'll develop a greater spirit of adventure

  • 3. More opportunities to meet the people

  • 2. Richer experience of the country and it's culture

  • 1. Don't have to pay outrageous European gas prices

Reasons against:

  • You hate physical exercise (people in that category probably aren't here)

  • You don't have a bike / haven't ridden in years

  • You're only/mostly interested in the large cities

  • Limited time to visit many places (although - 1990!)

  • You get discouraged easily

  • You have no one to travel with and get lonely easily

  • Depending on country and route, you won't always have access to hostels

  • Traveling in winter

I am so proud of you RV!

- RV Girl in waiting
Listening to Prefuse 73 Surrounded by Silence