In August 2010, RitmoCiclo was born during an annual bicycle journey. This was our first of the series, and was from Ocean Beach, San Francisco to Monterrey. It was a magical journey in which we got to see the coast in a different pace than when you are driving it. Our first collaborative project has come out of this trip as a video collage of micro-moments from the trip put to an original song, "Bike". More about the producton of this after the jump.
Many believe biking long distances to be extremely difficult and that is best left to trained professionals. Truth is, anyone can do it. Don't get me wrong, training certainly helps reduce the chance of injuries as well as familiarize a rider with his or her bike, and one certainly needs to be in good physical health. However, if you are a regular bike commuter or have some other cardiovascular activity embedded into your daily activities, a long distance bike adventure is quite doable.
Cadence 2010 was more or less a reunion ride emulating a ride we organized four years prior from Point Reyes to Santa Cruz. We came up with the idea in the summer of 2005 when, while taking pictures on the coast, we noticed that many of the lighthouses on Highway 1 also have hostel facilities. The idea of biking down the coast and staying in light houses all along the way sound like a hoot. After a year of planning and almost no training, we rode the 117 miles with heavily loaded backpacks and mountain bikes with off-road tires. Needless to say, the first day hurt, and it included a handfull of short challenging climbs and one long grueling one that had us all walking our bikes at one point. And to add insult to injury, on the way down, the last rider in the pack got a flat just after beginning the decent and had neither a pump nor tubes and had to walk the 2 miles down the hill.
There are some things you learn after a ride like that, and they were corrected on this ride. Still we rode with little training, but this time we were more able to plan realistic mileages for our abilities and we rode on road tires instead of nubby mountain bike tires. It turns out those two things make a big difference. We wanted the ride to be leisurely and fun, so we kept the mileage under 50 miles per day. Also, from the first trip, we learned the value of ensuring that everyone brings their own tubes and inflation devices, but remarkably we did not have a single flat among the three of us.
Day 1: SF to Pigeon Pt Lighthouse, 48 miles
Day 2: Pigeon Pt to Santa Cruz, 28 miles
Day 3: Santa Cruz to Monterey, 42 miles
For detailed directions and more information about the route go to:
"Bike", by Evan Geer. At the time Evan was reading Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid , by douglas Hoffstader and was inspired by his description of how Bach created fugues based on themes derived from transcribing words into music. This song is by no means a fugue, but he did use the letters 'b' 'i' 'k' 'e' to spell out the main the theme of the song. Clearly 'i' and 'k' are not notes but he let them simply "roll over" into the next octave. The song was then composed using Garage Band and an instrument that Evan had created with a violin.
There is an interesting story behind the creation of the instrument. At the time of Evan's inspiration for its creation, for one reason or another, his microphone had gone absent. We all know that when we have an idea, if it isn't acted upon chances are it will go away, so he improvised using an old DJ trick. It turns out that microphones and speakers work basically in the same way, vibrations of a paper, vinyl or some other synthetic cone are turned into electric pulses that are sent down the cable to what ever the mic is plugged into. And, of course, the exact opposite happens for headphones. Long story short, Evan turned an old pair of Sony MDR-V700DJ DJ-Style Monitor Series Headphones into a pseudo-contact mic by simply placing one phone over the f-hole and let the rendering of a new software instrument begin.
Under Creative Commons Licensing, that instrument is for you to tinker with all you like.
[-- Pizz-Violin Link --]
The film's structure was inspired by a video montage made by Dan Lic
The film was shot primarily on a bike-mounted ATC2K Waterproof Action Cam camera, as well as a Panasonic DMC-LX3 10.1MP Digital Camera with 24mm Wide Angle MEGA Optical Image Stabilized Zoom (Black) in some shots. It was mixed together with pictures taken on the same Panasonic and Carl's Blackberry 9700.
All-in-all we got about 4 hours of footage by turning the bike-mounted cam on at key moments of the ride. The camera switched bikes a few times, and we experimented with mounting on handlebars, the center of the frame, and the very back of the bike.
Once Evan completed the song, it was loaded by Carl into Sony Movie Studio HD 9.0 as a template for the video. All footage was loaded in order, and then started the process of chopping. For most of the song, at each beat a market was posted. Then parts of the footage between interesting bits was deleted until the whole thing fit within the slices that went along with the beats. The end result is a montage of micro-moments of the trip that goes along with the structure of the music.
If you are interested in biking the California coast, we highly recommend Bicycling The Pacific Coast. Study it before, and take it with you on the journey. You will find the route descriptions, maps, and elevation charts indispensable. Another great resource while researching your route is the Adventure Cycling Association's page on the Pacific Coast Bike Route.