Why put training wheels on a child’s bike?  To give the youngster a chance to get used to balance and pedaling.  No one starts out in the deep end of the pool unless they are drowning.  It’s always smart to learn the basics before jumping out of a plane for the first parachute dive.   So it is with traveling by bike.

Taking local trips is the best way for adjusting to the demands and quirks of both bicycle and rider.   Does the bike fit the torso?  Does your knee bend slightly with each rotation of the pedals?  Is she seat too high/low?  How much weight makes the bike unwieldy?  Is shifting smooth and simple or awkward and unbalancing?  How well lo the reflectors and headlamp work at night?  Are the reflectors visible to autos from 300 feet away?  Does the bike shift easily and smoothly when climbing a hill?  Do both front and rear brakes grip  well?  How does the bike handle in wind over 20 mph?   Are panniers the right way to travel with added baggage comfortably?  How fast can you fix a flat?  Do parts of your body get sore, stiff or cramped after a certain number of miles?  How about the hands?  Do they become numb?  Are biking gloves necessary to reduce finger pain or swelling?  Does the butt chaff or develop soreness or numbness on the bottom of the hip bones connecting to the tibias?  When does the pain in the butt reach the point of calling it a day?  Do you need a different specialized seat for comfort?  Are bike riding shorts enough to reduce but pain?  How often does the rider need a rest break?  How much water is needed for a one hour span?  Four fours?  What about in temperatures of 100+ degrees?  How long can you go without a snack for energy?

Excellent photographs do not jump into the camera viewfinder.  Take several short trips and shoot 50-100 cell phone pictures of things that interest you.  Then analyze them to see which ones are boring and do not reveal what you really hoped to capture.  Which photos stand out and why.  Angle?  Height?  Glare?  Too dark?  Focus?  Poor subject matter?  Composition?  Standing around or action shots?   Squinting because of too much sun in the face?  Unsteady camera holder?  Color contrast?  Talk with a known good photographer and collect tips to make your camera perform like magic.

On a local trip there is opportunity to gauge your conversational skills.   Can you approach a stranger and get into a protracted talk by asking questions?  What are the ace-in-the-hole questions which are sure to engage a person?  Do you have a special interest you want to explore in a conversation?  History?  Automobiles?  Manufacturing?  Crops?  Education?  Local progress?  Famous people?  Art?  Religion?  Philosophy?  Good camping site in the next 30 miles?  What interesting local stories are there?  Remember that you are limited by your inhibitions and conversational skills when exploring other locations.  Discover what it is that makes people talk.  Most often folks like to talk about themselves, and what they know.  So what are keys that open the vast library of their worlds?

Try recording in a journal what you have witnessed/experienced.  Writing takes time and thought.  It causes the writer to reduce the non essential and jot down the significant, the humorous, the personally meaningful which no camera can save.  Many trip stories were not recorded by the camera when  the cyclist was too busy to stop for a photo session.  Keep the journal short and sweet. When you smile after an entry, then you did well.

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