Shallow Thoughts : tags : MTB

Akkana's Musings on Open Source Computing and Technology, Science, and Nature.

Sat, 20 Jan 2024

First Time Biking the White Ridge Bike Trails

[Map of White Ridge Bike Trails] Dave and I finally got around to riding the White Ridge Bike Trails. It's an area north of Albuquerque, adjacent to the Ojito Wilderness (which is also on our to-explore list). Somehow we'd never quite gotten there, but this week was perfect. Here in White Rock our local trails are covered with melting snow, which means they'll be muddy for at least a month even if it doesn't snow any more. But down near Albuquerque they didn't get much snow, and the temperature was forecast as mid-40s, so we hoped conditions would be good.

The map paints trails as Beginner (green), Moderate (blue), Difficult (red), and Severe (black). We're intermediate bikers: pretty comfortable riding over rocks and other modest obstacles, but not good enough to do the super technical stuff like we see at Pajarito. But there's no consistency to bike trail ratings: a lot of trails rated difficult in the bay area were well within our abilities,, while some trails that Los Alamos County puts on their "family friendly" list are so difficult that I can't ride them (we've argued with the county's trail guy, who I don't think is a mountain biker; he insists that they should rated as easy based on some IMBA criterion or other.)

Anyway, the point is that you can't tell what you'll be able to ride without going there and trying it.

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[ 19:41 Jan 20, 2024    More bike | permalink to this entry | ]

Sun, 05 Nov 2023

30-Day Map Challenge #5: An Old Paper Mountain Biking Map

Day 5 of the 30-Day Map Challenge is an analog map.

That got me searching back through old scans, and I found a couple good ones. In particular, some of my old El Corte de Madera maps. [Scan of an old hand-drawn map of El Corte de Madera OSP]

El Corte de Madera Open Space Preserve is one of the open space parks in the Bay Area, above Woodside, CA. It's beautiful, dense redwood forest on a steep hillside. When I lived (and biked) there in the 1990s, ECdM (as it was abbreviated) was particularly popular with mountain bikers for its highly technical trails.

Unfortunately, not everybody agreed about those trails. The Mid-Peninsula Open Space District (MROSD), which administers them, had a policy that there should never be more than one trail going to any particular place, and it also had guidelines for trails that would have eliminated most of the technical ones. The official maps mostly showed the fire roads, which were especially steep, not at all technical, and generally not very interesting for biking.

But there were a lot of good trails at ECdM that weren't on the official MROSD maps. The property had once been used for logging, then for a while it was owned by a motorcycle (dirt bike) club, so there are all sorts of unofficial trails.

Mountain bikers passed around many-times-photocopied unofficial maps, some dating back to the motorcycle club days. One of my treasures in those days was a much-annotated map, marked up with ink of many colors, carried so much in my bike bag that it was coming apart at the folds. Of course, the hand-drawn trails are all approximate: none of us carried any sort of GPS then, and the GPS of the day probably wouldn't have gotten a signal in the deep redwood forests anyway.

In 2013 as we were preparing to move to New Mexico, I tried to find and scan old documents that were prone to getting lost during a move. I found a couple of old ECdM maps, though I'm not sure I found my main one; I remember it being more colorful than this one. Still, this one has a lot of my annotations, so I scanned it in case I lost the paper copy. Looking at it now brings back a rush memories of mountain biking adventures. And the map seems perfect for the 30-Day Map Challenge Day 5: Analog Maps.

Day 4: A Bad Map

By the way, although I didn't do any new work for challenge Day 4: A Bad Map, I wrote an article this past September wherein I go through several quite bad iterations of a choropleth map (regions shaded according to a particular variable — in this case a red-blue voting map) before figuring out how to get the colors right: Los Alamos Voting Data on a Folium Choropleth Map.

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[ 15:23 Nov 05, 2023    More mapping | permalink to this entry | ]

Tue, 15 Nov 2022

Action Camera Comparison Videos for Mountain Biking

I've long been wanting an "action camera" to shoot mountain biking, and maybe R/C plane, videos.

[Akaso V50x on handlebars] Last week I ordered an Akaso V50x. Everybody seems to agree that Akaso offers the best bang-for-the-buck, but choosing among Akaso's large and varied collection of models isn't easy, especially since there aren't many comparisons between the V50 line and the Brave line. The V50x was well-liked by most reviewers, and gets high praise for its digital stabilization ("6-axis", which apparently means three axes of translation plus three gyro-driven rotation axes).

I worried, though, that all the sample V50X videos I found on YouTube were severely underexposed, and I had written it off my list until I stumbled upon a review that listed all the V50x Settings options and I learned it offers exposure compensation (which it calls "Exposure value").

In the few days I've had the Akaso I've been fairly impressed. The stabilization is indeed very good — if anything, it's almost too good,

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[ 17:46 Nov 15, 2022    More photo | permalink to this entry | ]

Mon, 26 Jul 2021

E-Biking Fun with the Lectric XP

[Lectric XP above White Rock Canyon] Ever since a friend let us test-ride her electric bike at PEEC's annual Electric Vehicle Show two years ago, Dave's been stewing over the idea of getting an e-bike.

Why an e-bike?

One goal was to help us get into the back country. There are several remote places -- most notably, in Canyonlands' Needles and Maze districts -- that can only be accessed through trails that are beyond our Rav4's ability. Or at least beyond our risk tolerance.

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[ 16:49 Jul 26, 2021    More bike | permalink to this entry | ]