One foot at a time | One sole at a time | One hell of a good time


Tuesday, December 29, 2009

My Barefoot Running Partners: Edgar & Hiko

Hiko, me and Edgar

I've been busy. The last month has been an amazing adventure for me.

In November, Leah and I adopted another Siberian Husky (and Samoyed mix?) from the Seattle Purebred Dog Rescue organization. His name is Hiko (a name that means ice in the Inuit language). He was a dog slated for euthanasia.

The Boys: Edgar & Hiko

He had some problems in Oregon...killing chickens and also is on medication for epilepsy. Not a big selling point for most adopters. We would be his third owner in his short 3 year lifetime. But, we knew we would all get along just fine, that he would quickly fit in with our pack and get what he needed most: lots of love and lots of exercise. He got it and he's now thriving!

Urban Mushing in Volunteer Park

I am fascinated by the co-evolution of humans and dogs. I have become an urban musher taking the dogs out on running adventures every afternoon. Leah runs them every morning and then another walk before bed. Lots of movement. Lots of play. Lots of sleeping. Lots of happy dogs and humans!

Barefoot Running!

Hiko has become a permanent member of our little tribe. I am amazed by his intelligence and charm...his depth of soul...and his running strength. 6 weeks ago he was a dog with an uncertain future. Now he is a strong and happy dog, full of life and radiating good cheer to all whom he encounters...with a little help from his friends. Amazing how the universe works.

The new year and decade are upon us all. It has been an amazing year for me. I look forward to sharing my adventures with all of you and hearing your stories as they unfold in 2010. Be well...and see you next year.

Barefoot Ted

Order Vibram FiveFingers KSO Treks by clicking here. Thanks.

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Monday, April 27, 2009

Fixed Gear Bicycle Zen

Volunteer Park Seattle | photo by Don Ehlen

April 2009 has been a month of discovery...big time. I traded a Bianchi Veloce racing bike for a Fixed Gear bicycle.

As a highwheel bicycle rider for over a decade, I understand the feeling and motion of fixed gear riding...but I had never had a chance to ride a fixed gear safety bicycle. I am completely blown away. Safety bicycles have been around since the 1880s. The pneumatic tire brought a boom in sales starting around 1890 that brought us to today. Fixed geared bicycles ride like highwheels...you can't coast...(if you don't know about fixed gear bicycles and you have read this far and did not go to the Wikipedia link above, you are missing out here! You may want to read Sheldon Brown's write up on fixed gear bicycles here)

Fixed gear teaches you how to become the bicycle: You are the gear, you are the brake (for road riding, I use a front brake, but it is not as necessary as you might imagine). You learn to use your body and your technique to locomote yourself. Your body becomes strong. You become a purer, more integral part of the transference of energy into forward motion. The bike needs you as much as you need it. You become one beautiful, powerful expression of movement that is both practical and playful, art and science and human-powered speed.

I am going to be doing a lot more fixed gear riding...and turning other people on to the joy of riding a pure bicycle. Come on and join me.


PS. By the way, my FeelMax Niesas (soon to be available in the US) are excellent bicycle shoes. They work well with my Power Grip High Performance Pedal and Strap Kit.

My new fixie.
Not my best track standing, but you get the idea.

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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Highwheeling at Volunteer Park, Seattle, WA

Finally got my 56 inch highwheel back in commission. My goal...do an Ironman as-if it were 1890...the last big year of the highwheel bicycle, i.e., only using technology readily available in 1890.

Also, I found out today that the modern 24 hour distance record is within reach, 252 miles, set by Jamie Woodward at Mackinac Island, MI. I am thinking it might be fun to give it a shot.

However, apparently the real 24 hour record was set in 1887 by a 5' 6" 147lb rider named Stillman G. Whittaker a 19th century highwheel bicycle and early safety bicycle champion. He rode 323 miles in 24 hours on the road on his highwheel.

It turns out that the record was set by a Czech rider and highwheel bicycle builders, Josef Zimovčák, in 1996. He covered 324.67 miles (officially measured), breaking a record held for over 109 years!

Updated March 17th, 2009
It looks like in 2002 Manfred Cizek of Vienna, Austria broke Josef Zimovčák's 1996 record of 324.67 miles ridden in 24 hours. Manfred seems to have ridden 339 miles on a highwheel in 24 hours!

I am deeply intrigued by the athletes of the Victorian Age. Pushing the limits of what was possible on machines that were the cutting edge of technology. What a time.

I believe it is a better way to cycle, more comfortable, more analogous to walking or running, more upright, more human.

BFT...looking for a sponsor for his 1890 Ironman dream...


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Sunday, May 11, 2008

Skateboarding and FiveFingers...duh!!!


Thanks to James Peter's of PavedWave.org for inspiring me to reignite my skateboarding passion. Visit his website to read about his amazing feats of long distance skateboarding (known as long-distance-pumping or LDP), including world record 24 hour distance rides. He currently has given me a loaner to use. I am burning it up!!!

The board is a Subsonic Pulse 40, essentially a handmade longboard. It is a magical thing...being able to tranfer pumping motion into forward momentum.

Volunteer Park, Seattle...Pushing

Yes, muscle memory is real. Yes, barefoot is best for balance sports. Yes, Vibram FiveFingers make a lot of sense for skateboarding.

from the www.northwestlongboarding.com forum:

Thanks to Shane and volunteers and sponsors for putting on this event (the Seattle Push Race, May 10th, 2008)

I think I found out about it yesterday (or the day before) from James.

Very inspired by James' pursuit of long distance and 24 hour riding. I enjoy trying to push the envelope. This race and ride was like the 3rd time I had been on a board for any time in over 25 years!!! But I loved it.

I had to take the downhills VERY conservatively because the shoes I had on (Vibram FiveFingers) are paper thin and not great for foot braking. It also turns out I rode the board James let me borrow...backwards!!! Felt a little odd. Oh well. Still made 8th place. Not bad for an old fart like me.

My quads were burning during that race. I definitely need to learn to push with either leg.

Look forward to seeing any photos, especially showing my FiveFinger shoes. I want to send them to the company and suggest they do something about making a skate shoe. I really do think that a lot of flexibility in the foot is good for balance and helps make the foot strong...do what it does best. I really am not a fan of these huge, heavy shoe-boats that are the rage for most skaters these days...at least for pushing on flat surfaces and pumping.

I have a lot to learn about skating these days. I have never seen so many DIFFERENT kinds of boards and wheels and trucks!!! Too much for my old-man head to take in all at once. Some sort of skateboard renaissance seems to be happening.

The downhill and slalom era came and went pretty quickly in my day (mid to late 70s). We got a taste for pools and the world changed and I've got scars and brain damage to prove it...we didn't wear helmets much...

So, thanks again. Hope to be out there riding for 24 hours next month and see if I can break 100 miles or more.

Barefoot Ted

PS. Make sure you ride with a HELMET (I have one now) and other protective gear. It is well worth it. The only downside to skateboarding for older riders is the unfriendly feel of pavement on the falling body!

PSS. The idea of barefooting and skateboarding and FiveFingers is cropping up here and there. Check out this post on the Paved Wave Forum, click here.

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Friday, May 09, 2008

Volunteer Park, Seattle - Barefooted

Arigato Noguchi-san - Black Sun

My explorations of Seattle include spending a lot of time in Volunteer Park in the Capitol Hill section of Seattle. It is an ideal playground, even for 43-year-old kids like me. Things to climb, paths to explore, fountains, wading pools, excellent views, balancing bars and friendly people.

Hug Worthy

Upward Path Beckons

Hand Railing Fun (video below)

Tower of Power...Running
(Volunteer Park Water Tower)

Tower's Spiral Stair Master

Up, up, up. Smile. Down, down, down.

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