Tag Archives: bicycling

Impressions of “Exploring New Europe: A Bicycle Journey,” by Barry Wood

Recently I read Exploring New Europe, the story of the author’s trip from Estonia to Albania on bicycle. The trip occurs in several legs, of around a week each, between which the author returned to the United States to live and work. Unsurprisingly the easiest part of the Germany appeared to be on the modern and expansive biketrails created in the old East Germany… the hardest and most dangerous part of the journey was in Bulgaria, the “graveyard of cycling dreams.”

Most days the author journeyed between 45 and 50 miles, starting around 10 AM and finishing around 6 PM. This is a leisurely pace, and it’s inspiring to see how much of the world one can travel by bicycle. I personally appreciated the author’s use of almost no reservations in his travel — while AirBNB has changed this somewhat, the greatest adventures are the one’s you can’t find on google before hand.

Plus, the author released a youtube “trailer” for the book, which captures the spirit well:

This book was published after the recent elections, yet it feels out of time. It reminds me of the celebrations of globalization I read in the 1990s and 200s, like Tom Friedman’s The Lexus and the Olive Tree (1999) and The World is Flat (2005). Long ago a called Friedman a genius, but Friedman and his followers have not transitioned to the post-crash world. There’s a breezy attitude toward “risk” that ignores optionality. Beyond “self-confidence” or “vision,” anyone whose experienced an old Empire crumble would be rationally nervous about the future of a new Empire

I’m sure [he] would have moved ahead if he owned by B&B. He would have gotten the needed permits and bank loans for development. [The actual owner], by contract, was just holding on. He didn’t have self-confidence or vision.

Likewise, the Euro-optimism doesn’t take into effect that the European dream is dying in the west, where Britain is soon leaving the Union, and the cause of dying in the East, and the War in the Donbas drags on

Some of the countries I crossed — Serbia, Macedonia, Albania — are still knocking on the door, and Kaliningrad as part of Russia is a special case. Make no mistake, the European dream is still alive.

I enjoy bicycling and liked this book of biking adventures. It was breezy to read and balanced discussing the countries with the authors own thoughts and some details on the biking. But it doesn’t match the current concerns of Europe, or even the feel of this period of globalization (if the world is still globalizing).

I read Exploring New Europe: A Bicycle Journey in the Kindle edition.

And the Seventh Seal breaketh…

a tdaxp Special Report by “Aaron”

aaron
Aaron is a Noted Beacon of Non-Partisan Sanity

Well, a month and ten days after the invitation was extended, I decide to sully TDAXP with my presence. I’m posting in the category “Democrats,” although by rights I think I ought to make a completely new TDAXP category, say perhaps “Eat Your Fishheads” or “Things You Know are Right (Left),” but I’ll tamper with Google rank later. TDAXP has put a lot of work into his setup and I wouldn’t want to jeopardize it. Did you know it is Google Search #1 for “polar bear fetish”? Go ahead, look it up. That doesn’t happen by accident.

Anways, enough chicanery. I’ve nearly posted two or three times on various topics since Dan’s invitation to blog, but kept stopping short for fear of not enough time or not enough research to do the topic justice. So, to finally quiet him up about not publishing, and to hopefully stave off another reminder that my own precious “blog” (http://aaron.groundrocket.org) is down, I’m going to pseudo post and do better the next time. Here we go.


A Lot of People Supporting Tom Daschle… In Iowa – Daschle has been all over IA in recent months. He spoke at the annual Democrat’s Jefferson-Jackson Dinner in November and spoke again at the beginning of this month at the University of Iowa at Ames. Then, just a few days ago, went to bat for IA Governor-hopeful Chet Culver, stating “Chet is in the strongest position to be the next governor.” Why so much time in Iowa when more money could be picked up courting wealthy donors in much bluer states? Naturally, one assumes Presidential aspirations. But why no visits to New Hampshire?

John McCain – Our next president is spending a lot of time getting his name in the news on inconsequential matters. What does John McCain know about ‘ala carte’ cable television? Why does he get in a pseudo-partisan fight with Democrat wunderkind Barack Obama over how to best approach a bipartisan call for lobbying reform? Is any press good press in a Republican primary that thus far seems to be winnable on name recognition?

Abortion in South Dakota – Roger Hunt of Brandon and a number of his colleagues are sealing their political doom during our current legislative session. Another ban on abortion in this state has passed through the legislature by a large margin. This time it does contain a provision for a mother’s threatened life. Governor Rounds will likely sign. There will no doubt be a number of costly legal battles, but at least some lawyers will get rich at South Dakota taxpayer expense. Why bother ending this fight, Hunt, et al? What will you campaign on in the next election? Fiscal responsibility? Your party gave that up with Bush. Devotion to agriculture? Bush and Thune want unprofitable farming stricken from South Dakota’s subsidies list. Family values? South Dakota doesn’t care about families, only the unborn. Families are welcome to be torn apart by legal gambling, alcoholism, domestic violence, etc. as long as all children, wanted or unwanted, get a chance to grow up on the Reservation or the slums of Sioux Falls. South Dakota Republicans won the Events Center battle (rightly so) but their turnouts are going to fall dramatically if they don’t have the Pro-Life zealots holding candlelight vigils before every election.

Finally, some self-serving observation. South Dakota is about to pass a Transportation Bill that declassifies bicycles and horses as vehicles. The local news, then national, then Fark.com all came to the ( ridiculous ) conclusion that this was to allow our hillbilly ( and fit? ) alcoholics to find their way home without resorting to driving under the influence. The unintended consequence, which I believe the lawmakers have not thought through, is to endanger the rights of cyclists and equestrians on public highways. I am concerned that losing status as an automobile will place any liability for traffic accidents not on the at-fault party, but on the cyclist or horse rider. I will be very melancholy the day ( imagine Republican sneer ) “some lawyer” gets a reckless, inattentive, or just plain ignorant asshole off after he kills some bicyclist training for the Tour de Kota.

Well, I thought you could all use a break from Dan’s homework. Thanks for listening. I’ll rant more later.