Working Man’s Blues

“Plans are worthless, but planning is everything.”

Dwight D. Eisenhower

I did another stint as a bicycle guide over this past week — this time, and rather unexpectedly, as the “ride leader”. I think I did well enough and liked it for the most part, and I think the riders got a pretty good experience out of it, but I also think I’ll not be doing that again anytime soon. Lesson learned: I like riding, and riding with other people, but I am not as comfortable schmoozing as I thought I’d be, and I absolutely hated feeling responsible for people and situations over which I didn’t have much control.

What I did enjoy, strangely enough, is what I always enjoy: planning bike rides using map and database software. I started this particular ride-mapping project a few years ago. Rides, routes and alternate routes; points of interest and local trivia along the ride; ride logistics like bathroom locations and transportation times between the base and the start/finish — I stuffed it all into a database and managed the whole thing with QGIS. That was all well and good, but then it sat moribund over the COVID hiatus.

As this new ride season approached I cleaned up and updated my project. Maybe this was really just the “fantasy football” or cosplay of the bike-guide biz, but it did come in handy after some local trails got wrecked by recent storms: I had backup rides already on deck, and enough information in my head to make plenty of other sudden changes “on the fly.”

It seems a shame that I no longer have a use for my toy. We’ll see, maybe it can be the basis for some other project.