How to follow the Tour de France online

How to Follow The Tour De France Online from the Wired How-To Wiki.

The 2009 edition of the Tour de France — the premiere event on the pro cycling calendar and the oldest of the three grand tours — kicks off Saturday, July 4 with a short time trial in Monaco. If you’re lucky enough to live in France, Italy or Monaco, you can follow the three-week race from town to town in person. The rest of Europe can enjoy live coverage on the Eurosport network, and North Americans can watch daily reports on the cable network Versus.

American Lance Armstrong is racing again in 2009 after three years in retirement, so most everyone in the world can count on a nonstop barrage of Lance-related coverage from all the major news outlets.

But the Tour is about a whole lot more than Lance. Luckily, your best friend the internet has dozens of ways you can keep up with all the sprints, climbs, crashes and breakaways in the Grande Boucle without having to dig too deep.

Social media and the Tour de France

It’s no secret that Lance Armstrong is riding the Tour de France this year. He’s been all over the media and the web. He’s got a huge following on Twitter, and he is getting tons of comments on his TDF training videos and training blog. So what’s the big deal about using video and twitter and other social tools? Well, if you’ve ever heard anything about the Tour de France, or pro cycling in general, you probably know that the support is not without controversy. Every year, riders are disqualified for blood doping or using banned substances. The race officials have started really cracking down in recent years, yet there are riders (or teams) who choose to cheat. I’ve been a follower of Lance on Twitter for quite some time, and I believe that he is using it, and other social tools, to be more transparent about his training, his life, his Livestrong organization, and his life in general. Below are a couple of really cool videos from his website which show the human side of Lance. In both cases, we have a world famous athlete talking with everyday folks while riding his bike. It’s often hard to think of athletes or celebrities as real, approachable people, but I think the videos below show the Lance is a person on a bike, not a machine.

I’ve written recently about the importance of putting pictures of staff on librarywebsites. I really think that social tools like online video can help to personalize the library website and make it more approachable. Video and pictures from staff members can make the library more welcoming by breaking down the barriers and fears that users may have of the organization. By showing the people behind the institution, libraries can make their sites, buildings, and services more accessible.

Take a look at the videos below.

A video of Lance riding a TDF training route with an 8 year old boy


liamlivestrong.MP4 — powered by http://www.livestrong.com

A video of Lance talking with a lady from Ohio on the TDF route


ohioguest.mp4 — powered by http://www.livestrong.com

I rode Cable Lane and I lived to tell about it

Image from CyclePath website
Image from Athens Cycle Path website http://www.athenscyclepath.com/LocalplacestorideCABLE.html

This past Saturday morning I got out very early on my bike for a nice 26 mile ride with 1882 feet of climbing. I climbed one of the toughest hills in town, and I lived to tell about it.  If you’re interested in more about the ride, take a look at the most recent post from my bike blog.

So where did all the bike stuff go?

Click to go to my cycling blog
Click to go to my cycling blog

In a previous post, I mentioned that I would likely start posting more about my cycling endeavors.  However, with some more reflection, and with some advice from other librarians, friends, cyclists, and bloggers, I’ve decided that I would go the two-blog route.   There are a number of cycling-specific blogs that I have admired and read for quite a while, and having a cycling-specific blog seemed like the best way for me to keep track of my adventures in riding my bikes.   Librarians likely don’t want to read about every single cycling workout on the indoor trainer, or the latest technology behind spandex shorts.  Likewise, cyclists probably don’t want to read about using a wiki as a subject guide, twitter for library outreach, information literacy, or my experiences in the classroom giving bibliographic (gasp!) instruction. As such, Library Voice,  will continue to be a blog devoted to my observations about libraries and technology, with the occasional talk about video games thrown in for good measure.   My other blog will focus specifically on my goal to ride the Tour de France  ;)  .  I realize that this is my blog, and I can write about whatever I want, but I’d like to maintain some consistency in the post topics.  Having two blogs should make it easier to rationalize what kind of content goes where.  Likewise, having two blogs means yet again that my content is all over the place, but I guess that’s the way things go.

I’ve received several positive comments from librarians and readers of this blog who say they appreciate the posts about cycling, as they give them some insight into my non-professional interests.   In order to link the Librarian Chad with Bike Rider Chad, I may occasionally post a digest of blog posts in Library Voice, which link back to my cycling blog.

If you’re interested in biking, I encourage you to subscribe to my cycling blog, which is currently located at redneckinspandex.wordpress.com.  I may eventually move the blog to my own web host, but for now you can find it on the wordpress.com domain.

Thanks for reading and happy riding!

Athens Trail Ride

resting in front of a sign on the Athens Trail
resting in front of a sign on the Athens Trail

Today was my first trail ride of the season. I started at Grover Center and rode through campus to the Bike Path. I then took the Bike Path to Sells Park (about 2.8 miles). I decided to take the Rockhouse Trail to the Athens Trail, down to East State Street, back to the Bike Path, and back to Campus. There were several places that I had to get off and walk on the Rockhouse Trail. I’m needing to ride a lot more to get my lungs in a bit better shape. While I’ve been doing interval training at the gym, I still got really, really winded on a few of the hills. Also, with the spring rains, a few places on Rockhouse were quite boggy. Next time I may just stick to the Athens Trail, unless we’ve had dry, sunny weather for a good solid week or more.

I also got a nice flat on the ridge just past the Rockhouse/Athens Trail intersection. I must have landed a nice thorn, as air was spewing out of my tire. I also apparently broke a spoke. Thanks to my Eagle Scout tendencies, I had a spare tube and a pump, so I fixed the tube in about ten minutes. I’ve had quite a bit of practice changing flats in the last few months, so I’ve got the routine down.

The entire ride was about 12 miles round trip, with about seven miles on pavement. I thought I would try the route to see if I could get over the the trails on my lunch break and back in an hour. With the flat and my walking, it turned out to be two hours. I guess that gives me something to work for. Next time I’ll try the Athens Trail and loop back to Sells Park via one of the bailout trails. That would make the ride shorter, but perhaps make it easier to get back under 60 minutes.