Thursday, August 28, 2008

My Bicycle Routes - Mostly in Japan

I decided to create some Google "My Maps" to show the bike routes I take near my house in Yokohama, Japan. There are some really nice routes along the Sakai and Mekujiri Rivers. See them here: Rick Cogley's Bicycle Routes - Mostly in Japan.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Exporting Google's "My Maps" as KML

I have been spending some time making Google Maps in "My Maps", such as this bike route down the Sakai river, then along the Shonan coast, and back home.

Some applications, like Google Earth, use KML data to represent map routes. There is an easy link now, in My Maps, to click and open the map directly in Google Earth. But if you need the KML data for importing elsewhere, you can save it this way:

First, in one of your maps in Google My Maps, copy the URL for "View In Google Earth" by right clicking the link and copying the URL. On a mac, it's "copy link location".

Then in a blank browser window, enter the URL in the address bar:

Now change the output by switching output=nl to output=kml. Entering the URL will give an option to save. Save the KML file somewhere on your drive, and then you can import it elsewhere.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Japan Cycling Route - Totsuka, Mekujiri, Sagami, Ebina and back

This last weekend I researched and tried a new cycling route, which turned out to be about 59 km. The route goes through Totsuka, Shonandai, Up the Mekujiri River on a bike path ("jitenshado" 自転車度), across Zama to the Sagami River, Down the Sagami on some trails, and back across to the Mekujiri River bike path via Ebina. I entered the route on Google Maps so other English-speaking cyclists in Japan can enjoy it.

Riders should note, that the Mekujiri RIver Bike Path has sections where every 100 meters there is a "gate" you have to swerve through ostentatiously to keep speeds down. If you want to just ride straight and fast, the Yamato Fujisawa Jitenshado is better. Also, the Sagami River bike path is not so much bike path but rather more trail, and is still underdeveloped and so would not be appropriate for a road bike. I read online that they are building a proper bike path along the Sagami River, which is due to be complete in 2011. I tried to pick routes where if the route was along a road, at least there was a decent sidewalk available to use, for riders who are still a little nervous about riding on the road directly.


Monday, August 11, 2008

Celebrating Regiment, with Rodney Strong Symmetry

I decided to celebrate Phantom Regiment's DCI win with some Rodney Strong 2000 Symmetry, pedigree below. Man! This is good wine! Thanks Jack! Rodney Strong Symmetry 2000 - Spec Sheet

Phantom Regiment - I am Spartacus!

Phantom Regiment - Drum & Bugle Corps won the 2008 DCI Drum Corps International Championship yesterday with a evocative, powerfully emotional show based on the story of Spartacus, the gladiator and slave-leader who led an army of slaves against Rome in the Servile Wars. The 1960 movie with Kirk Douglas has a famous scene that has been quoted and parodied, where the Romans demand Spartacus come forward, and his fellow slaves say "I am Spartacus" to try to sacrifice themselves to protect their leader.

Regiment did not represent the mass crucifixion on the Appian Way, but did use stylized, theatrical violence in an operatic way, to show the tension between the Romans and the slaves. Their entrance to the field was epic, with "slave-master" hornplayers mimicing the brutal treatment slaves received at the hands of their Roman captors. The drum major Will Pitts was even wheeled out on his conductor's podium, as though it was a chariot or throne and he was the Roman Emperor.

There was love, there was betrayal, there were changing loyalties, and there were murders. Words don't describe it, so perhaps join DCI's Fan Network and view it for yourself.

Regiment did drum corps fans proud this season with this show, and not only won the title, but the high percussion trophy as well on awesome-sounding Dynasty equipment. Congratulations to the 2008 Phantom Regiment members and staff. Paul Rennick, I'm so proud of you - please keep producing the awesome drumlines you have been, and let me keep reliving my youth! I will never forget this show!

I am Spartacus!  

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Bicycle Training Log

I bought a new Centurion bike last winter, and have been riding regularly. Decided to keep a log of my travels and hopefully chart any progress. Usually I ride down the "Fujisawa Yamato Jitenshado (cycling road)" to Enoshima, round to Kamakura and back home via Ofuna. It's a good trip for me, at about 35 km depending on which route I take.

When I look at the average times of the Tour de France riders, I am humbled. They are incredible athletes, averaging something like 38 to 40 kph on the stages. Lance Armstrong averaged something like 40-plus kph over a whole tour, which means he was probably doing 30 uphill and 60 down. Wow!

Friday, August 01, 2008

21 Years in Japan

Today marks my 21st anniversary of coming to Japan! I've officially spent half my life here, and things are going well!