In the summer of 2012 I attempted to bike across America. It was a thrilling and amazing experience, and despite the fact that I didn’t make it all the way across I have no regrets whatsoever. This past summer the journey continued, this time with my friend Grace.
alternate title: Lookout! A Weekend Getaway to Cape Lookout
This past weekend I passed a milestone of training for the Big Adventure: I rode approximately 100 miles from my home in Portland, OR to the Pacific coast on Cape Lookout. The route I took went through some really beautiful country, including an Oregon Scenic byway along the Nestucca River and the Oregon Coastal Highway (101). This trip offered me the chance to test various aspects of myself and my gear that need to be in working order for me to bike halfway across the country in three weeks…
Perhaps the most impressive moment of my college education was this: I was sitting in my sophomore Thermodynamics course, and the professor–a tall athletic man who coached grade school basketball in his off hours–was telling us about engine cycles and “input vs output”. Some systems had an open loop–the energy leaving the system was lost to the outside world and the energy entering the system came from some unknown source–and some have a closed loop–at least some of the energy leaving the system goes right back in at the beginning. At the end of the lecture he brought the point into a real-life context, with this advice: “take all of your old, graded homeworks and quizzes and put them in a binder. That way, when you study for the next homework or quiz, you have your old mistakes to learn from. This is the difference between ‘open loop’ and ‘closed loop'”. Open-loop students will take an exam, get a grade, and put it in a pile they never again look at. Closed-loop students will study their mistakes and correct them. Lately I’ve been evaluating my recent and future journeys through this lens.