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[Table] My name is Paolo Cattaneo. 5 years ago I quit my job, sold everything I had and embarked in a trip around the world on a motorcycle. Rode for almost 185000 km. Still going! Here to answer question about self sustained living on the road and long distance solo travelling. AmA! (pt 3 FINAL)

2020.09.08 23:02 500scnds [Table] My name is Paolo Cattaneo. 5 years ago I quit my job, sold everything I had and embarked in a trip around the world on a motorcycle. Rode for almost 185000 km. Still going! Here to answer question about self sustained living on the road and long distance solo travelling. AmA! (pt 3 FINAL)

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What a wonderful story! I was wondering how much km you travel a day/ hours you are on your way? You really should start a YT channel with your adventures man, a guy on a motor driving through the world, and the lessons you learned, are definitely worth it! Hello! I don't ride everyday. I did estimated an average of 200km per day though. More or less.
I will see what I can do with this yt thing. Thanks for the advice! 😊👍
Do you have plans on when this will end and if you intend on returning to work do you worry about the perception on this time by employers? I guess, I also want to ask if you have concerns about whether you think you could adapt to fulltime work again or you'd struggle mentally now? Not sure if i can go back to a 9-5 life but I really don't care right now about future employment opportunities. I believe that the world is filled with lots of people with certificates and degrees and professional expertise...but there are not so many with unique life experiences. I hope employers will look at the individual more than the hours i spent behind a desk, when the time will come.
So are you going to end up in an even crappier job after abandoning all of your responsibilities like this? Haha who knows! What I know is that whatever job you do...it is still a job. More money means more responsibilities but at the end of the day, a job is a job. It's the meaning that changes your life. It's the why you do what you do, that drives you. Not necessarily the job you perform. We all end up in the same place...so I will do whatever job makes me happy when the time comes.
Hey op... If you're still answering questions I'm curious as to...What do you do to entertain yourself when you're tenting every night? I can imagine there's much internet connection in the middle of nowhere in Canada. Read a lot of books or something? Not answering questions anymore, but this is an excellent one, that deserves a reply. Well, if you are camping in the wild, definitely there would probably be no internet access. I usually write my thoughts and daily events on a notepad. It s hard to find time to do that, so when you are alone in your little tent waiting for the night to come, getting your thoughts out on a paper usually helps the catharsis. I am not much of a reader...but sometimes a good movie (i may have some stuff saved previously on hard drives or netflix offline) could kill the extra hour you get before falling asleep. I mean, usually it's just such a pity to ruin the silence with music and images...so most of the times i fall asleep as soon as I lay horizontally. Other times, the writing thing helps soothe the adrenaline of the day and calm you enough to fall asleep too. Sometimes organizing takes a bit of time or taking care of the bike can take some time as well.
This was one of my favorite AMAs. Thank you for doing this. Where did you stay in Greece and while in quarantine did you At least get to leave at all or were you confined to your apartment? Spent 3 months in Crete! Amazing island! Government started to ease up the lockdown only after the first month. We did only had 7 cases in the whole island so i got a great deal with my choice of location! I managed to explore the whole island by the end of it.
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That place is amazing. It’s one of my favorite islands in Greece. If you ever have a chance check out Milos and Naxos. Yes! I almost went to Milos! And Naxos looked like a true paradise. You guys are blessed with natural beauty!
Wow I’m really impressed and inspired! I am currently planning a solo trail trip across the US, (and hopefully further) it’s been my dream for forever! Can you just break down for me a couple things? Ok, like what are some absolutely essential items you carry that most people wouldn’t think of? Besides the basics like fire starter, tent/tarp, thermal clothing etc. Next, how would you respond to a crisis or threat on the road that normally wouldn’t occur in a conventional lifestyle? Like authorities fuccin with you or wild animals attacking or something? One concern I have is that people may look down upon me for my lifestyle choice and use that as an excuse to treat me badly. I mean, some people already kinda do and I haven’t even left yet. (Even if everybody did I would still go cause HAHAHA fucc it) Anyway, another question-What is the best part of your travel lifestyle so far? I imagine it’s a lot of fun, (although still intensely difficult) and that tramps have found a lot of interesting ways to spend their free time. EDIT: AHH sorry one more I forgot! What are your favorite spots around the world but especially the US that you think are worth seeing? (any other tips/pointers/things to remember that you can think of are welcome too) THANKS Ok, lots of good questions! There is no essential item to be carried that is the "magic stuff" that nobody has. Maybe Common Sense...yes. carry that with you and you ll be fine always. ;) In terms of tools, cable ties and duct tape...and I would say super glue. Everything else mate, you ll adapt or find your way around it. About crisis, like protests, riots, police messing with you...well sometimes you gotta just leave! Haha. I rode through some riots in Bolivia and I kind of snuck away...as smoothly as possible. I always use my helmet cam, as a deterrent for police. If they are trying to get some money out of you, the "I am recording you" effect sometimes could make them change their mind. Also, I would make plastified copies of your driver license and bike docs, just in case you find some dodgy road blocks on your way. In case they withheld your stuff, you can just leave without having them keeping you hostage with your papers.
Most of the times you'll be fine though. Those are rare occasions anyway. And so wild animal encounters. When I went to Alaska, a friend gave me a bear spray. Never use it. Just keep your food away from your tent. Again, common sense works better than any weapons.
My favourite spot in the US was Sequoia NP. But I really loved the high deserts of Nevada and also New Mexico. So much good stuff to see in the US!
The best part of this lifestyle is the fact that you are free to do whatever you want everyday... And this is also a huge advantage that comes only travelling alone. All those "haters" will disappear as soon as you are gone from their sight. Your life is yours and you can do whatever you want with it. Only people that have some personal issue will try to diminish what you are trying to achieve. Others will just project their fears to you. In any case, you gotta go your own way and be focused on what you are trying to achieve.
Was it expensive shipping your bike? Also any trouble getting into other countries crossing the border? The shipping from Australia to South america was quite dear. I remember paying $2400 AUD. Not sure if it's expensive or not...but they did take care of almost everything. From Canada to Ireland instead i flew with Air Canada Cargo which had a special $1500 USD for the bike and myself. A bargain!! No troubles at the borders
How does it feel living life just visiting countries. No 9-5 whatsoever, no bills, no worries at all, just you and your motorcycle? People say that Sex or food is the best feeling in the world. I think that Riding your motorcycle freely around the world, tops it all.
I cannot imagine myself traveling without internet access. Do you have worldwide roaming? Do you get a SIM in every country? It's unthinkable nowadays to NOT have internet access. With local and cheap Sim card you can get data everywhere really and most countries in SA have sometimes free wifi around town and in gas stations. You'll be just fine.
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Thanks for your reply! So I assume that with limited/spotty data, you were relying mostly on offline maps and navigation. Any tip on what's best for this kind of traveling and exploration? there are some useful travel app like maps.me, gmaps and iOverlander. have a look at it. lots of good info.
I also have a 2013 KTM 1190 Adventure, but the R version. I also love my bike and stoked to hear how reliable it’s been for you! What repairs have you had to do along the way? What repairs!! Haha bike has been exceptional. I only had to repair seals and moving parts (chain, sprokets, etc). Water pump seals have to be replaced around 85k km and i had a oil temp sensor failure at 140k km. Most people don't get that far with their miles...but if you do, make sure to check your water pump seals. Most parts are available in capital cities in any country. Others, you just have to have those shipped to you or plan in advance (for tyres for instance). Pretty doable overall.
What does a legitimate Italian pizza look and taste like compared to western pizza? Italian pizza is better because of mozzarella and tomato sauce that they use when making it. Top quality stuff. Aside from that, pizza is good wherever. It depends also on how you like your pizza.
I hope to have the courage to also do something like this. What are some valuable things you’ve learned about solo travel? Things you wished you knew starting off. We tend to overthink a lot of stuff that eventually never happen. We always have fears that stop us...but in reality, all those bad thought are simply possibilities that may actually never really happen. So, yeah...do more and worry less is certainly something I learned the hard way
Do you ever have any regrets? Lately I have been good in that sense. But maybe one day I ll wake up and have some...for not chosing the standard path of the average guy with wife and kids.
Maybe a bit of a selfish question but do people in N. America have trouble pronouncing your name? My Italian-American husband and I named our 5 month old Paolo. We live in Brooklyn so most people around us don't have an issue but I am not sure what it will be like if we ever move somewhere else or when he starts school. Also it's a beautiful name and I'm going to make sure to show our son your photos when he is old enough to understand travel and places and different people. :-D BEST QUESTION EVER! ahha
your son is going to have a tough time in an english speaking country! haha Jokes aside, the sound "Pao" doesn't really exists in english speaking people's head...so most of the time I get called Paulo...or Pablo. Which is fine to me. But the correct pronunciation is Pà-olo with emphasis on the first syllable. I switched to Paul many times...
But aside from USA, Canada, UK, Australia and South Africa, your son will be just fine!
Also make sure he knows the the origins of the meaning of his name. Paolo was one of the closest friends of Jesus. His real name was Sauro, which means "the greatest", but then, after befriending Jesus, he changed his name in Paolo, which comes from the latin word Paulus, that means "small, tiny". I am not religious, but Indeed this story tells a bit of the significance of being humble.
U/paolo_0 what about sex and romantic relationships- friendships too. Do you maintain any relationships? If so, how do you maintain them? The romantic factor is almost inevitable when travelling so extensively. Eventually every traveller has a romantic affair with somebody that he/she met on the way. Weather is a local or another traveller, it is our natural tendency to mate, so...yeah. Kind of a tricky one! I personally tend to avoid to get into serious situations because my lifestyle is simply not compatible with conventional standards of monogamous relationships. The curse of the traveller is that you always have to leave...so it is counterproductive to get close to somebody and then drag that feeling for months, with you on the road. In my opinion it shifts the paradigm of travelling towards a specific and more visceral feeling of reuniting with a person that most likely is not going to be on your planned route.
Anyway, said this, i did have a long distance relationship before starting this trip and it sucked! Haha Hence I tend to avoid to make the same mistakes twice. But also...you can never plan when to fall in love. Sometimes it just happens and you gotta roll with it. It hurts and it may even change your plans. Eventually one has to choose between the new person and the continuity of your solo trip.
what country did surprise you the most (good or bad) with their roads? did you come to Portugal? what did you dislike the most I loved Scotland! I had a great deal of luck with the weather...so that may have played a role. I did come to Portugal and it actually surprised me a lot!! Absolutely loved it! No wonder all retirees from europe want to move there! Algarve was spectacular. Loved Porto too.
Hello! First off, this is incredible, and a dream of mine. Unfortunately i'm an american with a crap load of college debt! I read your other answers and I just had a couple questions! 1. You mentioned your first night camping in a campground, and how it wasn't the best setting. As time went on did you just start setting up on the side of the road? or were there any other challenges finding camping spots when there wasn't a campsite hostile friends couch etc? 2. How safe did you feel when you were mostly alone camping in between citys/towns? Thank you so much for doing this AMA, hopefully one day I can do this! Hey! I am aware of how the US system sucks you in a world of debts but... I hope you will one day break free from it.
After my first night camping, I switched to couchsurfing and hostels right away. I was terrified of camping! ahha Then, one day I found a spot that was too beautiful to leave. I was by myself and It was quite remote. The balmy temperatures, the starry night and the beautiful sunrise over the ocean made me reconsider camping. After few more attempts I found out that camping in the wild was waaay better than sleeping in a crappy hostel or at some stranger's home. More privacy, quieter and cheaper too! Luckily for me, I had lost my camping virginity in Australia, one of the best and safest countries for camping in the world in my opinion. You are by yourself most of the times. Half of my trip around Australia I slept on the side of the road or in the bushes. I became an expert in starting small fires and cooking with no utensils. I realized that the "danger" in terms of safety for me and my motorcycle was directly related to the amount of people around me. So, the more desolated the area, the safest. Cities are clearly the opposite. Thanks for your questions.
I've been following your IG for about a year now I think, and I'm totally jealous. You've answered a few questions of mine on there, but I've got one for this AMA. Has KTM reached out to you for any kind of buyback type of deal for the bike, or any "free" stuff? Are they even aware? Do they care? I mean you're doing great advertising for them. I think I read something not too long ago where a man had a million-mile Honda Goldwing that Hinda wanted to buy back from him for research or something. Nope. KTM hasn't got in touch with me about bike endorsement. Saying this, tbe guys at KTM canada helped me a lot in servicing the bike while I was in Montreal.
KTM and Honda, or BMW have thousands of loyal customers that used their machines for long time. But they are not really obliged to reach out and saying "Thanks, here s a new bike". It would be a loss for them to give you free stuff.
What would you say is the key to happiness? I believe that to realise that we are insignificant and that nothing is meant to come our way, is the paradigm that we need to have to improve our sense of happiness. I found out that our constant sense of being unaccomplished comes from the high expectations that society places in our mind. We need to get always bigger, better, more stuff...but in reality it's an ephemeral race against ourselves. When you realise that we are just a little grain of dust, floating in the universe and that we matter little or nothing at all in this universe, everything coming your way becomes a gift. I found out that having less makes me happier and less worried.
I am not sure if this is the KEY to happiness for everybody, but I believe that keeping your feet on the ground, helps a great deal.
Sorry if this is a stupid question, but what kind of bank account do you have? Is it one that can be used internationally? And have you had any problems with converting your money to the currency of whatever country you’re in? Also what kind of a drone and phone do you have? Do you use your phone for most of your IG pics or your drone? I have citybank account and debit card that can be used internationally. I mostly withdraw money from ATMs and use paypal for online transactions.
Never had problems in converting into local currency.
I have a DJI Mavic Air and a Samsung Galaxy S9. I mostly use my phone for my photography, but these days, it is plenty in terms of resolution and image quality, if you share your content on social media. Occasionally I had some photos taken with a DSLR.
I have been following you on Instagram before. We have had very short conversations few times. Remember the dog which was chained all the times for more than a decade in the island in Greece? Any news from it? Do you plan on starting a patreon account so you can earn money on the way? And how hard is it now in the pandemic? Hey there!! Unfortunately that dog is still chained there. I spoke with several dog rescue centers and they couldn't do much about it. Ignorance is not curable Unfortunately.
I am not sure. Should i start a patreon account?? Asking people for money? Mmm Not quite there yet.
In planning for the trip, do you think about and have a backup plan for medical emergency or if you are jailed in some remote location? For example, money to bribe you out of a situation at a border or caught speeding. Accident and hospital stay. Also, was language a major barrier during the trip? Wow. Nope. Did not think about those things...haha but maybe I should have had! I do have a travel insurance that cover accidental hospitalization. Language wasn't a major deal breaker for me since i speak spanish and portuguese. Otherwise english is pretty common nowadays
Do you get lonely? Sometimes. When I do, I use reddit. ;) Jokes aside, I actually appreciate the time when I am truly alone. Finding those moments is a rarity, these days.
I also quit my job and sold everything. For me, it was to leave Canada and move to Tahiti. Isn't it liberating and freeing to give everything up to start over? Its not easy to give up everything for a calculated risk. For some it turns out poorly, but for others, its the best decision they have ever made. I've never seen anybody giving it a shot and turning out with something less. You always learn something about yourself...and it's always a great thing to clean up and start fresh!
Kudos to you, mate! You got sick waves there! ;)
Care to share your favorite recipe? Thai papaya salad. Shred green papaya, 1 carrot, 6 green beans. Prepare dressing with fish sauce, teaspoon of sugar, garlic (a lot), chili (a lot), and maybe 3-4 lime juices. Add few dried small shrimps and few sliced cherry tomatoes if you want, to garnish. Add a handful of peanuts.
How do you carry/retrieve money? I know in the US and such you can just go to an ATM or a bank, but in South America was it easy to withdraw your money? Did you have to pay much in fees? And I don't know if it is appropriate to ask if you carry a lot of cash with you haha It is the same everywhere in the world. there are bank circuits like MAESTRO or CIRRUS or VISA or MASTERCARD which are available worldwide. You can get money out of ATMs sometimes without fees if banks are affiliated.
Do you battle with a sense of purposlessness or dislocation? I clearly felt a sense of lack of purpose when I was living my normal life. A job sometimes absorbs you but doesn't really give you a reason to live. After my travels I can say that I found a new meaning to my life. I don't think I have to procreate...of find a partner. I think solitude and this kind of life suits me and gives me purpose, better than the one I had before to be honest.
Hey man I REALLY love what you do and I'm thinking of doing the same. I live in Greece and the idea of travelling around the world like this gives me goosebumps. Can you share some hot tips that you wish you knew before you started? Hey mate!! I love Greece! You guys have it good over there for riding! I wish I knew how little you really need to travel around. The secret is exactly to carry as little as possible. The lighter the better.
I've always wanted to do something like this, however it would be on foot. Do you think it would be significantly harder to do so, should I think about taking a car or bike with me? One of my inspiration is this japanese guy that I almost met in Ushuaia. Incredible story. He walked...from alaska to ushuaia. 6 years. Unbelievable adventure and definitely made mine look like too easy! Haha Look him up on facebook! Masahito Yoshida
By your own experience, do you think it would be safe enough to do this as a solo young woman? As I met several other solo travellers, including women, which share with me their personal experiences, I can say that it is indeed safe to travel alone as a woman.
What of your original motorcycle is left? Considering you would have undoubtedly had to have replaced bits Bike is still in original shape and form. Replaced the windshield and some inner plastics. But most of it is still the same. Never touched the engine
How much did you pay for your motorcycle? I bought it in December 2014. It was second hand. Had only 700 km on it though. Paid $19k Australian. You do the math in your currency. I saved for 8 months and sold my old bike to be able to buy it.
What about love? Do you sometimes feel like you would like to have someone with you on your trip? Nah. I am good. I thought about rescuing a stray dog or cat a couple of times...
Did you ever read Jupiter's Travels, or meet Ted Simon? Nope. But I heard it's a great book. He's one of the first guys that went around the world in modern times...
Why such a high performance motorcycle? I just bought my dream bike. the trip came afterwards...and I just used the bike I had.
What do you want written on your tombstone? I want to be cremated and thrown into the ocean. No engraving required. ;)
I plan to go on a motorcycle adventure in South America in the near future and I have to ask: were you afraid at any point? I live in Brazil, which is a very dangerous country, I ride mostly in my own city but sometimes I find myself very afraid, and there are places that I don't dare to go. I often wonder how would I deal with these problems being thousands of miles away from home. Yes mate. Brazil was probably the spookiest country I rode through in latin america. But danger is mostly concentrated in big cities, as you know... South america is pretty safe and generally speaking people will be more willing to help you than harm you. Do not worry too much. I was concerned about my safety too before my departure but then i realized that tv and news just gave me the wrong idea.
Haven’t seen this asked.... Do you carry a weapon? Have you ever been in a dangerous situation with thugs? I do not carry weapons. I am against weapons in general, but being from Europe this is kind of the way we grow up here. I assume you are from the USA... But no, there is no need to protect yourself till the point you have to risk your life to do it. If somebody wants to take my stuff and has a gun, I will happily give my stuff to him/her. It's just stuff. I wouldn't shoot anybody anyway.
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I am from the USA! We clearly have a stereotype if me simply asking about a weapon gives it away lol 😅 Im happy you haven’t been put in a situation with the wrong people. Thanks for taking the time to do this AMA. Your life is quite fascinating and I admire your ability to break from the norm and take such an adventure that this beautiful world has to offer :) I hope you didn't take my comment in a negative way. I love USA and I've travelled throughout the country, other than living in it for few years. I met incredibly inspiring people and i ve also learned so much from your way of living. I do understand the reason behind carrying a weapon. It makes sense there. USA is a massive country and there is a sense of need of protecting yourself in many ways. In most of USA people grow up with weapons because...of hunting! It's part of the culture and I respect it. Considering also that you are allowed to carry a weapon and shoot for self defense in many states... But around the world we just assume nobody has a weapon...so yeah, it works either way.
PuggerHugger123: Are you still using your Australian license plate? Im assuming you might get issues at borders or weird looks from people in different countries. I live in europe and our license plates have a letter representing our country (as you have probably seen). I have also seen some non-EU license plates from eastern europe, but thats it... mccannisms: I was wondering this too - I was told to not bring my bike from Canada to Aus permanently as part of the roadworthy involves checking the frame by drilling into it and would possibly completely damage said frame. How does insuring a bike for international travel work? Ok, I still have my NSW license plate on. People don't care. At the border they just check if the name on your bike papers is the same on your driver license/passport. If so, you are good to go. You can import ANY vehicle in Australia I believe as far as you owned the vehicle at least for one year. Then there is the inspection and everything, but if there is a similar vehicle already in the country, it doesn't need to be tested for "roadworthiness". As per insurance, you have to get one for every country you enter. Except EU where you get the "Green card" which is valid for all Eu countries.
A guy I used to work with Peter Corboy did this back in the 2000's. You know him? Sorry, I do not know him.
Hey mate, really nice to read your story and the comments! I’ll be doing a similar thing in a few years, I was worried about going out on a brand new bike (Yamaha Tenere 700) absolutely love this bike but after hearing your story about going on a big ass brand new KTM you give me hope! I was worried about it possibly being stolen somewhere.. apart from parking it inside wherever possible do you have any other tips? Do you use disk lock/use a bike cover? And also.. do you not think your bike is a bit too big? Are you able to pick it up ok and does it ever limit some of the off road routes you may want to take? Really inspirational story mate.. it’s all I dream about, I’ve backpacked to like 65 countries and within the past few years realised overland motorcycle adventure is where the fun really is.. the freedom! Hey mate, congrats on your bike selection. I've heard great stuff about the T7. About the "bike getting stolen" issue...it's not really a thing. Just be careful in big cities and if if you leave it parked with your belongings on it for too long. I mean...seriously just common sense. the 1190 is big and heavy but I managed. When fully loaded it floats around 300kg so yeah...not a walk in the park... but most of the times I was fine. Just sand riding gets hard. In case, make sure you always park inside the property where you stay at night and remove all your belongings from it, even if you decide to go for hard panniers (which I don't recommend). Unfortunately, if somebody wants to steal your bike there's very little/nothing you can do about it. But again, most of the times you'll be fine.
I guess this is more of a question in general rather than specifically related to your journey on the motorcycle. But how did you manage leaving behind family and friends to pursue your own lifestyle? Im a bit envious of the whole experience, but I also can't imagine living more than 100 miles away let alone living in multiple different countries and traveling the world. Was it difficult to do? Or did your family and friends support or need you in any way that wouldn't be doable with you travelling, or was it simply "this is what I want" and you go do it without much of a care? It is hard to leave your family and lifelong friends behind to pursue a dream...but it is the price to pay for these kind of experiences.
Sometimes it s hard to be by yourself and to realize that you are alone, far away from people who love you and support you no matter what...but it is also a forging experience to be so exposed. It builds character and it allows you to become more independent, which is a key point for any kind of relationship in your life.
It is difficult and scary and all of the above. But it is a necessary process for personal growth and development.
Your family and friends will understand you...and support your choices if they truly love you.
Hey Paolo, great story and a wonderful thing to do! I also love riding trough different countries, and my big dream is it, to ride from Monaco di Baviera to SEA. So here‘s my question: how do you get all the permits for entering countries? Visa etc? Ever had any passport/visa issues? Especially with corona lockdowns? Ever entered somewhere over the green border? Do you have any kind of bike/health insurance? Have a good ride. Stay save! If you happen to be in Monaco, let me know for dinner and a bed:) Cheers mate!! If you plan on riding to SEA from here, you will need a Carnet de Passage for your vehicle. Get in touch with the automobile club of your country for more info...but it is not cheap. Visawise, as german, you won't have any issues entering countries. Simply google "visa allowances german citizens" and wikipedia will tell you what to do and how to prepare for your trip. Never had any issues at the border so far. Only in USA maybe. Haha They didn't like the fact that I wanted to tour their country for more than 3 months. I have a worldwide travel insurance with worldnomads which covers me in case of hospitalization. Bike insurance have to be issue in every country you ride in. But i think in germany there may be a worldwide insurance for motorcycles too. You need to check there. Now with covid all travels are restricted. May have to wait a bit for your adventure.
How does your family feel about feeding and housing you with the money they work for while you go ride your bike? Did you think about them when you threw your financial stability away? Would you go back to work if they threw you out on the street? Did you know that in the eyes of an employer you lose your degree when you dont use it for 4 years? And, they also won't hire you for lesser positions because you are over qualified. Thanks for your lovely question. I support myself for my travels and my family can take care of itself. I tried to send money back, but they seem to be fine without me. I do not need to be financially stable to be happy. I believe my family is ok to simply let me sleep in my backyard with my tent, in case they don't want me in their house anymore. Otherwise yeah. I may look for a job to pay rent...or a workaway experience. I do not want to work for an employer that diminishes my expertise because i decided to live my life instead of sitting in front of a computer for 4 years. I also do not have to go back to the same industry I was working before. Do i need a computer engineering degree to be a brick layer? I wont be so sure about the overqualified thing. I got hired as truck washer with my degree in engineering.
Hey man, what you are doing is cool. One small question, how about your life insurance? Since you are travelling to different countries, how do you manage it? Also, if you get a chance, go to India mate, it's one of the best things ever You can get travel insurance with worldwide coverage. Worldnomads is one of the companies that provide this kind of service.
Not knowing your lifestyle b4 this adventure, What specifically did you notice you had to adjust immediately? Protein and water obviously but what did you find you were going to really need to keep going? I actually noticed that i didn't need so much food to keep going. Water yes...but food intake could be minimized. When you don't have your 9-5 routine anymore, you can simply eat whenever you want...without fixed hours. In the long run you ll simply adapt to new food intake quantities which are usually less than a regular working man.
How do you go about servicing your bike? I change the oil in my bike every 6 months regardless of kms, sometimes its only does about 2000kms in between those services. I service my bike every 7000km. sometimes even 10000km. but my bike holds 4kg of oil in the engine so it is quite a lot. like a small size car.
Ciao Paulo; Do you think there are too many people in the world, especially with this Coronavirus breakout and all these riots taking place? Thanks, Richard There are a lot of people on this planet. Yes. Maybe it s not a matter of overpopulation but a matter of changing the way we create resources to sustain people and our world. We certainly need to "step our game up".
Which countries in the world have you visited thus far, at least a general idea, and which are you planning to visit? Good luck on your journey! A map of my travels is visible on my profile here or on my insta.
"No mechanical or electrical issues in the whole trip." Seriously? That's amazing! Not a single mechanical issue? Zero mechanical issues. I fried my engine oil temp gauge around 140k km...but that was an easy fix. Found it used online for 40 bucks and that was about it.
How safe do you feel on your adventure? Would love to do something similar but sounds difficult as a solo woman... Please look on the internet. There are so many inspiring women out there travelling solo! Don't let misinformation deter you for chasing such a beautiful dream!
What were some of your favorite places? I'm currently on the panamerican highway with a van. Well done, mate! Cheers mate!! Well well.. baja california is a dream! Ecuador and peru are also fantastic to be done in a van. Just make sure you get to go to Chiloe and Carretera Austral in Chile. Have fun !!
Hello Paolo did you plan to write a book about your experience? I would be first in line to buy it... Reddit would probably be the first place I would advertise it to! Haha Not in my plans at the moment. Thanks for the encouragement though!
Have you ever been really scared that you've driven into a place where you could get robbed or worse? Rode through a couple of favelas in Brazil...by mistake. And yes, eventually the thought of getting stopped and "questioned" crossed my mind. But fortunately nothing happened.
What is your favorite food you ate while traveling and what's the best place you have been? I am a sucker for a good Chevice (raw seafood). Although it seems that the best chevice is Peruvian, I loved mexican one. I mean, I probably had the best one in Baja. Absolutely mind blowing.
Meat based stuff instead I have to say that Hornado in Ecuador can't be beat. Mouth watering stuff. And I am not a big fan of meat.
Have you had any negative experiences through your journey? (Violence, theft, etc) Negative experiences were maybe 1% of the whole thing. Just lessons to be learned and move on, really. Nothing really too bad.
Did you get your tools back? The one's that were stolen a while back in Vancouver? Nope. Had to buy new ones. Ouch
Did you record places you went? Photos, videos, journals, anything like that? Yes. It's all on instagram. And youtube. check it out!
Wich Latin american countries did you visit? And wich was your favorite one? Wich Latin american countries did you visit? And wich was your favorite one?
How did you manage to travel that far on a motorcycle without crashing? I did crash! Mostly while riding offroad or on sand. Got footage of that too! Haha
Australian resident? Then you'll know what "pretentious wanker" means? Fair dinkum!
do you wear “riding gear” with pads, etc. when on the motorcycle? Yes I do. But it's not absolutely necessary to do so. I rode around Australia with jeans and tshirt. Not safe, but yeah... The problem with not wearing protection is the "trip stopper" factor. Let's say you get into an accident. If nothing happens it's all good. But if you are wearing sneakers and not boots, you are most likely to hurt yourself. And that could stop your trip for a month or more. So, yeah. Not necessary, but definitely recommended
You put 180,000km on that KTM and had no mechanical issues?!?!? I know right?!?! Incredible!
Have you ever been to Estonia, are you planning on it, if not? I have few friends there actually. But now my biggest enemy is covid to be honest. I would love to visit!
Were you in Newfoundland, Canada June 2019 u/paolo_0 ? Nope! I wish though!
What do you miss the most about “normal” life? having a workout routine. I always relied on my physical condition to endure stress and fatigue...but with constant travelling I kind of lacked of physical exercise. I missed that for sure.
How painfull is your ass after a day driving? I believe I have calluses now... Ouch
How do you deal with being lonely sometimes? I chat with people. :) Sounds like a silly answer but...
You weren't around Zion in 2016 by chance? Nope.
Do you have any children? I do not. Never married
Are you on instagram? Www.instagram.com/paolocattaneophoto
How is your back? I am looking for a new one on ebay... ;)
submitted by 500scnds to tabled [link] [comments]


2020.07.14 01:40 Idontknowmuch Anti-corruption Compilation part 6

This is a compilation of all the posts by user ar_david_hh who summarises anti-Corruption news of the day along with other interesting news in one comment. It is linked from the sidebar->Interesting Threads->Anti-corruption. The list is ordered by date, newest first. Date format: D/M/YYYY. All credit goes to the sub's hero ar_david_hh
Previous compilation threads: Part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5
UPDATED DAILY

submitted by Idontknowmuch to armenia [link] [comments]


2020.07.04 10:49 Sad-Acanthisitta952 Continuation of the trip of the girl on a motorcycle in South America “They robbed four times, and once I faced armed robbery”

Continuation of the trip of the girl on a motorcycle in South America “They robbed four times, and once I faced armed robbery”
Full story here, biker girl site here
- A year ago, the circumnavigation of the world almost had to be interrupted due to the theft of documents. Was that story continued? And have you changed your strategy after the incident in Mexico? - Having pulled myself together, I realized that nothing could be decided by the nurses, and began to act actively. I was in touch with the embassy, ​​exploring options for obtaining a return certificate. In parallel with a local motorcyclist, she turned to the police, filed a theft statement, posted an ad on social networks and on the radio, distributed paper pieces with a promise of reward for any information.
They sat in ambush until the morning, talking with drug addicts, alcoholics and regulars at nearby establishments and the beach. Three days later, the owner of the cafe where I was having dinner got in touch, confusedly explaining that a thief had come to him and wanted $ 600 for my documents. They bargained up to $ 200, and the next day I had my battered Belarusian passport again. After that, I became much less likely to stay in wild places, trying to choose organized campsites or hostels. And I began to believe in miracles! - You were robbed four times, the motorcycle was damaged several times, and once you had to face an armed robbery. You did not have time to disappoint in people? Many rascals met along the way? - Absolutely not disappointed. According to my feelings, there are less than one percent of villains all over the world, and troubles often lead to meetings with completely amazing people and luck in a completely different sphere. Moreover, robberies and thefts are a rarity in our region, we are horrified and do not understand, and in Latin America this is unpleasant, but commonplace. There will always be those who work to support themselves and their families, and those who find it easier to take from another. It's just that the scales are different ... - Blitz. Which country seemed the most dangerous, and which one the most comfortable? Where else would you return, and what do you want to forget as a nightmare? “Traveling taught me to avoid extremes in judgment.” In any situation, country, person, there are always several sides, and you can not hang up labels and clearly scold or praise. In general, Japan, Australia, Europe and the United States are much calmer and safer than in Mexico, Central and South America. But no one is safe from troubles in the most statistically safe city, and there is no need to constantly live in fear, traveling to countries with an ambiguous reputation. I want to return to Australia (I have not yet been to its western part), Mexico (to celebrate the Day of the Dead) and Argentina (to once again be inspired by glaciers, mountains and wildlife, almost untouched by humans). “Quarantine and confined space have become a test” - Two years ago, when you announced your intention to make a trip around the world, the mood was over-optimistic and fighting. Has something changed since then? - I became more calm, tolerant of negativity and began to better understand myself and the world around me. When you study the cultures of different nations, your own horizons become richer and more extensive. It is much easier to cope with any life difficulties. I believe that there are no hopeless situations. It just takes more time or resources to find solutions. One of the features of post-Soviet culture is the rigor in interpreting the behavior or appearance of other people. We are used to denouncing things that we don’t understand, without thinking about what we can hurt someone. I got rid of this habit, and in my soul it became cleaner and more pleasant. - And what happened at the end of March? Facebook had two very sad posts in a row, which is unusual for peppy reports from across the ocean. “The quarantine and the enclosed space have become a test for me and hundreds of other adventure and freedom lovers. When you constantly move forward, and you are locked up, fettering all nature, it’s hard to adapt to this. I understand the seriousness of the pandemic in the world and the need for action, but I was not able to maintain a cloudless, optimistic mood. Now in Minsk it is much easier for me to breathe, you can relax a bit and recover.
“And then they asked me: did you not know that this was the boss of the local drug cartel?” - Often you write in social networks that you are lucky and that someone is watching over you. What is it about?
- I joke that I have a special talent - to get into trouble, and then easily and naturally get out of them. If we consider every visually dangerous / complex / unpleasant incident that happened to me, then after it always follows a series of events, as a result of which everything is resolved in the best way.
For example, a fall in the mountains in Mexico. I was traveling from one small town to another through a beautiful canyon. Dirt-sand road, with stones, temperature +43 degrees Celsius. Having traveled half the way, I was tired and made a mistake on the rise - I hooked a cobblestone on the bottom. The loaded motorcycle plopped down my leg, simultaneously tucking the second. On adrenaline, I pulled it out from under the coffer, ripping off my skin, and I couldn’t stand up on my own anymore. Dizzy, and pain shock prevented control of the body. I crawled under a tree and began to wait for a random car. I have a satellite device with insurance included, when I press the SOS button, a rescue helicopter should fly in, but the situation was not so critical.
After 40 minutes, a car appeared heading for the city. People from her promised to send help. Soon I heard the roar of an ATV - two men were heading towards me. One of them was in a T-shirt with the inscription “Police”, and the second was a healthy man two meters tall, with a gold chain around his neck. He easily picked up my motorcycle and rode it back to the city, and the policeman loaded me on the ATV and rode after him. Six armed men were waiting for us in the city, who escorted me to the hospital, then took me to a hotel and showed me in which cafe daily meals would be organized for me.

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They treated me like a princess! And soon it became clear why. The hotel owner casually inquired: “Don't you know what kind of people these are?” “No, but what?” “The man in orange is the boss of the local drug cartel, and the rest are his assistants. They decided that you are not a gringo and that you can be helped. ”
When I was able to walk and drive a motorcycle on my own, they helped me bring my luggage to the normal road, fed me last, and wished me luck.
There have been many such cases, so yes, I believe that I have a guardian angel who protects and looks after me, giving me the opportunity to taste the bitter taste of failure and giving me a delicious dessert afterwards.
“Should every woman have a little red dress?” Is this a fetish? Why so many photos with him?
- My red dress is not at all small (there should be a smiley face). Purchased for $ 5 at a second-hand in New York. Yes, it has become the most popular accessory in the pictures. I have four more dresses, but everyone especially likes the red one.
It's easy to lose femininity on the road. You drive a motorcycle, get covered with road dust, climb mountains, carry heavy luggage, sleep in a tent. With all this, it is difficult to maintain good appearance and hygiene. But I'm trying. I like to be a girl - despite the circumstances, put my hair in order, do not forget about manicures and pedicures. Because of this, dresses appeared in the wardrobe - motorcycle equipment gives a sense of security, but does not help in maintaining beauty.

https://preview.redd.it/if1zco24zs851.jpg?width=1400&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=ef3f710519a1aead07845a437426070fd8a73979

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![img](wlrchheazs851 " “The odometer on a motorcycle is reset to zero twice” - How is Henry doing (as a motorcyclist calls her BMW F650GS. - Approx. Onliner)? As I understand it, the odometer has already counted two hundred thousandth mark? ")
- “Henry” is doing great. I bought it with a range of 33 thousand km. To date, the odometer has already “zeroed” two times and now shows 7 thousand km. As they say, grandmother went to the store for bread ...
- A lot of posts on your Instagram are about breakdowns. Is it bored?
- It seems like a lot. If you recall all the breakdowns in two years, then taking into account the almost daily operation, the motorcycle worked perfectly. And what is very important, it is not crammed with electronics, like most completely new bikes, so it is easy to fix it. No problem finding parts.

![img](useefq8fzs851 " In Patagonia (Argentina) I saw a lot of motorcycles in 2017-2019 on services that you can’t do anything with, because the level of skill of the mechanics does not allow them to be repaired, and parts can go from Europe or Japan up to three to five months. ")
- How did you service the motorcycle and solve problems with technical malfunctions?
- My ex-husband is an excellent mechanic, and he advised me on all issues that arose. I fixed minor breakdowns on my own, and for major ones I turned to BMW branded centers or to mechanics according to the recommendations of local motorcyclists.
Sometimes I agreed that I would do everything myself, but under the supervision of a specialist. As it was, for example, in Denver. There I met Woody Witte, America’s finest spokesman on wheels. Woody is a legend: he is 78 years old and has made thousands of wheels for travelers from around the world, athletes and just motorcyclists. Another area that Woody leads is the manufacture of mechanisms that allow people with disabilities to ski, surf and any other activity. It all started with a passion for motor boats, although Woody's parents wanted to see him as a lawyer or a doctor.
You can make a movie about the history of his life. Born into the family of a German engineer in Munich in 1942. During the war, his father was sent to Poland. In January 1945, Woody's mother took him and his sister and managed to catch the last train going to Germany. The route, which usually took eight hours, stretched for eight weeks - the railway was partially destroyed. With her, the woman managed to take only documents and several silver knives and forks.
https://preview.redd.it/ei05f7hizs851.jpg?width=1080&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=c0fb291e42210222b20322952df3e41444e4977d
We got there successfully and almost missed each other with my father, who went to the station. He wanted to catch the very train on which they arrived. Woody's mother is a believer and was very upset that she could not find her favorite Bible. But miracles happen in our world. A few years later, the family moved to America, and in 1950 a parcel arrived from Woody's grandmother from Germany. It contained an old family Bible and a story about how, five years after the war, a Soviet officer knocked on the door and brought the very book with the address of the Woody family on one of the pages.
When he told me this story, his eyes sparkled with tears. In the end, Woody said that this way one person can change his attitude to an entire nation, and he gratefully recalls this noble military man. But I was distracted. Let's get back to motorcycle repair. Initially, I planned to check only the front wheel. However, Woody advised to align the back as well. Seeing my wrinkled nose, he looked at me and said, they say, if the issue is cost, then I can do half the work myself under his supervision. For the first time in her life, she removed and put back both wheels, flanged tires and learned all the secrets from maestro Woody. After adjusting the knitting needles and all the magic manipulations, my “Henry” rode as well as ever before.
I have a very measured pace of movement, since I am almost not attached to dates. Only the first section in Russia was tense, when at the customs in Moscow for five days the equipment was delayed and the road had to be driven in order to catch a ferry from Vladivostok. Then I spent four days in a row driving more than 17 hours a day and drove 1,000 kilometers a day.
In this mode, of course, we are not talking about pleasure, but in the future everything was rich and interesting. At any moment I can stop and not go anywhere, planning and changing the route, turning onto small paths or spending the night on the shore of a lake not indicated on the map. - Which stretch of the road was the most stressful?
- There were difficult days and difficult routes. In Australia, these are sandy “washing boards” and fords after heavy rains, in Costa Rica and Nicaragua there are mountain roads to volcanoes, in Mexico there is an abundance of “sleeping policemen” of all shapes and sizes, in Argentina there are narrow rocky paths and a strong wind.
- We have wonderful roads! Just like the driving culture. Of course, compared with Japan or Australia, we are not so attentive, polite and accurate in relation to each other and the rules of the road, but if we take Latin America or Central Asia, we are very lucky with the quality of the roads and with the neighbors on the roadway.
“I don’t go to wild places, so at least once in a couple of days I’m looking for a gas station for truckers, a hostel or equipped camping. Always with you a tent, a gas burner and everything you need for an overnight stay in a camp in any weather. I mainly use the iOverlander application, which works worldwide. Sometimes I ask local residents for advice or just look for a forest clearing away from people.

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“I don’t have regular sponsors, papa oligarch or secret inheritance”
- In addition to building skills and practical details related to servicing a motorcycle, I gained the ability to invent dishes from what is available and repair anything using improvised means. The ingenuity allows you to search for non-standard solutions in almost any situation, and having an adhesive tape, a rope, a pair of clamps and a WD-40, you become almost invulnerable.
Hiking fell in love with all my heart. One of the most vivid impressions was the climb to the Akatenango volcano in Guatemala. Next to it is the fire-breathing Fuego, which refers to unpredictable volcanoes. In normal mode, he puffs and spits out a little lava and hot steam every 5-7 minutes, and in 2018 he began to actively erupt. Then 159 people died. Akatenango is his sleeping and absolutely harmless fellow, from whom I was lucky to watch a unique phenomenon all night: a powerful thunderstorm cut the sky with flashes, and several times lightning struck directly into the mouth of a fiery volcano.

Very often people in all countries of the world invited me to visit, offered overnight, treated them with delicious home-made food. This hospitality is breathtaking and tears come to my eyes. With many you part already friends forever.

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I don’t conduct bookkeeping, but I’ll tell you about the main sources of finance and the search for funds to continue the journey.
Firstly, own savings. Before the start of the world tour, I worked as a leading marketer in the field of agricultural machinery at Belagro. All earned invested in training or put off. Visas to Australia, the USA and Japan were paid, seven vaccinations were made, Carnet de passage en doune was issued, Vladivostok - Tokyo and Tokyo - Melbourne tickets were bought, new tires were bought and sent to Vladivostok, and many useful little things were purchased. It was possible to accumulate about 3000 at. e. in equivalent.
Secondly, work. I used every opportunity. For obvious reasons, I will not name the countries, but I will tell you about professions and income level.
In countries with a high standard of living, earnings reached $ 100-150 per day. I worked for a total of six months from the entire trip.
Professions:
online translator for English speaking friends; designer; painter (smart work: dusty, labor-consuming, excellent team, invaluable experience); handyman on a swimming pool construction + gardening and cleaning (heavy physical labor, good pay, interesting employer); cleaning lady (the most exhausting, nervous, sometimes absolutely thankless job, six days a week from morning to night, but with decent pay). Where to look for a job? Everywhere. Communities of Russian immigrants in social networks, ads on the streets, polls all around. If you really want and are ready to work hard, and not to beg, then you will succeed. If you can work remotely, agree. You can also work for free in exchange for food and shelter.

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Thirdly, sponsorship. I sent out over a hundred letters. Alas, the majority does not know such a country as Belarus, and does not consider our market interesting for moving through the ambassador. But thirteen companies believed in me by offering a product partnership (provision of spare parts, equipment, equipment), and two companies - one-time financial support. All these fifteen organizations took part in the branding of motorcycle equipment.
Fourth, the donation system. I myself supported many travelers before the start of the round-the-world trip, and that's why I decided to make such a page on the site. In each country I carry out the action "Live card in exchange for absolutely any size donation." I believe that this is a mutually beneficial exchange, I am incredibly grateful to all my friends, family and many who are not familiar with yet for helping us and Henry to move forward.
"I have been bitten by mosquitoes since Japan"
Many states allow entry if you have a “prestigious” US, Canadian or Schengen visa. Legislation on visa issues in each country is constantly changing, and ideally you need to have a list of documents that will be needed in advance. It is better to bring copies of all-all documents in different languages ​​and photographs with you so as not to run around looking for a photo kiosk. You should also connect online banking with the ability to receive an extract from cards, preferably in English, and store the “fireproof” amount there for demonstration in embassies and in case of emergency. You can always change directions to visa-free countries or ask for help from our embassies abroad, they will help to understand the features of obtaining visas.
No one further than the CIS knows what the Belarusian driver’s license should look like, so they usually twist it in their hands for a long time, examine it and return it. I'm a little tricky with the police, but you need to understand where this can be done, and where such behavior is fraught with problems.
In Latin America, when the police stopped me, I negatively turned my head to the question of whether I know Spanish or English, and began to quickly chatter in Russian, blurry with a wide smile (no aggression or rudeness). Most often, the policeman is tired of listening to this - he does not know what to do with me, and in the end he waves his hand and lets go.
- But no one found fault with the plastic number (in Argentina, the original Henry number was lost. - Note Onliner)?
- The same situation as with the certificate. Few even know our country, not to mention how our license plates should look. There were no problems, just smiles and wishes for a good journey.
And then a coronavirus happened to the planet. Very upset that had to be interrupted? And why didn’t you want to wait for the end of quarantine in Argentina?
- Of course I was upset! I had only a small segment in Morocco and Europe, and in May I wanted to enter Minsk on a motorcycle, and I had to sit locked up for 77 days, leave the motorcycle and fly home. To date, Argentina is one of the countries with the longest quarantine in the world. On the day before departure, their president again extended the isolation regime. It was officially announced that there would be no transport links until September, and sitting there is not so cheap: you have to rent a house, pay for the Internet, buy food, and most importantly - this is really strict quarantine. With fines of up to € 1,500, real prison sentences for violations and the inability to go beyond the nearest store or pharmacy. Therefore, I decided that at home I would be more comfortable taking into account the general uncertainty in the development of the situation. I filed a notarized power of attorney for my friend in Argentina so that he could send Henry to any country without my presence, and I plan to reunite with the motorcycle in the fall.
“I'll try to collect notes in a book” “What did you miss most?” Through the air, pine forest, people, mineral water?
- By parents, relatives and friends, of course. Although nature pleased. At the very first gas station (Katya was returning from Moscow to Minsk by minibus. - Note Onliner), when the smell of a pine forest hit my nose, I ran to the edge of the asphalt, touched the wet leaves of a dandelion, caught a frog, stroked a pine bark.
Belarus met me with a blue sky, bright sun and warmth. Now I am getting used to changing time zones and enjoy the comfort of my home.

![img](g2o2d0ue0t851 " - But still, for the sake of what did you start all this and did you achieve what you wanted? No disappointment? ")
- My trip had a lot of prerequisites, questions and goals. Exploring the world, exploring other cultures, searching for yourself, a note of feminism, a desire to share knowledge about our country, testing physical abilities, achieving harmony, gaining new skills, understanding others, unlocking potential and much, much more. I am happy that I decided and went all the way to the end.
- What now? Will you write a book? Make a movie? Talk about exotic countries in schools? Do you plan to stay in Belarus?
- I have time until the fall to think about the future and make a decision, because there is still so much unknown in the world ... Or maybe I will return to Minsk on a motorcycle and begin to get used to a sedentary lifestyle. In the meantime, I will try to collect all my notes in a book, because I have something to share with readers. I also plan to organize a meeting where I will tell you as much as possible about adventures and answer all questions.

Photo: Ekaterina Dubanevich, Vlad Borisevich
submitted by Sad-Acanthisitta952 to motorcyclesroadtrip [link] [comments]


2020.07.01 08:58 Vasily_Prozorov HOISTED WITH THEIR OWN PETARD: UKRAINE'S INFLUENCE OPERATIONS AGAINST EUROPE. Part 1

It has happened on my career that I had to probe, directly or indirectly, a specific area, which is normally called “strategic communications” abroad. It sounds up-to-date and, you may agree or not, completely harmless. But if this verbal camouflage is removed, one can see nothing else but the good old propaganda in the broadest sense of the word. It accompanies secret pure interference in the internal affairs of other countries.

You should avoid being surprised at what propaganda all about. It is obviously not supposed to be “the invention and prerogative of the Kremlin”, as all major countries are engaged in this activity, so is even Ukraine. Still many different euphemisms have been used to mask their effect on minds and subconscious of the target audience.
Ukraine today is in many aspects a country of paradoxes. It especially appears when it comes to history, corruption, and relations with other countries. Let's take a look at how Ukrainians view Vladimir Lenin’s political life. The leader of the Global proletariat allowed Ukraine to annex in 1918-1925 the lands of present-day Kharkov, Lugansk, Donetsk, Kherson, Odessa and other regions that had never belonged to it. Apparently the Ukrainian people should thank him. But “true patriots” demolished his monuments all over the country in a bloody huff. They also say that the USSR occupied Ukraine forgetting that the men from the Ukrainian SSR, N.Khrushchev and L.Brezhnev are meant here, had ruled the Union for almost 30 years. So, the question of who occupied whom is up to debate.
The Ukrainian authorities regularly take money from EU on parole to combat, for example, corruption. The funds are being normally stolen. They create new anti-corruption structures – SAPO, NABU, SBI, and etc. – that eventually turn into paper shops where you can open or close any case for a certain amount of money. So even the strictest western pragmatists have been unable to do anything about it for years. They don't want to give money anymore, because it's useless. But they can't leave Ukraine they have hooked on credits, or it will be even worse.
There is yet another paradox, which I will discuss in detail. It concerns the sphere of propaganda. Since 2014, Western countries have started to invest in the Ukrainian establishments to deal with strategic communications, information operations, and other propaganda related activities. A large role was assigned to the training of Ukrainian specialists by foreign instructors. The main targeted audience was the Russian and Ukrainian population. But the Ukrainians, as always, outsmarted everyone and began to actively practice information and psychological operations against the population, the leadership, and even the special services of Western countries. Sometimes this was done openly, and sometimes in secret, away from their bosses. The West actually paid for propaganda against itself. But first things first.
STRATCOM A-LA KIEV:DESIGNED IN USA ASSEMBLED IN UKRAINE
Foreign instructors and advisors
After the February 2014 coup, the next country’s leadership was well aware that it would be difficult to stay in power without foreign support, because concern for the people and their welfare was clearly not on Kiev’s list. Therefore, Ukrainian politicians began to position the country as a victim of Russian “hybrid aggression” seeking comprehensive assistance from the West. This gave results, and Ukraine was flooded with numerous advisers and experts from Europe and the United States, especially in the defense and information spheres.
The military authorities and special services started to work under the tight control of their Western, primarily American, counterparts. The process of adopting the guidance materials to NATO standards began, and the concept of StratCom very quickly came into use in Ukraine. So, in September 2015, this term appeared in the country’s new military doctrine. It determined that StratCom is a coordinated and appropriate use of the state's communication capabilities – public diplomacy, communications, psychological and information operations aimed at promoting the goals of the state. In the Doctrine, Russia was openly called the main military adversary of Ukraine.
At the same time, the roadmap for partnership in strategic communications between the National security and defense council of Ukraine and the International secretariat of NATO was signed. As part of this agreement, foreign instructors in information and psychological operations began to conduct training courses for Ukrainian colleagues.
I had the opportunity to study under the guidance of information warfare specialists from the Lithuanian special operations forces at the Zhytomyr Military Institute.
Representatives from the former Soviet Republic actively “trained” officers of the information and psychological operations units (PSYOP), the Special Operations Forces (SOF) of the Armed Forces and the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) to influence hearts and minds.
I want to note that in addition to training of Ukrainian “neophytes” the Baltic “hot shots” did not forget about the mundane pleasures and openly approached women that were among the audience. Some will recognize Tatiana Romanova from the 74th PSYOP Center (Unit A-1277, Lvov) and Anastasia Bagriychuk from the 16th Center (Unit A-1182, Zhytomyr). I can't say for sure about Romanova, but garrulous instructor Klaus quickly managed to find approaches to Nastya Bagriychuk, apparently with the help of his professional skills of suggestion and persuasion.
And there were many similar training sessions. For example, new courses are currently being prepared under the name “Ukraine Peer-to-Peer. Disinformation challenge”. The training will be held from September to December, 2020, at the Kharkov National University. A special feature of this program will be the implementation of the “peer-to-peer” principle, which means that the teachers will be students who have already completed the course. About 60 military personnel from PSYOP Centers who completed training in the United States will share their experience on the theoretical foundations of information warfare and organization of the so called “color revolutions”.
The program is organized by the American consulting agency EdVenture Partners. The most interesting thing is that this company actively cooperates with Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. So the issue of suspending fake accounts by Facebook, which Ukrainian propagandists have always complained about, is likely to be resolved in the near future. So, fake news, which Donald Trump often talks about, is a flexible concept. Some people are banned and face public critique, and someone does not. After all, the fight against the “Russian aggression” will write everything off.
The Agency for International Development (USAID), a part of the U.S. State Department which was repeatedly tainted in funding “color revolutions”, will sponsor this educational program.
Financing
It's obvious that the western countries wouldn't finance information operations against themselves. Resources were allocated against Russian propaganda and misinformation. But Ukraine gets this money for other purposes. A good example is fight against corruption.
Meanwhile western countries allocate a lot of money for strategic communication systems. The United States is a leader of investments in this sphere. The USA allocated 275 million dollars in fight against Russian propaganda in 2019. It’s a really huge sum. The largest part of this sum was allocated for Ukraine to develop the “cybersecurity of critical infrastructure and electronic systems” and for the “fight against Russian propaganda and disinformation.”
There are tons of information in the Internet about anti-Russian projects sponsored by different funds, non-profit organisations and governmental structures. Here are some of them: Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA); Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Ukraine; The Media Development Fund by the Public Affairs Section of the U.S. Embassy in Kiev; Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation; Swedish International Liberal Centre; The International Renaissance Foundation, which was founded by George Soros and other foreign funds.
For example, Embassy of Germany in Ukraine together with Delegation of the European Union to Ukraine allocated half million dollars to television channel “Hromadske telebachennya” in 2015, which was the main media at “Maydan” in 2014.
“StopFake” project was supported by the International Renaissance Foundation, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic, the Embassy of the United Kingdom in Kiev and the Sigrid Rausing Trust.
Other active western media resources in Ukraine are “Internews Ukraine” and “Detector Media”. These media outlets got support from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the Atlantic Council, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) and the Embassy of Sweden.
The Department of State allocated 10 million dollars to Ukraine for “cybersecurity” development in 2017. Later in 2020 Ukraine got more than 8 million dollars for the same purposes.
The U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor (DRL) allocated 1 million dollars for promoting Internet freedom in Ukraine in 2019. “The program should build the knowledge and advocacy capacity of these groups in order to support cross-sector engagement on domestic Internet freedom issues and to combat regional and domestic threats to freedom of expression online,” DRL website said.
In March 2020 Ukraine got 38 million dollars grant from the United States for the “Ukraine National Identity Through Youth (UNITY) Activity.” According to the documents, five year-long cooperation between Ukrainian activists and USAID is intended to foster the Internet activity among youth, and collaboration with local leaders, buisinessmen and influencers in the Russian web.
WHO BUILDS POSITIVE IMAGE OF UKRAINE
The Ministry of Information Policy of Ukraine (MIPU) was the executive body responsible for the implementation of the StratCom concept until August 29, 2019.
After the abolition of the Department, its functions have passed to the newly established Ministry of culture, youth and sports of Ukraine. And it should be noted that after Zelensky came to power, the information policy in the country has not changed that much. A striking example is the preparation of the so-called “law on misinformation”, developed on the basis of The presidential Decree “On urgent measures to implement reforms and strengthen the state” No. 837/2019 of November 08, 2019. In this Decree, the ministry was asked to “create a provision regarding the requirements and standards of news, mechanisms for the dissemination of false distorted information, to ban Russian representatives to own or finance media in Ukraine, as well as to provide for increased liability for violations of legislation on information.” So, censorship continues to gain momentum.
Among other organizations also engaged in information influence abroad are: the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Security Service of Ukraine, the Foreign Intelligence Service, the Main Directorate of Intelligence, the PSYOP Centers of Special Operation Forces of the Ukrainian Armed Forces.
Additionally, in April 2020, the Department of Strategic Communications was created in Ukrainian Ministry of Defense, which became the successor of the Department of Communications and the Press. This branch is headed by Lieutenant Colonel Svetlana Pavlovskaya, who is also the Minister's press secretary. According to governing documents, this military unit is a component of the national system of strategic communications which is intended to inform the public and the media, including foreign resources, about the activities of the MoD, the Armed Forces of Ukraine and the State Special Transport Service, to inform Armed Forces' personnel, to conduct information campaigns, etc. In a word, for propaganda aimed on both internal and external audiences.
OFFICIAL PROPAGANDA
Ministry of Information Policy
Ministry of Information Policy was also known as MinStets according to last name of the minister Yury Stets. This ministry was set up by a man who did not hide his devotion to neonazi ideology. Besides him I can name another two odious representatives in the administration of ministry. They are: Dmitry Zolotuhin, an ex-employee of the SBU, and Amine Dzhaparova, the journalist of the American propagandistic recourses “Radio Free Europe/Radio of Liberty” and “The Crimea. Reality”, who graduated from various courses, held by the U.S. Department of State. Technically this is all you need to know about this ministry in order to understand which area it was engaged in. However I will tell some more details about an external direction of its work.
One of the main goals of the Ministry of Information Policy was the building of the country’s positive image in the international field, first of all in the western countries. These tasks were framed in a number of state papers including the “Government medium-term priority action plan-2020” and the “Government activity plan-2017”.
Within the conception, the main efforts aimed on usage of three tools of strategic communication: public or people’s diplomacy, Ukraine diaspora abroad and “agents of influence”. To present day Ukrainian authority consider these “soft power” channels as the most effective way of influence on international public opinion which can help to build a positive image of country abroad.
It must be stressed that in terms of public diplomacy the ministry offered different ideas. One of them was to organize a sort of brand-tours, when buses with special logos on them (UkraineNOW) are sent to European countries. Аccording to the minister this type of advertising was supposed to attract European’s attention to modern image of Ukraine.
Another method offered to the “people’s diplomats” is a wide usage of the Ukrainian national symbols. If some of you were on vacation in Turkey, Egypt or in the European countries for the last five years you could notice the blatantly aggressive manner of Ukrainian tourists to demonstrate their national flag. They hang it on hotel balconies, beach chairs, use it as a cape on their shoulders while walking in the street. At first sight it looks like eccentric behavior of Ukraine tourists. But in fact it’s one of Kiev’s versions of StratCom which can help to promote Ukraine interests in the frame of “My small part” program. This initiative exhorts tourists who visit different countries to take photos with the Ukrainian flag and spread them in the social networks.
Another StratCom program is called “Grassroots”. Its goal is to search for the Ukrainian roots in biography of well-known persons who might be used further as “agents of influence” to spread the Ukrainian information messages.
Scientists, writers, actors, military leaders and many others famous historical figures would be greatly astonished if they knew they were the Ukrainians by origin. But they would be more amazed at the aspiration of the new Ukrainian government to use “newly proselytized Ukrainians” in their own interests. Government in Kiev wants to show that Sergei Korolev, Igor Sikorsky, Feodor Dostoyevsky, Pyotr Tchaikovsky and even Queen of France Anna Yaroslavovna were outstanding representatives of the Ukrainian nation. Hereafter their names are used for the propaganda of modern ideas, profitable for the Ukrainian government.
One interesting fact about the University in Zhytomyr where I was trained on courses of specialists for information operations held by instructors from Lithuania is this University named after Sergei Korolev.
Another direction of the Ukrainian StratCom as mentioned above is to deal with the Ukrainian diaspora across the globe and using its capabilities to promote the interests of the Ukrainian government.
Representatives of the Ukrainian diaspora in particular the Ukrainians World Congress lends active support both to Ukrainian and world structures in fight against “Russian propaganda” attracting large number of their followers.
The activity of the Ukrainian diaspora in Russia is not as noticeable as for example in Canada. Nevertheless its representatives conduct active informational policy which is recommended by the Ukrainian government agencies. Here is one simple example which confirms this. In order to enter the Facebook group called “The Ukrainians of Russia” you need to answer two questions: “Who controls The Crimea?” and “What’s going on in the East of Ukraine?” If the answers weren’t “Ukraine” on first question and “Russian aggression” on the second, access to the group won't be authorized.
“I'll cut off my nose to spite my face” and other “useful idiots”
One of the first actions organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine after the dethronement of Yanukovich took place in Czech Republic. In March 2014 the owner of the Brioni Boutique Hotel situated in Czech Ostrava Tomas Krzmarzh refused to house Russian athletes who made a reservation. And then he completely refused to house any Russian citizens. He even put up a notice about it at the hotel’s entry.
Later under pressure of regulatory authorities Krzmarzh came to some terms. But he required written declaration from the Russians who was checking in the hotel where they were to express disagreement with the Russian reunion of Crimea. The so-called “patriotic merchant” was sanctioned by regulatory authorities because of people’s discrimination.
However, after a few years of trial Constitutional court of the Czech Republic removed all complaint against Krzmarzh.
But according to his own statement Tomas Krzmarzh has Ukrainian roots. In an effort to keep connection with native land he took part in official and unofficial meetings which were conducted by the Ukrainian Embassy in the Czech Republic. Besides he had contacts with diplomats who might be security officials of the Ukrainian intelligence under diplomatic cover.
I am sure that this act of the hotel’s owner wasn’t spontaneous. The idea was born in the Ukrainian Embassy which recieved orders from the new Ukrainian government in Kiev late in February and early in March. The main and urgent task was to get support among the international community of the coup d'etat in Ukraine and non-admission of the Crimea separation. This plan was executed in the Czech Republic with the help of a local resident who had been lobbed by diplomats for some time and had been greedy for compliments and gifts.
Actions of this gentleman were widely covered in the Ukrainian mass media at lightning speed. Journalists urged other owners of hotels to act like Tomas. Some of them even offered to give him a title of the Ukrainian Hero. And, certainly, they found some threats to the Czech “patriot of Ukraine” from “evil Russians” and “the KGB/FSB agents”. What can I say? One guideline for all occasions.
Referendum on the association of Ukraine and the EU in the Netherlands
The arrangements, Kiev held to affect the results of the Dutch referendum on the “Ukraine-EU” agreement of association, are a good example of using strategic communication methods against western countries.
They exerted integrated influence on the Dutchmen using two methods (as the Ukrainian Ministry of Information Policy states): governmental communications and public diplomacy. The Ukrainian government was represented by foreign minister Pavel Klimkin who was supposed to take part in the bike ride and try to persuade local citizens to support the agreement. Public diplomacy consisted of numerous Ukrainian activists and Klichko brothers, the worldwide known boxers. They were trying to make locals to give a hand to Ukraine in its strive to join the EU.
As the StratCom manuals require, the special services of Ukraine supported ‘peoples diplomats’ at the time of the referendum. As far as I know, the Ukrainian intelligence was to engage its agents in the Netherlands to disrupt the voting in case of negative tendency predominance for Kiev. Some groups of journalists were also supposed to create a negative reputation of the referendum and reduce the voting turnout. According to the local law the government can ignore results of the referendum if less than 30 percent of the population takes part in it.
What's in the end? In spite of using lots of serious financial, human and organization resources, as StratCom requires, Ukraine could not bring its aims to life. People of the Netherlands voted against the “Ukraine-EU” agreement of association.
To create the visibility of a good way out from the failure of the Dutch campaign, Pavel Klimkin stated that results of the referendum would not change the decision of Ukraine to join the European Union. And Kiev decided to strengthen its complex of StratCom operations against Europe.
How to proclaim DPLPR the terrorist organizations
Continuing to upscale efforts on the informational front of the “European theatre of operations” official Kiev actively engaged the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in cooperation with special services. That sort of actions is named special information operations. This is necessary to hide aims and technique that are used for premeditated disinformation of foreign audience.
As an example that confirms the technology of the Ukrainian StratCom I’ll show you a document and will give my comments.
Ukrainian foreign minister Klimkin offered president Poroshenko to focus propaganda efforts of all possible structures on presenting the DPR and LPR as terrorist organizations among the foreign publicity. He recommended prosecuting as many people as possible for violating the law under the articles connected with the terrorism. As the Ukrainian foreign minister considered, it would be easier to persuade the foreigners who were too censorious to the credibility of documents, if the Ukrainian courts rendered guilty verdicts on criminal cases like that.
The governments of the EU countries were the target audience in this operation. Artificially created arguments and press events had to persuade them.
Later Boris Lozhkin, the head of the presidential administration, gave instructions to SBU chief Valentin Nalivaichenko to “take appropriate measures that would provide the necessary legal reasoning of the inclusion” of the DPR and the LPR into the list of terrorist organizations of the EU.
Here is the deal. Law enforcement bodies are ordered to provide maximum of possible quantity of verdicts on criminal cases connected with terrorism. In such a manner it was offered to label hundred thousands Ukrainian citizens as the supporters of “terrorist” organisations. And the repressive apparatus has started to work. Lots of evidence was falsified to blame people of terrorism. It is hard to construct more artful and mean psychological operation aimed at citizens of your own country. These cases often fell into pieces in court.
But the European Union still has not included the DPR and the LPR into the list of terrorist organizations, so Ukraine could not gather enough evidence to blame its citizens in terrorism.
Misinformation of the OSCE on the situation in the combat zone
The internal document shows that foreign minister applied to the governmental institutions of Ukraine with a request to find counterarguments against charges which the OSCE mission prepared as a result of its work in the combat area. Enumerating real facts in their letter, the Ukrainian diplomats quoted the word “charges” on purpose and demonstrated their slighting to the position of the OSCE.
Meanwhile, international supporters recorded serious violations from the side of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. The document describes the facts of combat operations in the inhabited localities, ceasefire violations, disposition of the heavy artillery inside the inhabited localities.
It is directly stated that the prepared “excuses” would be used by Ukraine to deny any charges against it.
Should we be surprised then, that foreign ministers of the OSCE member-countries could not take a common statement on the results of the work of the mission in Ukraine? This time Kiev managed to neutralize negative assessment of its military activities in Donbass region and to protrude a comfort opinion to western countries.
The second part of the investigation will expose secret activities of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU), the Main Directory of Intelligence (GUR), and the Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) that affected people and the governments of western countries, particularly the Czech Republic and Poland.
submitted by Vasily_Prozorov to u/Vasily_Prozorov [link] [comments]


2020.07.01 00:20 IdentifyingString Things to do, places to go, people to see and food to eat in Venice Beach

Calendar of Events as well as info on the hot spots like Muscle Beach, Skatepark, etc. They're keeping track of what is opened/closed because of Covid-19.
Drum Circle Happens at sundown every Saturday and Sunday for sure and may start as early as noon where Breeze Ave. or Brooks Ave. meets the boardwalk. It will often happen any day of the week during the summer and by sunset, it will be in full swing in the middle of the beach. As far as I can tell, no one officially runs it. There is no rhythm leader and if you're drumming along, you've got to find your place in it. The vibe will likely be different every time you go.
Venice Electric Light Bike Parade
Tours of street art and murals
Mosaic House
Muscle Beach and Gold's Gym
The original "original" Gold's Gym is just 4 blocks from the Venice sign. Between Brooks and Windward on Pacific. The "new" original Gold's Gym is currently closed due to bankruptcy and Muscle Beach is closed due to Covid. Here's a google map of Muscle Beach, the Venice sign at Windward, The Original Original Gold's Gym, and the New Original Gold's Gym
Skatepark
Water Quality Report (don't swim in the for 72 hours after heavy rainfall as Los Angeles beaches get inundated with toxic storm water)
Parking Info
Power Outage info
Crime Info Map
Local BLogs
Live Theater and community classes
Abbot Kinney Boulevard - somehow became a Beverly Hills Rodeo Drive type scene in Venice Beach of all places, but still pretty interesting
Restaurants
Pot Dispensaries
Farmer's Market
Arnold Schwarznegger gives a tour of Venice and his history of it
The Doors landmarks in Venice
Bill Burr tour of Venice
Hashtags
Got something to add? Post it in the comments. Thanks!
submitted by IdentifyingString to VeniceBeach [link] [comments]


2020.05.28 00:37 Lost-Wolverine "Stylish"/"Cool" Touring/Light Touring Bike Options

Currently I like to go out on longer rides of 50-70 miles on the weekends and have been using a janky Trek aluminum hybrid bike with a Brooks B17 saddle and trekking handlebars, but I would like to branch out and try some week long trips with a spiffy new bike.
This may be a completely dumb question, so my apologies in advance, but I'm wondering if there are any bikes out there that are a bit cooleflashier looking than a Kona Sutra, Surly Disc Trucker, Salsa Marrakesh, etc, that would be capable of handling the following setup:
I know that "cool" in the eye of the beholder, but I'm thinking along the lines of these, especially in relationship to their unique color, frames that look less tubular, hidden cables, etc.:
2019 Kona Super Jake - to me, paint and look of this bike is the coolest on earth.
Orbea Orca
Jamis Renegade C1
Basically, I want a truck - but a flashier truck - where I can take off the rack and fenders if I'm not going out for a long ride and still be a bike I enjoy looking at. I will be in North America, within cell phone range almost all of the time, so I'm not in need of a bombproof ride. Would love to stay at $2,500 or less.
Is this just a dumb question and I need to go the n+1 route and use my hibrid for touring (or whatever weeklong trips are really called), or does such a bike exist?
submitted by Lost-Wolverine to whichbike [link] [comments]


2020.05.21 20:26 extriniti CINEPLEX INC (TSX: $CGX ) STOCK OPPORTUNITY

CINEPLEX INC (TSX: $CGX ) STOCK OPPORTUNITY

Cineplex (TSX: $CGX)
CINEPLEX INC (TSX: $CGX ) STOCK OPPORTUNITY
Another great medium risk but high potential return stock. The stock has taken a beating because of Covid19 & movie theater closures.
Investors think Cineworld's C$34/share buyout offer will be cancelled, yet Reuter's reported, "Cineworld Says No Change In Co's Position On Cineplex Takeover Since March" on April 7. That's double your money at C$11.69 (at post) if it goes through.
Investors also think Cineplex will cancel their monthly $0.15 per share dividend in their next ER that they delayed until June 29, 2020.
Investors are discounting Cineplex's possible rise of online movie rentals to offset their onsite losses.
The odds don't get better than this but do your Due Diligence before investing.
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The Motley Fool described Cineplex as having a "virtual monopoly" over the cinema market in Canada.
#StockPick $CGX -- #ShakingTheTree with #Shorts hitting all the #Bulls #StopLoss down. Easy double or triple opportunity here. Do your #DueDiligence. Good luck to all.
#StockPick #CGX $CGX $CGX.TO
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MY DUE DILIGENCE:

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52 Week Range:
Low: C$6.30 (Coronavirus Crash)
High: C$34.39 (Buyout Offer)
CGX Stock Performance
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Cineplex Inc., formerly known as Cineplex Galaxy Income Fund and Galaxy Entertainment Inc. is a Canadian entertainment company headquartered in Toronto, Ontario. Through its operating subsidiary Cineplex Entertainment LP, Cineplex operates 165 theatres across Canada. The company operates theatres under numerous brands, including Cineplex Cinemas, Cineplex Odeon, SilverCity, Galaxy Cinemas, Cinema City, Famous Players, Scotiabank Theatres and Cineplex VIP Cinemas.
Divisions:
  • Cineplex Odeon
  • Galaxy
  • Famous Players
  • SilverCity
  • Colossus
  • Coliseum
  • Cinema City
  • Scotiabank Theatre
  • Cineplex Cinemas
  • Cineplex VIP Cinemas
Subsidiaries:
  • Cineplex Entertainment LP
  • Player One Amusement Group Inc.
  • Famous Players LP
  • Galaxy Entertainment Inc.
  • Cineplex Media
  • Cineplex Digital Media Inc.
  • Canadian Digital Cinema Partnership (78.2%)
  • Topgolf-Cineplex Canada LP (75%)
  • SCENE LP (50%)
  • Cineplex Entertainment Corporation
  • World Gaming Network Inc. (80%)
  • Alliance Cinemas
2019-present: Proposed acquisition by Cineworld
On December 16, 2019, Cineplex announced a definitive agreement to be acquired by the British cinema operator Cineworld Group, the second-largest film exhibitor worldwide, pending shareholder and regulatory approval. Cineworld would be paying $34 per-share—a 42% premium over Cineplex's share price prior to the announcement, valuing the company at CDN$2.8 billion. Cineworld planned to pay US$1.65 billion, and to fund the remainder by taking on debt.
The sale was approved by Cineplex shareholders in February 2020. Activist shareholder Bluebell Capital Partners called for the Canadian government to block the sale, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. which in turn led to the temporary closure(s) of all Cineplex movie theatres across Canada since March 16, 2020, and up until further notice.
https://www.cineplex.com
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cineplex_Entertainment
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Cineplex Store
Browse from over 8500 HD movies including the latest releases and earn SCENE points every time you rent or buy. Watch online or look for the Cineplex Store.
https://store.cineplex.com
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ESPORTS: WorldGaming Network (WGN), formerly Virgin Gaming (now owned by Cineplex), is an online video gaming platform that hosts head to head matches, tournaments and ladders for consoles and PC gamers. WorldGaming has had over 3 million gamers register for its platform worldwide which makes it one of the most robust and dynamic global eSports communities. There have been over 6.7 million matches played over 20,000 tournaments held on WorldGaming.com since 2010.
Newzoo: Global esports will top $1 billion in 2020, with China as the top market (Feb 25, 2020):
Global esports revenues will surpass $1 billion in 2020 for the first time — without counting broadcasting platform revenues, according to market researcher Newzoo.
Globally, the total esports audience will grow to 495.0 million people in 2020, Newzoo said. Esports Enthusiasts (people who watch more than once a month) make up 222.9 million of this number.
In 2020, $822.4 million in revenues—or three-quarters of the total market—will come from media rights and sponsorship.
“As the esports market matures, new monetization methods will be implemented and improved upon,” said Remer Rietkerk, head of esports at Newzoo, in the report. “Likewise, the number of local events, leagues, and media rights deals will increase; therefore, we anticipate the average revenue per fan to grow to $5.27 by 2023.”
https://venturebeat.com/2020/02/25/newzoo-global-esports-will-top-1-billion-in-2020-with-china-as-the-top-market
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VIRTUAL REALITY
On September 13, 2018, Cineplex announced that it would acquire a stake in VRStudios—a Seattle-based provider of virtual reality installations, and utilize its equipment for as many as 40 VR centers across the country.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cineplex_Entertainment
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PLAYDIUM
Playdium is a family entertainment centre chain owned by Cineplex Entertainment through its subsidiary Player One Amusement Group. The flagship location in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada launched as Sega City @ Playdium near Square One Shopping Centre on September 7, 1996. The 11 acres (480,000 sq ft) centre cost CA$17 million to build and included an arcade, batting cages, go-karts and mini-golf. A partnership with Sega GameWorks, it featured many arcade games from that company such as Daytona USA, and eight-player racing setups for Indy 500 (as Virtua Indy) and Manx TT Super Bike. Indy 500 remains available today. In 1999, the centre was renamed to Playdium. The company opened up two more locations in Brampton and Whitby in late 2019.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Player_One_Amusement_Group#Playdium
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The Rec Room
The Rec Room is a Canadian chain of entertainment restaurants owned by Cineplex Entertainment. First opening in Edmonton in 2016, its locations feature entertainment and recreational attractions such as an arcade, driving simulators, recreational games, and virtual reality, as well as restaurants and bars, and an auditorium with a cinema-style screen, which can be used for concerts and other live events.
The Toronto location features The Void virtual reality attraction. In July 2018, Cineplex announced that it would become the exclusive Canadian franchisee of The Void and add additional locations (such as the Mississauga and West Edmonton Mall locations).
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Rec_Room
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SCENE (loyalty program)
SCENE is a Canadian loyalty program established in 2007 by Cineplex Entertainment and Scotiabank.
The main reward is a free movie ticket, starting at 1,250 points for a regular or 3D ticket. Over the years, the program has expanded to include a greater variety of rewards, including restaurants and sporting goods.
https://www.scene.ca
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FOOD & BEVERAGES
Cineplex has an Outtakes (French: Restoplex) restaurant in 94 theatres, some which replace previous restaurant partners (Burger King, KFC and New York Fries) and others which introduce restaurants at locations which did not previously feature one. VIP Cinemas and some Xscape locations feature a licensed lounge with more premium offerings compared to Outtakes. Poptopia is a flavoured popcorn restaurant offered in a full-service format at 22 locations. Other Cineplex theatres may feature Poptopia at the concession stand, but only in the caramel corn and/or kettle corn flavours.
Ice cream at Cineplex locations debuted with Baskin-Robbins and TCBY. Beginning in December 2007, Yogen Früz became the preferred partner. On January 1, 2014, Cineplex acquired a 50% stake in Yoyo's Yogurt Café. As of January 2017, 77 Cineplex theatres feature Yoyo's restaurants, while Yogen Fruz is still available in 23 Cineplex theatres while TCBY is available in 16 locations. Cineplex also manages Melt Sweet Creations, an in-house dessert bouqtiue brand targeted at women ages 19-35 debuted in December 2017 at Cineplex Cinemas Queensway and VIP. Melt is available at 13 locations.
Beverages are available in both cold and hot formats. Cold beverages include the Coca-Cola lineup, which replaced the Pepsi lineup used at locations formerly owned by Famous Players. 12 locations feature Coca-Cola Freestyle. Hot beverages include Starbucks as the incumbent provider with 105 locations, all which offer Pike Place Roast coffee (regular or decaf) and Tazo tea. Select locations also offer premium drinks such as caffè mocha or caramel macchiato. Tim Hortons is available as a full-service restaurant in five locations,[75] with Brossard being the only location to offer both Tim Hortons and Starbucks.
In most theatres, Cineplex offers sale of alcohol to 19+ guests in Ontario (18+ in Alberta) similar to the VIP theatres albeit from a selection of beer or cider beverages.
If Aurora Cannabis (ACB) & Cineplex (CGX) partnered up to offer CBD & THC infused Cannabis 2.0 edibles in movie theaters, especially the IMAX & 3D ones, it should do very well. Canadian Cannabis Industry stocks should also do well as I posted earlier Cannabis Stocks Opportunity.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cineplex_Entertainment
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RECENT NEWS:

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Cineworld to buy Canada's largest movie theatre chain in $2.8B deal (Dec 16, 2019):
Cineplex’s stock had been trading close to the Cineworld offer price of C$34 per share through early 2020, but has since plunged 40% following the virus outbreak.
Cineplex could lose a potential lifeline if its outstanding debt exceeds more than $725 million. As of December 31, 2019, the debt level was $625 million. The debt might balloon past the threshold with a further lockdown extension.
https://www.ctvnews.ca/business/cineworld-to-buy-canada-s-largest-movie-theatre-chain-in-2-8b-deal-1.4731547
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Cineplex shares fall after short seller raises concerns about Cineworld deal (March 5, 2020):
https://www.ctvnews.ca/business/cineplex-shares-fall-after-short-seller-raises-concerns-about-cineworld-deal-1.4840173
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Cineworld Dives After Cineplex Activist Urges Rejection of Deal (March 16, 2020):
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-03-16/cineworld-dives-as-cineplex-activist-urges-canada-to-block-deal
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Cineplex closes locations, provides Cineworld acquisition update (March 17, 2020):
https://mediaincanada.com/2020/03/17/cineplex-to-close-all-canadian-locations
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Cineplex Inc. cuts salaries of full-time employees after part-time layoffs (Mar 23, 2020):
P/T employees laid off in Canada & USA. F/T employees take reduced base salaries & senior executive team takes 80% reduction in pay.
https://www.cp24.com/news/cineplex-inc-cuts-salaries-of-full-time-employees-after-part-time-layoffs-1.4864434
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Cineworld halts dividend and says will 'monitor progress' of its buyout of Cineplex (April 7, 2020):
https://www.marketwatch.com/story/cineworld-halts-dividend-and-says-will-monitor-progress-of-its-buyout-of-cineplex-2020-04-07
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Staggered seating, nostalgic films: Cinemark offers a look at movie going post-coronavirus (Apr 15, 2020):
Cinemark, the third-largest movie theater chain in the U.S., hopes to reopen at least some of its doors to the public in July.
With no major movie release until mid-July, theaters could play “library” movies, which are movies that have already previously been released in cinemas, for several weeks.
If social distancing restrictions are still in place the company said it would either sell every other reserved seat in the theater or suspend reservations and just sell 50% of the tickets per theater.
“Even at peak periods of time in a normal environment, our occupancy levels range from 20% to 30% and we can operate profitably during those scenarios...” - CEO Mark Zoradi
He added that Cinemark has seen attendance as low as 10% and still was able to turn a profit.
https://www.cnbc.com/2020/04/15/cinemark-offers-a-look-at-movie-going-post-coronavirus.html
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North Vancouver's Park & Tilford Cineplex permanently closed (May 20, 2020)
The company closed all 165 theatres across Canada in March due to COVID-19, but the 1,382-seat Brookesbank Avenue location won’t be among those reopening, Cineplex has confirmed.
With Cineplex closing its Lower Lonsdale theatre in 2019, it leaves Park Royal as the only place to catch a big screen flick on the North Shore.
“We thank the community for their patronage over the years, and look forward to welcoming them at neighbouring Cineplex Cinemas Park Royal and VIP,” said Sarah Van Lange, executive director of communications. “I’ll note that our intent is to repurpose the Park & Tilford theatre space, which we’ll have more details on at a later date.”
https://www.vancouverisawesome.com/vancouver-news/park-tilford-cineplex-movie-theatre-permanently-closed-north-vancouver-bc-2365365
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OTHER NEWS & RUMORS:

Why Amazon’s Rumored Buyout of AMC Entertainment Makes Sense (May 12, 2020):
If Amazon can buy AMC, they can most certainly by CGX & dominate & control most of North America's movie theaters. Amazon would then control Hollywood! Why stop there, they should buy Cineworld too.
https://investorplace.com/2020/05/why-amazons-rumored-buyout-of-amc-entertainment-makes-sense
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AMC Entertainment Surges 56% on Report of Talks With Amazon (May 11, 2020):
https://finance.yahoo.com/news/amc-entertainment-surges-56-report-133822697.html
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Alert: Cineplex (TSX:CGX) Could Be Acquired by This Incredibly Unlikely Source (May 12, 2020):
Despite Cineworld maintaining its commitment to buy Cineplex, the market has a different opinion. Remember, Cineplex agreed to be acquired at $34 per share. As I type this, the stock trades at $14.44. There’s no way the spread would be that wide, unless investors were writing off the acquisition completely.
Fortunately for beleaguered Cineplex shareholders, a new suitor could very well come along — one virtually nobody sees coming.
Although I think there’s potential for a private equity group or some other deep-pocketed investor taking a run at Cineplex’s cheap assets, there’s a much more interesting suitor on the horizon.
That acquirer is Amazon.com (NASDAQ: AMZN).
https://www.fool.ca/2020/05/12/alert-cineplex-tsxcgx-could-be-acquired-by-this-incredibly-unlikely-source
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AMC says it will no longer play Universal Studios films (Apr 28, 2020):
“AMC believes that with this proposed action to go to the home and theaters simultaneously, Universal is breaking the business model and dealings between our two companies,” AMC Chief Executive Officer Adam Aron said in a letter addressed to Universal Studios Chairman Donna Langley.
Universal added that the company looked forward to having “additional private conversations” with AMC but was “disappointed by this seemingly coordinated attempt ... to confuse our position and our actions.”
https://www.cnbc.com/2020/04/28/amc-says-it-will-no-longer-play-universal-studios-films.html
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Cineworld joins AMC in banning films from Universal Studios (April 29, 2020):
Cineworld, the world’s second largest cinema chain, has followed its rival AMC in banning Universal Studios films from its cinemas when they reopen, after the Hollywood film-maker released Trolls On Tour direct to streaming platforms.
“There is a certain system of windows which are a custom in the market and this sets the time difference between the theatrical market and other ancillary markets, among them streaming. Any movie that will not respect this window will not be shown in Cineworld group,” Mooky Greidinger, Cineworld’s chief executive, said on Wednesday.
https://www.ft.com/content/3cc70161-e157-4ff1-bfbd-a886dd6d9af5
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Odeon bans all Universal Pictures films as studio skips cinema releases (Apr 29, 2020):
https://www.theguardian.com/film/2020/ap29/odeon-bans-all-universal-pictures-films-as-studio-skips-cinema-releases
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AMC Entertainment Holdings, Inc.
AMC Theatres (originally an abbreviation for American Multi-Cinema; often referred to simply as AMC and known in some countries as AMC Cinemas or AMC Multi-Cinemas) is an American movie theater chain headquartered in Leawood, Kansas, and is the largest movie theater chain in the world. Founded in 1920, AMC has the largest share of the U.S. theater market ahead of Cineworld and Cinemark Theatres.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AMC_Theatres
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Cineworld Group PLC
Cineworld is the world’s second largest cinema chain, with 9,518 screens across 790 sites in 11 countries: the UK, the US, Canada, Ireland, Poland, Romania, Israel, Hungary, Czechia, Bulgaria and Slovakia. The group’s primary brands are Regal (in the US), Cineworld and Picturehouse (in the UK & Ireland), Cinema City (throughout Europe) and Yes Planet (in Israel).
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cineworld
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And Action! All the Movies We Can't Wait to See in Summer 2020 and Beyond (May 22, 2020):
Fingers crossed that it’ll be safe to step into a theater this summer. If they open, there will be plenty to watch. “Summer hits are the popcorn movies,” says film historian, author and podcast host Leonard Maltin. “They can be the biggest box-office hits of the whole year.”
Rest of 2020:
  • To Wong Foo Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar - VIP (Jun 1)
  • Unhinged (Jul 1)
  • Tenet (Jul 17)
  • Mulan (Jul 24)
  • Summerland (Jul 31)
  • Random Acts Of Violence (Jul 31)
  • The Spongebob Movie: Sponge on the Run (Aug 7)
  • Sound of Metal (Aug 14)
  • Wonder Woman 1984 (Aug 14)
  • Fatima (Aug 14)
  • The One And Only Ivan (Aug 14)
  • The New Mutants (Aug 20)
  • Bill & Ted Face the Music (Aug 21)
  • Antebellum (Aug 21)
  • Monster Hunter (Sep 4)
  • A Quiet Place Part II (Sep 4)
  • The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It (Sep 11)
  • The King's Man (Sep 18)
  • Candyman (Sep 25)
  • Tom Clancy's Without Remorse (Oct 2)
  • BIOS (Oct 2)
  • Death On The Nile (Oct 9)
  • The Witches (Oct 9)
  • The French Dispatch (Oct 16)
  • Halloween Kills (Oct 16)
  • Snake Eyes (Oct 23)
  • Lord And Miller Connected (Oct 23)
  • Everybody's Talking About Jamie (Oct 23)
  • Come Play (Oct 30)
  • Black Widow (Nov 6)
  • Clifford The Big Red Dog (Nov 13)
  • Deep Water (Nov 13)
  • Godzilla Vs. Kong (Nov 20)
  • Soul (Nov 20)
  • Happiest Season (Nov 20)
  • James Bond ‘No Time To Die’ (Nov 25)
  • Free Guy (Dec 11)
  • Dune (Dec 18)
  • Untitled Coming To America Sequel (Dec 18)
  • West Side Story (Dec 18)
  • Top Gun: Maverick (Dec 23)
  • Untitled Tom & Jerry Film (Dec 23)
  • The Croods 2 (Dec 23)
  • News Of The World (Dec 25)
  • Escape Room 2 (Dec 30)
2021:
  • Mortal Kombat (Jan 15)
  • Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway (Jan 15)
  • 355 (Jan 15)
  • Chaos Walking: The Knife of Never Letting Go (Jan 22)
  • Rumble (Jan 29)
  • Cinderella (Feb 5)
  • Nobody (Feb 26)
  • Ghostbusters: Afterlife (Mar 5)
  • Raya And The Last Dragon (Mar 12)
  • Sony/Marvel Morbius (Mar 19)
  • The Boss Baby 2 (Mar 26)
  • Reminiscence (Apr 16)
  • Ron's Gone Wrong (Apr 23)
  • Shang Chi And The Legend Of The Ten Rings (May 7)
  • Spiral: From The Book Of Saw (May 21)
  • Cruella (May 28)
  • F9 Fast & Furious (Apr 2)
  • Bob's Burgers (Apr 9)
  • Infinite (May 28)
  • Space Jam 2 (Jul 16)
  • Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar (Jul 16)
  • In the Heights (Jun 18)
  • Minions: The Rise Of Gru (Jul 2)
  • All This Victory (Aug 7)
  • The Woman in the Window (TBD 2021)
  • Blithe Spirit (TBD 2021)
  • The Personal History of David Copperfield (TBD 2021)
  • Greyhound (TBD)
& MUCH, MUCH MORE MOVIES than listed coming to the big screens.
THE 65 MOST ANTICIPATED MOVIES OF 2020 (May 20, 2020):
https://editorial.rottentomatoes.com/article/most-anticipated-movies-of-2020
---------------------------------------------
CONCLUSION:
Nothing beats watching a great movie on the big screen in premium format:
  • Prime Seats
  • IMAX
  • UltraAVX
  • D-Box
  • VIP Cinemas
  • 4DX
I'm sick of the congested internet & buffering of online movies & services during Covid19. They need to upgrade the internet infrastructure to 5G & Fiber Optics before it can really grow in my opinion -- especially buffering 4K & 8K movies & future tech that will only require more bandwidth going forward.
Younger people are not afraid of Covid19 like the older crowd. When theaters open, they will rush in to see their favourite movies.
Betting that people won't want to go to movie theaters when they re-open, is like betting the same against live sporting events or music concerts.
No home movie theater can match a real movie theater, even the smaller discount ones, unless you're Bill Gates or Jeff Bezos etc.
With Cineplex's Canadian Monopoly & diversification into other entertainment arenas like eSports & Virtual Reality, as long as they don't go bankrupt & social distancing restrictions are loosened, the stock should increase 2 to 3 times by end of 2021 in my opinion -- especially if the Cineworld Buyout goes as planned or another company like Amazon buys them out for a strong presence & control in Canada.
If a Coronavirus Vaccine is discovered sooner than later, then this stock will rebound accordingly & rapidly -- especially if they don't cancel or even if they do, resume Dividend payments in the future. At current prices, Dividend yield is about 13% per year.
---------------------------------------------
Social distance cinema: drive-in theatres boom – in pictures (May 5, 2020):
We are all social creatures & want to go to movie theater as a social activity, to see & be seen; otherwise, why would Drive In Movie theaters boom during Covid19?
If no one goes out to be seen anymore, then all the Vanity Goods & Services will go under too & we will all dress in sweat pants & T-Shirt -- no need for designer suits & dresses working & staying at home. LOL ;p
https://www.theguardian.com/world/gallery/2020/may/05/social-distance-cinema-drive-in-theatres-boom-coronavirus-in-pictures
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Internet Bandwidth Requirements:
Online streaming remains the biggest source of 4K content, led by Netflix and Amazon’s growing selection of original series. But many consumer broadband connections aren’t fast enough to allow reliable 4K streaming.
Home Theater Movie Resolutions:
  • 4K (UHD): 3,840 x 2,160 pixels
  • 1080p (Full HD): 1,920 x 1,080 pixels
  • 720p (HD): 1,280 x 720 pixels
  • 480p (SD): 640 x 480 pixels
  • 8K: 7,680 x 4,320 pixels
For comparison purposes, 70mm film - still considered by many to be the gold standard - is roughly equivalent to a 12K resolution in digital terms, so digital's still got some catching up to do on that score.
submitted by extriniti to wallstreetbets [link] [comments]


2020.04.30 11:29 thecambridgegeek Audio Drama/Fiction/RPG Debuts - April 2020

I've got what I think is a mostly exhaustive list of the new audio series that came out this month, which may be of interest to those looking for new shows. See below. Anyone want to tell me any I've missed, and I'll update it? (Note, "new" here means that the Ep1 of the RSS feed was released, or a previously non-fiction feed started producing fiction.) Listened to any of them that you would recommend?
4/1: Quarantine Quest (RPG - Fantasy)
Site: https://twitter.com/southwellstylez
Synopsis: Hi. I'm Cameron Southwell. I am not a real person. This is not a real podcast. Quarantine Quest tells the story of a world on lock-down, where tiny isolated communities have been encapsulated in their own pockets of reality causing them to diverge from what was once recognized as reality, and of the overseers who try in vain to keep this system intact despite its inevitable failure. Quarantine Quest also tells my story, as the author, as I try to put this together and reach out from the isolation of disability and social anxiety to share what I've been working on. Think of this as spoken word concept album trying to both tell a story and make a point. There are two kinds of episodes: A Sides to cover the main body of work and B Sides. A Sides are longer episodes of about an hour, released monthly, in which I tell a story about the world of Quarantine Quest. Usually they will be created using a game or specific writing technique. The episodes will function as individual songs or stories that weave together to create the larger fabric of the plot and themes of the world of Quarantine Quest. They will also often function as actual plays or demonstrations of whatever game or technique I am using. B Sides are shorter episodes, released haphazardly, usually 10-15 minutes long and represent divergence from the narrative. Some will be readings from across the universe, some will be thoughts from my tiny hidey hole, some will be commentary or discussion of the ongoing narrative. If I get questions, these will also be Q&As eventually. They will also probably discuss writing and coping in isolation. I'm Cameron Southwell. I'm not a real person. This is not a real podcast. Thank you for listening.
RSS Feed: https://pinecast.com/feed/quarantine-quest

4/1: Roll Charisma (RPG - Urban fantasy)
Site: https://roll-charisma.simplecast.com/
Synopsis: A fun actual play storytelling podcast for shameless nerds. Our current campaign, Moonlighters, is about fixers for hire in New York's secret supernatural community. Think a mash-up of shows like Stranger Things, The Wire, and Broad City, and you'll have a pretty good idea of what to expect from us.
RSS Feed: https://feeds.simplecast.com/NcTmCsic

4/1: Strnge Trns.mssns from the Retrofuture (Dramatised - Science fiction)
Site: https://feeds.buzzsprout.com/953683.rss
Synopsis: Strnge Trns.mssns from the Retrofuture is a linear fictional audio drama formed in style by a love of the radio dramas of old. With a combination of 'found footage' and narration, it catalogues an adventure that begins in the year 2117, and expounds upon the integrated backstory of our business, Antimtr.
RSS Feed: https://feeds.buzzsprout.com/953683.rss

4/1: The Anansi Chronicles (Fiction - Fantasy)
Site: http://www.buzzsprout.com/975358
Synopsis: Narrated by History itself, the Anansi Chronicles tells the forgotten stories of the supernatural creatures brought to the ‘New World’ as a result of the awful slave trade. It is an Afro-centric fantastical history.
RSS Feed: https://feeds.buzzsprout.com/975358.rss

4/2: Ignore City (Dramatised - Musical)
Site: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLhdLAJVe\_bs5-Shz\_U4Gn63s7aMgCQMW5
Synopsis: Ignore City' is an audio drama rock musical with original songs by The Shake Ups! In a post-apocalyptic future where technology has been outlawed, Deban Rimpa, a scrappy bike messenger, befriends a sentient robot head named Saner 0805. She embarks on an intrepid adventure through Ignore City to save civilization before government agents catch up with her.

4/2: Malice Corp (RPG - Fantasy)
Site: http://malice-corp.com/
Synopsis: Some of your Malice Cast favorites and some new friends come together to play some of your favorite table top RPGs. Series 1 - The DeVecna Code.
RSS Feed: http://malice-corp.com/feed/malice_corp_actual_play/

4/2: Neurominded Presents (Dramatised - Science fiction)
Site: https://neuromindedpresents.podbean.com
Synopsis: A cosmic anthology of series and one offs.
RSS Feed: https://feed.podbean.com/neuromindedpresents/feed.xml

4/2: The Odyssey (Dramatised - Adaptation)
Site: https://www.weplayers.org/odyssey-audio-drama
Synopsis: Welcome aboard The Odyssey Audio Drama! We Players originally performed The Odyssey in late 2011, voyaging with our audiences in the waters of San Francisco Bay aboard the historic scow schooner Alma. We sailed past the sirens, we anchored off Angel Island, we feasted on cheese and olives and bread aboard the ship, we sang sea chanteys, and we awakened the muse of these ancient tales! Here on our virtual ocean, imagine that salt spray and sea breeze, the splash of the waves against the wooden hull and the creaks and groans of the rigging. The voyage begins again.
RSS Feed: http://www.weplayers.org/odyssey-audio-drama-episodes?format=rss

4/3: The Mistholme Museum of Mystery, Morbidity, and Mortality (Dramatised - Urban fantasy)
Site: https://thatsnotcanon.com/themistholmemuseumpodcast/
Synopsis: Hello, and welcome to the Mistholme Museum of Mystery, Morbidity, and Mortality. This Audio Tour Guide is aware that this is your first visit to the museum! On behalf of the Museum: Welcome! It’s a pleasure to have you with us here today. The Audio Tour Guide will be your window into the history of the museum and its exhibits today. If you would like an introduction to how the museum works, please continue breathing normally. Fantastic!
RSS Feed: https://thatsnotcanon.com/themistholmemuseumpodcast?format=rss

4/4: Earth Under Gold (Dramatised - Science fiction)
Site: http://earthundergold.com/
Synopsis: A sci-fi audio drama brewed for the end times, Earth under Gold follows several unlucky humans through the final days of the Golden occupation. In 2033, the Golden -- an alien force composed of six gargantuan birdlike beings -- descended from the heavens and promptly decimated our species. After the slaughter, the Golden corralled the survivors into sprawling refugee camps. Flash forward fifty years -- those camps are now thriving city-states, the leaders of which are eager to assert dominance in a newly opened world. As the Golden begin their exodus, the human race ambles toward a familiar crossroads. Can it find a new way? Will our species free itself from its torturous patterns?
RSS Feed: https://earthundergold.libsyn.com/rss

4/4: McKinney Can't Write (Fiction - Anthology)
Site: https://anchor.fm/mckinneycantwrite/
Synopsis: So just what is McKinney Can't Write? It's a mess, to be honest, but a fun one. It's a place where you can find science fiction audio dramas one week or urban fantasy serials the next. It's a place to dip a toe, or dunk a head, into strange tales. More than anything, it's a place to take a break from reality. Not forever, but a little, at least. So why not hit play and check out what McKinney Can't Write has to offer.
RSS Feed: https://anchor.fm/s/1b74ab74/podcast/rss

4/4: Through These Eyes (Fiction - Anthology)
Site: https://audioboom.com/channels/5020037
Synopsis: Through These Eyes is a monthly, bite-sized audio drama featuring various short-story fiction. From thrillers to horror to everything in-between, we aim to make your drive home just a little bit better.
RSS Feed: https://audioboom.com/channels/5020037.rss

4/5: Ben and Sophie: Woby's Secret (Dramatised - Children)
Site: https://www.spokenmovieproject.com/
Synopsis: "Ben and Sophie - Woby's Secret" is the story of two third-graders skilled at investigating all the secrets their world holds.
RSS Feed: https://feeds.captivate.fm/spokenmovieproject-benandsophie/

4/5: Margaret Moves to Mars (Dramatised - Comedy)
Site: https://play.acast.com/s/margaret-moves-to-mars
Synopsis: A fictional sci-fi/comedy about a girl named Margaret, who after a bad break-up moves to the Australian colony on Mars hoping for a fresh start. Upon arrival she quickly realises that Mars isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. The air’s a bit thin, the water’s a bit dry and the only food is potato. But with no desire to head home, Margaret makes the most of a bad situation gaining a job as the Chief Advisor for the highly inept Mayor of Mars.
RSS Feed: https://rss.acast.com/margaret-moves-to-mars

4/5: Omegaman (Dramatised - Superhero)
Site: https://omegamanpodcast.com/
Synopsis: Omegaman is set in an alternate reality of the United States where in 2008, a real life superhero appeared: Omegaman. The story begins in 2019 centered on a reporter visiting a prison specially designed to house supervillains. Her assignment? To interview some of the more prominent villains (some super powered and some not) about their first encounters with Omegaman, in search of uncovering a secret conspiracy.
RSS Feed: https://feeds.captivate.fm/omegaman/

4/5: Sick and Twisted Stories - Dark Tales from the 21st Century (Fiction - Horror)
Site: https://anchor.fm/james-m2
Synopsis: Drawing inspiration from the Twilight Zone and Black Mirror, Sick and Twisted Stories offers a series of dark, disturbing, and tragic tales about the darker side of life in the 21st Century.
RSS Feed: https://anchor.fm/s/166e7718/podcast/rss

4/5: StoneKeep (Dramatised - Thriller)
Site: https://stonekeeppodcast.podbean.com
Synopsis: When Caleb accompanies his father to work at the CDC, he thinks his dad has a pretty boring job. But when the alarm goes off and the facility goes into lock down, he learns that first impressions can be deceiving.
RSS Feed: https://feed.podbean.com/stonekeeppodcast/feed.xml

4/5: The Ponith Series (Fiction - Fantasy)
Site: https://theponithseries.buzzsprout.com/892135
Synopsis: The Ponith Series Podcast - A YA Fantasy storytelling novel series. Follow along with the story series that has portals, magic, fantasy creatures, fighting, love, and much more.
RSS Feed: https://feeds.buzzsprout.com/892135.rss

4/5: Wombwell Thespians (Dramatised - Slice of life)
Site: https://anchor.fm/wombwell-thespians/
Synopsis: Amongst other things this will contain radio play style audio performances produced by members of the Wombwell Thespians Amateur Dramatics Society.
RSS Feed: https://anchor.fm/s/1a870b6c/podcast/rss

4/6: A Place Called Fairneck (Dramatised - Comedy)
Site: https://www.fairneckpodcast.com/
Synopsis: A clever teenage journalist comically recounts the events that lead to a beloved member of her community tragically dying in a freak, plague-related accident the week before Passover. Think Sliding Doors in a modern orthodox North Jersey community.
RSS Feed: https://aplacecalledfairneck.libsyn.com/aplacecalledfairneck

4/6: Conversations (Dramatised - Slice of life)
Site: https://www.facebook.com/OJ-Scriptwriting-106185034262166/
Synopsis: Several groups of people having dinner discuss their issues and wonders. They are unaware of how their conversations affect those around them.
RSS Feed: https://feeds.buzzsprout.com/912418.rss

4/6: I Want Everything (Dramatised - Comedy)
Site: http://www.buzzsprout.com/963307
Synopsis: I Want Everything is a six-part, full cast dramatisation comedy drama by Tom Manly. Two young strangers appear in a dimensionless void. They learn from their unwilling and flatulent guide that they have been summoned to undertake The Bidding. The Bidding is a difficult, no, nearly impossible task. The most likely outcome for the summoned is death ... but completing The Bidding is their only way home. What is the curious purpose of these quests? Who are the mysterious Stewards who oversee the process? What ancient prophesies drive a conflict that threatens to engulf our heroes and the vast Hachne Empire? What happens when a Giant meets a social influencer and why does everyone dream that someone else has taken their spoon!?
RSS Feed: https://feeds.buzzsprout.com/963307.rss

4/6: JWF: Monday Night Ignition (Dramatised - Comedy)
Site: https://jwfignition.captivate.fm/
Synopsis: JWF: Monday Night Ignition is the only place where you can see the storylines and storylines of Birmingham, Alabama's premier wrestling organization, the JWF! Founded by Captain Tibbs in 19??, the JWF features some of the greatest stars of tomorrow, but today! From the Hammer Man to The Lumberjack, JWF features some of the hottest talent that the Yellowhammer State has to offer!
RSS Feed: https://feeds.captivate.fm/jwfignition/

4/6: Light Hearts (Dramatised - Comedy)
Site: https://lightheartspod.carrd.co/
Synopsis: Running a business is hard. Running a business alone in an old, haunted building is even harder. Janine didn’t know what she was getting herself into when she opened Prism - but with the help of Ryan (an astronomy professor with a useful knack) and Kale (an artist with a mind for marketing), she manages to stay aloft. Light Hearts follows the daily shenanigans of serving Prism’s customers, solving strange problems, and wrangling the occasional unexpected patron.
RSS Feed: https://pinecast.com/feed/light-hearts

4/6: Pete's Paranormal Universe (Dramatised - Comedy)
Site: http://www.ckmombourquette.com/ppu/
Synopsis: Stranded in the distant world of tomorrow, Pete Schwartz struggles on, exploring the convoluted secrets of…PETE’S PARANORMAL UNIVERSE - where the paranormal is normal.
RSS Feed: http://ckmombourquette.squarespace.com/ppu?format=rss

4/6: What Comes After (RPG - Post-apocalypse)
Site: https://anchor.fm/whatcomesafter
Synopsis: The world as we know it ended in the mid 1980s, when billions of people died at once. 5 years later, 4 survivors discover that everything is about to change again. A Genesys RPG Actual Play Podcast.
RSS Feed: https://anchor.fm/s/13d35014/podcast/rss

4/7: Almost Heroes (RPG - Fantasy)
Site: https://www.dungeonsco.com/podcast/
Synopsis: A “mostly” 5th Edition D&D Story.
RSS Feed: https://www.dungeonsco.com/podcast?format=rss

4/7: Bleach (Dramatised - Thriller)
Site: https://www.danirelandreeves.co.uk/bleachpodplay
Synopsis: Adapted from the award-winning stage play; Bleach is a story of sex, violence and city-living. Tyler Everett sells his body to hungry punters on a nightly basis. But on a regular working night, things are about to spiral out of control leaving Tyler questioning whether living in London is really worth the price of rent.
RSS Feed: https://feeds.buzzsprout.com/991045.rss

4/7: Covid39 (Dramatised - Science fiction)
Site: https://thesevensages.com/covid39
Synopsis: Twenty years after Covid-19 brought the world to a standstill, a man and a woman who were quarantined together as kids question the validity of their current romantic relationship. They salvage audio recordings left by their parents during the pandemic, our present, to come to terms with their trauma. This is a fictional audio drama that points out the humanity of our fateful present and examines the future we are helping to create for our children.
RSS Feed: http://thesevensages.com/covid39?format=rss

4/7: Null/Void (Dramatised - Science fiction)
Site: https://pocpodcasting.wixsite.com/pocpn/nullvoid
Synopsis: Null/Void is a science fiction audio drama about a young woman, Piper Lee, whose life is saved by a mysterious voice named Adelaide. Piper soon uncovers a malicious plot by a monopoly of a tech company and must work with her friends and an unusual ally to help foil their deadly plot.
RSS Feed: https://pinecast.com/feed/null-void

4/7: October by May (Fiction - Anthology)
Site: https://octoberbymay.podbean.com/
Synopsis: October by May is a narrative fiction podcast that envelops you in a three-dimensional soundscape of ominous occurrences and eerie tales, transporting you to that most unearthly time of year.
RSS Feed: https://feed.podbean.com/octoberbymay/feed.xml

4/8: Desperado (Dramatised - Urban fantasy)
Site: https://www.buzzsprout.com/963982
Synopsis: Blood magic, Voodoo magic, old gods, new gods: We've got it all! Follow the story of misfits from all over the world, as they try to survive and protect their heritage from modern-day crusaders.
RSS Feed: https://feeds.buzzsprout.com/963982.rss

4/8: Merchant of Death (Dramatised - Historical)
Site: https://anchor.fm/joshua-belmonte
Synopsis: A WW2 veteran returns home and finds no employment opportunities. During a chance encounter, he is given an opportunity and becomes a hitman for a Kansas City crime family.
RSS Feed: https://anchor.fm/s/1c1882d0/podcast/rss

4/8: Neural Nexus: Zero (RPG - Cyberpunk)
Site: https://howinerd.com/category/neural-nexus-zero/
Synopsis: Boston 1980, A neon metropolis that stands in stark contrast to the harshness of life within the hub. Maybe not as hard as it is for the low-techs who survive outside the graces of the cities protection but living in this city brings with it its own set of challenges. Unemployment, lack of education, corrupt police, organized and street crime as well as the overall Orwellian feel of systems put in place to keep the average citizen from advancing in life. Come along with our misfits as they struggle through the day to day of modern life in this gritty nightmare.
RSS Feed: http://neuralnexuszero.libsyn.com/rss

4/9: PRøDUCTS & PLäCEMENTS (RPG - Fantasy)
Site: http://soundcloud.com/ninjahell-0451/sets/products-plaecements-an
Synopsis: PRøDUCTS & PLäCEMENTS is an official, Melsonian Arts Counsel approved, Troika Actual Play podcast dedicated to showcasing and promoting the 3rd party content that makes this game great! Join the former 90s college students turned fantasy adventurers as they participate in this tongue-and-cheek ploy to showcase and promote as many third-party Troika! creators and their content as possible, to inspire you to check out the game, buy some content, and get rollin' those dice!
RSS Feed: http://feeds.soundcloud.com/playlists/soundcloud:playlists:1029190186/sounds.rss

4/9: Soundstage (Dramatised - Anthology)
Site: https://www.playwrightshorizons.org/soundstage/
Synopsis: Soundstage is an anthological, scripted fiction series of portable stories from Playwrights Horizons theater in New York City. Featuring short-form commissions from America’s best playwrights, these audio experiences are written specifically for the ear, not translated or recorded live from the stage. Now, the theater is wherever you are.
RSS Feed: https://www.spreaker.com/show/4269006/episodes/feed

4/9: WonderCop (Dramatised - Comedy)
Site: https://soundcloud.com/user-958306016
Synopsis: WonderCop is a semi-scripted podcast created by comedians Matt Klinman (The Onion, Smartr), Zack Poitras (The Tonight Show) and Dan Abramson (The Last Degree Of Kevin Bacon). It follows alcoholic Detective Daryl Dern and his new robotic partner WonderCop as they try to keep the town of Gristleberg, USA safe from crime.
RSS Feed: https://feeds.soundcloud.com/users/soundcloud:users:806852179/sounds.rss

4/10: Façade (RPG - Urban fantasy)
Site: https://www.tablestory.tv/series/facade/
Synopsis: We are surrounded by the faceless masses. If we ever stopped to look, we might notice the cracks in our existence. Will you see through the Facade? Join our cast of roleplayers in the setting of KULT: Divinity Lost for an 18+, occult detective tabletop roleplaying game show.
RSS Feed: https://www.tablestory.tv/series/facade/feed/

4/10: Friends Through the Letterbox (Dramatised - Comedy)
Site: https://www.spreaker.com/show/friends-through-the-letterbox\_1
Synopsis: Dan Jones and Craven Windlescrape discuss a strange portal that's connecting Dan's letterbox to a whole new world of mystery.
RSS Feed: https://www.spreaker.com/show/4078407/episodes/feed

4/10: Last Call at Bluebell Cafe (Dramatised - Fantasy)
Site: https://lastcallatbluebellcafe.podbean.com/
Synopsis: Last Call at Bluebell Cafe is a fantasy audio drama about a shapeshifting Barista who is a little too interested in other people's lives. The Barista runs the transient Bluebell Cafe, where customers can get more than just coffee. Many of the wanderers who find themselves stumbling upon this hidden cafe in dusky hours are at a crossroads in their life. Who better than our Barista to guide them along their path? With a little help from magic, of course.However, magic and people are both unpredictable; there's a reason why they don't mix, as the Barista will soon discover.
RSS Feed: https://feed.podbean.com/lastcallatbluebellcafe/feed.xml

4/10: The Ernie Pyle Experiment! (Dramatised - Comedy)
Site: https://indianapublicmedia.org/erniepylepodcast/
Synopsis: A thirteen-episode podcast from WFIU Public Radio chronicling Ernie Pyle's pre-war work as a travelling columnist for the Scripps-Howard Newspaper syndicate.
RSS Feed: https://indianapublicmedia.org/erniepylepodcast/feed.xml.php

4/10: The Fowler Family Radio Hour (Dramatised - Comedy)
Site: https://www.facebook.com/thefowlerfamilyradiohou
Synopsis: "The Fowler Family Radio Hour" features down-home songs and commercials, the latest episode of the soap opera "Holly Springs Eternal," and plenty of local color from the fictional southern town of Henley.
RSS Feed: https://feeds.transistor.fm/the-fowler-family-radio-hour

4/10: The Mirage Barrage (Fiction - Superhero)
Site: https://www.buzzsprout.com/980926
Synopsis: In the Mirage Universe, a great being from another dimension sleeps within the core of the Earth. So powerful is he that even his dreams can grant individuals extraordinary powers- super powers! Tales of superheroes, supervillains, secret agents, inter-dimensional travelers and a myriad of other characters will unfurl in this- the Mirage Barrage! Expect excitement, intrigue, action, mystery and more! No tale is too big or too small for the Mirage Universe!
RSS Feed: https://feeds.buzzsprout.com/980926.rss

4/11: Are You Sitting Comfortably? (Fiction - Horror)
Site: https://www.buzzsprout.com/1000771
Synopsis: If you like horror stories, you'll want to listen to mine... I'll be reading out the short stories I've written, as well as chapters of my novels. I hope you like them!
RSS Feed: https://feeds.buzzsprout.com/1000771.rss

4/11: Roads Uncharted (RPG - Fantasy)
Site: https://roads-uncharted.simplecast.com/
Synopsis: Roads Uncharted is an actual play podcast using the Genesys RPG system, set in a homebrew fantasy world. The story takes place shortly after thousands of children suddenly went missing on the eve of a festival. Join the players and GM Dax as they try to solve this mystery and find their place in a world where gods meddle in the lives of mortals.
RSS Feed: https://feeds.simplecast.com/FVjUsTA8

4/12: Sincerely, B (Fiction - Crime/Mystery)
Site: http://sincerelyb.libsyn.com/
Synopsis: I've discovered odd letters addressed to my house. They tell a story of someone I know only as "B." B has, apparently, started a new life, buying a home with the intent to renovate. But things are odd in B's new town. And maybe a bit dangerous too.
RSS Feed: http://sincerelyb.libsyn.com/rss

4/13: Dice Therapy (RPG - Fantasy)
Site: https://dicetherapyap.pinecast.co/
Synopsis: Your inoculation against the mundane via Actual Play recordings of Tabletop RPG sessions.
RSS Feed: https://pinecast.com/feed/dicetherapyap

4/13: Liquid Picnic Audio Dramas (Dramatised - Anthology)
Site: https://soundcloud.com/user-818973058
Synopsis: Podcast by Liquid Picnic Production.
RSS Feed: https://feeds.soundcloud.com/users/soundcloud:users:779196667/sounds.rss

4/13: Lottie's Diary (Fiction - Historical)
Site: https://anchor.fm/lottie-fisher
Synopsis: Lottie’s 1930 diary showed up years ago in a jumble sale in the south of England. Written in a Collins’ Royal Diary, it’s the story of a young woman from North London. A story of English privilege between the wars. Each episode brings another month from Lottie's 1930 life. Some things are familiar; at other time she inhabits another world.
RSS Feed: https://anchor.fm/s/1cbb6fcc/podcast/rss

4/13: Tales of Zendaria (Fiction - Fantasy)
Site: https://anchor.fm/talesofzendaria
Synopsis: Tales of Zendaria is a Young Adult fantasy-fiction audiobook, which chronicles the adventures of reluctant Princess April and her canine companion Willow through the ancient Kingdom of Zendaria. Magic, mystery and mirth await! Written and narrated by Alexander Worth.
RSS Feed: https://anchor.fm/s/1c328504/podcast/rss

4/13: The Time Pirate (Dramatised - Fantasy)
Site: https://beta.prx.org/series/39124
Synopsis: James Hawkins helps his mom run a motel in modern day Montauk, Long Island. But when a mysterious man washes up on the beach with a treasure map tattooed on his chest, James discovers that Billy Bones is, in fact, a time traveling pirate from the 18th century. James and his new friends, Morgan and Max, follow the map right into a magical portal that leads them back nearly three hundred years and back into a swashbuckling adventure.
RSS Feed: http://feeds.bestrobotever.com/TheTimePirate

4/13: Today's Life (Dramatised - Slice of life)
Site: https://today-s-life.pinecast.co
Synopsis: A episodic serial that tells the story of a couple dealing with the troubles of Today's Life.
RSS Feed: https://pinecast.com/feed/today-s-life

4/14: Academy Days: Christian Fiction for Teen Girls (Fiction - Slice of life)
Site: http://www.buzzsprout.com/795173
Synopsis: Academy Days is a fiction serial podcast for teenage girls. The Christian high school story follows four girls as they navigate school, family, friends, and the choices that each day brings. Carmen, London, Ebony, and Lacey differ in personality, but life in a small Christian school brings them together as each one grows closer to God.
RSS Feed: https://feeds.buzzsprout.com/795173.rss

4/14: God of Obsidian (Dramatised - Thriller)
Site: https://god-of-obsidian.simplecast.com/
Synopsis: God Of Obsidian is a dark fairytale about a gaslighting relationship, as one woman desperately seeks the story that will take her back across the narrow, dangerous bridge to freedom.
RSS Feed: https://feeds.simplecast.com/1Bpis_CB

4/14: Heroics (Dramatised - Superhero)
Site: https://www.planetm.io/heroics/
Synopsis: When their comic-shop-as-a-front beings to struggle, a group of superheroes experiment with different career paths a little more... villainous than heroic. A new audiodrama from Justin McLachlan and PlanetM.
RSS Feed: http://feeds.backtracks.fm/feeds/planetm/heroics/feed.xml?1586972899

4/14: Moon Harbor Extended (RPG - Science fiction)
Site: https://www.icynewyear.com/moon-harbor-extended/
Synopsis: Moon Harbor Heroes and the Icynewyear Presents Network are proud to present Moon Harbor Extended, a continuation of the Masks: A New Generation Actual Play Moon Harbor Heroes. Moon Harbor Extended tells the stories of characters outside of Faces and Cataclysm Crew and takes us from the center of the earth to the far depths of space. There are two primary lines in this extended universe comic series. The first is a cosmic line focusing on a SABRE-sponsored space-exploration unit as they try to save the world from utter destruction, GMed by Anthony Sheets. The second is an unnamed earthbound team of all queer characters, played by all LGBTQIA+ players, who navigate Moon Harbor’s more underground secrets, including the renaissance-themed society of rat people living in the sewers.
RSS Feed: https://www.icynewyear.com/moon-harbor-extended?format=rss

4/14: Next Stop (Dramatised - Comedy)
Site: https://www.nextstopshow.com/
Synopsis: Your friends are moving on. You're figuring out how to move forward. NEXT STOP is an audio sitcom about your mid-to-late 20s when everyone is changing around you—and you worry that you might not catch up. When longtime roommates Cam and Ally search for someone to replace their newly engaged former roommate, they stumble upon the iconoclast and ridiculous Samuel Clemens. Across its ten-episode first season, NEXT STOP follows these roommates’ trials through work, relationships, friendships and more.
RSS Feed: https://feeds.megaphone.fm/nextstop

4/14: Rage of Nerds (RPG - Fantasy)
Site: https://rageofnerds.podbean.com
Synopsis: Captured by the Drow and trapped in the Underdark, how will this crew of adventurer's find their way back to the surface world? Tune in to find out!
RSS Feed: https://feed.podbean.com/rageofnerds/feed.xml

4/14: Tales from the Aether (Dramatised - Fantasy)
Site: https://anchor.fm/talesfromtheaether
Synopsis: Original fairy tales for the modern day world. Tales From The Aether is an anthology series written by 3x award-winning writer, Jackie Jorgenson, which tells a different three part story each season.
RSS Feed: https://anchor.fm/s/b4908f8/podcast/rss

4/14: The Nonbinary Carrie Bradshaw (Dramatised - Slice of life)
Site: https://www.joshuabyron.com/
Synopsis: The Nonbinary Carrie Bradshaw is a fiction podcast about four queer and trans friends dating, crying, and waiting for the subway in New York City.
RSS Feed: https://anchor.fm/s/157b0dd0/podcast/rss

4/14: The Villes (Fiction - Children)
Site: http://www.thevilles.com/podcast-2/
Synopsis: The Villes - A series of whimsical illustrated children's stories aimed at 6 to 10 year olds, written by BBC TV Property expert Martin Roberts from Homes under the Hammer. From Tiredsville and Windyville, to Coldsville and Boredsville, the Magical bus takes Herman and the reader on a journey of fun and intrigue.
RSS Feed: https://feeds.buzzsprout.com/1011739.rss

4/15: Adelyne's Apothecary (Fiction - Historical)
Site: https://www.adelynesapothecary.com/
Synopsis: Adelyne’s Apothecary is a fiction podcast exploring the world of folk herbalist Adelyne Hutcheson. Adelyne’s storytelling takes us deep into the hills of Northern Appalachia where we meet her eccentric neighbors, family, and dearest plant friends.
RSS Feed: https://feeds.transistor.fm/adelynes-apothecary

4/15: Dusk and Dawn (RPG - Fantasy)
Site: http://www.buzzsprout.com/1014709
Synopsis: A Real Play Dnd Podcast following the adventures of Marek, Cinthia, Duna, and Mari as they fight to discover what's really happening in the Whiskey Republic.
RSS Feed: https://feeds.buzzsprout.com/1014709.rss

4/15: Joao Nsita (Fiction - Slice of life)
Site: https://anchor.fm/joao-nsita
Synopsis: This is the Joao Nsita podcast, a podcast channel dedicated to exploring the delightfully strange worlds of love through drama and comedy.
RSS Feed: https://anchor.fm/s/e6f030c/podcast/rss

4/15: MILKTEA (Fiction - Science fiction)
Site: https://www.snakble.com/podcast
Synopsis: Nate is a clone without any memories of his previous life. “The Key” is the queen of an ice planet he’s just crash landed on. “Father” is his robot, the only parent Nate has ever known. Traverse a 1000 years to uncover the mystery of who Nate and the Key are and what they mean to each other.
RSS Feed: https://feeds.captivate.fm/milktea/

4/15: North Star Rising (Fiction - Science fiction)
Site: https://www.northstarcrew.com/
Synopsis: Two humans find themselves on a space adventure in this six part audiobook, from the writer of Thomas Was Alone and Subsurface Circular.
RSS Feed: https://northstarcrew.libsyn.com/rss

4/15: Reroll Expectations (RPG - Fantasy)
Site: https://twitter.com/RerollCast
Synopsis: A Real-Play Dungeons and Dragons Podcast featuring Cayce McWilliams, WIll Truax, Anthony Carluccio, and Jeff Nabors as your local benevolent Dungeon Master. We are currently in a homebrewed world called Sirine, a high-fantasy world of political intrigue and bizarre, powerful magic.
RSS Feed: https://rerollexpectations.libsyn.com/rss

4/15: Tale of the Manticore (RPG - Fantasy)
Site: https://taleofthemanticore.podbean.com
Synopsis: Tale of the Manticore is a hybrid between a dark fantasy audio drama and a solo D&D RPG. The dice make all the important decisions and, as a writer, my job is to interpret them and tell their story. Part fiction, part game, it's the story where "Chaos rolls."
RSS Feed: https://feed.podbean.com/taleofthemanticore/feed.xml

4/15: The New Colossus (Dramatised - Adaptation)
Site: https://www.thenewcolossuspodcast.com/
Synopsis: A family of frustrated, attention-starved artists flocks to the seashore. One of them has a gun...what could possibly go wrong? A darkly comic reboot of Chekhov’s classic THE SEAGULL, this rollicking tale examines the pitfalls of making art and making love in modern day America.
RSS Feed: https://www.thenewcolossuspodcast.com/feed/podcast/

4/15: War of the Words (Dramatised - Anthology)
Site: https://www.conemanrunning.com/
Synopsis: Cone Man Running Productions is excited to present the next level of audioplay competition. Sixteen playwrights bracketed sweet sixteen-style to go head to head. They have 48 hours to write an original audio play with given parameters. The plays are then recorded and edited and rolled out in their bracketed pairs. The audience then decides who wins each bracket battle by voting at our website at www.conemanrunning.com. Once the winners are selected, they will then go head to head until there is only one playwright left standing!
RSS Feed: http://warofthewords.libsyn.com/rss

(See comments for part 2.)
Previous months are available here:
https://www.thecambridgegeek.com/results.php?proof=Releases&tag1=Audio%20fiction
And the ongoing updates (just in case you don't want to wait for the end of the month) are available here:
https://twitter.com/AudioDramaDebut
And I do a weekly podcast collecting a few trailers here:
https://www.thecambridgegeek.com/archive/add/add.php
submitted by thecambridgegeek to audiodrama [link] [comments]


2020.04.24 13:10 Fwoggie2 Covid-19 update Friday 24th April

Good morning from the UK. It’s Friday 24th April. My marigold seeds have taken off and are starting to sprout secondary stage leaves (marigolds are good companion plants; they ward off various pests in a vegetable garden whilst they can also be good sacrificial plants should a slug manage to somehow breach our electric barrier). Meanwhile, the first of my wife’s radishes seeds is starting to emerge from the compost she put in a recycled milk carton tetrapak a few days ago; she’s very excited by this. Advance warning, today’s post is a bit food supply chain heavy. Happy Friday everybody.

Virus news in depth


AP Story from Tuesday 21st April: UN food agency chief: World on brink of `a hunger pandemic’ - The head of the U.N. food agency warned Tuesday that, as the world is dealing with the coronavirus pandemic, it is also “on the brink of a hunger pandemic” that could lead to “multiple famines of biblical proportions” within a few months if immediate action isn’t taken. World Food Program Executive Director David Beasley told the U.N. Security Council that even before COVID-19 became an issue, he was telling world leaders that “2020 would be facing the worst humanitarian crisis since World War II.” That’s because of wars in Syria, Yemen and elsewhere, locust swarms in Africa, frequent natural disasters and economic crises including in Lebanon, Congo, Sudan and Ethiopia, he said. Beasley said today 821 million people go to bed hungry every night all over the world, a further 135 million people are facing “crisis levels of hunger or worse,” and a new World Food Program analysis shows that as a result of COVID-19 an additional 130 million people “could be pushed to the brink of starvation by the end of 2020.” He said in the video briefing that WFP is providing food to nearly 100 million people on any given day, including “about 30 million people who literally depend on us to stay alive.”
(Cont’d) Beasley, who is recovering from COVID-19, said if those 30 million people can’t be reached, “our analysis shows that 300,000 people could starve to death every single day over a three-month period” — and that doesn’t include increased starvation due to the coronavirus. “In a worst-case scenario, we could be looking at famine in about three dozen countries, and in fact, in 10 of these countries we already have more than one million people per country who are on the verge of starvation,” he said. According to WFP, the 10 countries with the worst food crises in 2019 were Yemen, Congo, Afghanistan, Venezuela, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Syria, Sudan, Nigeria and Haiti. He pointed to a sharp drop in overseas remittances that will hurt countries such as Haiti, Nepal and Somalia; a loss of tourism revenue which, for example, will damage Ethiopia where it accounts for 47 percent of total exports; and the collapse of oil prices which will have a significant impact in lower-income countries like South Sudan where oil accounts for almost 99 percent of total exports.

The Gulf Times takes a different slant on the story: ‘Instead of coronavirus, the hunger will kill us’; COVID-19 brings fears of a global food crisis - In Kibera, the largest slum in Kenya’s capital Nairobi, people desperate to eat set off a stampede during a recent giveaway of flour and cooking oil, leaving scores injured and two people dead. The coronavirus has sometimes been called an equaliser because it has sickened both rich and poor, but when it comes to food, the commonality ends. It is poor people, including large segments of poorer nations, who are now going hungry and facing the prospect of starving. “The coronavirus has been anything but a great equaliser,” said Asha Jaffar, a volunteer who brought food to families in the Nairobi slum of Kibera after the fatal stampede. “It’s been the great revealer, pulling the curtain back on the class divide and exposing how deeply unequal this country is.” Already, 135 million people had been facing acute food shortages, but now with the pandemic, 130 million more could go hungry in 2020, said Arif Husain, chief economist at the World Food Program, a UN agency. Altogether, an estimated 265 million people could be pushed to the brink of starvation by year’s end. “We’ve never seen anything like this before,” Husain said. “It wasn’t a pretty picture to begin with, but this makes it truly unprecedented and uncharted territory.”
(Cont’d) There is no shortage of food globally, or mass starvation from the pandemic yet continues the Gulf Times article. But logistical problems in planting, harvesting and transporting food will leave poor countries exposed in the coming months, especially those reliant on imports, said Johan Swinnen, director general of the International Food Policy Research Institute in Washington. While the system of food distribution and retailing in rich nations is organised and automated, he said, systems in developing countries are “labour intensive,” making “these supply chains much more vulnerable to COVID-19 and social distancing regulations.” On a recent evening, hundreds of migrant workers, who have been stuck in New Delhi after a lockdown was imposed in March with little warning, sat under the shade of a bridge waiting for food to arrive. The Delhi government has set up soup kitchens, yet workers like Nihal Singh go hungry as the throngs at these centres have increased in recent days. “Instead of coronavirus, the hunger will kill us,” said Singh, who was hoping to eat his first meal in a day.

Coronavirus-driven CO2 shortage threatens US food, water and beer supply, officials say - The Guardian reports that there is an emerging shortage of carbon dioxide gas (CO2) according to a Washington state emergency planning document. The document, a Covid-19 situation report produced by the State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC), contains a warning from the state’s office of drinking water (ODW) about difficulties in obtaining CO2, which is essential for the process of water treatment. The document says that the ODW is “still responding to [that day’s] notification of a national shortage of CO2”. It continues: “Several [water plants] had received initial notification from their vendors that their supply would be restricted to 33% of normal.” It further warns: “So far utilities have been able to make the case that they are considered essential to critical infrastructure and have been returned to full supply. However, we want to ask if CISA [the US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency] can assess this through their contacts, if this is sustainable given the national shortage.”
(Cont’d) Asked to clarify the nature of this problem, ODW director Mike Means said in an email that his agency had first learned of potential problems when Seattle public utilities were “contacted by their vendor Airgas who supplied a copy of a Force Majeure notice”, warning them that their CO2 order would be reduced due to pandemic-related shortages. Force majeure is a contractual defense that allows parties to escape liability for contracts in the case of events – such as a pandemic – that could not be reasonably foreseen. In this case, Means wrote, “Airgas informed in their notice that they would only be able to do 80% of their normal service but subsequent discussions said to expect more like 33%”. At this point, he added, “we reached out to understand if this was a WA specific problem or national. We quickly understood it to be a national issue.”
(Cont’d) ODW had then contacted federal agencies such as CISA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (Fema) and industry bodies such as the Association of State Drinking Water Authorities (ASDWA). The main reason for national shortages, according to the CEO of the Compressed Gas Association (CGA), Rich Gottwald, is a ramping down of ethanol production. “Back in the summertime, the [Trump] administration exempted some gasoline manufacturers from using ethanol. Then we had Russia and Saudi Arabia flooding the market with cheap gasoline. All of that led to an oversupply of ethanol,” Gottwald said. “As ethanol manufacturers were ramping down because there wasn’t a market for their product, along comes Covid-19, which meant people weren’t driving anywhere”, he added. This led to plant closures, including among the 50 specialized plants that collect CO2 for the food and beverage market. Gottwald’s association, along with a number of associations representing food and beverage industries, which together use 77% of food-grade CO2, issued a joint warning to the federal government about the shortage. In an open letter to the vice-president, Mike Pence, the coalition warns: “Preliminary data show that production of CO2 has decreased by approximately 20%, and experts predict that CO2 production may be reduced by 50% by mid-April.” It continues: “A shortage in CO2 would impact the US availability of fresh food, preserved food and beverages, including beer production.”

The 'land army' needed to keep the UK's food supply chain going as thousands of tonnes of food risks going to waste - ITV has done a piece on the UK farming supply chain. Farmers are desperate for help. Without their usual influx of migrant workers from the EU, thousands of tonnes of food risk going to waste in fields up and down the country, just as the summer crops come into season. Every year our farming industry needs 90,000 seasonal workers. Like Robyn, many have put themselves forward - but in no way near the numbers needed. Others are finding the application process hard to navigate. Mark Thorogood, whose family have run the Essex farm for three generations, says it’s a perilous time for the food supply chain. "If we can't get the labour – it doesn’t get picked. That’s the crux of it", he said. Meanwhile, the charity The Food Foundation claims more than one and a half million Britons are going without food for at least a day because of the pandemic and three million have experienced hunger since the lockdown. On top of all that - the reality that nearly 50% of our food comes from abroad. With the numbers of ships crossing the Channel reduced and port workers hit by the virus, this is now under threat too. So could this crisis see a permanent change in how we feed our nation? The country's leading voice on food security, Professor Tim Lang gave us a grave warning: "The entire world food system is being disrupted. More disruptions are coming. Plantings not happening, food being wasted. "Britain only produces about 50% of its food - the country that can only half feed itself has got to wake up". (Personal note: this is why I’m putting effort into growing veg)

Virus news in brief


Sources: The Guardian, CNN or (to get an alternative spin) Radio New Zealand









Supply chain news in depth


Hidden threat: Japan only has a 2-week stockpile of LNG (Liquid Natural Gas) - If supplies stop, it will cause major power supply problems in the country says Nikkei’s Asian review which has an article highlighting the continuing energy supply chain vulnerability in Japan ever since the Fukushima nuclear disaster. It takes about one month to ship LNG from the Middle East to Japan explains the article but if the coronavirus outbreak prevents ships from docking in Japan it could have a big impact on the country's power supply. The physical properties of LNG mean it is poorly suited for long-term storage hence the country only holding a two-week stockpile. Despite this, the country depends on the fuel for 40% of its electric power generation needs, and all of the LNG it uses is imported from the Middle East and Southeast Asia. Tokyo Bay, which stretches across the prefectures of Chiba, Tokyo and Kanagawa, is Japan's most important LNG power generation hub. JERA operates many of the power plants there, all of which run on LNG. Accounting for about 30% of Japan's total LNG power generation, these plants produce 26 million kilowatts of electricity. If, for instance, the coronavirus was to force these plants to stop, the Greater Tokyo area would immediately lose its power supply (Personal note: that’s a population of approx 38.5m people).
(Cont’d) Today, LNG is a pillar of Japan's electricity. Before the March 11, 2011, earthquake and tsunami in Japan, LNG made up 28% of the country's power generation. That increased to 40% in fiscal 2017 as the nation's nuclear power plants went off grid, one after the other, following the Fukushima nuclear crisis. While some of Japan's nuclear plants have come back online, based on the strictest standards in the world, only three of the 10 electric power companies have been able to do so. Moreover, the coronavirus is inching closer and closer to the nuclear plants. Recently, a contractor working at the Genkai Nuclear Power Plant in the southern prefecture of Saga tested positive for the virus and construction at the site was stopped temporarily. Japan has traditionally tried to maintain a diverse mixture of power sources -- including nuclear, LNG, fossil fuels and renewable energy -- due to its reliance on imports as an island nation. "It is highly unbalanced to depend close to half of our energy on LNG alone," an official at the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry concedes. With shipments arriving constantly, a few missed shipments will not immediately signal a crisis. But an extended cutoff will spell trouble for the country.
(Cont’d) Japan was already facing a power shortage this year, "so the timing is very bad," said a power industry source. The Sendai nuclear power plant in Kagoshima Prefecture was shut down last month because it failed to meet antiterrorism standards. The No. 3 reactor at the Ikata nuclear power plant in Ehime Prefecture is offline following a court injunction. The number of nuclear reactors in operation this year is expected to temporarily fall by half from nine, so Japan cannot rely heavily on nuclear power. Japan's energy self-sufficiency stands at about 10%, well below the 40% for food. The movement to shift away from carbon has led to a backlash against domestic coal-fired power plants, so dependence on LNG could rise further. One reason that Tokyo Electric is rushing to restart its Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear plant in Niigata Prefecture is because "heavy concentration in LNG power in Tokyo Bay is a major risk to the stable supply of power," according to an official at the utility. The coronavirus pandemic is testing whether Japan's government and utilities can diversify energy sources to prepare against the risks that threaten supplies.

USA meat packing plant Covid-19 problems worse than originally thought - A rash of coronavirus outbreaks at dozens of meatpacking plants across the nation is far more extensive than previously thought, according to an exclusive review of cases by USA TODAY and the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting. More than 150 of America’s largest meat processing plants operate in counties where the rate of coronavirus infection is already among the nation’s highest, based on the media outlets’ analysis of slaughterhouse locations and county-level COVID-19 infection rates. These facilities represent more than 1 in 3 of the nation’s biggest beef, pork and poultry processing plants. Rates of infection around these plants are higher than those of 75% of other U.S. counties, the analysis found.
(Cont’d) While experts say the industry has thus far maintained sufficient production despite infections in at least 2,200 workers at 48 plants, there are fears that the number of cases could continue to rise and that meatpacking plants will become the next disaster zones. "Initially our concern was long-term care facilities," said Gary Anthone, Nebraska's chief medical officer, in a Facebook Live video Sunday. “If there's one thing that might keep me up at night, it's the meat processing plants and the manufacturing plants." Factory workers, unions, and even managers say the federal government – including the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration – has done little more than issue non-enforceable guidance. On its website, for example, the CDC has released safety guidelines for critical workers and businesses, which primarily promote common-sense measures of sanitization and personal distancing. USA Today says that state health departments have also taken a backseat role in all but a few places. There’s more in the article here.

Supply chain news in brief









Good news


Meet the 12-year-old who rode 36 hours on Zwift alongside Geraint Thomas - The Tour De France winner and double Olympic gold medalist earlier this week did 3 12 hour cycling sessions to raise money for the UK’s NHS (National Health Service), eventually earning £350,000. Alongside him rode a 12 year old Mak Larkin who by the end of the 36 hours of cycling had managed to cycle 740km (460 miles). Proud mum Lynsey told Cycling Weekly: “Lockdown was really getting to Mak, being that he was so eager to race this season as it was his first year at national level road and mountain bike cross country. “He saw Geraint’s 36-hour challenge and told us he wanted to do some of it with him for something to do and to support the NHS. He then told us a few hours later that he wanted to do the full challenge and wanted to raise some money himself. At time of writing his fundraising page (also for the NHS) stands at £5,772 (approx €6,605 or $7,111 USD). Cycling weekly has more here.

A toddler has been able to hear for the first time after a groundbreaking remote switch-on of her cochlear implants - The BBC reports that audiologists in Southampton activated the devices for 18-month-old Margarida Cibrao-Roque via the internet as they are unable to see patients in person due to Covid-19 measures. Professor Helen Cullington said the procedure took "technical creativity". Margarida's father said it had "opened a big window" for his daughter. Margarida, who has been deaf since birth because she has Ushers Syndrome Type One, had received her cochlear implants in an earlier operation. Staff at the University of Southampton's Auditory Implant Service (USAIS) used specialist software and were able to monitor progress via videolink to the family's home in Camberley, Surrey. During the switch-on levels of electrical stimulation were gradually built up and Margarida's responses were constantly monitored. It is hoped her new cochlear implants will, over time, help her to hear and to communicate more easily. Margarida's mother, Joana Cibrao said the team were "just brilliant and made it happen" despite the lockdown restrictions. "The possibility of Margarida calling me mummy one day would mean the world," she said.

Donations


Several asked if they can send me $/£/€ via Patreon (in some cases because I've saved them time or money, others for no reason at all). I don't need the cash (that's lovely though) but as you may have read above, food bank charities are getting really hit hard with all this panic buying. Please consider giving whatever you'd have given me to a foodbank charity instead:
UK: https://www.trusselltrust.org/
France: https://www.banquealimentaire.org/
Germany: https://www.tafel.de/
Netherlands: https://www.voedselbankennederland.nl/steun-ons/steun-voedselbank-donatie/
Italy: https://www.bancoalimentare.it/it/node/1
Spain: https://www.fesbal.org/
Australia: https://www.foodbank.org.au/
Canada: https://www.foodbankscanada.ca/
USA: https://www.feedingamerica.org/
Thanks in advance for any donations you give. If there's foodbank charities in your country and it's not listed above, please suggest it and I will include it going forward.
submitted by Fwoggie2 to supplychain [link] [comments]


2020.04.20 01:47 Skjoll3123 [Kaufberatung] Stadtfahrrad zum Pendeln und Spass haben.

Nach fast 10 Jahren auf meinem alten Treckingrad wird es für mich Zeit für ein neues Rad, leider habe ich absolut keine Ahnung welches Rad für mich gut ist und weiß nur was für Strecken (8km, 1Fache Richtung in Großstadt zu Arbeit und Sport) ich fahre und welches Features ich, basierend auf dem was mir an meinem jetzigen Rad nicht gefällt, haben will.
-Diamantrahmen
-Starre Gabel
-Schutzbleche
-(hydraulische) Scheibenbremsen
-Reifen mit geringerer Mantelbreite (28-32mm statt 40 jetzt)
-Gangschaltung mit nur zwei Ritzeln vorne (Ich habe den kleinsten fast nie benutzt)
-wenige Ritzeln hinten(Falls das Sinn macht)
-Minimalen unauffälligen Gepäckträger ohne Klammer nur für Fahrradtaschen
-Straßentauglich
-Schutzbleche
-Preisrahmen: 800-1200€
Bei meiner Suche finde ich im Moment vor allem
Gravelbikes wie:
Orbea Vector Drop LTD
Cube NuRoad Pro Fe
Und Touringräder wie:
Fuji Touring
Es stellt sich mir nun die Frage ob ich eher bei Gravelbikes oder bei Touringädern besser aufgehoben bin, ich fahre zwar gerne schnell möchte im Großstadtverkehr aber auch immer einen guten Überblick haben und befürchte, dass ich mit Drop-Handlebars zu weit vornübergebeugt sitze. Wobei ich das Gefühl habe, das sich die Touring und Gravelbikes hier kaum was nehmen.
Sollte ich vielleicht doch eher etwas wie das Fuji Absolute 1.3 mit höherer Lenkerpostion nehmen? Aber ist Shimano Sora da gut genug?
submitted by Skjoll3123 to Fahrrad [link] [comments]


2020.03.07 20:50 1drowningfish Need an Opinion for my first road bike! I want to begin doing triathlons and want to save money while not regretting cheaping out if I do get super into it.

$800 aluminum frame/carbon fork/105 shifters/caliper breaks - https://www.decathlon.ca/en/bikes/152351-6943-triban-540-cycle-touring-road-bike-grey-black.html#/demodelcolor-8377756/demodelsize-200tp
$1000 aluminum frame/carbon fork/claris shifters/calliper brakes https://www.fujibikes.com/usa/bikes/road/endurance/sportif/sportif-2-3
$1500 at bike shop - carbon frame/tiagara/disc brakes https://khsbicycles.com/bikes/2019-khs-models/flite-700-19/
submitted by 1drowningfish to cycling [link] [comments]


2020.03.03 00:55 supercoolyellow Is a gravel bike really the best option for me?

Ok, so here's the background:
For the last 11 years, I've been riding a trek hybrid bike built in the 1980s that my parents gave me for my birthday back in 2009 that they purchased for $100. In the last few years my wife and I have averaged around 50 miles a week of bicycling together during the warm months. We usually do trips ranging from 10-35 miles and almost exclusively on pathed bike baths or dedicated bike lanes. On lighter trips we do a relaxed 8 mph, but sometimes we push our pace and get up to 14 mph on our trip.
This year I'm hoping to increase my cycling and my ability to go faster and do more miles. I am also looking at potentially doing a biking tour that we be 150 miles in 4-5 days on the Allegheny Passage trails (I believe mostly paved). Additionally I will be in a position where I work two miles from my home this year, and I hope to start commuting by bike 2-4 days a week. The roads and dedicated bike lanes in my city can be somewhat dirty and have a good amount of rocks, leaves, etc in them.
My goal is to buy a new bike this year for under 1K. I started the year thinking I would get some sort of Road Bike that was well suited for someone like myself. Potentially a touring bike or a cyclecross bike. However, the last three LBS I have gone to have suggested a gravel bike to me. Is that /really/ the best option for me?
If I do get a gravel bike, I'm looking at the Salsa Journeyman Claris, the Kona Rove, or the Jamis Renegade Exile. There is an LBS with an exile that from last year that they are selling for $550, so its currently my top option.
submitted by supercoolyellow to whichbike [link] [comments]


2020.02.23 20:46 tutetibiimperes Nugu Roundup #28 - Third Eye 20/20 - 200223

Hello and welcome to the latest Nugu Roundup!
What is this?: This is a weekly feature designed to highlight the unknown/underappreciated groups and soloists working hard in the Kpop world that often fall under the radar. Please share your own information, favorite performance videos, fanmeet stories, or anything else relevant below!
Last week we checked out the vocal-standout boy group Vromance. This week we're going to dive into one of my favorite new girl groups, and since they've just had a comeback it seems like the perfect time, let's get to know 3YE!
What is Nugu?: While in Korean it literally means 'Who' in the broader Kpop context it refers to groups that are generally unknown amongst the greater public. It doesn't have to mean they're extremely new, though it can, and there are of course varying degrees of 'unknown' which some groups having very strong niche fandoms and others being almost invisible. I take a fairly broad view and will include groups that may be known to some, but who don't have widespread name recognition.
And now, on to the show....
3YE
Who are they?: 3YE, pronounced 'Third Eye', is a three member girl group under GH Entertainment. All three members were formerly members of Apple.B, a five member group under the same company which disbanded after two members left following their debut.
Company: GH Media is currently home to 3YE, boy group B.I.G., and soloists Hwang Hye Young, JinyBro, and Soya, along with a large list of actors and actresses. They were previously the home of now-disbanded girl group TINT.
Group Self Introduction (and random dance challenge): Link
Members
Debut: May 21st, 2019 with DMT (Do Ma Thang) (MV) Live Stage (Link). The members had all previously debuted as Apple.B with Woochuchu (MV) Live Stage (Link) on August 1st, 2017. DMT marked a dramatic departure from the cute and innocent sound of Apple.B, with the reborn 3YE debuting with an aggressive swaggy EDM/hip-hop industrial girl crush concept.
Most Recent Comeback: February 20th, 2020 with Queen (MV) Live Stage (Link) A classy girl-crush song with a crime boss themed MV and a drop that somehow manages to blend EDM, Disco, and some of the middle-eastern phrygian elements they hit us with in DMT into a cohesive and impressive slap to the face.
Other MVs and Live Stages:
YouTube Channel: 3YE Official
Random Stuff
Trivia: While the group existed as Apple.B their dorm burned down due to a faulty air conditioning unit. No one was hurt and the company stated that it would not effect their promotions and performances, but two members left early in the next year leading to Apple.B dissolving. The group has stated that their role models are the boy group Shinwa and that they want to attract fans of all genders equally and present a strong woman image. Yuji said that she felt she was disappointing her friends and family by not rating higher in the survival shows she competed in, but is proud of 3YE and is hopeful the group is successful. They would like to do a world tour and especially perform in the USA and Europe. They've posted covers in a variety of languages on their YouTube channel and have done a great job attracting the attention of international fans from across the world through their efforts.
________________________________________________________
Soloist of the Week
Subin/Dalsooobin
Who is she?: Dalsooobin the former Main Vocalist and Maknae of the girl group DalShabet.
Company: Formerly of HappyFace (Dreamcatcher, D1CE) with DalShabet she has created her own company called the Dalsooobin Company to represent herself.
Real Name: Park Su Bin
Age: 24 (IA)
Debut: Her solo debut was May 12th, 2016 with Hate (audio) as the promoted single from her solo debut EP Flower.
Most recent comeback: March 5th, 2019 with Katchup (MV) Live Stage (Link) A fun slow-burn of a song that has a lot of cool creative touches which become apparent the more you listen to it.
Other MVs and Live Stages
YouTube Channel: Dalsooobin she has some videos with 'Nikita' who is an alternate persona of herself.
Random Stuff
Trivia: She is from Gwanju in Southwestern Korea and has said that she had wanted to try rapping more but her dialect made it difficult. She participated in the production, composition, and lyrics for all of the tracks on the DalShabet EP Joker is Alive. She has been involved in acting and modeling taking part in the drama 'You Came from the Stars' and 'Suspicious Mother in Law', and being part of Project Runway Korea. She is not shy about her body and has modeled lingerie for the Korean lingerie brand 'Sexy Cookie' as well as well as parodying the lengths some celebrities go for during ceremonial first baseball pitches by doing a 'nude' version. She has joked that she'd like to take part in a naked bike ride event overseas. She has had some bad luck, falling off stage during a performance with DalShabet and getting into a serious accident in a train car from Busan, but thankfully did not receive serious injuries in either case and recovered quickly. She is currently studying theater and Konkuk University.
________________________________________________________
In Memorium
CHAMPS
Who were they?: A five member boy group under JS Entertainment. An early attempt at exporting the Kpop system overseas, all of members were Brazilian but were brought to Korea to train in the Kpop style and received instruction from Gangnam Style choreographer Ju Sun Lee.
Releases
Active Between: June 2014 - March 2015
Random Stuff
Reasons for Disbandment: JS Entertainment posted that due to Brazil's financial crisis at the time entertainment spending was down making the continued promotions of the group impossible. It appears JS Entertainment decided to pull out of Brazil entirely.
___________________________________________________
That's it for today, let's get the discussion on!
As always, if you have any suggestions for groups, content, or things you'd like to see, please let me know in the comments below.
Also as always, a big shout-out to u/not-named-in-credits for his amazing work with nugutown.
submitted by tutetibiimperes to kpop [link] [comments]


2020.02.19 17:48 ViajandoConTimmy Honeymoon review – Dive trip to Philippines + Hong Kong layover

The purpose of this post is mainly for future reference as there is a relatively limited amount of information available for the Philippines, especially outside of the self-promotional blog posts (CLICK HERE TO BUY TRIP INSURANCE, etc), more so for those not exactly on a shoestring budget (not big spenders, but not backpacker-dorm-hostel only). I also sat on this for a while before posting, this trip happened in June of 2019.
Wife and I just got back from two weeks in the Philippines to celebrate our honeymoon. It would be her first dive trip (recently Open Water certified) and it seemed like a great place as there is good diving and it is affordable. We were fortunate enough to get free airfare worth $2,600US thanks to churning, so we had a little bit more money to spend while there. We spent around $4,000US total while there not including airfare. Normally we are pretty frugal but we treated ourselves, it could have been done much more affordably if you pick cheap restaurants and take slower options to get places. We were there from the middle to the end of June, so the start of the rainy season.
After a decent amount of research, we decided to fly into Manila to spend time with a family member who lives there, then to Coron, Palawan, travel to El Nido, Palawan, and fly out of there to Cebu, and go home out of Cebu on Cathay Pacific via Hong Kong for an 18-hour layover before our flight home in the USA.
We have family an hour south of Manila who we had never visited, so the first leg of our trip was with them. Upon landing in Manila on a Sunday (weekday traffic is insane, fortunately we didn’t experience that) we drove to Lipa and spent some time there. Among the attractions we saw were: hot springs at Hidden Valley (expensive, almost $50 USD but absolutely gorgeous), a cockfight (vegetarian wife did not enjoy), Taal volcano (hire a banca boat to the island, then rode horses to the top which was unnecessary, could’ve hiked easily – has since erupted, not sure how that is going to affect the tourism!), scuba diving in Anilao (it was good, apparently better than El Nido but inferior to Coron and Cebu where we went. Also $70/each for one dive, so among the priciest. We also had to visit 5+ dive shops to find someone who had both a boat and a DM, since it’s low season everything must be planned), and one of the most memorable meals of the trip at Sulyap café in San Pablo city. The family member we were visiting married a Filipina woman, so we had dinner at her family’s house near Lipa which was a fantastic experience – good food, and after a couple beers we were introduced to “balot”, a boiled chicken egg at various stages of development. It was interesting, glad we tried. They are all over the Philippines, everywhere we went we saw vendors with the styrofoam coolers with “BALOT” written on the side. After a couple days, we flew out of Manila to Coron on Cebu Pacific. The flight was fine, minor delay, and we were able to take relatively large backpacks on board (even though we paid for checked baggage just in case, I like to not check if I don’t have to). It said maximum allowance 7kg or so for carry-on, but at no point was anything weighed. It helped that we got our tickets online and at the kiosks rather than at the counter, since you interact with fewer people.
Our plan in Coron was to do some diving, explore the town, and relax. We booked two nights at the Two Seasons (best hotel in town, around $180 a night) as we planned on doing the “Ultimate Adventure Tour” with El Nido Paradise. This consisted of a 3-day, 2-night trip on a boat from Coron to El Nido, similar to Tao (the boutique and original provider, more expensive, but the dates didn’t line up for us), but unfortunately a week prior to our arrival, it was cancelled a week before we arrived in the Philippines since not enough people signed up. They did give us notice when we booked about two months prior, and regular updates, but we decided to adjust our plan once we knew for sure it wasn’t happening.
Our first day in Coron we got an airport shuttle via the hotel (relatively expensive, but convenient.. about $12 US/person) we scouted dive options and went with Reggae Divers per other threads I read here. We also did laundry, there are places all over town and it’s cheap, 80 pesos per kg/minimum of 3 so $5. For dinner we had Lobster King, it was OK, expensive to get lobstecrab, but fresh.
Second day in Coron was diving day, so we got up early to try to pick up laundry, but they weren’t open (despite their official hours being open at 7, but things are flexible in the Philippines). We dove with Morgane, a great French divemaster who we had to ourselves (benefit of low season). The dives consisted of two wrecks and a reef, but the wrecks were the most memorable. Japanese ships that were sunken in WWII, only a couple of them are accessible to Open Water, but super interesting. Visibility isn’t so great (especially during the rainy season) but it was a blast. The boat took us out with 2-3 other groups, but they were all varying levels and in different stages of certification, so they did their own thing while we had our own DM to ourselves. After the three dives we walked to the top of Mount Tapyas, where you get a great view of the city. It sure was hot, though! For dinner we walked to Sirenetta, this cool restaurant on stilts overlooking the water. Great for the sunset, slow service but tasty.
The third day in Coron we got coffee at Coffee Kong (good spot) and tried to secure a boat to take us to Linapacan. Since the boat trip to El Nido (which would’ve been a highlight of the trip) didn’t work out, we wanted to do some sightseeing other than traditional island-hopping party boats that everyone seems to recommend. We heard of Linapacan via a friend, as a great spot to visit that is definitely off the beaten path (sees very few tourists) and is supposed to be gorgeous. During the high season it seems like it’s quite easy to get there, there are some speed boats that are affordable, but this time of year it was harder to find someone. We walked around the pier (per online posts) and talked to banca operators, but the boats were all kind of small and they wanted between 8,500 and 10,000 pesos, one way. You can get to/from El Nido more easily from Linapacan, but we ultimately decided it wasn’t worth it traveling for multiple hours on the open ocean on a vessel of unknown seaworthiness. Everyone we asked was surprised and said it was very far, too. But in the high season, we’d definitely give it a shot. With that in mind, given we had a flight from El Nido to Cebu in a couple days, we booked a trip on the Phimal fast ferry to El Nido the following morning. We bought tickets from a tour shop called Jessabel in front of Coffee Kong, but you can get them anywhere. Afterwards we transferred to our new hotel, Funny Lion, which as I mentioned earlier was great. We were unable to book a third night in Two Seasons, so we did Funny Lion. It cost about the same ($180 US) but would’ve been less had we booked earlier. The only downside is that since it’s a little bit out of town, tricycle drivers charge you a bit more for rides, and when you’re there coming into town, you get charged a lot more since they’re kind of your only option (in-town rides had been around 20-40 per person depending on mood of driver and how hard we haggled, while it was more to town from Funny Lion). We rented a scooter at the shop called Ethan down the street from the Funny Lion (500 pesos for 8 hours) and headed to Concepcion Falls. The ride was gorgeous, and we stopped and ate at a roadside eatery called Laura’s garden for lunch. It took a while (saw them make two motorcycle runs to buy more supplies, again, low season), but got the best chicken adobo of the trip. Checked out the falls, water was a little low, but it was a fun ride to get there. When we came back, it took 50 pesos of fuel to fill up, and returned the scooter. The lady tried to rip us off saying we only paid 500 and owed her 1,000 more for the remaining two days we had the bike, some yelling ensued, but ultimately my wife got her to realize we had only rented for a day rather than three (assuming we got confused with another white couple, or she was just trying to scam us) and we were on our way. Good thing I left my driver’s license rather than my passport, I have spare licenses and threatened to walk away since I can get a new one easily, not the same with a passport.
The next day it was time to leave Coron to El Nido. The tricycle to the port was pricey, around 200 I think for two people, but we made it no problem. There was a short line for the ferry and we boarded promptly after a couple checkpoints along the way, and the ferry was pretty empty. Departed on time and arrived without any problems. As discussed online, they pump the AC, but I was comfortable in short sleeves and shorts, but wife was a little cold. Nothing miserable. Once we got to El Nido we stopped at Art Café for some food and to wait to get in to our AirBnB. We then rented a scooter (tons of shops in every town we visited offered scooter rentals) to head to Nacpan beach, another gorgeous ride. The last couple kilometers are on a dirt road so be careful. On the way back, we got a flat tire while getting absolutely POURED on, at least the rain was nice compared to the heat. We stopped at one store where a tricycle driver lent us a pump to try to fill the tire, but since it was tubeless I couldn’t figure out how to re-seat the bead. Pushed it down the road another half kilometer or so and found a tire shop, they took a look and somehow were able to inflate it no problem. After checking for leaks (didn’t find any, it must have been two people on a dirt road that caused the problem) we gave them 100 pesos for their trouble and were on our way. Multiple people stopped to ask if we needed help, it was quite a poetic moment getting poured on pushing this rental scooter through a dirt road in the Philippines. This is why we travel. For dinner we went to Happiness Place, a cool hippy-ish restaurant that has a ton of chickpea/hummus bowls. Very tasty. Then we got a massage across the road at Organic Spa, which was OK, they are all cheap though (around 450 for an hour.. so cheap compared to the US). We tipped generously, around 150, since it’s $3 to us but huge to them.
For our next day in El Nido we booked an Island-Hopping tour from Art Café. We chose tour C since it has the most snorkeling, and we rather snorkel than lie on the beach. It cost 1,500 pesos, maybe a 100 peso premium over other providers, but Art Café has their own boat and they seemed like a good operation to support – big on eco-friendliness, claim to fund moors so boats don’t use anchors on tours (but our boat used the anchor a ton.. go figure). The island hopping was fun, the night we booked we were the only ones scheduled for the next day, and they said for the cost of one more person we would go out on our own. We were excited to have the boat to ourselves, but apparently they sell discounted tickets the day of so we had 5 or so other people with us. Not a problem. The spots we visited pretty busy but nothing compared to high season per what the guides said. My wife got a bad sunburn from snorkeling on her back, so be sure to re-apply after every time in the water! We bought reef-safe sunscreen in the US before visiting, but no one else was using any.. The coral that was snorkel-accessible in El Nido was mostly dead, it was very sad. We also grabbed a ton of trash, littering is a problem and it all ends up in the ocean. Unfortunately the accessible places get hit the hardest, as always. For dinner we went to Angels Wish seafood and got the seafood sisig, one of the best meals of the trip, it was absolutely incredible.
Our next day in El Nido we decided to do some on-land adventures. We got breakfast at Athena Café which was pretty good. We did the canopy walk + dream catcher, which was a good way to spend an hour and a half or so. Good views of the city. It started to rain (our first day of rain so far) and got a pedicure at Sutra Spa, it was mediocre.. They only did nails, none of the foot soaking and rubbing, but as always it was cheap (approx $7 US). We had wraps at Holy Smoke for lunch (delicious, big) and hung out waiting for the rain to die down. We were recommended to try kwek-kwek after having balot, advertised as a more accessible egg-based street food. It consists of tempura-fried hard-boiled quail eggs and was delicious. We asked around and were told there were some food carts on the street next to the school, and we found some and they were great. We also got these Japanese cakes that were delicious as well. Once the rain died down (first real rain of the trip aside from a brief downpour in Manila, do not worry about traveling to Philippines in wet season in mid-late June) we rented another scooter and went to Cabañas beach. Hung out at Las Cabañas (a beachside restaurant, very nice bathrooms) and got a beer and went to the zip line. We walked up the hill to take the zip line (buy your ticket at the beach), it was fun, reviews were mixed but we had no problems. 500 pesos if you walk back on your own, 900 to take it both ways. The reviews all complained about the hike up, which I guess would be a problem if you were the average American office worker, but for some young fit people it was no problem. We then went back to Las Cabañas for more beer and to watch the sunset, it was gorgeous and relaxing. Unfortunately the clouds made for a lackluster sunset, so we decided to scoot home while it was still light out rather than drive at night. The power went out for the first time during our trip when we got to town, but 1,000 generators fire up and life goes on. We had dinner at Maa’s, which was tasty, but there was a big group ahead of us so it took a while to get food.
Next morning in El Nido we got breakfast at Squidos, which was the most meh meal of the trip. We went to Art Café to get some souvenirs and I got a coffee and a green mango juice (delicious) while we waited until it was time to go to the airport for our flight to Cebu. I haggled a couple tricycle drivers and secured a ride for 150 pesos, and we were on our way. The airport is a private airport for AirSWIFT (the airline we flew on) that existed originally as a charter airline to take people to some resorts owned by the same company, but has since expanded to public use. Very small airport, security was very fast. They also claimed a 7kg carry-on limit, but when we booked the flight through Art Café prior to our trip we opted for 20kg of luggage each rather than get dinged while trying to board at a much higher rate. Side note, booking on their website was harder than using a travel agent like Art Café, and the luggage was cheaper, so we went with Art Café rather than the airline directly. Of course no one ever weighed our luggage and we carried on our rather large packs (I think a 65 liter was our bigger one) without any resistance and had an on-time flight to Cebu.
Upon arrival to Cebu, our hotel for the night was in Moalboal. To get there we took a Grab (filipino Uber) to the South bus station, which cost 440 pesos, and I learned afterwards that a cab would’ve been cheaper, but it was convenient. At the station there are Ceres buses regularly from 4am-6pm that take you to Moalboal. There was a non-aircon (“ordinary”) bus ready to leave, but we opted to wait for aircon. I asked around and they said it would be an hour for the next bus, but 20 mins or so later a bus showed up. I believe what you need to look for is the route headed to Bato via Barili, but ask around, everyone was helpful. It cost 156 pesos per person and took 3.5 hours or so, depending on how many stops it makes (people get picked up and dropped off all over). Food vendors hopped on as you hit bigger towns, but there were no restroom breaks. The bus had wifi but I didn’t ask for the password. Upon arrival to Moalboal at night, we took a 200 peso tricycle to our hotel, Quo Vadis. We got dinner there (unremarkable) and hit the hay for diving the next day.
Our first full day in Moalboal was spent diving. Breakfast was at the buffet at Quo Vadis (300 pesos, mediocre). We opted to go with the Quo Vadis dive shop where we stayed due mainly to convenience, but I read good things about Blue Abyss that is literally next door. Dives are ~$30 US each, which in my experience is very affordable. The managers at Quo Vadis were Brits, and the DMs were a mix of foreigners and locals. They told us the prior week they had maybe one group a day, but they were running a bunch of groups while we were there. We had an Australian DM, Lauren, to ourselves, and she was fantastic. We did some shore dives and one at Pescador Island, which was the top dive of the trip. Amazing visibility, SO many fish, it was perfect. The other two dives were on the shore, and one was at the sardines which was very cool. Dinner was at Ven’z, a delicious spot.
The next day we planned on going canyoneering to Kawasan falls. This is a popular attraction where you hike/swim through a canyon and stop at some jumps along the way. Various outfitters offer packages (some up to $70 for transport and lunch), but we rented a scooter at Marjone’s (or something like that) close to where we stayed for 300 pesos for the day (cheapest scooter we rented). It was new, and the shop had good helmets, AND it had a full tank of gas which no other shop did. We rode the 45 mins to the base of the canyoneering and hired a guide (1500 each) and they provide helmet + life jacket. It was just us and the guide, so don’t get suckered into a group at that rate. We locked everything in the scooter at the outfitter and brought nothing with us but a ziploc with some money for lunch as there are some BBQ stands about halfway through. Wife is vegetarian so she got a banana but I got some skewers, it was cheap. The highest jump is 13m and it was terrifying but fun. I landed not exactly straight and bruised my ass pretty well, but it was a blast. Wife was too afraid for that one and another, but there’s an option for those who don’t want to jump. We wanted to avoid the crowds and apparently are the only people not obsessed with selfies (everyone confirmed multiple times, confused that we weren’t bringing a camera with us) so we moved pretty quickly. Our guide would skirt around big slow groups and we did the journey in around 3.5 hours. There’s a lot of walking at the beginning and end, and of course throughout, so you want to be in OK shape to do this. It was a lot of fun, big adrenaline rush on the jumps and the scenery is beautiful. The first group is allowed to begin at 6am, you’d have the place to yourself if you did that on a weekday (weekend gets packed with locals). For lunch in town afterwards we checked out Lantaw, it was ok, they didn’t have any seafood unless you ordered it the day before.. doesn’t make sense being on the coast and no one having seafood. Again, low season I’m assuming? We made a quick run into Moalboal town to check out the post office to buy stamps to send postcards to friends/family. 15 pesos gets you a postcard shipped internationally, FYI. We will see how long they take to arrive! (update: around a month, impressive.) We got a massage at Sparadise that was again just OK, but for ~$10 US you can’t complain. The place was clean and not sketchy at all. We got dinner at Ven’z since it was so good, and this time got the mango float for dessert which was stupendous. Not sure why it’s called a float, more like a parfait, but get it. Also if you are from an interesting country bring some currency and they’ll put it on the wall.
Third day in Moalboal was another diving day, and our last, as we would be flying out the following day. Got in three dives, two of which were with Lauren and another with Jingle. The foreign DMs have to give priority to the local employees, so that’s why it switched around so much. The weather was way choppier than our first dive day, so when we made a second trip to Pescador island it was very different to our initial visit. The current was absurdly strong, and we were paired with other divers, so if anyone had trouble it held up the group. One diver in another group was a complete Neanderthal and left his secondary regulator dangling and got himself caught in some hard coral (after dragging it and ruining a bunch of other coral…), definitely seemed like someone the shops should blacklist. He had his advanced certification too, no clue how that happened. Side note: I have trouble clearing my ears (specifically while ascending, reverse block) so I took Sudafed before every dive.. it’s a no no apparently but I couldn’t survive without it. I took it up a notch and took Afrin too and had minimal ear issues, very helpful. Sudafed is not sold in the Philippines so bring your own. At the hotel we made friends with some of the guests and they recommended a woman who was walking around giving massages on the hotel grounds, so we booked her and one other person for a massage after dinner. Dinner was at a fish place in town, I think it was called V Lami. Pretty good, they had some fish on a table out front and we selected. They sold parrot fish which is sad, it’s a vital component of the ecosystem and helps coral grow, but apparently the Philippines have developed a taste for it which is not good, so don’t eat that if you’re there. When we came back the masseuses were waiting and we got the best massage of the trip! 500 pesos, on the beach chairs outside the room listening to the waves.. it was a perfect way to spend our last night.
Our last day in the Philippines was very sad, we did not want to leave and return to reality at home. We got breakfast at Smooth, which had a small menu but pretty good food and coffee. We took a tricycle into town to catch our bus, this time it was 150, and waited at the bus stop maybe 5 minutes before an aircon bus rolled up. This time the bus was nearly empty (on a Saturday) and stopped way fewer times so we made great time. It made a CR (comfort room, go-to word for bathroom in the Philippines) stop once but did not have wifi. We hadn’t really had proper lechón so some quick research indicated a place called Ayer’s lechón in the mall by the south bus station, so we jumped in there for a quick bite (and one more halo halo). The malls have security guards and they look in everyone’s bags, but as foreigners we just got waved through. We had exactly 400 pesos in cash to our name and needed to get to the airport. Cab said it was around 400, and we made it for 380 so it was perfect. We hung out in the airport lounge (thanks, churning and the Priority Pass) to wait for our flight to Hong Kong.
The final leg of our journey was 18 hours in Hong Kong. We arrived Saturday at 11pm and took the airport shuttle to Novotel Citygate where we booked a room. It was $170, and we got it mainly for the proximity to the airport so we could get some sleep quickly. There were cheap AirBnBs nearby but having to gamble on an unresponsive host wasn’t something we wanted to do with such limited time. They upgraded us for some reason to the nicest room there which usually goes for $300 a night and it was insane, huge bathroom with a big tub, very nice. The next morning we got up early, and searched for dim sum for breakfast. We settled on a spot called One Dim Sum, so we walked through the mall to the MTR stop (get cash, MTR ticket machines don’t take cards) into town. We arrived at the restaurant about 10 mins before it opened, and it had a short line, and by the time we were done 30 mins later the place was full. It was delicious, one of the best meals of the trip. Afterwards we walked through the flower and bird market nearby, and took a train to the ferry station to take the Star Ferry across the bay. That was a quick ride, very fun, and a great view of Hong Kong. We wanted to see the Big Buddha next, so we took the train back towards the airport. Research indicated that lines for the cable car get very long on weekends, so we decided to take the 23 bus up and the cable car down. The bus does not make change so break a big bill at the 7-eleven if you need to. We expected long lines at the bus but there were none. At the top we explored, and made our way to the cable car. We paid extra for the crystal car which has a glass bottom, it was approx $28 US each one way. Great views of the city, definitely worth doing. After that we picked up our luggage from the hotel and took the shuttle to the airport, and hung out at the lounge again for a shower before our flight. Showers were full or our of service so they gave us a voucher to Refreshhh which usually costs $30, but man the shower before the long flight (after a long sweaty day in Hong Kong) sure was refreshing. And after that we were on our way.. Sad to go back to work, but very glad we went. Flight was delayed to take off by an hour, marking the biggest hiccup in our entire journey.
Miscellaneous trip notes for Philippines travelers: - ATMs charge a flat rate of 250 pesos, our debit card refunds intl fees (Charles Schwab) but it’s something to consider when withdrawing cash - For backup money, set up an account with Global Remit in case you need to send yourself money (easy and cheap), and leave instructions with a friend so they can wire you cash - Scooters do not have ABS brakes. Don’t be an idiot, wear a helmet. We saw so many tourists not wearing helmets. Not wearing long pants and gloves is bad enough, protect your noggin - You can buy local SIM cards to use your unlocked phone from the US. I got a SMART and a Globe SIM but ended up using SMART the majority of the time. For SMART, you dial *121# to access the menu to select packages, for Globe you dial *143#. SMART charges around $2/GB, it’s cheap - Cash is king, we didn’t use our credit cards outside of the big hotels - 1,000 peso notes are not accepted everywhere, break them every chance you get - Internet (especially at AirBnBs) is usually just a mobile hotspot, so it is pretty slow - It rained only a couple times during the rainy season when we were there (Mid June), definitely didn’t ruin the trip. Only one day did it rain the majority of the day - Moalboal is much drier than Palawan for rainy season visits, it seems like it’s dry there year round - Wife packed a bunch of cute things and never wore them. El Nido was the place where people dressed up the most - I brought one pair of shorts (Eddie Bauer First Ascent), 6 pairs of underwear, 5 synthetic shirts and a couple cotton but I tried never to wear the cotton due to the heat/humidity - For shoes, I got a pair of Tevas and a pair of topsiders. The Tevas gave me blisters on the first day in Coron so I wore topsiders until it healed. If you have a pair of sandals you can wear comfortably for long days with lots of walking definitely only bring those - Never at one point throughout the trip did we feel unsafe or like we were trying to get robbed (Except the motorcycle place Ethan in El Nido, and that may have been a misunderstanding) - Meals were very cheap, 500 pesos for two or so at an average spot. Beers are 50 pesos each. The food was not remarkable but not bad either - Vegetarian wife usually had options, although it helped that she ate seafood - Filtered water at restaurants is called service water and comes from big jugs and is free, no need to buy bottled water. El Nido and Coron were big on reducing plastic waste (no plastic straws, for example) including plastic water bottles
submitted by ViajandoConTimmy to travel [link] [comments]


2020.02.01 19:53 dointedcat Looking for an everything bike. Really, everything.

Searching for an everything bike... - every day commuting (2 miles, one-way, all seasons) - grocery runs - touring (50+ miles a day) - dirt / gravel paths - sprint and Olympic triathlons - big climbs (Kanc, VT, Adirondacks) - century rides
Need braze-ons and attachment points for bottle cages and rack(s), fenders, etc. Versatile fork width for swapping tire sizes. Gearing for big climbs. Based in New England, so snow is a thing. Something not too heavy - I carry up two flights to my apartment. I don't want to customize or add on a lot, so looking to buy something stock.
Me: female, 5'8", 150-160 pounds. Typically ride men's bikes. Ride every day unless I'm broken or the weather is FUBAR. Totally new to road bike mechanics (drop bar shifting and braking), but comfortable with the body geometry (front-leaning and low).
Budget: up to $1200
Previous bike: 2018 Trek FX 3 disc (men's large), which I used for all of the activities listed above. Had bar ends for more hand positions.
Considering buying new (2019/2020, 700c, disc brakes, drop bars): - Jamis Renegade S4 or Expat https://www.jamisbikes.com/usa/renegadeseries.html - Trek Checkpoint AL3 https://www.trekbikes.com/us/en_US/bikes/road-bikes/gravel-bikes/checkpoint/checkpoint-al/checkpoint-al-3/p/24969/ - Masi CXGR https://masibikes.com/products/cxgr-comp-2020
These three bikes all feel kind of the same (very comfortable) to me on the road. Masi slightly less so, but that pricepoint! And for comparison, I tried comparable Specialized and Raleigh models and did not like.
Basically, which one of these is the best all-around / everything bike? Or a better option?
submitted by dointedcat to whichbike [link] [comments]


2020.01.28 22:56 Sappert [Team Presentation] Team Estwing - Recta p/b Almdudler

Good day dudettes & dudes,
It is my great pleasure to present you the 2020 Elite Men RAFL WorldTour team of Kaiserschmarrn Cycling:
Team Estwing - Recta p/b Almdudler
As Buzzfeed backed out of cycling, allegedly for 10 reasons we wouldn't believe, Kaiserschmarrn Cycling found two outstanding new title sponsors for the team. Estwing, producer of tools and particularly hammers and Recta, Swiss manufacturer of compasses, jump in to bring this team to a new level. Almdudler increases its sponsorship while Tirol stays on board as minor kit sponsor for the fourth year running. Team code is ERA.
Not only do these sponsors bring money to the team; Recta guarantees that riders will always find their way thanks to their compasses which will be built into the bikes. No GPS signal? Battery empty? No problem, Recta's got you covered! Our mechanics will also be enjoying the high quality Estwing hammers which the company made available for the team. In return, the team will focus on the Hammer Series this season. Finally, all our bidons will be filled with top quality, Alps inspired & made, Almdudler.
Team logo: clickity
The Team
Rider Age Nat Salary 2019 points Task
Sam Bennett 29 IRL 5.7 1230 Sprint king
Romain Bardet 29 FRA 5.1 824 Fruitless attacks
Michael Matthews 29 AUS 4.6 1106 Sucking wheels
Simon Yates 27 AUS 4.2 704 Winning the Giro this time
Fernando Gaviria 25 COL 3.5 773 Best sprinter again this season
Michal Kwiatkowski 29 POL 3.1 613 Classics & charming Bloom
Jasper Stuyven 27 BEL 2.8 934 Improved sprint
Dylan Teuns 27 BEL 2.8 894 He's the new Ardennes king, lads
Sonny Colbrelli 29 ITA 2.3 924 You know what he does
Ion Izagirre 30 ESP 2 933 Scoring exactly 1000 points
Patrick Konrad 28 AUT 1.4 611 GC & sponsor pleaser
Fabio Aru 29 ITA 0.5 231 Whatever he wants
Anthony Turgis 25 FRA 0.5 707 Beating MVDP in the classics
Jan Hirt 28 CZE 0.5 354 Climbing I guess
Rémi Cavagna 24 FRA 0.1 317 Dunno
Aleksandr Vlasov 23 RUS 0.1 514 Biggest GC talent around
Thomas Boudat 25 FRA 0.1 395 Pesky small French races
Edoardo Affini 23 ITA 0.1 265 He's the new Ganna
Brandon McNulty 21 USA 0.1 218 Making friends with msfan93
Lucas Hamilton 23 AUS 0.1 416 Climbing I guess
Magnus Cort 26 DEN 0.1 196 Attacking I guess
Jai Hindley 23 AUS 0.1 316 Climbing I guess
Ruben Guerreiro 25 POR 0.1 403 Anything with hills
Hermann Pernsteiner 29 AUT 0.1 302 Team mascot
The roster for 2020 is a bit more focused on sprints after the 2019 climbing & GC focus didn't work out very well. This means that we have absolute sprint cannons in Sam Bennet, Fernando Gaviria, Jasper "improved sprint" Stuyven, Sonny Colbrelli, Michael Matthews and Thomas Boudat. Not only that, many of our riders who are not primarily sprinters still have a solid punch in the legs. Fast finish equals more points, is the philosophy. The team has managed to secure the services of two Austrian riders. More were contacted but other teams were onto us and tried to ruin our identity. Awful! Fabio Aru and Ruben Guerreiro are now with the team for the third year in a row, and Hermann Pernsteiner extended since joining in 2019. We also see the return of familiar races Ion Izagirre and Magnus Cort who rode for Kaiserschmarrn Cycling's 2018 RAFL team.
The Jersey
Three things are important to us. Sponsor visibility, simple design and white shorts. These are all combined in our new 2020 jersey: clickity.
May also double as table cloth, which means we can sell them for more than usual.
The three national champions on our team also get fabulous kits: Patrick Konrad, Sam Bennett and Aleksandr Vlasov.
The Goals
Due to an unstoppable chain of injuries, we were not able to achieve our goals for 2019. This has only made us more motivated to chase our 2020 goals of being the very best there ever was. Main goals are:
See you all on the road!
submitted by Sappert to riderauction [link] [comments]


2020.01.10 14:23 bayer_b Fuji Jari 2.3 vs Cannondale Topstone Sora

Hi All,
I plan to buy a bike for bad quality roads(if you have ever been to Budapest, than you might know what I mean :) ) and gravel riding. I would also use the bike for commuting on steep roads daily. I am hesitating between these 2:
https://www.cannondale.com/en/bikes/road/gravel/topstone-alloy/topstone-sora/2019?sku=c15909m50xs
https://www.fujibikes.com/usa/bikes/road/adventure-and-touring/jari/jari-2-3
Which one do you thin is better, or do you have any other suggestions for this price range?

Thanks!
submitted by bayer_b to whichbike [link] [comments]


2019.12.13 21:28 AdventuresBot [META] The /r/adventures 2019 "Best of the Year" Awards! - Nominations

Welcome to the fourth annual "Best of the Year" awards! The reddit inc admins have kindly agreed to give away reddit gold to all subreddits with more than 1000 subscribers.
We're going to continue with last years's change and only have the one category - "Best Post".
Categories and prizes
How to nominate
Comment on this post linking to the post you wish to nominate. This thread will be in 'contest mode' so you can't see who's winning until we make the announcement. Make sure to link to the post you are nominating and not just the photo. Please check to make sure the post hasn't already been nominated, any duplicates will be removed as they mess up voting.
Rules
Edit: Update to the rules. The last couple of years I've been worried that I'm giving reddit gold to people who don't login to their accounts very often, so don't get the benefit of it if it expires before they login next. Because of this, if any of the winners haven't made a post or comment that I can see on their profile in the last 7 days, I will drop them a PM and wait for them to reply before I send them the award.
The following list of top posts in this sub may help you if you are looking for a specific high scoring post, but you do not need to limit yourself to only a post listed here. Any post made during the year that fits into the categories is eligible.
January
No Score Date Author Title
1 55 2019-01-28 01:53:26 wonteatyourcat I went to Yellowstone in winter, and while the geysers were impressive, for some reason this delicate, icy sunrise scene the first morning is what most struck me.
2 53 2019-01-20 06:26:13 wonteatyourcat A lot of people spend hours waiting for sunset in that one bridge in Zion National Park, but to be honest I like this view much better, it's at the end of a short hike. If you're lucky, you're almost alone.
3 52 2019-01-22 04:33:24 wonteatyourcat I don't see the Philippines mentioned here a lot, even though it's a good place to travel and backpack. Even when the weather isn't great, it can look freaking majestic.
4 44 2019-01-21 08:38:55 wonteatyourcat It's a classic, but the Upper Yellowstone Falls really look like a painting, even in real life.
5 40 2019-01-24 20:56:23 libfaw Haiku stairs (stairway to heaven) Honolulu
6 34 2019-01-30 09:10:08 wonteatyourcat I never really felt like fishing... then I got to see Mount Hood early in the morning. Suddenly, staying out at 5AM didn't seem like a bad idea.
7 33 2019-01-19 08:06:53 wonteatyourcat Glacier National Park in a van is quite the experience, especially during fall. The clouds were so thick, the mountains seemed to float in the sky.
8 31 2019-01-27 05:45:36 wonteatyourcat Montana isn't really brought up when we talk about traveling through the US, but it was one of my favorite state. You feel like you have the whole country to yourself, and it looks like it hasn't changed for decades.
9 21 2019-01-26 09:01:32 wonteatyourcat Japan is full of very touristy things to do, and most of them are worth it, but sometimes you just need to take a car, a backpack, and drive to a bamboo forest and look up.
10 21 2019-01-25 07:52:50 wonteatyourcat Antelope Canyons are very hyped up, but damn do they deliver. Had an amazing off season experience there, and so many great hikes nearby.
February
No Score Date Author Title
1 59 2019-02-08 07:20:20 wonteatyourcat I was worried the Oregon coast wouldn't look too great on a cloudy day in October, but nope. It looks amazing all year long.
2 49 2019-02-07 08:25:49 wonteatyourcat Europeans usually go to Sequoia after going to Yosemite. I drove from one to the other with my van, and was lucky enough to get greeted with this when we arrived <3
3 36 2019-02-06 07:47:00 wonteatyourcat North Cascades and that whole part of Washington State was just a marvel to drive around. During the fall we barely saw another soul, all we had was that moody landscape.
4 32 2019-02-05 05:49:18 wonteatyourcat As a foreigner I had never heard of Olympic National Park, and the sheer variety of scenes made it one of my favorite. During the fall I was mostly alone.
5 32 2019-02-06 20:32:45 nomotorman I'm attempting to circumnavigate the planet without ever using motorized transport. 1303 Days in.
6 31 2019-02-25 13:55:29 bourscheid Most trips to Iceland begin and end in Reykjavik. Fewer travelers make it to the Reykjadalur Valley, one of Iceland's hidden gems, less than an hours drive from Reykjavik. Here is a guide on how to get here, what to see, what to do, and where to stay.
7 30 2019-02-23 03:24:17 1delta10tango My friends just walked South to North the entire continent of South America over two years. Now theyll continue through Central and North America, chef them out!!!!
8 30 2019-02-20 18:17:20 TheAvgAdventurer A day on the Weeki Wachee
9 26 2019-02-04 08:18:47 wonteatyourcat Mount Rainier was one of my favorite mountain in the US, but the subtle pink/purple glow really made it shine that day.
10 18 2019-02-04 20:07:17 BillAtBlueSkies Climbing villarrica volcano, Pucon chile... 6 hours climbing up, less than 45 minutes sliding down :)
March
No Score Date Author Title
1 67 2019-03-05 13:29:42 MaxTaylorGrant My best friend and I spent 7 weeks road tripping the US. Here's a shot from that trip of Yosemite National Park
2 44 2019-03-20 10:42:40 1delta10tango A few years ago my grandfather gave me a small sailboat he hadn't been using for nearly 10 years, and I convinced my father to go to Florida with me and sail it back up the East Coast. Adventures don't need to take you around the world, maybe just a new perspective on a familiar place.....
3 33 2019-03-25 16:26:58 jaredrover Relaxing day on the Bay of Fundy shore as the 50 foot tides are low at Hopewell Rocks, New Brunswick, Canada.
4 17 2019-03-19 13:24:58 OverspillPoet Red Screes via Kilnshaw Chimney, English Lake District
5 16 2019-03-08 13:55:02 HawaiiSunshine Hiked the Stairway to Heaven (Oahu, Hawaii)
6 15 2019-03-01 12:18:51 HawaiiSunshine Sketchy Ridge Hike (Oahu, Hawaii)
7 14 2019-03-11 16:10:30 JellisV VLOG 013 - Lets Climb Mount Triglav! (FULL WINTER ASCENT) Highest Mountain of Slovenia
8 13 2019-03-17 00:28:27 TomPark1 An epic shark filled adventure through my favourite part of Australia, Byron Bay! This took days to edit so I hope you all enjoy!
9 12 2019-03-04 21:58:56 Cut-Lunch-Adventures Spain, Barcelona: Hiking Montserrat Mountain
10 12 2019-03-03 22:10:02 Adamkappa Climbing The Highest Mountain In England / Scafell Pike And The Corridor Route
April
No Score Date Author Title
1 54 2019-04-22 15:31:45 Zacb_23 Heres a better look at where my friends and I stumbled upon while exploring an abandoned apartment building
2 50 2019-04-29 00:25:21 wonteatyourcat I traveled in a van for 3 months in the USA, and I think this 'simple' picture of Mount Hood is my favorite from the trip.
3 47 2019-04-28 00:16:09 wonteatyourcat The best thing about roadtripping is hiking 10 minutes and finding these little scenes in the middle of nowhere.
4 34 2019-04-24 06:53:35 Walliediewalvis Took a group of over 60's ladies on a 3 week rough camping 4x4 tour through Botswana.
5 32 2019-04-12 01:24:31 vaidile Our underwater adventures in San Andres island, Colombia.
6 26 2019-04-26 00:53:03 yellowrangers Hes going on an adventure
7 16 2019-04-05 10:49:25 2zdebut1 Have you heard about the Mongol Rally? 15 000km for charities, all through former Soviet Union, with the shittiest car as possible!
8 14 2019-04-17 11:27:46 ilan1661 What's the closest that you can get in real life to a video game style adventure?
9 13 2019-04-23 20:47:12 jarve Seeking Midwestern Adventure Ideas
10 13 2019-04-08 05:27:20 brokenpixee How do i find like minded people for spontaneous adventures
May
No Score Date Author Title
1 61 2019-05-09 04:02:38 wonteatyourcat Visiting Yellowstone always feels like you're in the middle of a painting.
2 54 2019-05-07 05:44:11 wonteatyourcat Winter really makes Yellowstone NP look even more like an alien planet
3 41 2019-05-11 02:59:26 wonteatyourcat Everyone goes to the same spot in Zion but I'm very partial to this quiet spot
4 35 2019-05-10 07:30:20 wonteatyourcat Went to Olympic National Park on a bad day, when suddenly the sun made it look like the sky was ON FIRE.
5 11 2019-05-25 00:08:32 lifebylinda The POLAR PLUNGE in the Antarctic Circle! Antarctica Vlog
6 10 2019-05-18 21:52:33 claudiuvvro Following Hunter Mountain Trails in North Romania, Muncel Peak [2019]
7 10 2019-05-28 01:03:24 miketruongfood Dear, Ape Cave & Lava Canyon / Southwest Washington
8 9 2019-05-23 08:14:51 bahzerkle Salvation Mountain
9 9 2019-05-22 05:10:41 NothingFamiliar Bologna Italy: Walking the Longest Portico in the World to the Sanctuary of the Madonna
10 8 2019-05-23 22:11:11 Bikemum To Cross America on a Wing and a Prayer...or a Bike.
June
No Score Date Author Title
1 42 2019-06-11 19:12:15 AmphiAmericas Wild camping in Norway
2 39 2019-06-25 22:57:16 ConjuringRock Check out the Phoenix in the fire. From one our first dates.
3 19 2019-06-10 05:16:24 abailey1992 5 Days Canoe Adventure in the Maine Allagash Waterways. Off the grid.
4 16 2019-06-19 03:44:34 Etheratus3k So I've Finally finished the inside of the truck canopy build. Adventures will be more comfy.
5 13 2019-06-21 00:06:08 FiveBooks The best books written by adventurers, discussed by Alastair Humphreys (National Geographic Adventurer of the Year 2012)
6 12 2019-06-20 02:10:52 hukeleater Everyone told me not to go to Haiti because it was dangerous. So I decided to walk across the border myself
7 12 2019-06-09 00:57:27 claudiuvvro Romania / Solo Adventure in Apuseni Mountains / Ramet Canyon 2019 / 4K UHD
8 10 2019-06-24 22:25:12 lifebylinda Crossing the DRAKE PASSAGE! Antarctic Travel Vlog
9 9 2019-06-01 22:58:19 juffler I stumbled upon a gorgeous beaver pond hidden somewhere in Vermont wilderness
10 9 2019-06-08 09:23:05 Baldymcgee Rappelling HIDDEN Waterfalls in Southern California
July
No Score Date Author Title
1 38 2019-07-26 13:09:29 scuba_sara One of the most scenic drives Ive ever done. Road to the Sun in northern Montana through Glacier National Park. Stretches from the small towns of St. Marys to West Glacier. 80km or about 50miles. Well worth it if you are nearby! We had an amazing weather day.
2 19 2019-07-03 01:02:58 apathetichic My little guy's first time kayaking solo! Washington state
3 17 2019-07-15 04:28:46 TheAthleticDiabetic View back to the Clariden Summit in the Swiss Alps - 3'267
4 17 2019-07-06 04:34:49 juicecapades Ever wanted to visit Alaska? We just spent a month road tripping through the state -- here's our tips
5 16 2019-07-03 16:31:34 OverspillPoet Sharp Edge, Blencathra
6 15 2019-07-05 00:37:59 juffler Kayaking Through An Underwater Forest (Abandoned Dock Found!)
7 13 2019-07-30 04:34:00 niran1599 Man attempts to cross Wales in a straight line (Part 2)
8 12 2019-07-04 02:16:09 Littleberger22 Exploring A CREEPY ABANDONED RAILROAD TUNNEL Through A Mountain!
9 11 2019-07-09 00:51:22 JellisV SOLO ASCENT of The Alpspitze 2,628m (FULL ASCENT) Let's Climb Some MOUNTAINS!
10 11 2019-07-13 17:01:31 Baldymcgee REALITY is Better Than a Video Game!! POV Adventure Travel
August
No Score Date Author Title
1 240 2019-08-09 11:25:38 scuba_sara Life is just there for the taking. Over 3 years of talking about this hike and finally made it happen a couple of weeks ago. Caves, cliffs, lakes and overcoming fears.
2 109 2019-08-04 21:51:17 scuba_sara This is my third year owning a kayak. Didnt take it out last year and first time out this year. Heres to not wasting anymore time and enjoying life!
3 88 2019-08-19 09:11:43 letstradeeee Went and saw the giants today at Bernheim Forsest
4 50 2019-08-29 12:22:11 Journeyman800 Crossed a 60ft deep channel by kayak to explore this two mile long island
5 36 2019-08-11 03:38:58 juicecapades WE DID IT! All 61 US National Parks in 7 Months!
6 31 2019-08-12 10:29:42 scuba_sara This is a throwback to my favorite photo of myself on one of our adventures. Some snorkeling underneath a cliff ledge in Curacao, during a surface interval on a 2 tank dive trip. Probably should not have been diving under the water. Lol.
7 24 2019-08-31 00:02:03 bwcrawford99 15,000 mile cross country road trip, living out of a minivan. The entire western USA! This video sums up the whole thing. (Constructive criticism welcome)
8 21 2019-08-30 03:21:11 Dbritten I decided to climb the highest mountain in England Scafell Pike.
9 20 2019-08-23 18:21:16 earthlover7 India opens up 137 mountain peaks for mountaineering, trekking
10 19 2019-08-12 02:40:24 nomotorman My first year of a journey around the world (including a sail to Hawaii from SF) without ever using a motor. Join me if you're adventurous!
September
No Score Date Author Title
1 482 2019-09-16 12:32:24 MountainMongrel The benefit of raising and training your own horse. They take you to places like this. [OC]
2 232 2019-09-24 11:12:31 MountainMongrel Cruising in Sierra back country. Just a little strip, getting a bit cold up high. [OC]
3 163 2019-09-29 09:53:46 mylesrnussbaum Big Sur, California
4 153 2019-09-15 21:16:18 scuba_sara Second consecutive weekend out conquering mountains. This hike is just an 80mins from my front door. Moved here 3 years ago and it still amazes me, so glad to be able to go on adventures like this. Im not the best or fastest hiker, but what does that matter?
5 152 2019-09-07 13:09:41 MountainMongrel Sometimes you need to take an adventure break, while on your adventure. Relaxing at Matlock Lake in the Eastern Sierras.
6 152 2019-09-10 20:49:16 Gregars Forest Adventures @foz.harrison
7 131 2019-09-17 19:18:52 casuallybaz A Royal Marine's 30 day journey through the Northern States of India on a 400cc Royal Enfield Himalayan
8 115 2019-09-17 11:38:49 nmiskinyar From our trip to Kauai last year.
9 107 2019-09-30 05:44:42 CapeChill Somewhere in McInnis Canyons Nation Conservation Area CO
10 93 2019-09-23 18:56:59 Abhinavk1121 Had a life time experience at Katiki Waterfalls in Araku Valley, Andhra Pradesh, India.
October
No Score Date Author Title
1 367 2019-10-05 03:49:21 bladerunnerz Temple Crag over Second Lake - Big Pine, CA
2 253 2019-10-06 03:03:57 Redbeard1095 Crater Lake OR
3 187 2019-10-07 05:07:41 TheAgateDad Beautiful lake superior agate - found while out hunting agates (video in comments)
4 155 2019-10-01 04:52:05 yzforce The great Pyramids! The poor camels though...
5 75 2019-10-01 22:35:28 allena_natchez I took my first trip out of the USA to Canada and we traveled inside Niagara Falls.
6 48 2019-10-04 12:30:50 Rivstewnumberonefan Found TV Under A Waterfall While Searching For Lost Valuables! (Magnet Fishing)
7 37 2019-10-07 22:20:32 bannner18 Insane views hiking Wilcox Pass in Jasper National Park
8 35 2019-10-04 00:48:04 MagmaFilm Trascau fortress, 13th century, Alba county, Romania.
9 28 2019-10-03 08:49:11 rcarcia02 Quick Film Reel from the past couple months / The Wednesday Series 004
10 22 2019-10-02 23:02:42 Baldymcgee Cascade Falls HIDDEN Natural Water Slide / Mission, British Columbia
November
No Score Date Author Title
1 127 2019-11-14 02:17:19 Kaboose31 Epic Trail Run on the Fairyland Trail in Bryce Canyon National Park
2 102 2019-11-12 16:45:45 OverspillPoet Symonds Knott on a snowy Scafell (second highest mountain in England)
3 95 2019-11-27 00:21:23 Cortazu Big White Road - Dutch Adventurers - Kelowna, Canada
4 88 2019-11-27 21:13:56 diggyrex Another day freediving at Morrison Springs in North Florida.
5 71 2019-11-25 22:48:44 Cortazu On the Top of the Caucasus 4000m+ - Dutch Adventurers - Caucasus, Georgia
6 59 2019-11-24 16:11:57 jimmyrmatthews Split, Croatia is Pretty Awesome
7 53 2019-11-22 11:37:15 BEANandCHEE The Cibola National forest.
8 53 2019-11-25 14:45:50 onesteptwosteps adventuring in Yangshuo China - This place has a lot of love to give!
9 42 2019-11-19 23:31:50 UniconWriter What is the most beautiful sunset picture ever captured by you?
10 31 2019-11-23 18:42:33 Mondoguera Had the most incredible adventure on Iceland!
December
No Score Date Author Title
1 146 2019-12-06 11:46:38 Wherethejones K2 BASE CAMP TREK. 2 weeks in tents up to 5600m / 18,300 ft.
2 122 2019-12-05 16:34:37 Joshuagrapher Took a 1 month backpacking trip with my best friend to New Zealand this year. AMA:
3 63 2019-12-10 00:11:18 abbottayh The Flying Men of Papantla in Puerto Vallarta.
4 34 2019-12-05 08:46:21 incatrailmachu Peru Treks: What is the best time of year to visit Peru?
5 27 2019-12-09 00:06:34 plemaster01 6 Months of Adventure in One Minute :)
6 20 2019-12-07 19:10:30 Baldymcgee FIRST Day Trekking in the Himalayas - Kangchenjunga Circuit Trek
7 19 2019-12-03 06:44:48 Bklyneville We invite muralists to live in an RV & paint murals across the US. Stop 1 Brooklyn NY & hitting the road to Charlotte North Carolina
8 19 2019-12-08 02:56:57 rory-allen We stuck into the Hilton Hotel rooftop bar and did a BASE jump. Landing on the beach such a cool adventure
9 19 2019-12-07 05:46:00 jf_smooth My GF Nicole took a solo trek to Sumatra to hang out with orangutans!
10 16 2019-12-04 17:54:05 N-E-F-R My bike has taken me to some beautiful locations around the world. This trail called Lord Of The Squirrels has to be the most amazing, scenic trail I have ever rode. The vistas are truly breathtaking.
Good luck to everyone nominated!
submitted by AdventuresBot to adventures [link] [comments]


2019.11.26 17:30 youngrichntasteless $250K/month selling electric bikes [with Mark Cuban as a partner]

Hey - Pat from StarterStory.com here with another interview.
Today's interview is with Stephan Aarstol of Tower Electric Bikes, a brand that makes direct to consumer ebikes
Some stats:

Hello! Who are you and what business did you start?

Hello! My name is Stephan Aarstol. I'm the CEO of Tower Electric Bikes.
Tower Electric Bikes is direct to consumer eBike brand I co-founded with Mark Cuban. We make electric bikes we love, and are proud to recommend to our friends and family. Electric bikes so beautiful they exude heart and soul. We believe eBikes will change the way people get around, and we believe we can accelerate this shift by selling beautifully crafted ones direct to consumers for half what they cost in retail.
Tower began as a paddleboard company in 2010 and has since evolved into a holistic direct to consumer beach lifestyle company. We produce and sell everything from paddleboards to beach cruisers, to sunglasses, to surfboards, to skateboards, to inflatable docks, to electric bikes. The primary focus of our future growth is in eBikes so that's what I'll speak to in this article. It's a story about the evolution of a brand.
In October of 2019, Tower was named one of the "Top 20 Shark Tank Products of All Time" in USA Today. We've done over $36 million in sales since getting a $150,000 investment from Mark Cuban in 2012.
image

What's your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?

I live right on the boardwalk on the beach in San Diego. I get a good sense of up and coming trends in beach lifestyle while just kicking back on my patio with a Margarita and watching the world go by. In the last three or four years, there has been an explosion in electric powered things buzzing down the boardwalk. They've always been there, but it used to be one dude cruising the boardwalk with some kind of homemade electric skateboard or something once a week. Then the trend started growing exponentially in the last few years and you could just see the future.
My main form of transportation down the boardwalk has always been a beach cruiser. While bikes are also recreation around the beach, unlike many places they're a central form of transportation for anyone who lives at the beach. Why sit in aggravating coastal traffic and then search for scarce parking when you can just cruise down the boardwalk with the wind in your hair and an ocean view. A rusty beach cruiser literally offers you a better quality of life than a car which might set you back $50K. Not to mention the rent for a garage to park said car might be $500/mo.
The thing about electric bikes that most people don't get is that they're basically the perfect form of transportation. This is NOT just a "different kind of bike". Aside from kids, beach dwellers like myself, and what my son refers to as "butt darts" (those odd and colorfully dressed Tour de France type road cyclists), normal people just don't use bikes as transportation in the US. Bikes are a recreation with a side of exercise. Electric bikes can be better described as a replacement for a car. It's like a scooter that doesn't require a helmet and you can ride on paths, boardwalks, sidewalks, across the lawn, wherever. The first time you ride one, the light bulb goes off in your head... wait, this is fun, requires no effort even up hills, let's me avoid traffic, doesn't require a parking spot, has a range of 30-60 miles, and if the battery does die I can just pedal the rest of the way home.
At the time this all donned on me, Tower was a thriving start-up primarily selling paddleboards, but we wanted to diversify our products and business to make our company healthier. We were expanding into other beach lifestyle products like surfboards, skateboards, and sunglasses. Building the world's finest electric beach cruiser was a natural fit. When I looked at the market, it was a fragmented mess of ill-conceived products and brands. Apparently, anyone could Frankenstein together an eBike, or piece together one with a conversion kit, and start an "eBike company", and so that's what happened. Hundreds of competitors. Very few goods, a handful of bad, and a lot of ugly.
If you ask a person on the street anywhere in the US to name an eBike brand they couldn't. Many wouldn't even know what an eBike was. But worldwide it is already a massive industry with an estimated 30 million units sold per year, and it's expected to grow to 75 million in the next 10-20 years. In 2018 in the US, 300K eBikes were sold. This is expected to grow 20x to 7 million in that same time frame. So the plan was we would do exactly what we did in the paddleboard industry - make high-quality, low-cost products easy to find. By focusing on that simple premise, we created the #1 fastest growing company in San Diego in 2014, then the following year we ranked #239 on the INC 500 list of America's fastest-growing companies.
So that's our aim. We're going to create the world's first famous eBike brand. It is a brand void waiting to be filled. Our first product is aptly named the Beach Bum. It's a high-end electric beach cruiser that would sell for $3750 in retail, but we sell it directly to the consumer for under $1,700.
image

Take us through the process of designing, prototyping, and manufacturing your first product.

Product design is critical. Not just the aesthetic look of something (which is also critical), but the functional choices you make in product design. You've really got to take a blank slate approach and get to the heart of what the product you are designing will be used for. This is an area that I've found I kind of excel in. I'm a fair contrarian thinker so I don't just accept the status quo and go along with what everyone else is doing. I challenge everything. If everyone is doing something one way, my assumption is that it's probably the wrong way to do it. Herd mentality and groupthink take things in the wrong direction a lot of times. Maybe most of the time.
When we launched in paddleboards back in 2010, part of the reason I started was when I went shopping for my first paddleboard I learned that these things cost like $1200-$1600 for what was basically a big surfboard. And you could buy a cheap surfboard for $300. It didn’t make sense. Ninety-five percent of these paddleboards and the ~80 or so brands at the time that were making them were using a traditional retail sales model with brands, distributors, wholesalers, salespeople, and retail stores. As a result, SUP boards were selling for 4-5 times what they cost to produce. Additionally, the majority of brands seemed to perceive paddle boarding as a different kind of surfing. Lastly, there was this oddity called inflatable paddleboards in the market that had been around for years, but they were horribly designed and only represented about 1% of the market.
Our process was to assume that what the bulk of the market was doing was probably stupid, especially if they were all doing it, so we hypothesized, "What if we do the exact opposite?" Then we did just that.
We sold direct to consumers only, and at a single markup. By doing so, we offered consumers a better value proposition - half-price paddleboards. We intentionally ignored the sexy surf and race market's that all the other brands we're aggressively trying to stake their claim in. We looked at paddleboarding as more like kayaking than surfing, and when you looked at the numbers, 80-90% of the market wasn't surfing or racing. We also refused to advertise in magazines like all the other "serious" brands, and we still to this day have never attended one industry trade show. Then we took a hard look at the viability of those inflatable boards, as they fit our direct to consumer mail-order business model better anyways. We discovered that inflatable paddle boards, with a little re-engineering, worked just fine for tooling around bays, lakes, and harbors, and were actually far superior to hard boards in terms of storability, transportability, and durability.
Within 5 years, without advertising one dime the first 4 years because we couldn't keep stuff in stock as is, we built Tower into one of the strongest brands in the paddleboard industry. Today, surfing and racing are tiny segments of a quite large paddleboard market. And the last time I looked at market stats, inflatable SUPs were 70% of the paddleboard market. In 2017, our co-branded Chris Craft inflatable paddle board was rated the #1 paddleboard in the world by the prestigious Robb Report, over some boards that sold for $2500 to $3500. Ours sold for $650 at the time.
image
In the eBike market, with Tower Electric Bikes, we're taking a similar look at what the industry is doing that makes sense, what is groupthink, and what is just plain stupid. In 5 years, we'll see what happens, but I'm optimistic. As an entrepreneur, sometimes you find yourself in the very fortunate position to see an opportunity that looks oddly familiar to something you've seen before. When that happens, you can almost see around corners.
Our first product, an electric beach cruiser called the Tower Beach Bum, is starting to gain traction already, and we've just barely started.

Describe the process of launching the business.

While we had rolled out a diversified portfolio of beach lifestyle products beyond paddleboards over the years, we knew going in that our eBike wasn't just going to be another product. This was a massive market that was seeing explosive growth with a brand void. This was more akin to us starting a paddleboard company in the first place, so we separated things out and treated the opportunity with the same serious attention to detail.
We had a very healthy going concern in Tower Paddle Boards, so we didn't need to rush into anything. We took our time and did things right. We first prototyped and rolled out a regular bike (non-electric), which we considered to be the world's finest beach cruiser.
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We over-engineered the thing so we knew what it took to create a really great bike. One interesting thing about selling direct to consumer is it allows you to offer very high-end products at very reasonable prices so you can tread where others won't go because they fear pricing the product out of the market. For starters, our beach cruiser came with a belt drive. Many beach cruisers sell at retail for just over what our production cost of just the belt drive system was, so this was definitely distinctive. It's about as high end as you can go on a beach cruiser!
We brought in a serious product design studio. We went with a stretched, lightweight, rust-free aluminum classically styled beach cruiser frame. We used all premium components. We put innovative, and patented, passenger pegs on the rear wheel. Then we added premium wheels with 48 spokes as you'd find on high-end mountain bikes, and top of the line tires. The design aesthetic itself was black on black, with a matte black frame and glossy black logos, a brown leather seat and grips, all accented by unique brown whitewall balloon tires. It's truly a work of art.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mp22Qbhhvig
Our eBike design was based on this frame design and aesthetic, but we took a blank slate approach on the eBike because we didn't want to be boxed in by our bike design. Bikes are more about exercise and recreation. At the very high end, they have style, but basic bikes are about functionality. When that gets ported over to eBikes and electronics get tacked onto them, they tend to look like bike mechanics for engineers built them. They're contraptions, halfway between weird looking bikes and homemade motorcycles. They've got noisy tires, they shift awkwardly at times, they've got their brand name in big letters plastered all over the place (imagine that on a luxury car), and they're just kind of obnoxious. That's kind of the state of the eBike market.
We view eBikes as transportation with a side of recreation, more akin to an improved version of a scooter, or a convertible sports car. They're not a different kind of bike, in my mind, We call our electric beach cruiser the Beach Bum. Our tagline is, "Stay cool. Be Free." The 'stay cool' part is about the fact that it's stylish first, like a beautiful car that just plain looks stunning. And it's got air conditioning built in to keep you 'cool'. The "be free" part is the light bulb that goes off in your head the first time you ride one. You realize you can go on a 30-mile bike ride and up any hill so it frees you to go anywhere. It expands your local circle of familiarity from the half-mile or so you are willing to walk, to about a 10-20 mile radius. And perhaps more importantly, you're no longer constrained by traffic, or roads even as you can hit any path you want, or by available parking spots. You have freed yourself.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QtpyHfv5QAY
For funding this new company, we use profits from our paddleboard cash cow. Even if we have to invest a good chunk to get things up to speed, it's all tax-free as we're reinvesting profits. So much more advantageous than starting from scratch. Even better, we're able to leverage our entire infrastructure so our incremental burn rate to add an eBike company to our existing operation is basically zero. Just add inventory. That gives us a huge operational cost advantage over the competition. We already have a warehouse. We already have a competent marketing team on staff. We already have the shipping function taken care of. We already have a customer service team.
The most important difference between how we started the paddleboard business and our eBike business is that we now can see the future. Mostly, we're only doing things that work. We're definitely avoiding our prior mistakes. And with Mark Cuban as a co-founder this time, we have the ability to leverage his celebrity status in a meaningful way to separate us from the hundreds of me-too eBike brands out there. In a way, we're talking more about Mark Cuban's eBike company early on instead of the Tower Electric Bike company because we know that is more meaningful until we get the brand well established. It's like Tesla. There are a handful of electric car company start-ups out there, but most people only know Elon Musk's company, in part because he's Elon Musk. His reputation and proven record speak volumes.

Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?

Our objective is to make high-quality, low-cost electric bikes easy to find. It's a very simple strategy. Everything emanates from that.
I get a lot of people calling me because they've heard we're killing it and they want to know our secret. They've maybe seen me on Shark Tank talking about our SEO expertise ("Search Engine Optimization"), so they'll call saying they want to hire me on a consultant basis for their company. Or they'll have invented some product and say all their missing is the marketing guy and I'm their guy. Let's partner.
But there really are no marketing secrets, and when there are it's not for very long in today's fast-moving world. I've been at an executive level in the online marketing and business development space since 1999, and what I've learned is that there are these arcs of opportunity with each newly identified marketing tactic.
In 2000, two years before Google Adwords even existed, I was leveraging GoTo.com's invention, PPC search advertising to buy search traffic clicks for a penny a piece. It worked fabulously and big companies wouldn't even start using it for another 5 or 6 years. It still worked then, but less so, and it's gotten crowded in the past decade and now only works selectively. Even then, Google has a monopoly now and just sucks the profit out of everything they touch.
Then it was email. Then it was group buying in discussing groups, the predecessor to Kickstarter. Worked great for a while, then the window of opportunity closed for the most part, for most people. Then social media came and the organic following was great. Then because they had a monopoly, they made it pay to play and that seemed bad but it was actually another even more fantastic opportunity with highly targeted FB and IG marketing. Then influencer followings exploded and that became the new window of opportunity. Then Amazon marketplace became an untapped marketplace that was getting huge overnight, and that window opened and closed... because they're a monopoly too so they're correctly sucking out all the profit. And it continues. Windows open and if you're early, you can do well. And once everyone clues in 5 years later, it stops working as well, then it gets crowded and the opportunity passes.
So our plan is to not worry about the next online marketing window to come along, but rather to make a really high-quality product. Obsessively focus on that. And then make it relatively low cost for consumers. Not making cheap products by cutting corners, but rather figuring out ways to get your amazing product into consumers hands inexpensively without any middlemen. That's why we go direct to consumer, and largely starve our advertising budget. It forces us to identify hacks.
The next step is to make a good web site, pitch how great your product is to the press in whatever creative way you can, and get butts in bike seats locally so people can find us thru referrals. Start locally, and grow things organically from there. Pass all our savings onto customers from our lean operations, not advertising, and no middleman. Execute well with a smart team and customers will start to tell their friends about us. Most of all, don't really worry too much about the "marketing". The best marketing advice that I always give (that no one listens to) is "fix your crappy product," which often translates to "fix your crappy value proposition". That's the only viable marketing plan in today's transparent world. Marketing is really quite easy with a brilliant product, and it's impossible with anything else. So start there.
The windows of opportunities I see on the horizon today are currently only two:
1) Start a direct to consumer brand - I've spoke at Harvard Business School four times over that past 3-4 years and the #1 thing that those students are looking to do is start a direct to consumer brand. I've been working in one intentionally since 2010, and unknowingly in one back as far as 2003. Hundreds of brands in hundreds of categories have been started. The top 25 have raised over $2.5 billion in venture funding. Many of these companies are already unicorn status. And there are scrappy companies in many sectors that you wouldn't expect. Consumers won't know these brands for 5 years, but these are the brands that will own the future. They are the future of retail.
2) Throw in with other direct to consumer brands to exchange free leads - Don't advertise and give Google 50% of every revenue dollar you take. Don't sell on Amazon and give them 50% of every dollar you take. At least don't make that your long term strategy. Others will, and you'll beat them when they realize that's a losing proposition long term.
A few years back as I started to realize that as Google and Amazon we're becoming more and more monopolistic. What started as a truly free, direct to consumer market place online was quickly circling back to retail like normal. We were heading back to a place where brands would sell thru retail and give the retailer 50%. The retailers used to be physical stores on the right street. The only difference now is that the street is the information superhighway and there are only a couple stores, Google and Amazon. Instead of thousands of middlemen, there are just 2, and they're becoming the biggest companies and biggest monopolies the world has ever seen. Going forward, they'll take 50% of all transactions everywhere.
A market reaction will happen, though, because that's pretty stupid to give them 50% of everything people buy. So a few years ago I started to think about what the reaction would look like. My thought is that it might involve all the direct to consumer brands throwing in together to leverage their collective reach to exchange free leads to each other. I started The No Middleman Project to do just that. The first initiative, NoMiddleman.com, is what I envision could be the Amazon antidote. It launched in October of 2018 to a great reception by media and insiders (made the front page lead story on INC Magazine all day at launch), but like everything, it will likely be five years before the masses clue into what is going on. In the meantime, it's an incredibly valuable product search tool for consumers to find the best direct to consumer products in any category. Currently, the site has something like 400 brands in over 1500 categories. More interesting to entrepreneurs, there are over a thousand completely vacant product categories on NoMiddleman.com waiting for smart entrepreneurs to start a world-changing direct to consumer brand. And there are likely 10,000 more product categories that aren't even listed on NoMiddleman.com yet.
image

How are you doing today and what does the future look like?

Tower Electric Bikes is profitable today, but we're really just in our infancy. Our burn rate is incredibly low as we are able to tack this onto an existing, profitable direct to consumer eCommerce business.
We've launched with one SKU, an electric beach cruiser that has been fairly well-received by the industry media. We're very encouraged by early sales traction, and even more, encouraged by the number of referrals we've got versus our installed base. eBikes really seem to be something that once people try a good one, they get it and buy one. The metrics are way better than what we saw early in the SUP industry. I think eBikes just appeal to a larger percent of the population.
We're having a local University of San Diego student team take a crack and putting together a strong local marketing plan of attack as a class project. We expect good things out of that and it's free labor!

Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?

Part of the benefit of having Mark Cuban as a business partner is that I also get him as a sort of mentor by default. All his feedback is a learning opportunity. One thing that really bugged me early on with Tower Paddle Boards was that we never had enough access to capital to be able to grow as fast as I wanted. The first 5 years our revenue grew as from 3K, to $265K, to $1.3M, to $3.1M, to $5.1M, to $7.5M, which looks impressive when I look back on it, but those first 4 years really we were constantly out of stock of our best products at bad times. We'd frequently come into our summer season and be out of stock of our best seller for 2 months. To me, this was maddening. I felt like we were missing out on so much because of a stupid constraint... lack of money. But he always seemed to have the opinion of don't worry about forgoing upside so much. Worry about going to zero. Because stuff always goes wrong at some point and you need to be prepared to handle that and survive. And stuff did go wrong. I've started to adopt his thinking on that front a lot more.
When the SUP market started to level off and decline even, a bunch of competitors started to copy us, and the online landscape changed with Amazon's power, this mentality started to make a lot more sense to me. That thinking has probably saved us, while there is a lot of other blood in the water in the SUP industry and more to come in the next few years.
Keeping our burn rate low has been engrained in my mind. I've never had a company that could afford to lose money for a long period of time, so survival is all about burn rate. I view everything through that lens, especially as the world starts to move faster and faster. I see our lean operation as a strategic competitive advantage. That's what really excites me about our Tower Electric Bike company. It has zero operating cost, or about as close to zero as is possible. That gives us a huge advantage. And once it takes off and becomes a significant profit center, that gives me a paddleboard company with a near-zero operating cost if I want to look at things a little differently. That gives me a lot of strategic flexibility in what we can do to take the Tower Paddle Boards brand to the next level.
One of our cost-cutting measures was to figure out a way to have a retail store without paying retail rent. This led us to stumble upon an opportunity to rent a waterfront kayak shop in San Diego, dress it up, and turn it into a part-time high-end event venue when it wasn't our retail showroom. We figure the event rental fees would cover our rent and we'd do pop-up retail in the space between events, and have our offices housed in the back. It not only worked, but it also worked incredibly well. I think we may have stumbled upon a great solution for the retail, real-world presence for a direct to consumer beach lifestyle company like Tower. The brand experience basically.
We've been up and running for about 4 months now, and we've got a nice little diversified event venue rental revenue stream coming in that easily offsets our rent costs a few times over. The place is a beach club and it's decorated with our stylish direct to consumer beach lifestyle products on the walls like an art exhibit, even when events are happening. So events become automated brand activations. We've held events for 1400 people. That's a lot of brand activations to do, all while making a tidy profit. More importantly, there's no reason we can't replicate this in other beach towns. That's our future roadmap now.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N8oaRe2Kino
The last thing that I've learned is that I should probably incorporate, or I just end up paying a lot of taxes until my business goes under some time in the future. We're experiencing a few lean years as we've re-invested profits heavily into launching the Tower Electric Bike business and the Tower Beach Club, so it's not critical immediately, but it's kind of a huge mistake to try to grow a fast-growth company that's also a highly profitable business with pass-thru income. If you make a million dollars, you have to pay half that in taxes regardless if you only take out only enough to live on and reinvest everything else into building an inventory asset. It seems like you should be killing it, but you're not really. And then if things go south, you're worse off then you started, but you've made the government a lot of money... and there not really going to help you when you have loses. They only take half when you make money. That's problematic for start-ups that grow fast, change fast, and sometimes die fast. I'm all for paying my fair taxes like the next guy, but when you pay a lot for years and then end up owing the bank money that you may not even be able to pay back, something seems wrong with the equation. I think that's why corporate retained earnings were created... just I'm a little slow on all this financial wizardry as I'm just focused on making high-quality, low-cost products easy to find.

What platform/tools do you use for your business?

We use Americommerce for our shopping cart. The thing I love about it is that it allows us to have a single back end to feed multiple front end websites. All our inventory is in one system, all our products only have one instance. This is different than before where we had a separate eCommerce login for each of our websites. This is a huge problem for many entrepreneurs that have been around for a while as you tend to collect businesses! With Americommerce, the same back-end feeds all 4 of these sites:
Not all of these use the same site design as well, so that's additional cost savings to us, but it's not necessary. You can have totally different designs to fit each site if you like.
For our merchant account, we switched to Stripe a few years ago. It's a no brainer switch from any other merchant account, which is a fairly shady business for the most part. Stripe just makes things simple, and fair to you as the vendor.
We use a variety of productivity tools that all of my team has contributed to identifying. In June of 2015, I moved the entire company to a 5-hour workday. We worked 8 am-1 pm straight thru with no lunch. I gave my entire staff their lives back, but then also put the pressure on them. If they couldn't get as much or more done in terms of productivity as they could before, then they would be fired. We were doing it as a 3-month test. It worked very well. We ended up just moving to it full time for 2 years. Our revenues increased by 50% over the next year. Today, we work the 5-hour workday in our busy season from June 1st to Sept 30th, then go back to start-up hours in the off-season.
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One of the key benefits or our 5-hour workday was that it squeezed people for time and forced them to identify productivity tools and better methods of doing their job. I ended up writing a book on our experiment called The Five Hour Workday. It got press is 20 countries and spread the idea to over 10 million people worldwide. A bunch of companies has gone on to do their own experiments. It's perhaps started a trend. At the website at the link above, you can download the first 50 pages of the book for free, and also get a list of amazing productivity tools that my team identified.

What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?

I loved everything I read from Seth Godin when I first started into the online business in the late 90s. I love books by other entrepreneurs or about them. Love Branson's books. Love the book on Bezo's, The Everything Store. I've actually gotten to know the author a bit as he works on his sequel. Love the Sam Walton book, Made in America. Love the book on how Jack Ma built Alibaba. Love Phil Knight's book, Shoe Dog. Love the Steve Jobs book by Isaacson. Love the Elon Musk book by Ashley Vance.
I'm also a big fan of the 4 Hour Work Week by Tim Ferris. Obviously, my own book title is a homage to Tim's revolutionary book on how an individual can break away for the 9-5 and outsource his life. Our 5-hour workday experiment and my subsequent book explore how many of the same principles can be applied to a large organization or society as a whole.

Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?

Where can we go to learn more?

Our websites
Social Media for Tower Beach Club
Social Media for Tower Electric Bikes
Liked this text interview? Check out the full interview with photos, tools, books, and other data.
For more interviews, check out starter_story - I post new stories there daily.
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2019.11.26 17:15 youngrichntasteless $250K/month selling electric bikes [with Mark Cuban as a partner]

Hey - Pat from StarterStory.com here with another interview.
Today's interview is with Stephan Aarstol of Tower Electric Bikes, a brand that makes direct to consumer ebikes
Some stats:

Hello! Who are you and what business did you start?

Hello! My name is Stephan Aarstol. I'm the CEO of Tower Electric Bikes.
Tower Electric Bikes is direct to consumer eBike brand I co-founded with Mark Cuban. We make electric bikes we love, and are proud to recommend to our friends and family. Electric bikes so beautiful they exude heart and soul. We believe eBikes will change the way people get around, and we believe we can accelerate this shift by selling beautifully crafted ones direct to consumers for half what they cost in retail.
Tower began as a paddleboard company in 2010 and has since evolved into a holistic direct to consumer beach lifestyle company. We produce and sell everything from paddleboards to beach cruisers, to sunglasses, to surfboards, to skateboards, to inflatable docks, to electric bikes. The primary focus of our future growth is in eBikes so that's what I'll speak to in this article. It's a story about the evolution of a brand.
In October of 2019, Tower was named one of the "Top 20 Shark Tank Products of All Time" in USA Today. We've done over $36 million in sales since getting a $150,000 investment from Mark Cuban in 2012.
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What's your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?

I live right on the boardwalk on the beach in San Diego. I get a good sense of up and coming trends in beach lifestyle while just kicking back on my patio with a Margarita and watching the world go by. In the last three or four years, there has been an explosion in electric powered things buzzing down the boardwalk. They've always been there, but it used to be one dude cruising the boardwalk with some kind of homemade electric skateboard or something once a week. Then the trend started growing exponentially in the last few years and you could just see the future.
My main form of transportation down the boardwalk has always been a beach cruiser. While bikes are also recreation around the beach, unlike many places they're a central form of transportation for anyone who lives at the beach. Why sit in aggravating coastal traffic and then search for scarce parking when you can just cruise down the boardwalk with the wind in your hair and an ocean view. A rusty beach cruiser literally offers you a better quality of life than a car which might set you back $50K. Not to mention the rent for a garage to park said car might be $500/mo.
The thing about electric bikes that most people don't get is that they're basically the perfect form of transportation. This is NOT just a "different kind of bike". Aside from kids, beach dwellers like myself, and what my son refers to as "butt darts" (those odd and colorfully dressed Tour de France type road cyclists), normal people just don't use bikes as transportation in the US. Bikes are a recreation with a side of exercise. Electric bikes can be better described as a replacement for a car. It's like a scooter that doesn't require a helmet and you can ride on paths, boardwalks, sidewalks, across the lawn, wherever. The first time you ride one, the light bulb goes off in your head... wait, this is fun, requires no effort even up hills, let's me avoid traffic, doesn't require a parking spot, has a range of 30-60 miles, and if the battery does die I can just pedal the rest of the way home.
At the time this all donned on me, Tower was a thriving start-up primarily selling paddleboards, but we wanted to diversify our products and business to make our company healthier. We were expanding into other beach lifestyle products like surfboards, skateboards, and sunglasses. Building the world's finest electric beach cruiser was a natural fit. When I looked at the market, it was a fragmented mess of ill-conceived products and brands. Apparently, anyone could Frankenstein together an eBike, or piece together one with a conversion kit, and start an "eBike company", and so that's what happened. Hundreds of competitors. Very few goods, a handful of bad, and a lot of ugly.
If you ask a person on the street anywhere in the US to name an eBike brand they couldn't. Many wouldn't even know what an eBike was. But worldwide it is already a massive industry with an estimated 30 million units sold per year, and it's expected to grow to 75 million in the next 10-20 years. In 2018 in the US, 300K eBikes were sold. This is expected to grow 20x to 7 million in that same time frame. So the plan was we would do exactly what we did in the paddleboard industry - make high-quality, low-cost products easy to find. By focusing on that simple premise, we created the #1 fastest growing company in San Diego in 2014, then the following year we ranked #239 on the INC 500 list of America's fastest-growing companies.
So that's our aim. We're going to create the world's first famous eBike brand. It is a brand void waiting to be filled. Our first product is aptly named the Beach Bum. It's a high-end electric beach cruiser that would sell for $3750 in retail, but we sell it directly to the consumer for under $1,700.
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Take us through the process of designing, prototyping, and manufacturing your first product.

Product design is critical. Not just the aesthetic look of something (which is also critical), but the functional choices you make in product design. You've really got to take a blank slate approach and get to the heart of what the product you are designing will be used for. This is an area that I've found I kind of excel in. I'm a fair contrarian thinker so I don't just accept the status quo and go along with what everyone else is doing. I challenge everything. If everyone is doing something one way, my assumption is that it's probably the wrong way to do it. Herd mentality and groupthink take things in the wrong direction a lot of times. Maybe most of the time.
When we launched in paddleboards back in 2010, part of the reason I started was when I went shopping for my first paddleboard I learned that these things cost like $1200-$1600 for what was basically a big surfboard. And you could buy a cheap surfboard for $300. It didn’t make sense. Ninety-five percent of these paddleboards and the ~80 or so brands at the time that were making them were using a traditional retail sales model with brands, distributors, wholesalers, salespeople, and retail stores. As a result, SUP boards were selling for 4-5 times what they cost to produce. Additionally, the majority of brands seemed to perceive paddle boarding as a different kind of surfing. Lastly, there was this oddity called inflatable paddleboards in the market that had been around for years, but they were horribly designed and only represented about 1% of the market.
Our process was to assume that what the bulk of the market was doing was probably stupid, especially if they were all doing it, so we hypothesized, "What if we do the exact opposite?" Then we did just that.
We sold direct to consumers only, and at a single markup. By doing so, we offered consumers a better value proposition - half-price paddleboards. We intentionally ignored the sexy surf and race market's that all the other brands we're aggressively trying to stake their claim in. We looked at paddleboarding as more like kayaking than surfing, and when you looked at the numbers, 80-90% of the market wasn't surfing or racing. We also refused to advertise in magazines like all the other "serious" brands, and we still to this day have never attended one industry trade show. Then we took a hard look at the viability of those inflatable boards, as they fit our direct to consumer mail-order business model better anyways. We discovered that inflatable paddle boards, with a little re-engineering, worked just fine for tooling around bays, lakes, and harbors, and were actually far superior to hard boards in terms of storability, transportability, and durability.
Within 5 years, without advertising one dime the first 4 years because we couldn't keep stuff in stock as is, we built Tower into one of the strongest brands in the paddleboard industry. Today, surfing and racing are tiny segments of a quite large paddleboard market. And the last time I looked at market stats, inflatable SUPs were 70% of the paddleboard market. In 2017, our co-branded Chris Craft inflatable paddle board was rated the #1 paddleboard in the world by the prestigious Robb Report, over some boards that sold for $2500 to $3500. Ours sold for $650 at the time.
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In the eBike market, with Tower Electric Bikes, we're taking a similar look at what the industry is doing that makes sense, what is groupthink, and what is just plain stupid. In 5 years, we'll see what happens, but I'm optimistic. As an entrepreneur, sometimes you find yourself in the very fortunate position to see an opportunity that looks oddly familiar to something you've seen before. When that happens, you can almost see around corners.
Our first product, an electric beach cruiser called the Tower Beach Bum, is starting to gain traction already, and we've just barely started.

Describe the process of launching the business.

While we had rolled out a diversified portfolio of beach lifestyle products beyond paddleboards over the years, we knew going in that our eBike wasn't just going to be another product. This was a massive market that was seeing explosive growth with a brand void. This was more akin to us starting a paddleboard company in the first place, so we separated things out and treated the opportunity with the same serious attention to detail.
We had a very healthy going concern in Tower Paddle Boards, so we didn't need to rush into anything. We took our time and did things right. We first prototyped and rolled out a regular bike (non-electric), which we considered to be the world's finest beach cruiser.
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We over-engineered the thing so we knew what it took to create a really great bike. One interesting thing about selling direct to consumer is it allows you to offer very high-end products at very reasonable prices so you can tread where others won't go because they fear pricing the product out of the market. For starters, our beach cruiser came with a belt drive. Many beach cruisers sell at retail for just over what our production cost of just the belt drive system was, so this was definitely distinctive. It's about as high end as you can go on a beach cruiser!
We brought in a serious product design studio. We went with a stretched, lightweight, rust-free aluminum classically styled beach cruiser frame. We used all premium components. We put innovative, and patented, passenger pegs on the rear wheel. Then we added premium wheels with 48 spokes as you'd find on high-end mountain bikes, and top of the line tires. The design aesthetic itself was black on black, with a matte black frame and glossy black logos, a brown leather seat and grips, all accented by unique brown whitewall balloon tires. It's truly a work of art.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mp22Qbhhvig
Our eBike design was based on this frame design and aesthetic, but we took a blank slate approach on the eBike because we didn't want to be boxed in by our bike design. Bikes are more about exercise and recreation. At the very high end, they have style, but basic bikes are about functionality. When that gets ported over to eBikes and electronics get tacked onto them, they tend to look like bike mechanics for engineers built them. They're contraptions, halfway between weird looking bikes and homemade motorcycles. They've got noisy tires, they shift awkwardly at times, they've got their brand name in big letters plastered all over the place (imagine that on a luxury car), and they're just kind of obnoxious. That's kind of the state of the eBike market.
We view eBikes as transportation with a side of recreation, more akin to an improved version of a scooter, or a convertible sports car. They're not a different kind of bike, in my mind, We call our electric beach cruiser the Beach Bum. Our tagline is, "Stay cool. Be Free." The 'stay cool' part is about the fact that it's stylish first, like a beautiful car that just plain looks stunning. And it's got air conditioning built in to keep you 'cool'. The "be free" part is the light bulb that goes off in your head the first time you ride one. You realize you can go on a 30-mile bike ride and up any hill so it frees you to go anywhere. It expands your local circle of familiarity from the half-mile or so you are willing to walk, to about a 10-20 mile radius. And perhaps more importantly, you're no longer constrained by traffic, or roads even as you can hit any path you want, or by available parking spots. You have freed yourself.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QtpyHfv5QAY
For funding this new company, we use profits from our paddleboard cash cow. Even if we have to invest a good chunk to get things up to speed, it's all tax-free as we're reinvesting profits. So much more advantageous than starting from scratch. Even better, we're able to leverage our entire infrastructure so our incremental burn rate to add an eBike company to our existing operation is basically zero. Just add inventory. That gives us a huge operational cost advantage over the competition. We already have a warehouse. We already have a competent marketing team on staff. We already have the shipping function taken care of. We already have a customer service team.
The most important difference between how we started the paddleboard business and our eBike business is that we now can see the future. Mostly, we're only doing things that work. We're definitely avoiding our prior mistakes. And with Mark Cuban as a co-founder this time, we have the ability to leverage his celebrity status in a meaningful way to separate us from the hundreds of me-too eBike brands out there. In a way, we're talking more about Mark Cuban's eBike company early on instead of the Tower Electric Bike company because we know that is more meaningful until we get the brand well established. It's like Tesla. There are a handful of electric car company start-ups out there, but most people only know Elon Musk's company, in part because he's Elon Musk. His reputation and proven record speak volumes.

Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?

Our objective is to make high-quality, low-cost electric bikes easy to find. It's a very simple strategy. Everything emanates from that.
I get a lot of people calling me because they've heard we're killing it and they want to know our secret. They've maybe seen me on Shark Tank talking about our SEO expertise ("Search Engine Optimization"), so they'll call saying they want to hire me on a consultant basis for their company. Or they'll have invented some product and say all their missing is the marketing guy and I'm their guy. Let's partner.
But there really are no marketing secrets, and when there are it's not for very long in today's fast-moving world. I've been at an executive level in the online marketing and business development space since 1999, and what I've learned is that there are these arcs of opportunity with each newly identified marketing tactic.
In 2000, two years before Google Adwords even existed, I was leveraging GoTo.com's invention, PPC search advertising to buy search traffic clicks for a penny a piece. It worked fabulously and big companies wouldn't even start using it for another 5 or 6 years. It still worked then, but less so, and it's gotten crowded in the past decade and now only works selectively. Even then, Google has a monopoly now and just sucks the profit out of everything they touch.
Then it was email. Then it was group buying in discussing groups, the predecessor to Kickstarter. Worked great for a while, then the window of opportunity closed for the most part, for most people. Then social media came and the organic following was great. Then because they had a monopoly, they made it pay to play and that seemed bad but it was actually another even more fantastic opportunity with highly targeted FB and IG marketing. Then influencer followings exploded and that became the new window of opportunity. Then Amazon marketplace became an untapped marketplace that was getting huge overnight, and that window opened and closed... because they're a monopoly too so they're correctly sucking out all the profit. And it continues. Windows open and if you're early, you can do well. And once everyone clues in 5 years later, it stops working as well, then it gets crowded and the opportunity passes.
So our plan is to not worry about the next online marketing window to come along, but rather to make a really high-quality product. Obsessively focus on that. And then make it relatively low cost for consumers. Not making cheap products by cutting corners, but rather figuring out ways to get your amazing product into consumers hands inexpensively without any middlemen. That's why we go direct to consumer, and largely starve our advertising budget. It forces us to identify hacks.
The next step is to make a good web site, pitch how great your product is to the press in whatever creative way you can, and get butts in bike seats locally so people can find us thru referrals. Start locally, and grow things organically from there. Pass all our savings onto customers from our lean operations, not advertising, and no middleman. Execute well with a smart team and customers will start to tell their friends about us. Most of all, don't really worry too much about the "marketing". The best marketing advice that I always give (that no one listens to) is "fix your crappy product," which often translates to "fix your crappy value proposition". That's the only viable marketing plan in today's transparent world. Marketing is really quite easy with a brilliant product, and it's impossible with anything else. So start there.
The windows of opportunities I see on the horizon today are currently only two:
1) Start a direct to consumer brand - I've spoke at Harvard Business School four times over that past 3-4 years and the #1 thing that those students are looking to do is start a direct to consumer brand. I've been working in one intentionally since 2010, and unknowingly in one back as far as 2003. Hundreds of brands in hundreds of categories have been started. The top 25 have raised over $2.5 billion in venture funding. Many of these companies are already unicorn status. And there are scrappy companies in many sectors that you wouldn't expect. Consumers won't know these brands for 5 years, but these are the brands that will own the future. They are the future of retail.
2) Throw in with other direct to consumer brands to exchange free leads - Don't advertise and give Google 50% of every revenue dollar you take. Don't sell on Amazon and give them 50% of every dollar you take. At least don't make that your long term strategy. Others will, and you'll beat them when they realize that's a losing proposition long term.
A few years back as I started to realize that as Google and Amazon we're becoming more and more monopolistic. What started as a truly free, direct to consumer market place online was quickly circling back to retail like normal. We were heading back to a place where brands would sell thru retail and give the retailer 50%. The retailers used to be physical stores on the right street. The only difference now is that the street is the information superhighway and there are only a couple stores, Google and Amazon. Instead of thousands of middlemen, there are just 2, and they're becoming the biggest companies and biggest monopolies the world has ever seen. Going forward, they'll take 50% of all transactions everywhere.
A market reaction will happen, though, because that's pretty stupid to give them 50% of everything people buy. So a few years ago I started to think about what the reaction would look like. My thought is that it might involve all the direct to consumer brands throwing in together to leverage their collective reach to exchange free leads to each other. I started The No Middleman Project to do just that. The first initiative, NoMiddleman.com, is what I envision could be the Amazon antidote. It launched in October of 2018 to a great reception by media and insiders (made the front page lead story on INC Magazine all day at launch), but like everything, it will likely be five years before the masses clue into what is going on. In the meantime, it's an incredibly valuable product search tool for consumers to find the best direct to consumer products in any category. Currently, the site has something like 400 brands in over 1500 categories. More interesting to entrepreneurs, there are over a thousand completely vacant product categories on NoMiddleman.com waiting for smart entrepreneurs to start a world-changing direct to consumer brand. And there are likely 10,000 more product categories that aren't even listed on NoMiddleman.com yet.
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How are you doing today and what does the future look like?

Tower Electric Bikes is profitable today, but we're really just in our infancy. Our burn rate is incredibly low as we are able to tack this onto an existing, profitable direct to consumer eCommerce business.
We've launched with one SKU, an electric beach cruiser that has been fairly well-received by the industry media. We're very encouraged by early sales traction, and even more, encouraged by the number of referrals we've got versus our installed base. eBikes really seem to be something that once people try a good one, they get it and buy one. The metrics are way better than what we saw early in the SUP industry. I think eBikes just appeal to a larger percent of the population.
We're having a local University of San Diego student team take a crack and putting together a strong local marketing plan of attack as a class project. We expect good things out of that and it's free labor!

Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?

Part of the benefit of having Mark Cuban as a business partner is that I also get him as a sort of mentor by default. All his feedback is a learning opportunity. One thing that really bugged me early on with Tower Paddle Boards was that we never had enough access to capital to be able to grow as fast as I wanted. The first 5 years our revenue grew as from 3K, to $265K, to $1.3M, to $3.1M, to $5.1M, to $7.5M, which looks impressive when I look back on it, but those first 4 years really we were constantly out of stock of our best products at bad times. We'd frequently come into our summer season and be out of stock of our best seller for 2 months. To me, this was maddening. I felt like we were missing out on so much because of a stupid constraint... lack of money. But he always seemed to have the opinion of don't worry about forgoing upside so much. Worry about going to zero. Because stuff always goes wrong at some point and you need to be prepared to handle that and survive. And stuff did go wrong. I've started to adopt his thinking on that front a lot more.
When the SUP market started to level off and decline even, a bunch of competitors started to copy us, and the online landscape changed with Amazon's power, this mentality started to make a lot more sense to me. That thinking has probably saved us, while there is a lot of other blood in the water in the SUP industry and more to come in the next few years.
Keeping our burn rate low has been engrained in my mind. I've never had a company that could afford to lose money for a long period of time, so survival is all about burn rate. I view everything through that lens, especially as the world starts to move faster and faster. I see our lean operation as a strategic competitive advantage. That's what really excites me about our Tower Electric Bike company. It has zero operating cost, or about as close to zero as is possible. That gives us a huge advantage. And once it takes off and becomes a significant profit center, that gives me a paddleboard company with a near-zero operating cost if I want to look at things a little differently. That gives me a lot of strategic flexibility in what we can do to take the Tower Paddle Boards brand to the next level.
One of our cost-cutting measures was to figure out a way to have a retail store without paying retail rent. This led us to stumble upon an opportunity to rent a waterfront kayak shop in San Diego, dress it up, and turn it into a part-time high-end event venue when it wasn't our retail showroom. We figure the event rental fees would cover our rent and we'd do pop-up retail in the space between events, and have our offices housed in the back. It not only worked, but it also worked incredibly well. I think we may have stumbled upon a great solution for the retail, real-world presence for a direct to consumer beach lifestyle company like Tower. The brand experience basically.
We've been up and running for about 4 months now, and we've got a nice little diversified event venue rental revenue stream coming in that easily offsets our rent costs a few times over. The place is a beach club and it's decorated with our stylish direct to consumer beach lifestyle products on the walls like an art exhibit, even when events are happening. So events become automated brand activations. We've held events for 1400 people. That's a lot of brand activations to do, all while making a tidy profit. More importantly, there's no reason we can't replicate this in other beach towns. That's our future roadmap now.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N8oaRe2Kino
The last thing that I've learned is that I should probably incorporate, or I just end up paying a lot of taxes until my business goes under some time in the future. We're experiencing a few lean years as we've re-invested profits heavily into launching the Tower Electric Bike business and the Tower Beach Club, so it's not critical immediately, but it's kind of a huge mistake to try to grow a fast-growth company that's also a highly profitable business with pass-thru income. If you make a million dollars, you have to pay half that in taxes regardless if you only take out only enough to live on and reinvest everything else into building an inventory asset. It seems like you should be killing it, but you're not really. And then if things go south, you're worse off then you started, but you've made the government a lot of money... and there not really going to help you when you have loses. They only take half when you make money. That's problematic for start-ups that grow fast, change fast, and sometimes die fast. I'm all for paying my fair taxes like the next guy, but when you pay a lot for years and then end up owing the bank money that you may not even be able to pay back, something seems wrong with the equation. I think that's why corporate retained earnings were created... just I'm a little slow on all this financial wizardry as I'm just focused on making high-quality, low-cost products easy to find.

What platform/tools do you use for your business?

We use Americommerce for our shopping cart. The thing I love about it is that it allows us to have a single back end to feed multiple front end websites. All our inventory is in one system, all our products only have one instance. This is different than before where we had a separate eCommerce login for each of our websites. This is a huge problem for many entrepreneurs that have been around for a while as you tend to collect businesses! With Americommerce, the same back-end feeds all 4 of these sites:
Not all of these use the same site design as well, so that's additional cost savings to us, but it's not necessary. You can have totally different designs to fit each site if you like.
For our merchant account, we switched to Stripe a few years ago. It's a no brainer switch from any other merchant account, which is a fairly shady business for the most part. Stripe just makes things simple, and fair to you as the vendor.
We use a variety of productivity tools that all of my team has contributed to identifying. In June of 2015, I moved the entire company to a 5-hour workday. We worked 8 am-1 pm straight thru with no lunch. I gave my entire staff their lives back, but then also put the pressure on them. If they couldn't get as much or more done in terms of productivity as they could before, then they would be fired. We were doing it as a 3-month test. It worked very well. We ended up just moving to it full time for 2 years. Our revenues increased by 50% over the next year. Today, we work the 5-hour workday in our busy season from June 1st to Sept 30th, then go back to start-up hours in the off-season.
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One of the key benefits or our 5-hour workday was that it squeezed people for time and forced them to identify productivity tools and better methods of doing their job. I ended up writing a book on our experiment called The Five Hour Workday. It got press is 20 countries and spread the idea to over 10 million people worldwide. A bunch of companies has gone on to do their own experiments. It's perhaps started a trend. At the website at the link above, you can download the first 50 pages of the book for free, and also get a list of amazing productivity tools that my team identified.

What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?

I loved everything I read from Seth Godin when I first started into the online business in the late 90s. I love books by other entrepreneurs or about them. Love Branson's books. Love the book on Bezo's, The Everything Store. I've actually gotten to know the author a bit as he works on his sequel. Love the Sam Walton book, Made in America. Love the book on how Jack Ma built Alibaba. Love Phil Knight's book, Shoe Dog. Love the Steve Jobs book by Isaacson. Love the Elon Musk book by Ashley Vance.
I'm also a big fan of the 4 Hour Work Week by Tim Ferris. Obviously, my own book title is a homage to Tim's revolutionary book on how an individual can break away for the 9-5 and outsource his life. Our 5-hour workday experiment and my subsequent book explore how many of the same principles can be applied to a large organization or society as a whole.

Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?

Where can we go to learn more?

Our websites
Social Media for Tower Beach Club
Social Media for Tower Electric Bikes
Liked this text interview? Check out the full interview with photos, tools, books, and other data.
For more interviews, check out starter_story - I post new stories there daily.
Interested in sharing your own story? Send me a PM
submitted by youngrichntasteless to EntrepreneurRideAlong [link] [comments]


2019.11.02 05:22 next3days For those looking for something to do this weekend, 25 fun, local events at VT, Blacksburg or New River Valley...

First, hope everyone enjoyed Halloween! If you're looking for something to do on Saturday and/or Sunday, here's 25 fun events in the area you can participate in:
1. !Venga! 2019 Indoor Climbing Competition for Youth, College & Open Classes Crimper's Climbing Gym, Christiansburg Saturday, November 2, 2019, 7:30 AM - 7:00 PM Spectators: Free Crimper's Climbing Gym presents the Seventh Annual !Venga! Indoor Climbing Competition. The annual bouldering competition, is the biggest event of the year to celebrate the climbing community. All levels of climbers are represented with problems set for beginners to expert level. There will have new holds, guest setters, a raffle, pizza and an exciting finals for the top climbers. !Venga! features three categories: youth and collegiate sanctioned by USA Climbing (USAC), and citizens for anyone who wants to climb. Link: http://www.nextthreedays.com/FeaturedEventDetails.cfm?E=528205
2. In Balance Yoga Donations Yoga Festival: Kunga Fest 2019 - Saturday In Balance Yoga Studio, Blacksburg Saturday, November 2, 2019, 8:00 AM - 8:30 PM and Sunday, November 3, 2019, 8:30 AM - 8:45 PM Donations Based for All Classes 100% of Donations to Homes of Hope Orphanage In Balance Yoga is offering a Donations-Based Yoga Festival for the public, open and accessible to all levels featuring more than 30 donations-based yoga classes. This event is a fundraiser for Homes of Hope Orphanage in India. 100% of donations go to support orphanage #15, providing bunk beds and desks for the girls. In addition to the yoga classes, enjoy Glow-In-The-Dark Yoga with a DJ, live music, raffles, giveaways, Vegan Chili Cook Off, viewing of the Virginia Tech vs. Notre Dame football game and more. Link: http://www.nextthreedays.com/FeaturedEventDetails.cfm?E=528083
3. New River Rapid's 2019 Falling For Flyball Tournament for Dogs Blacksburg Community Center / Recreation Center, Blacksburg Saturday, November 2, 2019, 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM and Sunday, November 3, 2019, 8:00 AM - 3:00 PM Admission: Free New River Rapids Flyball Club and Flying Fur! present the Falling For Flyball 2019 Flyball Tournament for Dogs. Enjoy the controlled chaos that is our sport! Flyball is a very fast-paced (and loud) relay race for dogs. The tournament will feature 24 teams from three different states competing. At first glance, Flyball is quite the contrast to more traditional obedience based events. Leashed spectator dogs are welcome. There will also be a great raffle for “dog stuff” and a baked goods table. Link: http://www.nextthreedays.com/FeaturedEventDetails.cfm?E=528310
4. Hokie Classic 2019 War Memorial Gym, Virginia Tech Saturday, November 2, 2019, 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM General Public: $5.00, With VT ID: Free Virginia Tech Club Gymnastics presents the 26th Annual Hokie Classic which is an annual gymnastics competition for both women and men hosted by the Virginia Tech Club Gymnastics Team. Many other college club gymnastics teams will be competing. The first session begins at 8:00 am and the second session starts at 1:00 pm. Link: http://www.nextthreedays.com/FeaturedEventDetails.cfm?E=528537
5. 2019 Sinkland Farms Pumpkin Festival (Final Weekend) Sinkland Farms, Riner Saturday, November 2, 2019, 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM and Sunday, November 3, 2019, 12:00-5:00 PM Adult: $10.00, Seniors & Military: $8.00, Children Ages 2 & Under: Free It's the last weekend of the Sinkland Farms Pumpkin Festival which is known as a family tradition. Activities include hayrides to the pumpkin fields, a brain-twisting corn maze, farmyard animals and live music on two stages every weekend. Extras include horseback trail rides ($12.00 a person), pony activities and beer & wine tastings. Link: http://www.nextthreedays.com/FeaturedEventDetails.cfm?E=524479
6. 2019 Bi-Annual Foundry Open House Virginia Tech Foundry Institute for Research and Education, Virginia Tech Saturday, November 2, 2019, 10:00 AM - 3:00 PM Admission: Free The Virginia Tech Student American Foundry Society (AFS) Chapter presents the Bi-Annual Virginia Tech Foundry Open House. Explore the world of metal casting at this semester’s Foundry Open House. All attendees will be able to create a design in a sand mold of their very own and watch it be poured in molten iron as a memento of their visit. All participants need to wear closed-toe shoes and long pants. Link: http://www.nextthreedays.com/FeaturedEventDetails.cfm?E=526462
7. Marine Corps League NRV's 2019 Toys for Tots Motorcycle Ride New River Valley Fraternal Order of Police Lodge, Radford Saturday, November 2, 2019, 11:00 AM - 2:00 PM Registration Fee: New unwrapped toy The Marine Corps League of the New River Valley Detachment #1190 presents the 5th Annual Toys for Tots Motorcycle Ride starting and ending at the New River Valley Fraternal Order of Police Lodge in Radford, VA. All proceeds benefit less fortunate children in the New River Valley through the Toys for Tots campaign. The mission of Toys for Tots is to collect new, unwrapped toys during October, November and December each year, and distribute those toys as Christmas gifts to less fortunate children in the local community. Enjoy coffee at registration, a 50/50 drawing and a lunch of hamburgers, hot dogs, chips and drinks will be served at the conclusion of the ride at the police lodge. Link: http://www.nextthreedays.com/FeaturedEventDetails.cfm?E=528307
8. Plenty's Chili Feast with Live Music and Libations Chantilly Farm, Floyd Saturday, November 2, 2019, 12:00 - 7:00 PM Meal Tickets: $12.00, Adult Beverages: $5.00 Plenty! presents their first Chili Feast with Live Music and Libations. The Chili Feast includes chili, cornbread and desserts and will be served by Plenty's famous cooks in one-of-a-kind handcrafted ceramic bowls for you to keep and take home! Also, enjoy a lineup of the best local musicians throughout the day, beer on tap from Deschutes Brewing Company, Tha Best Kombucha, and wine from Republic of Floyd. All proceeds benefit the work of Plenty! which is a registered 501c3 non-profit created to help lessen food insecurity and isolation among Floyd County families. The event is held in conjunction with the 13th Annual Floyd Tour De Dirt bike ride event. Link: http://www.nextthreedays.com/FeaturedEventDetails.cfm?E=528199
9. Tech Tailgate: Free Virginia Tech vs. Notre Dame Tailgate Downtown Christiansburg, Christiansburg Saturday, November 2, 2019, 12:00 - 6:00 PM Admission: Free The Town of Christiansburg presents the Tech Tailgate, a free Virginia Tech vs. Notre Dame Tailgate, outside on Hickok Street. There will be live music by Half Throttle from 12:00 pm until the Virginia Tech versus Notre Dame football game is streamed live at 2:30 pm across four large television screens. Four food trucks and both wine & beer vendors will have food and drinks available for purchase so participants can grab a drink and play a game of cornhole or chow down on some grub while listening to the band. Attendees only pay for what they eat and/or drink. Link: http://www.nextthreedays.com/FeaturedEventDetails.cfm?E=528204
10. Collegiate Wrestling: Missouri vs. Virginia Tech (2019/2020 Season Opener) Cassell Coliseum, Virginia Tech Saturday, November 2, 2019, 12:00 - 2:00 PM Admission: Free Virginia Tech Wresting hosts Missouri in a non-conference match-up in their 2019/2020 season opener. The match is the annual Military, Corps and Service Appreciation Night and the first arriving fans will receive free Hokie Wrestling t-shirts. Fans will also be able to meet World and National Champion Mekhi Lewis pre-match on the concourse who is taking an Olympic redshirt this season. There will also be appearances by Virginia Tech Spirit Teams and the HokieBird. Link: http://www.nextthreedays.com/FeaturedEventDetails.cfm?E=527714
11. Film: Hidden Rivers of Southern Appalachia Lyric Theatre, Blacksburg Saturday, November 2, 2019, 1:15 - 4:00 PM Admission: Free The Global Change Center at Virginia Tech welcome Freshwaters Illustrated as they present their film "Hidden Rivers of Southern Appalachia". The film will start at 2:00 pm and will be be preceded by family friendly festivities and followed by a panel discussion. "Hidden Rivers", a film 10 years in the making, explores the rivers and streams of the Southern Appalachian region, which are home to North America’s most biologically rich waters. The film follows conservation biologists and explorers as they find ways to protect the beautiful and delicate life within our rivers, streams, and lakes. Pre-event festivities will begin at 1:15 pm and include mingling with fun-loving riverine mascots, as well as informational booths that will be hosted by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, the United States Forest Service, and our other sponsors. Link: http://www.nextthreedays.com/FeaturedEventDetails.cfm?E=528309
12. Blacksburg K-Pop Pop Off: Intercollegiate K-Pop Competition Burruss Auditorium, Virginia Tech Saturday, November 2, 2019, 5:00 - 7:00 PM Admission: Free Exodus at Virginia Tech presents Blacksburg K-Pop Pop Off: Intercollegiate K-Pop Competition. Exodus will be hosting the first ever East Coast intercollegiate K-Pop competition featuring dance teams from schools such as UVA and VCU, K-Pop fans from all over the East Coast will be gathering in Blacksburg to show their stuff. Admission is free and all are welcome. One of our featured judges for the competition is Alex Reid, the first African American K-Idol and former member of BP Rania (2015-2017). This talented singer, songwriter, rapper, model, and dancer will be teaching a dance workshop for all to attend the day after the competition portion of the event. Link: http://www.nextthreedays.com/FeaturedEventDetails.cfm?E=528312
13. 2019 Floyd Ghost Tour Floyd Community Market Pavilion, Floyd Saturday, November 2, 2019, 6:00 - 9:00 PM Admission: $13.00 The Floyd Ghost Tour is led by actor and guide Cameron Woodruff. Participants will enjoy a one hour walking tour around the Jacksonville Cemetery and the center of the town of Floyd. Enjoy audacious stories of moonshiners (living ones and ghostly ones), haunted buildings in town, ghostly legends of Buffalo Mountain and more. Find out about Floyd's link to famous people: Edgar Allen Poe, revolutionary Patrick Henry, and Civil War general J.E.B. Stuart. No reservations are needed. Tours start on the hour and are rain or shine. Link: http://www.nextthreedays.com/FeaturedEventDetails.cfm?E=528419
14. Soul'd Out Saturday with Barren Minds Fatback Soul Shack, Christiansburg Saturday, November 2, 2019, 7:00 - 10:00 PM Admission: Free Barren Minds plays a mix of 60s, 70s and 80s rock as well as some original material that has a blues and rock influence. The band is comprised of Christiansburg High School students and they have won and placed in numerous high profile talent shows across the New River Valley. Link: http://www.nextthreedays.com/FeaturedEventDetails.cfm?E=528518
15. Haunted House: Slayhouse (Final Night) St. Albans, Radford Saturday, November 2, 2019, 7:00 PM - 12:00 AM General Admission: $15.00, Line Jump Tickets: $25.00 St. Albans closes their 2019 Haunted House titled "Slayhouse" in their final weekend. Visit one of Virginia's best haunted houses this Halloween season! Saint Albans Sanatorium is a historical facility that began life in 1892 as a Lutheran boys' school. The school closed in 1911 and reopened in 1916 as an institution to treat the mentally ill. After the closing of medical facility in the 1990s, the facility has been open to paranormal investigators and the general public. Link: http://www.nextthreedays.com/FeaturedEventDetails.cfm?E=524494
16. Dance of Nations 2019 Graduate Life Center Auditorium, Virginia Tech Saturday, November 2, 2019, 7:00 - 9:00 PM Admission: Free The Council of International Student Organizations (CISO) at Virginia Tech presents Dance of Nations 2019. Dance of Nations is an event held every year to showcase the various cultures here at Virginia Tech and the wider Blacksburg community. There will be many entertaining performances that you don't want to miss. Link: http://www.nextthreedays.com/FeaturedEventDetails.cfm?E=524695
17. Haunted Experience: 2019 Hexed Haunted Attraction (Final Night) Gallows Haunted Farm, Elliston Saturday, November 2, 2019, 7:00 - 10:30 PM Admission: Standard Admission: $20.00, VIP Admission Line Jump: $30.00, Ultimate Gallows Experience: $50.00 Parking: $5.00 (cash only) Scream through four bone chilling attractions, all for one price. Expect to re-live your worst nightmares. You can expect heavy fog, light touches, loud screams, flashing lights and scenes of pure horror. The Ultimate Gallows Experience is intense and interactive is only for ages 18 above. It allows you to skip the line, includes extra terror (patrons will be touched) and includes a t-shirt. For the Ultimate Gallows Experience, patrons must present a valid ID and sign a waiver. Link: http://www.nextthreedays.com/FeaturedEventDetails.cfm?E=524830
18. Blacksburg Square Dance's November Dance Odd Fellows Building Lodge #20 (Wilson Avenue), Blacksburg Saturday, November 2, 2019, 7:00 - 10:00 PM General Admission: $8.00, Students with ID: $5.00, Children Under 12: Free The Blacksburg Square Dance presents their November 2019 Square Dance featuring music from the Happy Hollow Stringband and caller is Ginger Wanger at the New River Valley’s community square dance and a ‘Crooked Road’ affiliated venue. All dances taught by caller, no partner or dance experience needed. This is a student, family-friendly, and non-smoking event. Link: http://www.nextthreedays.com/FeaturedEventDetails.cfm?E=528544
19. "HOME" created by Geoff Sobelle Moss Arts Center at Virginia Tech, Blacksburg Saturday, November 2, 2019, 7:30 - 9:30 PM General Admission: $25.00, Students with ID and Youth 18 and Under: $10.00 "HOME" is a large-scale performance work that explores and explodes the relationship between “house” and “home.” A visual physical spectacle, “HOME” combines dance, illusion, live music, home-spun engineering, and an inventive use of audience interaction to compose a work that asks, “Where is home? If it is not a place, what is home?” On stage, a house appears from nothing. It goes up fast, choreographed like time-lapse photography. Residents move in, move out, get married and divorced in it, grow up in it, die in it, haunt it. “HOME” aims to awaken us to current housing dilemmas, local and global. Link: http://www.nextthreedays.com/FeaturedEventDetails.cfm?E=517699
20. November Jazz Jam Tea & Jam Cafe, Blacksburg Saturday, November 2, 2019, 7:30 - 9:30 PM Admission: Free Bring your instrument and jam with some local jazz legends in our comfortable tea shop. Admission is free and all are welcome. Link: http://www.nextthreedays.com/FeaturedEventDetails.cfm?E=519017
21. Gracia Harrison in Concert BT's Restaurant, Radford Saturday, November 2, 2019, 8:00 - 10:30 PM Admission: $5.00 Nashville recording artist and former "The Voice" contestant Gracia Harrison is back at BT's Radford for a night of country fun America first fell in love with Gracia Harrison when she yodeled her way onto season three of NBC's the Voice, being the first and only contestant to yodel on the show; landing her a spot on Blake Shelton's team. Preceding her television debut appearance on the nationally-acclaimed show, she has already shared the stage with Luke Bryan and Daryle Singletary. Link: http://www.nextthreedays.com/FeaturedEventDetails.cfm?E=528543
22. Collegiate Women's Volleyball: Miami vs. Virginia Tech Cassell Coliseum, Virginia Tech Sunday, November 3, 2019, 12:00 - 1:30 PM Admission: Free Watch the Virginia Tech Women's Volleyball team compete against ACC conference opponent Miami. The first 300 fans will receive free color changing cups. The volleyball team will be signing post-match autographs. Link: http://www.nextthreedays.com/FeaturedEventDetails.cfm?E=525937
23. 2019 Pints & Pups Sinkland Farms Brewery, Riner Sunday, November 3, 2019, 1:00 - 5:00 PM Individual and Dog: $15.00, Individual Only: $10.00 Virginia Tech Relay For Life presents 2019 Pints & Pups which is a fundraising event honoring the life-long contributions of our canine caregivers and dogs who have battled cancer. Dogs will participate in games such as a peanut butter licking contest, costume contest, hotdog bobbing and more. A dollar ($1.00) from every beer purchased and all registration fees will directly benefit the American Cancer Society. Link: http://www.nextthreedays.com/FeaturedEventDetails.cfm?E=528530
24. Dance Workshop & Master Class with Instructor Alex Reid Commonwealth Ballroom, Virginia Tech Sunday, November 3, 2019, 1:00 - 3:00 PM Admission: Free Exodus at Virginia Tech presents a Dance Workshop & Master Class with Instructor Alex Reid, who was the first African American K-Idol and former member of BP Rania (2015-2017). This talented singer, songwriter, rapper, model, and dancer will be teaching a free dance workshop. Alex will also be available after the workshop to meet and talk with fans. Link: http://www.nextthreedays.com/FeaturedEventDetails.cfm?E=528545
25. Gillie's 45th Birthday Celebration & Customer Appreciation Day Gillie's, Blacksburg Sunday, November 3, 2019, 5:00 - 8:00 PM Admission: Free Gillie's presents their 45th Birthday Celebration and Customer Appreciation Day. Enjoy free vegetarian, vegan and gluten free food samples (classic favorites plus new menu items), birthday cake, cash wine & beer bar and enter a raffle to win Gillie's gift certificates & t-shirts. Featuring live music by Little Cascade. Tips for the band are encouraged. Link: http://www.nextthreedays.com/FeaturedEventDetails.cfm?E=528540
If you need more ideas, you can check out NextThreeDays Featured Events section at: http://www.nextthreedays.com/FeaturedEvents.cfm
Have a great weekend!
submitted by next3days to VirginiaTech [link] [comments]


2019.10.19 18:30 youngrichntasteless $20k/month with a dog leash that attaches to your bicycle.

Hey - Pat from StarterStory.com here with another interview.
Today's interview is with Mike Leon of Bike Tow Leash, a brand that makes bike accessories for dogs
Some stats:

Hello! Who are you and what business did you start?

I am Mike Leon, mechanical engineer, an avid bike rider, service dog trainer and inventor of the 1-Running-Dog Bike Tow LeashⓇ for safe bike, trike, scooter, and wheelchair dog-rides.
I am the owner of LEON Engineering, Inc. We design, build and sell the 1-Running-Dog Bike Tow Leash® to dog owners, walkers, trainers, military and law enforcement, search and rescue and those with special needs. Having sold less than 200 BTLs prior, My on-the-side hobby turned into a true business in 2009 with the launch of our first website. We went from shipping hundreds/year to thousands/year. Now, our business allows me to work comfortably from home, making 6 figures, while caring for my wife and enriching the lives of tens of thousands of dogs and their humans.
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What's your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?

I am a mechanical engineer graduate from Georgia Tech. My wife Betsy, GA Tech EE graduate, and I met her first day at school. We married after graduation. We have two daughters Jessica and Sam. After GA Tech I developed airline products up until when the 9-11 terrorist attacks occurred.
After the 9-11 terrorist attacks, Betsy and the girls, then 5 and 8, met Cindy at Publix getting groceries. She had a black Lab puppy in a light blue cape with her. From that encounter, my family and I volunteered raising service dog puppies for individuals with disabilities as a way of giving back to our community and country. In honor of those lost, we named our first puppy Tribute.
Raising service dog puppies is a wonderful volunteer opportunity, which ultimately provides companion animals to individuals who suffer from seizures, or who have mobility, vision or hearing impairments.
As trainers, we raise, train and socialize puppies until they are ready for graduate school. For socialization, we take the puppies, in a service cape, to work, stores, restaurants, schools, theme parks, etc.to expose them to a variety of situations. This prevents unpleasant surprises after they have been assigned to a client who is depending on them to do their job without being distracted.
At about 6 months of age our first dog Tribute, now a tall long-legged black Labrador, had more energy than I did when we went out walking or running. With all her puppy energy, we needed to make sure Tribute exercised strenuously before we went out to eat. Since bad behavior is often a result of a lack of exercise and dogs in training are supposed to lie down and sleep under the table, not stand and upset dinner I was looking for an answer.
As the saying goes, necessity is the mother of invention. As a result of Tribute's need for speed, and my more limited energy levels, I got the idea to combine the fun of biking (for me) with the fun of running (for Tribute).
Given my understanding of both physics and dog behavior, and concern for both my safety and the dog's safety, I knew better than to attempt riding Tribute with a regular leash. (Much later I did attempt riding with a regular leash, made it less than a mile, and still have the scars!)
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As a product development engineer, I was accustomed to doing my homework when attempting something new. First, I checked on-line to determine whether there was a product available which made it safe to ride a bicycle with a dog.

Take us through the process of designing, prototyping, and manufacturing your first product.

So when the raising organizations would not permit dog-biking with the products of the time, I compiled a list of shortcomings those current dog-biking attachments had: These included; bike tipping, pinching, poking or cutting dog or rider, running over your dog, no instant, direct or automatic communication between bike and dog. Ultimately, it had to be safe for both dog and rider.
I envisioned my initial idea with safety in mind and built a prototype in my garage. This was not my first prototype as I had been designing and building items for many years prior. Anyway the first prototype I carved up from old parts in my garage functioned safely but had much room for improvement. It was important to keep early prototypes from prying eyes so we mainly biked in the dark.
Early on it became apparent I wasn’t just making a leash for Tribute. I gave some to my sister Angie for their dogs to use with her kids, dog trainers, and neighbors. All came back with glowing reviews. I used a non-disclosure agreement for protection during this period. In the agreement, the prototype BTLs were to be returned at 6 months for a production model. I must say there was reluctance on the return part! All wound up with production units in the end.
We applied for a utility patent, for protection, then approached manufacturers to make production parts. It is important to analyze the cost of each process involved to control cost while maximizing quality. Something as simple as a 45-degree chamfer versus a radiused corner can eliminate the need for costly special tooling. We started ordering part quantities for 500 leashes. Now the typical order is for 20 times that amount to find the sweet spot between part cost and the issues large inventories bring.

Describe the process of launching the business.

We launched LEON Engineering, Inc. by going to the bank and opening a business checking account. We opened with $20K left over from my post 9-11 severance package earned from 17 years designing and marketing airline products. We finished paying off the house with those funds. Fortunately, Betsy was still working. Her income provided us some financial flexibility. We needed additional capital for business development and patents. I stumbled into product forensics from my dad’s side involvement in a few cases. He suggested that I give product forensics as an expert witness a try. I’m uniquely qualified for this type of work as a mechanical engineer with a Professional Engineer’s license, extensive product development, field failure analysis, and repair experience. As an expert witness, I investigate, solve and testify in litigation cases involving injuries or losses. This type of work pays well but is very demanding mentally and physically. Not for everybody, and are not usually solved as quickly as in 60 minute TV shows. Some are good stories though if you have time for a couple of beers I could share a few. Anyway, those earnings were from cases ranging from chairs, ladders, fire, and flooding to cranes, were not earmarked for our living expenses. Thankfully we had help from Leon Enterprises, my Dad’s Patent Agent firm to keep patent expenses to a minimum. So, forensic earnings covered our early startup costs. These included applying for patents on the Bike Tow Leash and other products, prototype parts, tooling, marketing and paying our accountant. So many months of long hours, sleepless nights and careful spending paid off. We, Betsy and I, own LEON Engineering, Inc. and all the patents out right!
Patents are expensive but necessary. You can have a great idea, concept, etc. but if someone learns of it and builds it before you patent it, you will have done it all for nothing or have a huge legal battle you likely cannot afford. There has to be enough money in a lawsuit to interest good attorneys in your case. The threshold is about $2 million of provable losses.
Here are my intellectual property tips to save you tens of thousands of dollars in start-up costs alone:
I continued to refine the BTL riding with my girls to school with subsequent dogs we raised. It was while being rapidly propelled down the beach after seagulls by Molly our third dog a Golden Retriever, that the name went from Bike Leash to Bike Tow Leash.
Early prototypes had more parts and assembly required. When I showed it to pet product companies, manufacturers and buyers, they felt the customers wouldn’t understand it and the manufacturing costs were too high as well.
We launched our website selling the Bike Tow Leash in 2009 with fewer parts and no customer required assembly. That is when I started paying myself instead of just the accountant and attorney. We are currently just 8 months in with our new Shopify website after having the first custom-built website for 10 years.
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Original Site (2009) vs. Current Site (2019)

Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?

Attracting customers we have been fortunate in many areas. Attending trade shows provided an early benefit with complimentary ad placement in Pet Business Magazine. From that ad, our first reseller found us and started selling our Bike Tow Leash on their website. That seemed to legitimize us as there was a steady stream of reselling followers afterward.
My daughter Sam helped by setting up our Bike Tow Leash Facebook page which we try to post regularly. Facebook has turned out to provide more than half of all social media traffic to our website with Instagram a distant second. Our customer demographic appears most comfortable using Facebook. Join Facebook groups that may involve your product's use. We participate in urban mushing and won our two dog category in the Iron Paws Stage Race last year all on Facebook. Our Bike Tow Leash was a great advantage.
Amazon is absolutely necessary. Particularly for their reviews. It is where most internet buyers search first for items. Beware of having too many resellers on these sites. It will make it hard to protect your pricing. Definitely take control of your brand by selling as well. Monitor your customer ratings, comment, and reply to questions. Your product’s Amazon rating is crucial to your success. We are currently Amazon Choice 4.5 stars!
We are currently trying an ad approach on Facebook with a third party service. The jury is still out on this additional spending. Half of your marketing dollars are wasted. The key is to eliminate that half and move on. So keep track of the numbers as best you can.
Companies come out of the woodwork claiming large followings, readership, views, etc. Remember, at this point in history everyone is inundated with ads, can choose to fast forward, flip hundreds of channels, etc. So, it is actually seen is not the same as the following numbers or homes piped into.
Another option is professional and celebrity endorsements. Celebrity endorsements are usually very expensive. I’ve been approached by such and opted out of those 5 figure deals with stars like Cesar Millan. Good things happen when you least expect them sometimes.
I remember reading a pet magazine article about Brandon McMillan, his CBS Lucky Dog show and commenting to Betsy, “I need to meet Brandon”. A couple of months later after the first night of the Global Pet Expo, Betsy, Ray her service dog, and I gave up on the after-show gathering in the main lobby. There were hordes of people, surrounding too few foods and beverage tables to comfortably maneuver her wheelchair and keep Ray from being trampled. It was fate. We decided to leave but since the show floor was closed we took a different path toward the van and wound up in Brandon’s Press gathering. All of a sudden, people were waiting for us with our choice of food and drink. Then up walks Brandon. He looks down at Betsy’s chair with Ray attached with his Bike Tow Leash and says “ I’ve used one of those on my Show”! It hadn’t aired yet so I captured it on our DVR. Wow, what I was hoping to convince him to do had already happened!
We’ve had several dog behaviorists, trainers and bloggers provide reviews and videos. These are great to link in social media posts to help grow your audience through shares. More importantly, as with our happy customers, they recommend the BTL directly to others.
Customer service and satisfaction can never take a back seat in your efforts toward promoting your brand. Always participate if you can in their grand openings etc.
Videos are more important than ever and YouTube leads the way! Here is the best overall usage video on our Bike Tow Leash channel;
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C6oU2SuZYkQ
The best way to show off a dynamic product is with usage videos. Some people are much more willing to watch videos with compelling thumbnails than reviews. Everyone is different.
If you are selling to active lifestyle people, don’t force them into activities where they can’t multitask for instance. In our case, we are looking for customers who want to ride a bike, trike, mobility scooter or chair while walking their dog. That is two tasks at once unless they are running errands as well.
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How are you doing today and what does the future look like?

Americans are currently spending over $70 Billion/yr on their pets. This spending amount increases every year! So today we are profitable and growing. We have a new website with less purchase friction, more product offerings and information for attaching to bikes, etc. making transactions larger and quicker.
We’ve added new attaching options including our new branded collar designed to optimize dog-biking and dog-walking, Quick Mount for attaching either side and rapid height adjustment flexibility. Chain-Stay Clamp for attaching either side of newer aluminum and carbon fiber bikes additionally wheelchairs.
The annual APPA, (American Pet Products Association) pet owners survey indicates each year that the average dog owner has 1.43 dogs. So, we just added our newly patented Dog Coupler for safely attaching a second dog on a single Bike Tow Leash. So now, we can also add “No Dog Left Behind” to our promises.
We are continually tweaking the website adding more tooling fixtures etc. to gain higher efficiencies for cost control and rewarding employee innovation towards those goals. We are looking toward expanding international distribution in particular Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Europe.
Special needs are currently a small portion of our sales but I see it as another large market. I truly love to help others enjoy their dog's company. It makes my day to hear how we have made a difference. My favorite such story always gives me goosebumps to tell; An 86 year old lady was moved to assisted living the year before and had to give up her beloved dog because she couldn’t walk her. Well, she got a Bike Tow Leash for her mobility scooter and got her dog back after a year! I wish I could have been there for that reunion. Well, no goosebumps this time, tears.

Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?

Your brain is a muscle that fatigues as you interact during the day. So make your most important decisions and do your more cranial work first thing in the morning. If that doesn’t work, late nights like mine. Learn from your mistakes. Better yet, learn from the mistakes of others.
My most costly mistake to date was agreeing to a TV commercial like “As Seen on TV”. It took up a tremendous amount of time getting the commercial shot and edited properly.
The company was to answer the phone lines while the commercial only aired 150 times. After most of almost a year, and $17,000 spent they only sold 36 BTLs. Lesson learned; our customer demographic is active enough to hit, fast forward, on their remote. That is if they sit till to watch any commercial TV at all!

What platform/tools do you use for your business?

We recently launched a new site using Shopify. Shopify has greatly helped us with managing and shipping all of our orders.
Since launching, our time spent on shipping products has been greatly reduced. Shopify allows us to easily compare shipping prices and create labels in just one click.
We use Shopify apps to allow customers to leave reviews, store locator so customers know where they can find and try out our products as well as a quick announcement bar for promotions.

What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?

I enjoy podcasts from people in our same pet products and services area. Particularly ones covering lessons learned in advertising social media and managing today’s workforce.
I enjoyed Leslie Johnson’s book “Bike With Your Dog” How to Stay Safe and Have Fun. I particularly like our prominence in chapter 3 and having our Bike Tow Leash displayed on both the front and back covers!

Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?

Keep your overhead low as you start out to prevent outpacing your sales. I still work from home which allows me to deduct a portion of my home off my taxes and care for my ailing wife. It also saves me a lot of time commuting and money on caregivers. Having caregivers for her around 24-7 is what we are happy to avoid.
Take advantage of tax credits such as manufactured in the USA, solar power and charitable causes. It is also beneficial to show customers you care about them, our planet and their animals in our case. Donate as you can afford toward their causes. In our case to animal adoptions.
I’ve learned, for us, the power of donation is greater than expensive ads and commercials. We give Bike Tow Leashes, even some on bikes, to adoption facilities. I like marketing this way as it is a win-win for everyone involved. Especially the dogs!
We are currently shipping out donations for Get Your Licks on Route 66 adoption tour. They have helped place over 13,000 animals in the last 10 years! The Tour starts in Los Angeles and has 13 stops along the way. This is our 5th year to be a spinning wheel sponsor.
We are trying something new this year by contacting the shelters ahead to ask if they would use a donated Bike Tow Leash to walk more dogs further. In return, they send back a donation letter and agree to hand out our brochures with each adoption. The bonus we hope for is for their volunteers to demonstrate the Bike Tow Leash during the adoption events. So far, we have 4 of the 13 stops agreeing to our plan! I can’t wait to see how the tour turns out next month.
Provide exceptional personal service to ensure each customer becomes an advocate is by far the best way to grow.
There is no better marketing tool than satisfied customers. With our Bike Tow Leash attached, our customers are often asked about it. We call it instant celebrity status as people want to stop them on the street. We send 4 brochures with each order just for that purpose.
I try to ask each customer how they first learned of the Bike Tow Leash and “Googled it” is usually first, trainer, neighbor, YouTube and family member, on Lucky Dog TV Show then magazine ad in about that order. Mind you I talk to less than 1% of our customers so that may be a bit skewed toward people needing or looking for extra assistance.
Don’t commit to huge volumes of inventory early as you may need the capital elsewhere and/or need to make changes to the product. Watch inventory volumes and lead times carefully. A single part will prevent shipping products. Too many of a part can become expensive scrap.
Take help when offered.
Especially in areas outside your core capabilities like accounting and legal. Find ways to offload or delegate the tasks that keep you from working on your growth goals. Don’t offload tasks that require your core knowledge until you have that knowledge base in place. Find ways to assist your customers in their purchasing process to know they are ordering the correct item and completing the transaction with as little “purchase friction” as possible.
Believe in your product, if you don’t, no one else will.
Commit yourself to your success and it will rub off on your employees and customers. Have your “elevator speech” ready and carry a brochure or business card with you as you never know when you will find your next partner, celebrity or huge customer.

Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?

I am always looking for more help as the to-do list is longer than our days. We have a somewhat seasonal product that benefits from part-time student interns particularly in the summer. I find the students see the latest social media trends to market and operate on websites etc. without the hesitation I tend to have. The downside is continually training and looking for the next superstar; We need; Marketing, engineering, manufacturing, web design, business and finance interns, etc.. Full and part-time paid positions are available.

Where can we go to learn more?

If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!
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USA Bike Tours Great Freedom Adventures

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With 2019 fast approaching, we thought it was time to look into the BikeRadar crystal ball of truth and power to see what road cycling trends next year has i... It was a new day and a new route for the Philly Naked Bike Ride, an annual tradition 11 years strong in which nude (and barely clothed) cyclists take to the ... This is a comprehensive gear list for any length bike tour, hope it helps you on your journey. I'm excited to announce that Ali and I are riding across the U... We biked across America! Self-supported, May- July 2019 Help me make more videos and support the channel: https://bicycletouringpro.com/donate/ There's a scenic 160-mile cycling loop in Northern California that ta... First Place Winner of Filmed by Bike's 2020 Film Fest Audience Choice Award _____ Lael Wilcox loves the Grea... Catch all the action live on race day from the 2019 Cape Town Cycle Tour. ... Live coverage of the USA Cycling Pro Road Championship in Knoxville. - Duration: 9:12:36. Ride your bicycle from Prague to Vienna on this incredible week-long bicycle touring adventure. - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -...