Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Combining Triking and Geocaching

A bike or trike is an excellent way to get about in search of geocaches. What are they, you ask? You can find a lot about it on the internet, the main international website being the geocaching.com one. Basically someone hides a box or container somewhere (under a log in the forest, in a crack in a wall, behind a road sign or similar, just about anywhere where the general public can't see it), checks the coordinates for it, then publishes the details and coordinates on the internet. Then you can look up that cache's info, and with or without a GPS receiver you can go and search for it. They can be as small (and even smaller than) a film canister, or as large as a bucket or ammo box, and are often very craftily camouflaged. They contain at least a log book for you to record your find, and often contain a pencil so you don't have to bring your own, and swappable small items, nowadays mostly for kids (at least around these parts). You can also log your find on the cache page on the internet.

These caches are just about everywhere, from Alaska to Zanzibar (seems there are none in Madagascar, last time I looked!). The good thing about them is they get you to interesting places you may have never seen otherwise, and you're getting fresh air and exercise! Some caches also challenge you mentally or physically, so there's an increased sense of achievement when you find them! It can also be frustrating when you don't find them too, especially if they have a low Difficulty or Terrain rating.

I actually started geocaching last year, after mid-September, and without a GPS. I managed to find a little over 200 before I finally bought myself a GPS this spring.

The Good News

Catching up with events dating back to the spring, my employer finally found a change of job for me. After over 13 years of doing work for the same customer, in early May I switched from writing software documentation to writing installation, operating and maintenance manuals about big machines - in a nutshell (don't ask me how you get a big machine into a nutshell, 'cos I don't know! ;-)). What this really means is that I get to ride my trike 11,5 kms west from here to the customer's office, almost daily.

The bad news: There isn't much possibility to vary the route, and the way I have to go has many sideroads with their badly dropped kerbs to contend with. It was never designed to be a cycle path, but has been converted to one (shared of course with pedestrians), hence the bumpy side street crossings. And on a tadpole trike you feel those with both front wheels.

The other good thing is that I can certainly vary my home trip route in the afternoons, and have done so many times already, sometimes clocking up over 20 kms on the way home, via a few geocaches! (See the next post!)