Category Archives: Recommended reading

Too hot? Don’t sweat it

Cool off with a good book.

I have various rules of thumb for when it’s too hot to do certain things. Over 80? Too hot to hike (sweat + overnight cobweb construction + lots of body hair makes me feel like a wad of cotton candy after a mile or so). I draw the line slightly higher, at 85, for running, mainly because of the skimpy apparel involved. I’ll paddle into the low 90s, but not on open, unshaded water. I can handle 90 degrees on a mountain bike; the calculation becomes more involved on a road bike. I’ll ride up to 95 on road, maybe higher if I don’t have to stop; few things are more demoralizing than coming to a stoplight after generating an 18-mile-per-hour breeze, then losing that breeze altogether. (Sweaty fact: 109 F is 42.777 C.) read more

Let’s talk backpacking and hiking

An odd thing happens when I do an appearance to promote a book: people in the audience wind up talking more than I do.

This evening, at the Cary Commons Barnes & Noble, I launch another book “tour,” this one in support of my just-released “Backpacking North Carolina,” from UNC Press. The book highlights 43 backpacking trips in North Carolina, with detailed information on — well, I’ll spare you the sales pitch: you can read more about the book here. read more

Hot workouts, cool socks, buff and brainy mice

New news from the research world … .

Cool(ing) technology: It’s 99 out and the humidity is even higher. You want to workout, you yearn to workout. On the other hand, you’re not big into heat stroke, either. Clever entrepreneurs have discovered this about you, which is why you’re starting to see an increasing number of PCDs — personal cooling devices — on the market. From the $50 Bex Runner cool pack that straps to your palm to the $189 Arctic Heat cooling vest by Cool Down Fire Up to $3,000 gizmo called CoreControl, devices abound to help you work out when it’s way hot. read more

Cycling adventure through a new Lenz

My wife leaned over and whispered, “You’re thinking about something.”

It was hard not to. (And drat the telltale look that signals when thought is finally occurring.) It was Monday evening and we were among 30 or so others listening to author David Herlihy recount the adventures of cycling explorer Frank Lenz. Lenz was a Pittsburgh bookkeeper who became caught up in the early stages of a cycling boom that swept the country in the late 1800s. He started pedaling a “high wheeler,” participating in races on dirt (usually mud) roads and tracks that might draw 20 competitors and thousands of fans. Begrudgingly, he switched to a “safety bicycle” — the prototype for the modern bike — when that style began to curry favor. In the meantime, he was honing his skills as a photographer, and in 1892 convinced Outing magazine to back an ill-fated trip around the world. That trip is the basis for Herlihy’s  “The Lost Cyclist: The Epic Tale of an American Adventurer and His Mysterious Disappearance,” and constituted the bulk of his talk and slideshow Monday at Quail Ridge Books & Music. read more

Give a listen: Brains and a rowboat

How many times today did you walk into a room and forget why you were there, pick up the phone only to forget who you wanted to call, take a half hour to find where you put your car keys?

If you’re of a certain age — that being the middle one — more than once, no doubt. And no doubt when one of the above happened you took it as further proof that your brain continues its rapid descent into the abyss. Well, Ha! You’re wrong! read more