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Argo News: An exploration of life.

Scott’s World Record December 5th, 2014


I’ve done many things, but I don’t think I hold any world records until now. Thanks to my sponsors at Texas Flange. I am the first person to ever cross state lines by riding a bicycle over a river! It was a very exciting mini-adventure. It only took a few minutes to do, but took weeks of planning and preparation.

My first test ride was a local pond, and the second test was on the Little Miami River. I don’t have any pictures of the second test because I thought I might capsize and lose my camera or phone. Per usual, many people filled me with horror stories about everything that could go wrong, especially the dangerous undercurrents of the Ohio River. Even on my test ride a woman informed that a child had drowned on the Little Miami weeks before, and that she used to work one of the gambling riverboats on the Ohio River, and that she, herself, discovered two victims of the Ohio River snagged on the anchor lines of the riverboat.

My test rides seemed to be successful, so I made several trips to the Ohio River to scout a location, weather, currents, river height, flow and traffic. It was easy to see that my biggest challenge would be avoiding the Kentucky coal barges. They are as big as a train and move surprisingly fast. Below you can see a coal barge passing below the L and N Pedestrian Bridge. This one is five long, plus the engine tugboat. They are equipped with radar to avoid obstacles, but, of course, they can’t stop. Climbing the bridge I used binoculars to scout my path. I estimated that I had about 15 minutes between seeing a barge and being run over by a barge. I also calculated that my shuttle bike’s cruising speed was 6 kilometers per hour and that the river flow in the autumn was about 1.6 km/h. And the wind speed that day was about 25 km/h going with the current. So, it seemed that if my pontoons acted more like sails than floats, I may end up going backwards.

A Kentucky coal barge on the Ohio River.

My patience ran low as I waited weeks for the weather to cooperate. At times the winds were gusting very high or in the wrong direction, and then it rained for weeks and the river flow nearly tripled. Finally, the weather seemed ideal. You can see below how I plotted my course. My plan was to go against the current upstream to test the stability of the Shuttle Bike, then I would slingshot myself down the river, gaining speed and crossing the gap as fast as possible. The pedestrian bridge narrowed my danger zone to about 100 meters because the barges had to pass through the largest section, near the white dotted line.

Of course, a crowd of spectators grew as they watched me assemble my bike-boat, and the mothers admonished their children for getting to close to the river. They reminded me that people have been swept away simply by wading into the river. I donned my backpack filled with empty two-liter bottles that would serve as my lifesaver. I thought this seemed like a good idea, even though lifesavers aren’t required for non-motorized vehicles. Then I waded into the river carrying my bike-boat over the slimy rocks. The first few moments were the scariest. I boarded my bike-boat and immediately began floating downstream spinning slowly in a circle. I had installed my pontoons backwards and the keel fins didn’t work going backwards. Luckily, the current pushed my back ashore.

On my second try, everything was going as planned. The wind was nil, the boat was trim and riding high. I felt strong. I crossed the last pylon and entered the danger zone, about halfway across, I noticed a barge round the bend in the river. Okay, that meant I had 15 minutes of safety left. Like riding a bicycle around the world, once you reach the halfway point, there is no reason to go back. About this time, I realized that I had forgotten to bring my wallet. I wondered what the headline would be if something did go wrong: “Nameless man drowns while attempting to ride a bicycle on the Ohio River”? I panicked a little and the roller on my rear wheel, the part that drives the propeller, began to slip, and the propeller itself was churning the water into foam, losing traction. My biggest threat now was shaking a bolt loose and being cast a adrift. I put this thought out of my mind, took some deep breaths and forced myself to slow down. There is something strange about my psyche, I respond very well to immediate threats; ironically, however, it is the imaginary threats that literally make me ill with stress.

Once I found my stride again, it only took me 3 more minutes to reach the safety of the next pylon. Now I could relax and enjoy floating down the river to my destination. For me achieving a big goal is like a hot tub, the first few minutes are agonizing until the tingles subside and a peaceful, calm washes away all my worries, and life is beautiful again.

A man kayaking the length of the Ohio River on his way to New Orleans.

Thanks to:

My editor hard at work December 1st, 2014

Pictured above is my editor Chloe hard at work on the new book. I predict it will be my best book so far. We can’t announce it yet, but it is a workbook designed to help kids find their dreams. I wish I would have had this when I was a kid.

Categories: Books, Kids Stuff Tags:

Tim Moss Expeditions December 1st, 2014

Tim posing for his Everyday Adventures campaign

Editor’s note: Tim Moss is another pioneer of helping people find the adventures in everyday life; thus he calls them Everyday Adventures. I’ve called them Backyard Adventures since 1999. And, another friend, Alastair Humphreys has coined the phrase “microadventures”. Tim is currently cycling around the world, but his adventures big and small are so extensive that we can’t even list them all. Here are few highlights in his words:

Tim entered the world of expeditions through mountaineering with climbing expeditions to Kyrgyzstan, Bolivia and Russian Altai where he made first and first-British ascents. He then undertook several charity challenges including travelling around the world in eighty ways using different methods of transport to circumnavigate the globe, running up five thousand flights of stairs to the height of Mount Everest and completing his own 15-hour triathlon to get to his friend Thom’s house on the Isle of Wight.

His subsequent larger expeditions have included walking across Patagonia and crossing the Wahiba Desert on foot. Whilst working full time on The Next Challenge, however, he also broke a Guinness World Record by cycling 1,000 miles in a rickshaw, hitch-hiked around the UK on a £100 budget and ran the length of every London Underground train line.

He is currently cycling around the world (August 2013 – December 2014).

For a full list of his expeditions and adventures, browse his Expedition Portfolio >>

Bank of the Universe November 19th, 2014

I’ve been working with the YMCA after-school program this semester and the University of Cincinnati as a community professor. Yesterday’s activity from my new workbook (to be announced soon) was for the kids to write each other a check to help their friend’s dreams come true. One student gave me a check which I think is hilarious. It’s a one-thousand dollar investment to help my dream to become a billionaire. Below you see another student gave his friend 20 trillion dollars to help his dream be a professional football, basketball and baseball.

Categories: Kids Stuff, Scott's Adventures Tags:

An Adventure Translating Japanese Horror Stories November 7th, 2014

Editor’s note: As always we like to post stories of peoples dreams and their adventure to turn those dreams into reality. In this case, it is the adventure of storytelling. This guest post is by Aeron Yung. His parents are from Hong Kong, but he was born in the Netherlands. His primary languages are Chinese (Cantonese) and Dutch. As you will see he fell in love with a type of Japenese horror story in the form of a riddle. He shares a bit his dream and his favorite story.

Hey everyone. My name is Aeron. I started reading when I was small, and it’s a hobby I never got rid off. Nowadays I mostly read at night, since I have to work or go to the university in the morning and afternoon. The night is when I have all the free time for myself. Horror books are what I enjoy the most. It keeps you awake, but still leaves you with the need to continue chapter after chapter. My grandpa is the one who gave me the hobby when I was younger. He always told me the stories before bedtime. After the stories I was always afraid to sleep alone, so my grandpa will come and sleep next to me.

Besides reading, my grandpa also gave me another hobby: riddles. The thrill of solving a riddle is a truly amazing feeling. The best riddles are ones that are so logical, and yet leave you clueless. As I grew older, I went from horror stories to horror movies. The movies even scare me more because of something suddenly popping up on the screen. Eventually I became immune to it. And the riddles? I know all of the popular riddles already. New ones are simply not as great, or are just a variation of the popular ones. For little while, I didn’t bother with the riddles anymore. And read less as well, because of the big amount I have to read for school already.

One time I was searching around for some horror stories and ended up with Japanese horror stories. They are very different from the books I read. They are all short, most of them less than half a page. I loved the way it worked. The meaning is not obvious at first sight. You have to read it twice to understand completely. I felt like a new world has opened for me. A riddle is implemented in the story. In order to find the “weird” part, you will have to solve the riddle.

I decided to make a website. A website containing these interesting stories. At first, I only translated the stories. Later I’ve had some great ideas, and started writing myself. Unfortunately, English is not my native language, but I am still trying my best to express the story I have in mind. I hope to amuse all of you with these stories. Today, I will share one I made myself with you.

Definition of stalker

Do you know the definition of stalker? “A person who harasses another person, in a stealthily manner.” Straight out of the dictionary. I am not sure if the definition applies to Bob Jenkins, my neighbor. He is an odd one. He stares at me every time he has the chance. It freaks me out. The fact he’s not even trying to hide it is what makes me uncomfortable. Every night when I take out the garbage, he’s on the same spot, near the window. He stares through the windows of his house, directly into my eyes. I’ve thought about moving away from this place. But at the moment it’s just not convenient. And is it really a valid reason? No, I’m not leaving because of Bobby, even if he is a stalker. I should approach him tomorrow, and have a talk with him. Now I think about it. I’ve never seen him leave his house recently. What happened? Bobby wasn’t always like this. We’ve never been really close, but I did invite him over a couple of times. He’s the average neighbor, the kind of guy who is just there, the kind of guy who has nothing special, but still fits in every situation. The definition of stalker doesn’t fit him. I don’t like the new Bobby. The new Bobby intimidates me. I turn on the TV on the news channel. The reporter is talking about corpses that has been found recently. Wait a minute…. The bodies are found nearby! I have a bad feeling about this. The next night, when I take out the garbage, Bobby is there again.

Author’s Note:  So did you notice anything weird? I can tell you, the definition of stalker definitely applies to Bob Jenkins. But the definition of killer and murderer goes to the main character. He is the one who killed all those people and hid the corpses. Bob suspects him.

For more stories please visit Aeron’s website

Categories: Guest Posts Tags:

H.G. Wells: The first bicycle touring author October 29th, 2014

H.G. Wells Bicycle Quote

H.G. Wells wasn’t just a visionary when it came to time machines or men walking on the moon, he also wrote the very first book about bicycle touring, which also helped give rise to the female emancipation movement.

The Wheels of Chance features a story about a man and a woman cycling through the English countryside and addresses topics of social change, like female emancipation. It was written at the height of the first cycling craze (1890–1905), when practical, comfortable bicycles first became widely and cheaply available and before the rise of the automobile. The advent of the bicycle stirred sudden and profound changes in the social life of England when even the working class could travel far, fast and cheap, and the idea of travelling for pleasure became a possibility for thousands of people for the first time. This new freedom began to weaken the rigid English class structure and it gave a powerful boost to the existing movement toward female emancipation, which Wells explores in his story.

The Wheels of Chance: A Bicycling Idyll by H.G. Wells The hero of The Wheels of Chance, Mr. Hoopdriver, is much like any modern day bicycle tourer. He is a frustrated draper’s assistant (a position Wells briefly worked) who was under-paid and over-worked. This inspires him to take a bicycle tour of the Southern Coast on his annual 10-day holiday. He reevaluates his life and, of course, falls in love.

The Wheels of Chance is reprinted here for your convenience, courtesy of Project Gutenberg. We hope you enjoy it. ~ Scott

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Don’t miss these bicycle quotes from Wells.

And more great bicycle quotes from the Women’s Suffrage
and Feminist Movement

Categories: Bicycles, Books Tags:

Aquatic Bicycle Ride October 14th, 2014

Scott rides his bicycle across a small pond. Next up: The Ohio River.


If you didn’t know, I rode a bicycle around the world, and the most popular question was: “How did you ride a bike across the ocean?” My favorite joke was to say: “I just put extra air in the tires.” Now the joke has come true. In fact, I had to fly. I made up the miles by zigzagging across land, but the gap between has always bothered me. Now I get to fill that gap.

My adventure this week included riding my bicycle on a local pond. I rigged it with a Shuttle Bike Kit that my sponsor at Texas Flange gave me. You could call it a “water bicycle” or by the more fancy name “aquatic velocipede”. This a new invention, but not a new idea. See some old-fashioned pictures below of other aquanauts.

Originally, I wanted to cycle down to the Gulf of Mexico on the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers like they used to float barrels of bourbon to New Orleans. However, many factors have made this to be a bigger adventure than planned. After some research, I’ve discovered the rivers are much more dangerous than they appear; and I’m not sure the Shuttle Bike is efficient or durable enough to make the trip. For now, I will attempt to cross the Ohio River from Ohio to Kentucky. I believe I will be the first person to ride from one state to another on a bicycle over a river.

Stay tuned. The weather has been horrible for weeks. It has been raining often, which may flood the river and cause the flow to exceed the bike’s cruising speed of 6 km/h. Even more concerning is the wind. I’m concerned the pontoons will turn my water bike into a sailboat.