Sunday, October 30, 2011

Speeding up my Commute

So as part of the DS106 storytelling project, I have completed one of the assignments which had me tape my work day and speed up the video. Well I don't think my job would have liked me walking around with a camera strapped to my head, so instead I recorded my commute to work.

I ride my bike where ever I go. You will never see me on a train unless it's raining really hard or if I have a cold. Everyday on my commute to work I have countless close calls with cars and pedestrians. Mainly because these cars change lanes with out sufficient warning and people just step into busy roads thinking they are invincible. As a forewarning to this video I will tell you do not copy how I ride. In some cases I am being very aggressive by riding between cars and drafting behind trucks at high speed. I do this because after a year of riding Tokyo streets I have found that the faster I go the safer it is for me.

I made this video using Adobe Premier 5. I have never used this program before so it took me a long time just to make a simple video. Overall it was a fun experience, it never really occurred to me that recording my rides on camera could lead to some interesting things. When I ride, everything seems normal but when I re-watch my rides on camera, I think "how the hell did I ride there" or "a few more centimeters and I would have been hit by a car".

I hope you will all enjoy watching this video!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

DS106 Spubble

So trying to get into the DS106 project. I have just finished my first attempt at a spubble. It kind of seems like a Meme. Using Picnik it was pretty easy. It took only a few minutes but it was kinda of fun. Probably most of my posts will be bike related and have bike humor so maybe not everyone will get it but I hope everyone will enjoy it.

Touring the countryside

Ever since I first began riding road bikes, I have been obsesssed with touring Japan's countryside. After living and working in Tokyo for nearly 2 years, getting out of this urban jungle has always been my favorite thing to do. On my road bike I have traveled through Chiba, Saitama, Kanagawa and the mountains of west Tokyo. Sometimes I ride alone but there is nothing better than to ride with a group of friends. Between my friends and I we have thousands of kilometers of expirience and infinite stories to tell!


This is a picture my friends and I (on right) during a 150km tour of Boso, Chiba

I try to copy my gps data from my iPhone to post online. My favorite rides have to be in Chiba, and West Tokyo.

It may seem really long on a map but when you actually ride the ride with a group of people it is a lot easier. Having conversations and drafting behind other riders really helps conserve energy.

There is just so much more that you can see from a bike rather then the seat of a car or train. There honestly isn't anything better than riding with your friends. If you ever feel like joining me for a ride, or want to talk to people about riding, go to my bike club's website. We are The Tokyo Cycling Club. 

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Logo's and its appeal

Logo's are a big part of our life. It can advertizes who we are and what we associate with, as well as be an indicator of our standing within a certain niche. I am heavily into the cycling scene in Tokyo and the most important thing next to being a good cyclist is your image. At the bike shop that I work at many customers spend hours looking for items that "fit" their image, wether they are a hard core roadie, time trialist, fixie, or BMXer. People may find a brand that they like and begin to associate with this brand, buying up logos and wearing them like badges to show others who they ride for.
This is a short trailer for how Scott bicycles tries to put an image on it's brand.

 Another popular thing here is to be part of a team and sport your team name proudly. My company has a team, I am part of a team and most local bike shops will sponsor a team. Riding on the roads and cycling paths along the rivers, it is very common to see an individual or a group flying their team logos to show who they are. More well known teams carry a reputaion and sometimes wearing that logo will gain you more respect from other riders or an unofficial challenge depending on who you happen to meet on your ride.

Lance Armstrong -2009 Tour of California by puliarf -cc licensed

If you are in the cycling scene, Lance Armstrong is a name found everywhere. Many people know of him and his amazing story. 7 time Tour de France winner and a cancer survivor. After every one of his tour wins, you could see his team jerseys being sold at stores world wide. Who wouldn't want to be on the same team of their hero? A well know logo to cyclists and non-cyclists is Lance's "Livestrong". That logo has been put everywhere and people buy it not only to support cancer research but to show that they too live strong.

Besides the cycling world, logos are very important in all business. Bill Hanagan writes in his blog about the importance of logos for a webiste. He says it takes less then 1 second for people to deterime whether they will like something or not. Unfortunately that also how long it takes people to judge each other too sometimes. TinTin writes about how having a good team name can really improve the team morale as well as build a reputation for your team. A guy from my bike club "Tokyo Cycling Club" named Lawrence just loves to blog about anything and everything. He write what ever he feels and although he doesn't write about logos, he write about his rides. Recently I went on a ride with him and after a long hard ride with much more expirienced riders. He felt glad to be part of our club because he could learn so much. He talks about getting his team jersey soon so he can really feel like part of the club. A logo is so much more then just a name. It can be a symbol of the pride that we carry (or ride with). 

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Corporations and Blogging

The internet was created for people to share their ideas. In the beginning it was for the military and universities to communicate with themselves. Since then, the internet has come a long way to where, now, individual people can become internet authors and youtube stars. Corporations and business have jumped on the internet bandwagon with websites and online catalogs.

Recently with the burst in popularity with blogging and social network, business too have joined the craze. Twitter, Youtube, Facebook and blogs have become standard, if not necessary for companies. Not only is this free marketing for companies but it allows them to build closer relationships with their customers. They can get the word out on new evets, product releases and get customer feed back in real time. It's as quick as seeing how many likes you get on a facebook status or tweet.

I work for Y's Road Shibuya, a bicycle company in Japan. It has become necessary for us to write blogs everyday. On our blog we write about anything and everything from new bikes that come to our store, custom builds we did, as well as how our weekend went. This blog is meant for customers to feel like they can get to know us (the employees). We already have a website that shows all our products and what not, so there is no real need to write too much about that stuff on our blog. I have written about my own bike, rides I've been on and where I want to go.

Customers come in to my store and talk to me about what I write. Sometimes they want to hear more about a blog post, recieve some more info about a ride I did or a bike I built. All in all it just helps build a relationship with our customers. A happy customer always comes back.

As a customer myself, when I go online to look for things, I like to read blogs of employees and see customers comments. See a person behind a company makes the company feel more down to earth and a friend. For example, my favorite bike company is Felt. I ride their bikes, and at more store I can sell them pretty easily. Felt has really jumped on the social media bandwagon. They have their own facebook, twitter and Youtube.

The more I get to know Felt the more loyal I become to their company. It makes me feel like they have nothing to hide and I like that transparency.