Howdy howdy, TraipStars!
First off, welcome to all the new readers from
Rowdy Kittens. I'll try not to bore your face masks off. (Can't wait til it's back to socks.)
In other news, Oregon caught the Cali bug and is burning (everywhere, it seems). Hard to wrap my head around the damage to our natural landscapes and wildlife, plus the dislocation for people losing their homes (/towns).
2020, you are one unruly beast! Go away. No one likes you.


This Week's Newsletter:

My 200th blog post: seeking my Italian citizenship! Tracking fires and air quality. Revolutionizing bike tubes. Tasty hot sauce.

Top of an leg-busting grade in the Dolomites on bike tour in Italy. Hopefully getting citizenship is easier than this was!
The Road to Italian Citizenship!

I never met him, but I suspect my great-grandfather Annibale Marchitelli was a wily dude. Thanks to that wiliness, I am en route to having my Italian citizenship recognized.

I'd be outright lying if I said this is an overnight (or even remotely fast) process. Here's my short blog post about the back story and circuitous bureaucratic path!

Where Is The Smoke Coming From?

The fire situation in the PNW is making national news right now, so figuring out what's going on is a priority for people. Here are two apps that we've found are super useful and accurate for determining air quality and for tracking fire.
IQAir - this handy app tracks air quality to help you decide to get out for a run or stay inside and stare morosely at the wall. You can set up notifications for changing air, and I also like the badge on the app to see things at a glance.
MyRadar - this is great for tracking all things weather, from wind to temperature to hurricanes to fires. Click in the bottom left on the layers button and add what you want to see.

Here's to the fires going out so we don't have to look at these apps!

Hellooooo Tubolito.
Bro, Your Spare Tube Is Too Big

Fresh out of college, I considered working for a company that envisioned a design overhaul for toilets. I skipped that job - probably a shitty one anyway - but innovation in boring industries still intrigues me. Which brings me to max boring: bike tubes.
For all you cyclists, check out
Tubolito! These designers got sick of carrying bulky spare bike tubes and created a crazy-small product that replaces the old guard. (Here's a Bike Rumor review.)
I very rarely get flats, so this is ideal for me even though they're expensive. The weight savings is great - my scale said 44 vs 204 grams for a 29er tube - but they seem fantastic for bikepacking trips where I carry two spares and space is at a premium.

Upping My Hot Sauce Game


I didn't think a condiment could trigger a nervous breakdown until I saw the angst on my friend Martin's face when he saw my dismal hot sauce selection. Texans are so snobby about spicy stuff...
To fix the situation, months ago he dropped off a big bag of hot sauce for me to fix the situation.
My favorite: Yellow Bird.
From serrano (the best) to
jalapeño to habanero (yowch!), they are all delicious. Put a drop or two on each bite of a taco or burrito or veggie bowl or ice cream...ok, ok, I'm getting carried away.

Corrections and Reader Input


In response to last week's tip about potatoes vs. energy gels, my friend David followed up to say that raisins are also excellent energy food. (We actually use them a lot while bike touring since they're easy to find.) Check out this article comparing them to energy gels. Ditch the goo, people! It's not necessary (or tasty).

That's it for this edition. Forward to a friend who likes bad jokes or send me me an email, it's always fun to hear from you all!
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