Category Archives: Colleges

Ole alum/explorer Eric Larsen sets a record in an attempt to ride a fat bike to the South Pole

I’m doing some Wigley and Associates blogging/social media work on the Fat Bike Summit and Festival. One of the event’s sponsors is MN-based Surly Bikes. Back on December 21, Gern Blanston posted to the Surly Bikes blog, The Craziest Man I Know:

Explorer Eric Larsen on a Surly MoonlanderEric Larsen is a truly insane man. He came to Surly a while ago with a plan to ride a bike to the South Pole. From the edge of Antarctica directly into the heart of its warn chewy center, he will ride a Surly  Moonlander, through 750 miles of ice, snow and the never-ending blaze of the sun…

He’s spent a great deal of time training and preparing for the trip. You can read all about his preparations, exploits, the specifics of each leg of his journey and even follow along with him here.

I checked Eric’s journal this morning. Unfortunately, he had to call it quits. See his entry for December 28, 2012 – Day 10: A Tough Decision. Eric made it back home last Saturday, Jan. 12.

The good news? He set a record. See this SF Gate article via PRweb: Polar Adventurer Eric Larsen Sets Antarctic Distance Record by Traveling the Farthest on a Bike toward the South Pole.

Outside Magazine Online featured Eric’s expedition back in November: Expedition Watch: Riding a Fat Bike to the South Pole. It included this video, with his Surly Moonlander featured:

httpv://youtu.be/3D5onKm8Oz8

Coincidental sidenote #1:

Eric Larsen graduated from St. Olaf College in 1993 and has friends here in Northfield. Back in Feb. of 2005, he and fellow explorer Lonnie Dupre did a presentation at Froggy Bottoms, raising money for their summer expedition across the Arctic Ocean. See this St. Olaf press release for more. I was there and took these photos:

Eric Larsen and Lonnie Dupre at Froggy BottomsEric Larsen and Lonnie Dupre at Froggy BottomsEric Larsen and Lonnie Dupre at Froggy Bottoms

Coincidental sidenote #2:

Lonnie Dupre is currently attempting the first solo ascent of Denali (Mt. McKinley) in January. See the One World Endeavors Expedition page for more. According to posts on the expedition Facebook page, he’s been restricted to his snow cave at 8,700 feet the past few days because of many feet of snow and high winds.

Bicycle helmet redux: Carleton College students digging deeper on the research

Neil LutskyI got an email a couple months ago from Carleton College psychology professor Neil Lutsky inviting me to speak to his fall class, Measured Thinking: Reasoning with Numbers about World Events, Health, Science, and Social Issues, about the bike helmet issue that I’ve raised here on LoGro this year. (See all my bicycle helmet-related blog posts here.

His idea was to have his students take a close look at the relevant research that’s been cited to support or oppose my contention that the promotion of helmet wearing for around-town bicycling is bad for public health.

Neil Lutsky, Psych class Griff Wigley speaking to Neil Lutsky's Psych class 
I spoke to his class on October 5 and yesterday asked him for an update.  He wrote:

The class is divided into four groups investigating the questions listed below.  They will have reports addressing these ready at the end of the term. That’s where things stand at the moment. 

By the way, if you have any suggestions for the question list (which the students are also modifying as they get into their research), please feel free to share those.

I suggested to Neil that I post the four groups of questions here on LoGro and invite suggestions and discussion from interested citizens. 

1. Bicycle accident overview

  • What is the overall risk of injury in cycling?
  • Who is injured?  Where or under what conditions are injuries more or less likely to occur?
  • How does this risk and injuries sustained in accidents vary as a function of helmet wearing?
  • Is correct helmet use related to injury outcome?
  • Do helmets make injuries worse (considering rotational head injuries vs. concussions and
    abrasions)?
  • What are these accident numbers like in cross-national comparisons?  

2. Helmet use promotion

  • What laws and programs exist to promote helmet use?
  • How much helmet use is there?  Do people wear helmets correctly?
  • Do government policies have an effect on helmet use?
  • What evidence suggests the suggestion or imperative to wear a helmet inhibits cycling?
  • What are common attitudes toward helmet wearing?

3. Helmet wearing and rider and driver safety

  • Is the density of ridership related to cyclist safety?
  • Do cyclists wearing helmets behave in a riskier fashion?  Is this due to helmet use?
  • Are drivers less cautious when encountering cyclists with helmets?  If so, why?

4. Health and inactivity

  • What are the health consequences of inactivity?
  • What are the health benefits of cycling? 
  • Does cycling make a difference to physical health and the health of the environment?
  • If people weren’t cycling, what would they do?  What alternative forms of exercise and transportation are there?

Raven Pillmann wants Northfielders at the Carls’ ‘Vote No’ rally on Wednesday night

I got this email from Carleton College freshman Raven Pillmann two weeks or so ago:

I am a Carleton student as well as a MN United volunteer. I have a potential story about an upcoming Vote No rally at Carleton this month. We have a possible photo opportunity and definitely have several students who feel strongly affected by the proposed amendment who would be willing to talk about it. Please let me know if I can call you anytime with more information!

Raven Pillmann Vote No mnunitedrally 005
Raven got up early and met me at my corner office at GBM last Thursday. And he emailed me yesterday to send me a photo of he and his fellow classmates preparing for the rally and that they have a Carls Vote NO! Facebook event page which says in part:

Come to the Great Hall on Wednesday, October 17th from 7:30-8:30 p.m. to hear speakers from the Carleton and Northfield communities, eat delicious Firebellies food, listen to Ova Yonder and The Accidentals, and get inspired to become involved in the Vote NO! movement.

Civic Stories Project photo essay #12: Erica Zweifel

See photo essay #1 for background on the Civic Stories Project series that I’m blogging here on LoGro.

ERICA ZWEIFEL

See the background page on Erica Zweifel and the St. Olaf students involved, both those in the AmCon class and those in Professor Meg Ojala‘s Intermediate Photography class.

httpv://youtu.be/-PTfF08HNXY

Civic Stories Project photo essay #11: Susan Sanderson

See photo essay #1 for background on the Civic Stories Project series that I’m blogging here on LoGro.

SUSAN SANDERSON

See the background page on Susan Sanderson and the St. Olaf students involved, both those in the AmCon class and those in Professor Meg Ojala‘s Intermediate Photography class.

httpv://youtu.be/WzMlWOWgKck

Civic Stories Project photo essay #10: Jessica Peterson White

See photo essay #1 for background on the Civic Stories Project series that I’m blogging here on LoGro.

JESSICA PETERSON WHITE

See the background page on Jessica Peterson White and the St. Olaf students involved, both those in the AmCon class and those in Professor Meg Ojala‘s Intermediate Photography class.

httpv://youtu.be/LKeeQ0VjslM

Civic Stories Project photo essay #9: Kari Nelson

See photo essay #1 for background on the Civic Stories Project series that I’m blogging here on LoGro.

KARI NELSON

See the background page on Kari Nelson and the St. Olaf students involved, both those in the AmCon class and those in Professor Meg Ojala‘s Intermediate Photography class.

httpv://youtu.be/Vhd0-KQxS5g

Civic Stories Project photo essay #8: Erin Mayberry

See photo essay #1 for background on the Civic Stories Project series that I’m blogging here on LoGro.

ERIN MAYBERRY

See the background page on Erin Mayberry and the St. Olaf students involved, both those in the AmCon class and those in Professor Meg Ojala‘s Intermediate Photography class.

httpv://youtu.be/40Cax-es7L4

Civic Stories Project photo essay #7: Reginaldo Haslett-Marroquin

See photo essay #1 for background on the Civic Stories Project series that I’m blogging here on LoGro.

REGINALDO HASLETT-MARROQUIN

See the background page on Reginaldo Haslett-Marroquin and the St. Olaf students involved, both those in the AmCon class and those in Professor Meg Ojala‘s Intermediate Photography class.

httpv://youtu.be/0rYtKNhi7Yg