books

The Hit by David Baldacci

Book 2 in the Will Robie series.

Baldacci is not nearly my favourite author. BUT this book really kept me interested from start to finish.

A highly skilled assassin, Robie is the man the U.S. government calls on to eliminate the worst of the worst–enemies of the state …

No one else can match Robie’s talents as a hitman…no one, except Jessica Reel. A fellow assassin, equally professional and dangerous, Reel is every bit as lethal as Robie. And now, she’s gone rogue, turning her gun sights on other members of their agency.

To stop one of their own, the government looks again to Will Robie. His mission: bring in Reel, dead or alive. Only a killer can catch another killer, they tell him. …

Amazon
cycling, hiking, travel

My NEW Touring Bicycle

Due to the pandemic, it’s very difficult to TEST RIDE bikes. Shops simply don’t have much inventory.

I knew that the Trek Checkpoint line were often included in lists of top Gravel Bikes for All Terrain.

I was looking for something more rugged and with more carrying capacity than my otherwise excellent Ghost.

I ended up with the Checkpoint ALR 4 … mainly because I lucked into finding one in stock at West Point Cycles in Vancouver. Still — it took over 4 months to get the accessories I wanted.

This bike is Aluminum, not steel, so it’s relatively light at 10.26 kg / 22.62 lbs. Carbon fork.

It’s got a ton of attachments. I special ordered the deluxe BONTRAGER racks front and back. I’ll load up with 4 full size panniers for longer trips.

I bought an inexpensive (CAD $43) 25 litre rear top pannier bag for those trips I want even MORE capacity.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

I upgraded the tires to BONTAGER HARD-CASE editions. That should mean fewer flats.

I’ve put an AirTag on it so can locate the bike with the FindMy app.

Internal cables are tidier.

I now have the option to use drop bar grips — but I normally prefer flat bars. Happily, I can switch between several handlebar positions on this rig.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

What is the Rule of 430?

… a formula that demonstrates replacing about 430 driving miles with 430 riding miles can offset the carbon cost of your new bike. Anything above 430 miles, and your bike is now carbon-negative.

Future BIG bikepacking trips I’m considering include:

Click PLAY or watch me testing it the first week on YouTube.

books, TV

Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner

I was surprised how much I enjoyed this book.

It’s not historical fiction, however. The olde English dialogue is anachronistic.

But for some reason, the story works.

Anticipate an adaptation for the screen.

Two time frames:

Late 1700s London. An apothecary who sells poisons only to kill misbehaving men. And her curious 12-year-old assistant.

Modern day London. An American woman who’s whose marriage is disintegrating — by chance — decides to investigate the apothecary.

Amazon

books, climate change, hiking

Lookout: Love, Solitude, and Searching for Wildfire by Trina Moyles  

Trina Moyles is a northern Alberta woman who decided to write a book about climate change and the resulting increase in forest fires.

Forest fires are one of the few outdoor “dangers” that truly worries me when hiking and cycling.

Over several 5-month summers alone in fire towers, it evolved into more of a life memoir.

And Trina has had a very interesting life.

While searching for smoke, Trina unravels under the pressure of a long-distance relationship–and a dawning awareness of the environmental crisis that climate change is producing in the boreal. Through megafires, lightning storms, and stunning encounters with wildlife, she learns to survive at the fire tower by forging deep connections with nature and with an extraordinary community of people dedicated to wildfire detection and combat. In isolation, she discovers a kind of self-awareness–and freedom–that only solitude can deliver.  …

Amazon

I learned a lot. And found the book very entertaining.

Canadian Geographic REVIEW.

TV

The Mandalorian – season 1

With a new subscription to Disney+ , I finally got the chance to watch Mandalorian.

Though not a big Star Wars franchise fan, I did enjoy season 1.

It’s silly, escapist Western space cowboy TV — but with excellent production values. Entertaining — as was Firefly.

Beginning five years after the events of Return of the Jedi (1983) and the fall of the Galactic Empire, The Mandalorian follows Din Djarin, a lone Mandalorian bounty hunter in the outer reaches of the galaxy.

He is hired by remnant Imperial forces to retrieve the child Grogu (Baby Yoda), but instead goes on the run to protect the infant …

Nick Nolte was a good choice for the voice of Kuiil. An interesting character.

Gina Carano as Cara Dune, a former Rebel shock trooper-turned-mercenary is good too.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

books

The Guide by Peter Heller

“Peter Heller is the poet laureate of the literary thriller.” —Michael Koryta

An endorsement by Koryta was good enough for me.

“The Guide is a literary work and a paean to fishing, as inspiring as A River Runs Through It… Poetic… Engaging….”
—Sandra Dallas, Denver Post

He gives us fast-paced action and intrigue, interspersed with closely observed, reflective nature writing. Speed up for the crime-solving, slow down for the Zen.”
—Julia Rubin, Associated Press

The hype sounded good. AND Heller can write. I did enjoy his description of trout fishing. The Zen.

The plot itself is dumb. WAY too over the top.

Amazon

books

Traveller and Other Stories by Stuart Neville

Since his debut novel, the modern classic The Ghosts of Belfast, was published …, Stuart Neville has … achieved international recognition as one of crime fiction’s great living writers.

… Neville offers readers a collection of his short fiction—twelve chilling stories that traverse and blend the genres of noir, horror, and speculative fiction, and which bring the history and lore of Neville’s native Northern Ireland to glittering life. …

Goodreads

Amazon