I can ride my bike with no handlebars, but I can't write and send a Twitter message while I pedal along.
But Janeen McCrae can.
That's because McCrae rides Precious, a bicycle that's been outfitted with sensors and electronics that enable it to send out Tweets with the push of a button. Actually, McCrae and Precious collaborate on the Twitter messages.
McCrae is riding Precious from coast-to-coast on Adventure Cycling's TransAmerica Bicycle Route to raise money for the Livestrong Foundation.
The Australian cyclist and her 2010 Specialized Tricross Comp bicycle set out from Yorktown, Virginia, a little more than two weeks ago and spent Sunday night in Harrodsburg, Kentucky.
Before they left, the staff at New York ad agency Breakfast outfitted the bicycle with sensors that record location, temperature, grade, speed, direction and other information. That data is transmitted for publication to the Yes I am Precious website. You can visit anytime to get real-time information about their bicycle travels.
Further, the data is also used to cue from a list of several hundred pre-written Tweets by McCrae that are posted to Twitter when an appropriate match is made. They're posted at YesIAmPrecious.
As explained at Mashable, if McCrae's bike records a long downhill stretch and high temperatures at the same time, it might post the Tweet, “Coasting is easy but somehow I'm still sweaty.” That Tweet is removed from the list and never appears again.
McCrae can also press a button that sends out a Tweet from several categories.
Precious sent out a good Tweet on Sunday:
“I have raised $3048 for #Livestrong so far. Not bad for a bike.”
McCrae is hoping to raise $4,262 — a buck a mile — for the Livestrong Foundation by the time she reaches the finish at Astoria, Oregon. She's well ahead of her goal right now. You can donate at her Livestrong donation page.
You might remember McCrae from earlier this spring when she suffered a solo crash just a few days after beginning her cross-country bike ride.
She filmed an emotional video about her shattered dream to ride cross-country and raise money for Livestrong. Now she's back on the road again.
You can also follow her experiences and check out her photography from the trip at her blog, No Direction Known.
Update: Just noticed that Tom at Bikejuju.com wrote a piece about Precious a few days before I did. It's a great story and worth a look. I particularly like his comparison of the Tweet-writing Precious to the talking computer HAL in “2001: A Space Odyssey.”