Art without engineering is dreaming;
Engineering without art is calculating.

Steven K. Roberts, N4RVE

High-tech nomad writes column on GEnie

These two short articles appeared in sister publications, Information Today and Link-Up… both announcing my upcoming deal with GEnie to publish an ongoing series during my second computerized bicycle trip around the US. This was a significant move (from CompuServe, which was my network home for the first trip), and there were other changes as well: the new Winnebiko II and a traveling companion named Maggie. 

Information Today — September, 1986

Steve Roberts, author and self-styled high-tech nomad, will have a weekly online column on GEnie (the General Electric Network for Information Exchange), detailing his adventures as he pedals across America on Winnebiko II, an eight-foot long, 225-pound recumbent bicycle with five on-board computers. Roberts will file his copy on GEnie using the Hewlett-Packard Portable Plus computer system powered by a pair of 10-watt Solarex solar panels. A handlebar keyboard allows him to actually write his column while pedaling.

Winnebiko II also sports a speech synthesizer, ham radio station, satellite/packet data link, twin air horns, lights, flashers, electronic compass, pager-type security system, CB radio, stereo system, cassette deck for dictation, digital short wave receiver, and speed-distance-time-cadence instrumentation.

Roberts began his high-tech trek in late August, leaving from Expo ’86 in Vancouver. He plans to wheel through approximately 30 states, heading from Vancouver down the West Coast of the U.S., across the Southwest, up through the Rockies, across the Great Lakes area, through new England, and down the East Coast. Although his plans are “open-ended,” Roberts expects to cycle approximately 10,000 miles over a period of about 1,000 hours (or half a business year).

This is actually the second such trip for Roberts. His first—an 18-month, 9,760-mile bicycle journey which began in September 1983—is chronicled in an upcoming book, Computing Across America: The Bicycle Odyssey of a High-Tech Nomad, to be published this fall by Learned Information Inc.

“The computer is my link with the universe,” Roberts said. “I very seldom use the telephone for voice messages. A portable computer and powerful online network like GEnie provide all the communication I need.”

Roberts encourages online enthusiasts to communicate with him via GEnie (GE Mail address is WORDY) with responses to his column and story suggestions.

“With over 19,000 GEnie subscribers currently on the network,” said Bill Louden, GEnie general manager, “I am sure that Steve Roberts will not be lonely, at least online, while on his second bicycle odyssey.”

For further information, contact GEnie…

Link-Up — September, 1986

Steve Roberts, high-tech nomad, has set off for his second bicycle trip around the country. Using a Hewlett-Packard Portable Plus computer system powered by a pair of 10-watt Solarex solar panels, Roberts will communicate with the world and share his adventures by way of a weekly online column on GEnie (General Electric Network for Information Exchange). “The computer is my link with the universe — I very seldom use the telephone for voice messages. A portable computer and powerful online network like GEnie provide all the communications I need,” said Roberts. His bicycle odyssey is planned to take him through approximately 30 states: from Vancouver down the West Coast of the United States, across the Southwest, up through the Rockies, across the Great Lakes area, through New England, and down the East Coast. He welcomes online enthusiasts to communicate with him online via GEnie anytime during the trip. His GEnie mail address is WORDY.