Sunday, June 14, 2015

Answers to the Annual Blog Update Quiz

Below is the annual blog update quiz! In case you forgot the questions:

Which is greater:
1) Miles travelled by bus or miles travelled over water? 
2) Number of flat tires or days of rest? 
3) New bird species seen in North America or Central and South America? 
4) Number of crocodiles seen or bears seen?

There's also a bonus question: what is the average age of touring cyclists we have met?

At long last, the wait for the answers is over! Here they are with explanations of how we arrived at these conclusions. 

Question 1) Which is greater: miles traveled by bus or miles traveled over water? 
The sailboat on which we spent a week crossing from Panama to Colombia

Though it's tough to accurately measure distances over water (tougher than plugging it into Google Maps, anyway), we approximated that, on our big boat trips crossing the Sea of Cortez in Mexico (260 miles), the Gulf of Fonseca from El Salvador to Nicaragua (45 miles), and from Panama to Colombia (350 miles), we traveled approximately 664 miles. That also includes 3 miles from Monterrico to La Avellana, Guatemala, and 6 miles of Colombian riverboats, in case you're wondering. 
By bus, our major trips were in and out of Mexico City, through Panama, and into Bogota, which add up to 981 miles. This number doesn't include the side trip we took by bus to Palenque, Mexico.
The winner: Bus, 981 to 664 miles

Question 2) Which is greater: number of flat tires or days of rest? 
Tam's split rim, Baja Mexico

Flat tires is not a category we continued to count after five months, at which point we were at 11. Extrapolating the same rate to a year is, I believe, pretty accurate, plus perhaps five from Tam's tire continually causing flats in the Baja. Thus 31 is my guess, but who really knows?
Contrary to intuition, bad roads don't contribute that much to flats; more likely indicators are the amount of trucks on the roads (the metal in their deteriorating tires causes the majority of flats), and the quality of the bike tires and how worn they are. Memorable llantas ponchadas include my running over a large nail and Tam's tire getting friendly with a razor blade, both of which deflated their victims in about three seconds. 
Not counting the month we were in southern California, the two weeks working in/near La Paz, Mexico, and about a week of very active "rest days" (if not more), assuming one rest day every five days gives us 63 days of rest.
The winner: Days of rest, 63 to 31

Question 3) Which is greater: new bird species seen in North America or Central and South America? 
American Kestrel, Desierto de Tatacoa, Colombia

We've probably seen more species here in Central and South America, but having little prior knowledge of tropical birds and no field guide (the guide to Colombia is three inches thick and costs $75), we are unable to identify anything.
The winner: North America, 233 to 143

Question 4) Which is greater, the number of crocodiles seen or bears seen?
We saw bears almost every day along the Cassiar Highway in Canada, but while we saw crocodiles only a few separate times, two places together, a hatchery in Mexico and the Rio Tarcoles in Costa Rica, added up to a lot.
The winner: Crocodiles, 45 to 25

And one peacock in Colombia:

Bonus question: What is the average age of touring cyclists met?

Tam and I spent a few minutes one night trying to recollect every touring cyclist we had met on our journey. We remembered 68, estimated all of their ages, and plugged the numbers into a histogram generator.

The majority of cyclists fall into the age range of 22-31, but we met people as young as 2 (an infant being pulled in a trailer), and as old as maybe 65 or 70 (it's difficult to estimate the age of someone much older than you that you met six months ago).

Mean age: 32
Median age: 28
Mode: 23 (because of a group of five that we estimated all to be 23)

In the Baja, Mexico, with Phillip and Nici, two Austrian cyclists somewhere around the median age of touring cyclists we've met.

That's all for now; check back in about 358 days for next year's annual quiz!

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