RVRMadison reprinting

Due to the early spring weather, store orders for RVRMadison picked up suddenly and we ran out of books! When I requested a quote from Lulu.com for a “bulk” printing (most printers do this by nature, but Lulu.com is primarily an on-demand printer) I found their prices had increased by 27% – ouch. So I went out for bids to three printers, and a local place even beat Lulu.com’s old price! The atlas is always available on Lulu.com, and yes, in its revised form.

Madison Bike Map (Map Review)

Bruce Thompson and Doug Shidell, Madison Bike Map. Minneapolis, MN: Bikeverywhere  2011.

Reviewed by Francis Stanton

If you are looking for a great resource of potential bicycling roads in and around Madison, Wisconsin, this map will serve you well. It covers in detail the central portion of Madison, as well as all of Dane County and part of Iowa County to the west.

The 22” x 34” map has two sides: one has the overall view at a very readable scale, and the reverse has Madison detailed, plus a legend and an attractive front cover. Folded, the map is about 4” x 8” and because of the tear and water (and sweat) resistant “paper,” it can be carried along easily in a jersey pocket.

For commuters, this map is helpful in planning the daily ride, and perhaps some alternate routes as well to keep things fresh. There is good coverage of the excellent trails and rideable rural roads in and around Dane County for recreational riders.

This third edition continues to be well researched, with colorful and clear cartography. The coloring of the map makes it easy to read in low light; plus it works fine for the roughly 8% of males who are colorblind.

Area parks are shown with symbols for parking, drinking water and restrooms. Users should be aware that restrooms and water availability are seasonal in these parks.

Although a rider could put together a pleasant ride with this map, it doesn’t indicate specific rides. For that, you may want to look at a guide with various loop and trail routes.

My only suggestion would be to add more convenience store symbols, as only a few are shown on the eastern portion of the map.

All in all, this map is an essential guide, and reasonably priced at $10.95. Check them out at www.bikeverywhere.com or a local bike store.

Biographical Information on the book’s authors:

Doug Shidell is the former bicycle columnist for Silent Sports Magazine (15 years) and Startribune.com (5 years). Doug started Little Transport Press in 1984. He has been writing and publishing articles and books on bicycling since 1971.

Bruce Thompson, is the route researcher for the Madison Bike Map. He enjoys exploring the byways and bike trails of Wisconsin, and operates a website, wibikeroutes.net, that describes long-distance bike routes across Wisconsin. He has served on the Milwaukee school board, started a software company, and owned a Montessori school. He is currently a professor and program director for the MS in Engineering Management at Milwaukee School of Engineering.

Ridge and Valley Rides Website

After a winter hiatus (shortened as it was) I have split off the Ridge and Valley Rides atlas from the Stanton Studio website in order to start “building the brand” with its own website: www.ridgeandvalleyrides.com. Several people suggested I do this, and I finally got around to it. To my dismay, the domain name was already taken! Luckily I had already bought the domain name months earlier, but forgot about it! Check that one off the list.

Since Carol Bracewell (www.flying-pig-productions) had done the setup of the Stanton Studio website, she was able to recreate the atlas portion on the new site.

On-Demand Printing

On-Demand Printing (ODP) has changed the way small publishers get a new title into the marketplace.

ODP is happening because of the invention of machines which print and bind books, one at a time, in small or large multiples, keeping the quality the same at low cost. Prior to this, the only way to get quality at low prices was a large press run which took a lot of up-front money; then the money may or may not dribble back over time.

With ODP, the capital investment is much smaller, which is good for small niche book markets like bicycling atlases for local markets like Madison. For more information, see the FAQ at right.

Founding of Ridge and Valley Rides

Work on the Madison area bike ride guide Ridge and Valley Rides: Madison (“RVRMadison”) was started in early 2011. The Bombay Bicycle Club’s Great Dane Rides had been out of print since 2006, and I heard on the street (and in the bike stores) that something like that was needed. So not wanting to duplicate the Bombay rides, I approached the Wednesday Night Bike Ride folks about using some of their rides, and they generously agreed. I also queried friends about routes (who later generously tested them), and added a few creations of my own.

It took a quite a few months to choose the best routes, create the base map, plot the routes, test drive or ride the routes, write the cue sheets, write the route descriptions, write the introductory texts including history and glaciation, ride the trails, take and Photoshop the photographs, make corrections in all areas, set up the account with Lulu.com for on-demand printing and website store, fiddle with my new Stanton Studio website, start advertising in Silent Sports and Sustainable Times, get a bunch of retail books printed, and persuade the local bike stores to stock it. I couldn’t have done it without the help of my wife Catherine and many friends and colleagues.

RVRMadison was final ready for prime time in late August 2011; a little late for the season, shall we say! But a number of stores took a few copies and those sold decently until the end of September. We picked up a few more stores and sales for the winter holidays.

What’s going on now – why is this stuff here?

The maps and images offered here at Stanton Studio are the gathering together of several ideas that I’ve been working on for a number of years. With the advent of print-on-demand publishing, getting these into a saleable physical form is now a reasonable proposition.

The areas I’ve been working in are photography, digital terrain representation, bicycling maps, and National Park maps.

I’ve been doing photography since 8th grade, but lost a lot of film/print based work in a fire in 1983, and didn’t do much work until digital got good (and less expensive) in the 2000′s. I had used Photoshop since version 1 for mapping work, but only recently discovered the pleasure of manipulating the digital “negative” and “printing” in Photoshop. Not that I’m any expert at this point – reading books and applying their techniques definitely helps. I still have a couple of trusty old Nikkormat EL’s sitting in the cabinet. It might be a good idea to get the 55mm Nikkor macro lens converted for use on the D90.

The Maps-au-Naturel images came from map work where a terrain background was done for a map, and then having it covered up with all sorts of lines and labels. Why not just look at the terrain? Actually, the first Map-au-Naturel was the Piceance Basin image, which is now classified under the cleverly named Maps-Un-Natural line. That sat on the wall for several years. Then I figured that something that resembled the real terrain would be cool, sort of like a satellite or aerial photo, but idealized. It took a lot of experimentation to get the right look, and each terrain is different, requiring a slightly different combination of images and effects.

The bicycling maps are a continuation of a couple of prior self-published print efforts. In 1982, I did a set of seven bicycling maps for the Seattle/Puget Sound, WA area, and then I did a set of three maps for the state park trails around Madison, WI in 1993. I also did a set of four cross-country ski maps for Colorado in 1986, subsequently bought by an outfit called Trails Illustrated, and Trails Illustrated was subsequently bought by an outfit called National Geographic, and the maps were subsequently discontinued. I’ve also done some work for clients wanting maps for their events, such as the Wright Stuff Century west of Madison.
 for the local Bombay Bicycle Club.

Last year I got the idea of adapting the attractive National Park Maps into narrow calendars emphasizing a route through a park, such as Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier National Park. These maps are public domain, and the original map files are available online. While using these maps for a product is not an original idea, it was still fun. Unfortunately the calendars were expensive to produce. So the maps mutated into the cards you see on the website.

So that’s how the items on the website came to be, more or less.

The First Blog Post

I am supposed to write something pithy here about Stanton Studio, LLC.

The Stanton part is because my family name is Stanton — simple enough. The Studio part is because my mother was a painter for 75 years, and her studio was the Center of the Universe in our house, at least for me. The “LLC” suffix is required by state law. There’s a Stanton Studio located in Barcelona, Spain, who’s website is www.stantonstudio.com. I really wanted that URL, but no, so I had to add the dash between. Anyway…

I started Stanton Studio several years ago to bring together all the various so-called creative endeavors I aspire to and want to make some money at; something about turning one’s hobby into an income stream.

The first attempt was an app for the Apple iTunes App Store. It was a digital gizmo called ToneTune, which allowed the user to tune over 100 different stringed instruments by ear. There was a little graphic of a simplified fretboard for a particular instrument, and when you touched a string graphic where it crossed the fret, you would hear the proper frequency to tune to. It had other nice features too. Worked great — sold miserably; something about a lack of intense marketing.

I loved designing the interface and how it worked for the user. Too bad I wasn’t a programmer. Significant money went to a talented and worthy young gentleman named Pete Snyder (http://snyderp.com/) who did an excellent job on the programming. Unfortunately, from the time I started the process to when ToneTune appeared on the App Store, the number of apps had grown from 4000 to well over 100,000. Needle in a haystack. After a couple of years I made less than Apple’s annual App Store fee ($99) at $2 a throw. So bye-bye.

Next post: What going on now.