Entries Tagged as Cheap
I can’t shake the impression that these mountains know what’s coming and that they are preparing for it. The water in the Payette River between upper and lower Payette Lake is far below the high water marks, and the surface is smooth and unhurried. Waiting. The leaves on the trees and the “needles” on the tamaracks are turning, preparing to drop. It rains off and on throughout the day, heavier towards evening, soaking the ground so that when the temperature drops, the first snows will stick. These are the thoughts that go through my mind as we work our way from McCall, up to Burgdorf, Idaho, 30 miles away.
I’m kind of new to the loaded bike touring thing. On October 21-22, 2011, I did a solo overnight in the Flint Hills, an east central section of Kansas that has largely escaped the plow and is tallgrass prairie land with few roads. Big and open. Cattle country. Living in eastern Kansas, I always felt adventure should be here. Loaded touring is a nice way to get it.
Not many moms get to share their favorite hobby with their 19-year-old on his birthday weekend, but that is what my son and I did when he returned from his first year of college this past May. We rode from the northern suburbs of Chicago to Richard Bong State Recreation Area in southern Wisconsin, a distance of about 55 miles. Once there, we met up with fellow touring cyclists from Milwaukee's Cream City Cycle Club and camped out for two nights. We went on a beautiful loop ride to Twin Lakes, Wisconsin, and stopped at a local winery that makes hard ciders and brandies from apples!
My sister says I'm cheating. The friend I'll be meeting at the campground will be driving all my gear there. And I'm only riding halfway back before my son picks me up so I can make a 5:00 "meeting" of former coworkers at a local watering hole. But the point is, I'm riding my bike to a campground, sleeping in a tent overnight, and riding my bike at least partway home the next day, which to my mind is all I need to do to qualify for an S24O (Sub-24 Hour Overnight), my first.
The main reason for my trip from Wellington to Central Otago in New Zealand's South Island was a 12-hour mountain bike race, where I could continue my love affair with endurance racing. However, the opportunity arose to spend a few days before the race riding with good friends Tim and Mike, taking an overnight trip up onto the Rock and Pillar Range, which was too good to pass up.
What had I been thinking? I sat in the ditch with my exhausted ten-year-old son, Max, chugging Gatorade and sucking on gel packs, our be-panniered bikes splayed on the grass beside us. We were attempting our first ever bike trip together, an overnight from our home in west Edmonton, Alberta, to a campground in the town of Devon, about 35 km (that’s about 20 miles) southwest of the city, on mostly country roads. Things went swimmingly for the first 20 km; sure, we took lots of breaks—for water, Clif bars, even to check out a playground we passed—but the pace was steady, respectable. I was sure we’d make it.
I’m trying to establish bicycling traditions. Every summer our family of four goes on a long multi-day (or multi-week) bicycle tour, a tradition that we hope to keep alive for many years. But sometimes one tradition is not enough. My son and I are working on new tradition, where at least once a year just the two of us go bike camping for a weekend. Daniel is six years old, and Labor Day weekend 2011 was our third such trip. To keep the rides simple, every trip has started and ended at our house in Fort Collins, Colorado, yet each trip feels unique. I keep them that way by planning new events or activities into the rides, and this past Labor Day weekend offered a great selection -- a bike parade, a mountain festival, a picnic, and crystal hunting were all on the menu.