Entries Tagged as Routes & Rides
People always ask me how many bikes I have. Right now, it’s the bare minimum. Three. When I follow that answer with something like, “Well, one of them is my touring bike,” I get all nostalgic and guilty because I haven’t put in the miles on that sucker that I should. I’ve logged a few thousand miles on my Long Haul Trucker, on everything from rando-style road rides to a month-long hump down the Pacific Coast. But here in Chicago, it’s tough.
High on my 2013 list of adventures was a bike overnight – my first since our 2008 three-day trek from Boston to Provincetown, Massachusetts. Though I was longing for an extended trip, an overnight was much more manageable with our busy schedule. The Adventure Cycling Association’s Bike Overnights page really pushed the point further with the tagline “Don’t wait to go cross country. Go overnight."
Someone recently asked me about our anticipated bike adventure, which led to me trying to explain the concept of ultralight bike touring. The following exchange ensued:
Q. So, you like, carry all your stuff on your bike and go camping?
A. Yeah, that's generally the idea.
Q. You ever done this before?
A. No, not at all.
Q. But you basically refinanced your house in order to buy two titanium mountain bikes?
A. Yes, correct.
Q. So you bought these bikes, plus a bunch of equipment, but you've never toured, nor do you know if you'll even enjoy it?
A. Yeah ... (awkward silence)
After a snowy April and a wet May, I was ready for my first bike overnight of the year. I've made a few bike overnights each year since getting my touring bike, a Salsa Fargo; however, this one was different. I changed my touring kit from the traditional panniers and rack system I had used the past two years, to frame bags, a small front rack, and a large seat bag.
As a newbie to Washington state (two years), I am amazed by the variety of cycling terrain available to explore here. Want mountains? You got 'em. Want valleys? You got 'em. Want islands? You got 'em. Want rollers? You got 'em. Want deserts? Well, you have to go over to the east side of the mountains, but you still got 'em. I know there are many other places in the world blessed with grand outdoor scenes, but this is the first place I’ve lived with such natural wonders just outside my door.
It all started with me moving to the reasonably cycle-friendly city of Milton Keynes. Then it was riding to and from work now and again. Then it was commuting by bike every day. And then I would read about cyclists on multi-day, multi-month cycle tours across Europe or the United States. And it would make me think: I want to give that a go … but in a bite-sized chunk first.
I made a trip to Colorado recently to escape the Midwest heat and humidity, spending time north of Fort Collins camping, mountain biking, and hiking. I also decided to do an S24O bikepacking overnight while I was out there.