It’s been years since I was in Iowa during the fall, but in an effort to avoid the harsher months of Midwest weather, I scheduled an October return to my home state. I arrived during the sweet spot of harvest, when farmers work all hours to remove the crops that have been growing all summer and just before any pungent natural fertilizer has been spread over these same … Continue reading Harvest in Iowa
If I don’t write about this day, I can pretend we will ride on to the next destination. Our tour won’t have ended, D.C. won’t be calling me home. But our final day on the road is over. We are in Portland now, our journey from Sacramento to Portland complete, and Felkerino breaks down the bike as I type. I began our 11th day of … Continue reading Sierra Cascades Day 11: Detroit to Portland
Leaving Bend was a surprisingly subdued experience, once the city streets were behind us. We followed one of the Oregon Bikeways for the first 15 miles- the best cycling miles of the day. In retrospect, we should have figured out if there was an Oregon Bikeway long cut to the town of Sisters because once we left the Bikeway and turned onto US20 the riding … Continue reading Sierra Cascades Day 10: Bend to Detroit
The small towns in Oregon have been good to us. They manage to survive with decent to good lodging options, a convenience store, and often a nearby restaurant that opens early enough for bike touring breakfast and late enough for bike touring dinner. I’m grateful these towns hang on, unlike what you might find in other areas of the country. The assurance of food at … Continue reading Sierra Cascades Day 9: Crescent Junction to Bend
“Adventureland, where you can ride the Tornado, see a family show, and hear a rock and roll band!” During my childhood in Iowa, an amusement park called Adventureland was the summer go-to place for families, second only to the state fair. When we reached the rim of Crater Lake, and that old Adventureland jingle began ringing around in my head. After our mellow day to … Continue reading Sierra Cascades Day 8: Prospect to Crater Lake to Crescent Junction
Summer, where did you go? We rose away from Ashland, following the cerulean patches between the clouds, sure that we would find you and ride some miles in your company. But all we found was springtime. Blue disappeared and clouds blocked the sunshine. Temperatures hovered in the mid-40s to high 50s, making for comfortable climbing but chilly descents. Felkerino and I both wore jackets much … Continue reading Sierra Cascades Day 7: Ashland to Prospect
Cloudy and cool this morning. Wahoo! The sun can take a break from burning a hole in my retina. We eat and coffee up at Seven Suns- best breakfast burrito ever- and roll quietly out of Mt. Shasta. No one follows us, but I can feel the mountain’s gaze on me. Even partially shrouded, the mountain keeps watch. Every view is a mountain view here, … Continue reading Sierra Cascades Day 6: Mt. Shasta to Ashland
Every day I sleep a full seven or eight hours, but each day that passes our cumulative miles make themselves known throughout my body. We’ve achieved true touring pace, I tell myself. A bowl of oatmeal and we’re on the back road out of Burney. Yay, we don’t have to deal with that no-shoulder rise or any logging trucks. We exchange it for a quiet … Continue reading Sierra Cascades Day 5: Burney to Mt. Shasta
Climbing from Mineral and back up Morgan Summit ended up not being as daunting as I imagined. Knowing that Lassen Volcanic National Park awaited us around the bend inspired us forward, too. Our friends and Instagram buddies told us Lassen would be an eye popping ride, and we took our time pedaling through it. This was also because our leaden legs couldn’t go much faster, … Continue reading Sierra Cascades Day 4: Mineral to Lassen Volcanic National Park to Burney
“I was up above it, now I’m down in it.” –Nine Inch Nails, Down In It We departed Graeagle- on a sweet sweet downhill- and pointed the bike toward Quincy. Highway 89 was quiet in the early hours, which was helpful to our tour-tired bodies. At Quincy, Felkerino was tempted to stop at a restaurant that stated it served Espresso, Mexican, American, and Chinese food, … Continue reading Sierra Cascades Day 3: Graeagle to Mineral
It’s a good day of bike touring when your only what-if is whether you should have eaten dinner on a picnic table at the Tastee Freeze or held out for the possibility of finer fare down the road. Felkerino and I eased our way out of South Lake Tahoe and after a few miles of flat we ascended and switch-backed our way above the lake, … Continue reading Sierra Cascades Day 2: South Lake Tahoe to Graeagle
If anyone ever suggests you start a tandem bike tour by biting off 147 miles with over 12,000 feet of climbing from Sacramento over to South Lake Tahoe, laugh at that person. Tell them to think seriously about what they are doing. Advise no. Now Felkerino and I pack light since we credit card tour, but we still carry more than we would on a … Continue reading Sierra Cascades Day 1: Sacramento to South Lake Tahoe
A couple of years ago, someone advised me that Oregon is a nice place to ride bikes. At the time, Felkerino and I were both taken with the mountains of Colorado, and that’s where we took our bike. Not this year. This year we take on the ups and downs of the Sierra Cascades, launching from Sacramento, California on July 3. July 1-2 we will be in Sacramento. July … Continue reading Summer Bike Tour Plans: Sierra Cascades
Last summer, our friend Jerry spent 9 weeks bike touring 9,300 km across the United States and parts of Canada. I talked with Jerry a few times about his tour – once before he left, once while he was in the midst of his ride, and again after he finished. He also shared snapshots of his cross-country adventure on his Instagram feed.
One of the questions people most frequently asked after reading these interviews was how Jerry managed to travel with so little, but fully self-contained. In this post, Jerry talks about his method and motivations for traveling light, including a kit list for those who may be interested in trying a similar touring method. Thanks for giving us an inside look at your traveling system, Jerry! Continue reading “Traveling Light and Self-Contained: Jerry’s Cross-Country Bike Tour Secrets”
As I recently wrote, I began using Strava this year as part of the Freezing Saddles challenge. So far, I have really enjoyed using it as a training log. I know Strava can do more than serve as a virtual log and space for kudos (although I will never tire of kudos!), but those other features are not as readily apparent.
Eric Nichols – who began to dabble in the randonneuring arts three years ago, completed PBP in 2015, and currently rides with the New England Randonneurs – offered to show some of the other ways Strava can be useful to randonneurs, as well as transportation and touring cyclists.
Thanks for writing this post, Eric, and for helping me expand my own use and understanding of Strava . Continue reading “Strava For the Unracer (and Randonneur)”