A few weeks back I was looking for an old picture. In the process, I checked some flash drives. I never did find the picture. But I found a 20 year old spreadsheet of bike ride statistics. I spent a few minutes scanning the old file. It was both interesting and funny to look back at what we once considered very important.
Six months ago our bike travel options blossomed. I have a boring chronic condition, and I have to take medication to keep it in remission. Six months ago my medicine got changed to one that is travel friendly. Were we excited? You bet. In fact, we have spent the past 6 months seriously talking about every aspect of our bicycle travel. We're reinventing how we tour, making sure it continues to work for us as we age. While we enjoy bike events and our travels with groups and friends, we want to continue to do a lot of bike travel by ourselves.
We made some age-related changes three years ago. We sold all our bike camping gear. Panniers, sleeping bags and mats, tent. Everything. You can do strenuous bike rides, but the older you are, the longer it takes to recover. And recovery means getting enough quality sleep. And when it is hot and humid, like it can be in Florida, it also means getting enough time in air conditioning to adequately cool down. Instead of camping, a nice air conditioned motel room is the way to go.
Now we are working on logistics. The GPS sites make finding cycling routes a snap. Al likes circle tours from a motel base. I like tours that start and end at our home's front door. The first compromise decisions we made were easy. Many short tours (1-3 nights) can be done from home. But longer ones will always be circle tours from one motel using the car to get us there. (I conceded that moving from one motel to another was cumbersome.)
Other things we agreed upon:
- No bed and breakfast lodgings. (Too much socializing with chatty hosts and other guests.)
- We must have in-room wireless and a decent TV.
- No rentals that don't have maid service.
- Eating out is fun, but we need to have restaurant dining as an occasional treat rather than a regular practice. (Too hard to maintain good nutrition when you are constantly eating out.)
But what is the one thing that counts the most in making our bike travels happy? Good coffee! And getting good coffee can be a real problem in many areas. That issue got taken care of last week. We thought back to the years we were hauling our mountain bikes around the North Georgia mountains with our trusty old Jeep. Back then we had a tiny suitcase that held a coffee pot and coffee making gear. We even had a power inverter so we could plug the coffee maker into the Jeep's cigarette lighter to brew a cup in the middle of nowhere.
So we got another little coffee maker and a tiny suitcase for it and the coffee gear: Some things just count more than others.