Monday, August 27, 2018

Running away was easy; not knowing what to do next was the hard part. (Glenda Millard)

OK. So a while back I decided I wanted to do some bike travel again.
  • Not the car/bike/motel style of bike travel that Al and I do all the time. 
  • Not adventurous bike travel around the country or world. 
  • I just want to leave the car in the garage and pedal away from home for a week or two. 
Al is unexcited about doing this kind of bike travel again. We did it years ago. (Been there, done that, sold the special gear a long time ago.) Eventually I realized that trying to talk him into this kind of bike travel was just (1) annoying him and (2) wasting my time.

What to do? Well, I will do the bike travel, but solo. While going on a trip without Al isn't the bike travel I want, it is the bike travel I just gotta do.  Not to whine, but I'm not getting any younger. The clock on this kind of stuff is tick-tick-ticking.

But then I had another problem to work out. I'd been using my road bike for overnight trips. It was fine but limited. We live in a tiny studio condominium. Buying a another bike on top of the two I now own was just not an option. I decided to use my retrofitted vintage mountain bike for these slightly longer trips. Soft ride. Stable. Goes anywhere. Flat, grippy studded mountain bike pedals. A comfy carbon Jones loop handlebar.

I figured I wouldn't have to buy all new bike bags and gear, but some shopping was definitely going to be necessary. Now outfitting your bike for travel is quite personalized. Some people do ultralight. Some pedal heavily loaded bikes. Some pedal only on paved roads and trails. Others pedal down virtual goat trails. Different styles of bike travel have spawned a wide variety of bike bags and gear. Traditional stuff. Randonneuring gear. Bikepacking gear. Tents. Shelters. Hammocks. There are guidelines, of course, and friends have been great at offering advice and suggestions. I've thought about all the advice, and I've decided to mix and match stuff from different styles of bike travel for the best fit with my style of travel. Also, based on advice from friends, I've decided  to carry camping gear. It's not the most comfortable way to spend a night at my age, but I've got to admit I love camping none the less.

Solo bike travel is actually a good avocation for an older cyclist, especially ones like me that love the ambience of bike travel. Going solo lets me ride at my own pace and follow my interests. I like to ride around 60+ miles a day, but I really don't keep a tight schedule. I have a route, a destination, and a time I need to be there. So I track distance, time, and route on my Garmin. All the other data fields can be happily ignored. I'm seldom in any hurry. I meet people. I see things. I get to eat a lot of ice cream cones. I'm busy all day and never bored.

I have no idea whether this is going to work out. But what the heck. To borrow a worn meme, I'd rather say "oops" than "what if."

(I'll show how I outfitted the bike in my next post.)

Monday, August 6, 2018

EBC Paved Trail Weekend Away Adventure, Orlando

One of the perks of Everglades Bicycle Club (EBC) membership is being able to go on planned group cycling trips during the year. And EBC is lucky to have member Ruben Fuentes who puts together the Paved Trail Weekend Away Adventures. Paved trails, which means these trips are suitable for road bikes! And it's a road trip! What could be nicer?

We spent this past weekend with a group of friends riding paved trails in Orlando. It was a great weekend. Now while Al and I travel around the state by ourselves with our bikes, here's why the Paved Trail Weekend Away Adventures work for us:

  • It's low fuss. There is a designated motel for the group. (You don't have to stay there, but that is where the group will gather.)
  • Someone has taken the time to plan the route for you. When I talk to people about taking their bikes with them on trips, the thing they ask about most is "How do you find routes to ride?" What could be simpler than going on a trip with someone in charge of route planning?
  • Having meals out with cycling friends.
  • Hanging out with friends at the motel pool after the ride. Get wet, have an adult beverage, chat. Sweet.
  • Traveling and riding with people you know, other EBC members.
  • As Ruben says, you are riding with "framily." It's not just a no-drop ride; these people look after you. They definitely have your back.

So if you are an EBC member, think about doing a Paved Trail Weekend Away Adventure sometime. (Pssst: I heard there may just be another one in the spring.)
A photo stop by a really big, really old tree.