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Photo by Adam Coppola
It's a true story that I'm a huge sucker for limited-edition runs of products. Recently, I caved and snagged a pair of Bont Thor Hushovd signature-edition cycling shoes, and I'm brainstorming another tour for this summer so I can swing by the Adventure Cycling office to snag another Bikelingual bandana, available only to touring cyclists who visit our headquarters.
As 2012 drew to a close, so did our 2012 Share the Joy program. This program encourages members to share Adventure Cycling Association with their friends and cycling buddies, and also awards fabulous prizes throughout the year.
It's been another incredible year for Adventure Cycling Association and for our work on the U.S. Bicycle Route System (USBRS). I know it's already the middle of January, but let's take quick look back at 2012 accomplishments and then I'll give a sneak peek of all the great things to come in the new year.
As the snow falls, our skinny-tired road bikes whimper and our fat-tired bikes yelp in anticipation of getting out there for some cold adventures. Fat bikes are more popular than ever and now you can show your fervor and solidarity at the 2nd Annual Fat Bike Summit and Festival.
Adventure Cycling's 2013 tours season is up and running, with our first tour ending in Florida this Tuesday. And while we're offering a record-breaking 72 trips this year, they're already filling up.
Riding the Great Divide Mountain Bike route this past summer gave me a whole new appreciation for bottle cages. I began the ride with three different bottle cage models, and by the time I hit the border in Antelope Wells, New Mexico, only one bottle cage survived.
Cyclists face a lot of nemeses on the road, from rumble strips to distracted drivers. Another one is bad chip seal.
As I was ringing in 2013, I found myself contemplating the best adventures of 2012. By far, at the top of my list was the big adventure in my own backyard: a self-contained (together with Bill ) bike-packing trip to the top of a few high points near Missoula, MT.
This is the season for bike lights, and if you didn't score a new light over the holidays, there's a good budget friendly, and very useful light from Knog called the Boomer. The brightest LED light currently available from Knog, it throws out a solid 50 lumens. At this power output, you shouldn't expect to turn night time into day, but you can expect a descent spread of light in front of you to be able to see obstacles in the road, even with city and traffic lights dimming its power.
As another year comes to a close, it is the perfect time to reflect on, and relive, all of the awesome cycling experiences, new cycling friendships, and beautiful stories from 2012.
Just how many times did I say "hello" today? I asked myself that question recently in Cambodia (where we are currently cycling). We have been greeting warmly everywhere in this country, but while cycling the tiny roads and paths along The Mekong, the greeting got intense.
In my column, Fine Tuned, in the latest issue of Adventure Cyclist, I mentioned the difficulties of getting a rack on a fat bike that has 170mm rear dropouts. Here's a testament to how quickly fat bike technology is moving forward: Not long after I submitted my article, Salsa Cycles went ahead and released the new Alternator Rack Wide for their Mukluk fat bike.
Xenia, Ohio, a town of 25,000 is a suburb of Dayton with two bike shops, a community library, multiple restaurants and camping at the fairgrounds. It would make a great stop for a layover day or two to soak up Underground Railroad history and pedal some miles in the surrounding countryside.
The smell of wood smoke is in the air along with the squeals of little pigs darting across the road. The roads had wound up and down for days (500-foot to 2,000-foot climbs all day long) as we crossed from one river drainage to the next. There were no restaurants or stores to be found, so we asked a local if she would cook us breakfast. She held a newborn in one arm as she fried up spicy eggs with greens and sticky rice over a wood fire. We kept glancing up to see dozens of kids peeking in to see the foreigners. We emerged out into the brilliant blue sky of the highlands of northern Laos.
The following is a guest post by travel writer and Adventure Cycling member Jeanine Barone:
I know what you're thinking -- there are a lot of commas in that title. Just know that they're there for emphasis. You might also be thinking about creating videos on your bike tour and posting them to your web log, or "blog" as the kids call it these days. Well great! That's why we're all here. You've learned how to make a bicycle touring video, you've learned what tripods to use, and you've learned the art of storytelling thanks to the other bloggers and judges so far.
When the three young men featured at the start of Tom Allen's new film, Janapar, set out on their round-the-world bicycle tour, Tom's voice-over says something to the effect of "there is something out there ... we want to create meaning in our lives." Quickly the challenges of the road and the beauty found alongside it begin to carve that meaning, chucking artifice aside until the group splinters and each man goes his own way. We then follow Tom into the desert, into a woman's life, into his existential thoughts on exploring the world by bike, without a road map.
Adventure Cycling Association is excited to announce the winners of its 2012 Bicycle Travel Awards! The Bicycle Travel Awards celebrate the individuals and groups making bicycle adventures possible. Support can come in a myriad of forms, from route creation to a hot shower, and these awards are Adventure Cycling's way of saying a big, collective ‘THANK YOU!’
We had a great year here in the Adventure Cycling Tours department. More rides, more participants, and more great times! And although those of us stuck here in the office didn't get to be on the road for every tour, the amazing pictures shared by participants made us feel like we were.
In his October/November 2012 Adventure Cyclist " Letter from the Editor", Mike Deme responded to correspondence he had received from Gillian Hoggard, our 2006 Trail Angel Award winner. Gillian was writing to withdraw her name as a "Cyclists Only Lodging" on the TransAmerica Trail due to a string of bad experiences. Based on my observations in general — so, not scientifically speaking — over the last couple of years, to varying degrees, we have had an increase in the number of complaints about rude cyclists.
I sincerely apologize for the foolishly stated words in my column from the December/January issue of Adventure Cyclist magazine. These were my own words entirely and do no reflect the views of Adventure Cycling Association.
When cyclists come to visit Adventure Cycling, sometimes they get their portrait taken by our talented co-founder, Greg Siple.
I glanced back, squinting into the blinding snow, to make sure Bill was still riding behind me, the snow was getting heavier and visibility was much worse than when we had started earlier that day. But there he was, right on my tail with the biggest grin on his face. The riding was wonderfully quiet with a fresh two inches on the ground and piling fast. "This is awesome", I heard him say, as my Surly Nates made fresh tracks. I couldn't help but laugh.
Here in the Pacific Northwest, winter means lots of rain. As a native-born Portlander who has been biking seriously since 1999, I think of myself as a bit of a rain expert. Today I'd like to share my field-tested tips on becoming a happy winter cyclist.