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Photo by Adam Coppola
For my last few tours, I have only used rear panniers and a handlebar bag for gear storage, so I've had light duty, or randonneur style bikes on the mind. Just a quick note, when I talk about light touring, or randonneur bikes, the characteristics I'm referring to place us somewhere between road bike geometry and pure touring bike geometry. They would have shorter chainstays than a touring bike, a tall headtube, wide tire clearance, and often only rear rack mounts. Here are a few of the bikes I have really been keying in on as of late.
There are certain places on this planet where I've cycled that will always have a soundtrack associated with them. Not the traditional soundtrack of a film, but the sounds directly associated with the location.
Even before it was declared illegal in Canada in the late 1700s, the practice of slavery was minimal there, largely a result of the short growing season in much of the country. According to In Motion: The African-American Migration Experience (a project of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture), Canada first became a destination for freedom seekers after 1772, when England proclaimed that any runaway slave crossing the international border from the United States would automatically be free.
"I’m probably not the only member who likes to skim through the Companions Wanted page in Adventure Cyclist magazine just for fun. There’s a people-watching sort of pleasure to reading over all the short, descriptive ads that members place for riding companions and thinking about who these people are, where they’re going, and what kind of companions they might attract."
If you don't have the time to spare for a extended bike trip, you can get loads of inspiration on Bike Overnights.org. But sometimes you can't even afford an overnight. That's the time to head out on a bike breakfast.
In 1913, an instructor at Ypsilanti's Michigan State Normal College (today’s Eastern Michigan University) by the name of Mary A. Goddard researched and wrote a paper on the Underground Railroad which at that time had been shut down for less than fifty years. According to writer James Mann, Goddard penned these words about the Railroad: “Even the children of the families of those connected with it knew little of what was actually going on about them. The success of the institution depended on secrecy.
Beginning around 2008, we started hearing rumblings that traffic was picking up and oil and gas development was on the rise negatively affecting our routes in North Dakota. In response we made a series of small and then large route changes for travel across the state instituting our first ever map replacement policy due to safety issues.
Winners of the 3rd Annual Bicycle Travel Photo Contest.
Bicycle touring and photography seem to go hand and hand, and it makes sense. You get to travel to incredible places at a relatively slow pace, there is plenty of time to kill, and after the tour is over you want to be able to share your experiences with others. Just thinking about our own staff here at Adventure Cycling, there have been some incredible photographers within our own walls over the years including Aaron Teasdale, Tom Robertson, John Sieber, and our co-founder, Greg Siple.
Do you know that gut-wrenching feeling when your bike has been stolen off the street? You left it there a few minutes ago and, coming back, it's gone, the lock clipped, your heart sinking fast? That's the way I felt yesterday when the transportation committee of the U.S. House of Representatives voted by just two votes to keep biking and walking programs out of the next long-term transportation bill.
Some travel memories are sharp and clear. They stick with you. Ten years later you can recall an event or place or personal exchange as if it happened yesterday.
Others blur and fade and mix with other memories of events, places, trips, and people encountered along the way.
The legacy of the Underground Railroad is rich along the Detroit Alternate, which branches off from the main UGRR at Oberlin, a place of division in more ways than one. The settlement was founded in 1833 by a pair of Presbyterian ministers discouraged by what they believed to be a virtual absence of solid Christian values and morals among the settlers moving ever westward. Their new town, named after Jean-Frédéric Oberlin -- a French minister and missionary the men admired -- would be a place of living and learning for those dedicated to the Biblical commandments.
Looking at the Adventure Cycling Route Network as a whole -- all 40,000+ miles of it -- can be a bit intimidating so it's important to remember that a significant journey need not mean pedaling a high number of miles. For example, using the Outer Banks Alternate found on the Atlantic Coast Route section 4, a route of manageable size can be created.
I was chewing on some ginger trail mix and all of a sudden a flood of memories rushed over me. I thought about a trip that I did with my friend Keri on the Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes bike path in Idaho last summer, and all the fun we had while we were snacking. "Don't eat all the ginger!" she laughed, as she caught me poking around picking the best parts out. "That's cheating!
After a foot of snow falls in a couple of days, getting out on the bike is tough going, even on a fat bike! With limited daylight and nasty conditions making it hard to get in the saddle, it's a good time to tackle some more time consuming maintenance projects.
During our bike tours, people have often quipped, "Great that you're doing this trip before you have kids!" -- as if children would put a definite and immediate end to our love of cycling and traveling by bicycle. When I became pregnant in May 2011, I wondered if they were right. Would a growing belly (let alone the arrival of a new human being) put a quick end to my bike touring days?
And now ... for someone who really needs no introduction. If you're a member of Adventure Cycling, chances are you've talked to Julie -- she has worked here for over 26 years!
I recently came across a couple of articles about Minneapolis that got me thinking. The first one was about a new vending machine and bike station, called BikeFixtation, which enables cyclists to fix their bikes on the fly.
Breaking ground for an expanded bike-travel "mecca," approval of the first new official U.S. Bicycle Routes in nearly three decades, a cool new website to promote overnight bike trips, record map sales and lots of new route development and improvement: these are just a few of the highlights from a rock-solid year for Adventure Cycling Association.
Sometimes it is the simple things that bring the greatest joy, and that's why Salsa's new Anything Cage is going down as my personal pick for 2011 Touring Product of the Year.
The night is a dark time for cyclists ... and we're not necessarily in the clear during the daytime, either. Overcast days, or roads that are heavily shaded, don't lend themselves to providing great visibility to drivers of cars approaching a rider from behind. For this reason, it's a great idea to outfit yourself with some bright clothing, gear, and/or accessories when you take off for a tour.
Once in a long while the Gods of Cycling just smile down on you and say, "We have made you suffer enough. We have made you ride to work through too many snowstorms and scheduled too many of your biking 'vacations' during record breaking heat waves. To make it up to you, we're going to give you a perfect 15-day bicycling tour through Baja, Mexico and we're going to let you try out a Tout Terrain Silkroad while you're there." For a minute it seems too good to be true, but then you just decide to smile and go with it.