The Adventure Cycling blog covers bicycle-travel news, touring tips and gear, bicycle routes, organizational news, membership highlights, guided tours, and more. Follow us on Facebook or Twitter for daily updates.
Photo by Adam Coppola
Support Adventure Cycling Association while experiencing the ride of a lifetime! Adventure Cycling is participating in Climate Ride California, a 5-day, fully supported ‘green conference on wheels’ where people who care about sustainability, renewable energy, and bike advocacy pedal together to make a difference.
We've had a terrific array of tales told at BikeOvernights.org over the past few weeks.
Adventure Cycling Association has offered the C&O Canal and the Great Allegheny Passage tour for the past 9 years. The 340-mile, off-road ride is fully supported with catered meals, water stops, SAG services, mechanical support, and luggage transport. The riders' only obligation is to have fun. The tour leader, Larry Brock, has led countless groups along this route and makes sure the riders' experiences are a top priority. Here are some highlights from the trip.
In my latest "Fine Tuned" column in this month's Adventure Cyclist, I focused on gravel riding. Gravel roads are where I tend to spend the majority of my time in the saddle, so it's an exciting topic for me. To keep the momentum running, today I'm going to run down some of my favorite gravel tires.
We recently sent out our annual member survey. There were several opportunities on the survey for members to tell us more through comments. As the responses come in, they are read and sorted by hand and distributed to the appropriate departments. Carla and I have been spending some time handling the Routes & Mapping share. It was through this process of correspondence that a great story from the road was shared with me, one that I couldn't have made up.
Three Adventure Cycling staff (Ginny Sullivan, Winona Bateman, and myself) traveled last week to the National Bike Summit in Washington, DC. Although it was my eighth summit, it felt really new and fresh. Here are five highlights!
The talent and fervor of Adventure Cycling members, readers, and followers never ceases to amaze me. We received incredible shots for our 4th Annual Bicycle Travel Photo Contest. A panel of five judges picked the winners from over 450 submissions. The March Issue of Adventure Cyclist highlights these wonderful photos. If you haven't seen them in print yet, drumroll please …
Last year I decided to celebrate the completion of my master's degree by committing to my first multi-day tour: I booked the Introduction to Bike Touring course offered by Adventure Cycling in Oregon. It seemed a fitting end to a program that included interning for and writing my thesis about them. After the trip I can say, without qualification, it was a great experience!
There are two items that represent the joy of childhood to me: bikes and kites. Riding a bike was easy for me. Flying a kite ... not so much.If I crashed my bike as often as I crashed my kites as a kid, I wouldn't be alive today. Watching the kids in Myanmar fly their kites with an ease I've never known, I suppose my mistake was always going for the largest kite at the store--bigger was better. Except that no matter how fast I ran, my kite would get about 50 feet off the ground, start doing pinwheels, suddenly nose dive, and crash with a fatal thud.
Looking at our route network the other day, I was thinking about loop routes and connections. The wide open gap across the south central United States caught my eye. Then I remembered hearing something about the Chisholm Trail. The historic Chisholm Trail was developed after the Civil War to move cattle from Texas north to Kansas. A growing railroad presence could then be utilized to move animals eastward where the majority of the U.S. population lived.
AASHTO is proud to be among the many supporters of the 2013 National Bike Summit. This week, the premiere advocacy event for cycling brings more than 800 enthusiasts of all types to the nation's capital. If you haven’t participated in the National Bike Summit before, I highly recommend you do. The summit provides a solid voice for bike advocates and their allies, as well as a space for seminars on advocacy and the benefits of cycling. I'm sure you already know the health and economic benefits of cycling, and AASHTO does too.
I find it interesting that most cars come standard with three rearview mirrors, but bicycles are sold without any! Perhaps the thought is that bicycles don’t have a reverse gear, so why would you need mirrors for backing up? But seriously, cycle mirrors not only let you see what the cars behind you are doing — if used correctly, they can also enable you influence how the traffic will pass you.
We fully understand that when you're planning a big ride, you want to stretch your budget as far as you can. With that in mind, we've partnered up with some awesome companies to provide great discounts for our members. Here's what we have to offer.
Instead of cycling the main highway in Southern Laos, we opted to pedal the tracks and foot paths along the Mekong. It was slow going, but the ability to be so close to people's daily lives was worth the effort. One early morning we came upon a man who was busy mending a fishing net. I asked if could take a photo and positioned myself so I could capture his silhouette. He was such a master at his craft that his movements, rather than being abrupt, were balletic. Kat was on the opposite side and snapped a photo of the fisherman in the glorious morning light.
A peculiar looking fork, Salsa's Enabler first caught my eye a few years ago when introduced as their rigid 29er "adventure fork." It has since become the stock fork on their Mukluk line of fat bikes and it is becoming a go-to option for a fatbike frame build. While putting together a fatbike build earlier this winter, I took an opportunity to purchase one and put it to use with my setup. Although I haven't tested it to it's fullest potential for overnight adventures and gear hauling, it has steered wonderfully so far and I have thoroughly enjoyed some of the features of this unique fork.
The U.S. Bicycle Route System, as an AASHTO project, follows many of the same guidelines and rules as any transportation project. For signing, the guiding document supplied by Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) is the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUCTD).
We are very grateful to be beneficiaries of Climate Ride again this year! Everyone here at Adventure Cycling is so geared up for it that in order to choose team captains for Climate Ride California and Climate Ride NYC to DC we had to hold a lottery!
View photo compilations from some of Adventure Cycling's most recent tours.
In the current issue of Adventure Cyclist, I brought up compact frame geometry in my Fine Tuned column. One benefit of compact geometry that I failed to bring up in that article is in the case of fat bikes, where it seems to be heavily favored.
Two and a half years ago, three touring cyclists were cited for violating Black Hawk, Colorado's ordinance banning bicycling on most streets in their town. The ordinance made the town impossible to legally ride through. After failing in the first two rounds of court proceedings, they continued their appeal all the way to the highest court in the state.
In September, Adventure Cycling announced its first Bicycle Travel Video Contest. Since then, we've enjoyed a slew of submissions from touring cyclists around the globe. We've also had the great pleasure of publishing a series of how-to posts on creating bike-touring videos, contributed by some of our volunteer judges -- all experienced touring cyclists and knowledgeable videographers. Their posts covered everything from storytelling to equipment. We thought it would be fun to offer a round up of those expert posts so you can enjoy them all in one place.
With snow and ice abounding in Missoula, it would be so nice to ride a fat bike around, to officially participate in Fat Bike February. But the finances for a rad, new bike are just not in the cards this year. (And truth be told, if I buy one bike this year, it'll probably be this one.) So to stabilize my bike travel, I made my own studded tires! It was easier than I had imagined and I made a video to share this ever-rewarding do-it-yourself with you.
Over the last few months, Adventure Cycling has been very busy working to create new opportunities for bike travel in North America, for example by developing new routes like an Idaho hot springs off-pavement route and Bicycle Route 66, and advancing an official U.S. Bicycle Route System.
It's Fat Bike February, and with the future of fat bikes so bright, you had best be wearing some shades. When talking about fat bike apparel, there is often a lot of focus on warm layers, and waterproof clothing, however, sunglasses are a pivotal piece of equipment. Whether you're riding through the snow or along a beach, chances are you're going to have a lot of surface area around you reflecting the sunlight back up into your face, intensifying it the sun's effect. This can impair your vision, and believe it or not, squinting does soak up a good amount of energy over the long run, which you would much rather put into pedaling.
Through all four seasons and twelve months of 2012, I rode a fat bike, exclusively. I commuted through a winter in Alaska, toured south through Canada, followed the Great Divide Route and the Colorado Trail, and eventually settled into New Mexico for the winter -- all on big rubber, all on an old, purple Surly Pugsley. But I don't need big tires for every ride, and I have built a Velo Orange Campeur frame into a capable urban commuter, touring bike, and light dirt-road machine. However, with the opportunity to spend a few days riding out of town this past week I immediately knew which bike to take.