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Photo by Adam Coppola
Way back in April 2009 when I wrote my first GeoPoints Bulletin blog post, I mentioned our Forums as a good resource for route planning. Discussions range all aspects of bicycle travel from routes, gear and swapping out equipment through classified ads to reminiscing about Bikecentennial, and exchanging ideas of how to get youth involved with bicycling.
This is a busy time of the year for airlines, and if you are flying with your bike, get ready for some stiff baggage fees. But, as long as you're paying to get your bike on a plane, you may as well make the most of it.
It's the end of the year, which seems to me to be a great time to make a list. The following is a list of the top 10 routes on which to take a mountain bike trip in the American West.
In last year's December/January issue of Adventure Cyclist, I wrote a bit about David Byrne's book Bicycle Diaries ("Byrne's a Writer — and a Rider").
The winter season is a great time to get on top of some bike maintenance projects, or to learn some basic mechanical skills to help save time and money spent at the shop. Regardless of your skill level, the book Zinn and the Art of Mountain Bike Maintenance is a great manual to have on hand.
The west coast in the Alentejo offers dramatic cliffs, stunning views, and little-to-no traffic. You'll have to work to get there. Due to the topography, there isn't a long continuous coast-hugging route. But the small sections that are accessible by bicycle are well worth the effort.
Some use it all the time, others have specific conditions they prefer to use it under. In my own experience, I find it most useful in cold/damp weather, or on extended tours, where it isn't always possible to consistently wash my bike shorts. Like bike saddles, everyone has their own preference, and those hardened over time may not need to use it all. One thing is for certain, there is a huge pool of brands to choose from, most of which have some pretty clever names.
Imagine an overnight bicycle trip in the northern winter, perhaps on a nondescript snowmobile trail in the woods near your town. Moonlight illuminates a thick powder coat of snow on the trees, so much so that you don’t even need to use a headlight, despite the inky hue of the sky. The squeak of packed snow under your tires indicates the level of cold — probably about 5 degrees F and dropping. But you’re not concerned. You have warm boots, warm mitts, and panniers full of winter camping gear. You’ve been riding hard and working up body heat for several hours, ever since you left work on a nondescript evening in December, to venture into a black-and-white world that few ever see.
Even when you have a really awesome job, and you get to work at the Adventure Cycling world headquarters, sometimes it's a good idea to get away from it all. That's why, when you're reading this post, I'll be in the Big Apple: relaxing, visiting friends, family, and generally enjoying big city life. And, you're never going to believe this -- I'm not bringing my bicycle.
I think the first time I ever heard of bicycle polo was back in 1989 at Fat Tire Bike Week in Crested Butte, where I watched a match in action. At the time, I figured the players were just a bunch of Colorado crazies that included more than a few equestrian wannabes who had decided to settle for two wheels rather than fork out the bucks for four legs and one horsepower (and a big pickup truck and a horse trailer and ...)
Our shipping specialist, Sarah Raz, was kind enough to let me tag along on her series of holiday gift ideas. I'll start this one out with a few inexpensive safe bets before getting into the fun stuff.
I'd always heard that the Algarve region in Portugal was beach resorts and concrete, connected by too much asphalt. Kat and I were pleasantly surprised to stumble upon a sign for an Ecovia. Ecovias are bike routes that use already existing smaller roads and dirt paths to create an alternative route through the Algarve.