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Bike Bits Vol. 16, No. 16, August 20, 2014
This is the 340th issue of Bike Bits, Adventure Cycling's twice-monthly bicycle bulletin. Bike Bits is delivered to you, and 53,161 other readers, because you've signed up for it at the Adventure Cycling Association website, Bike Bits arrives in text-only format for quick download and includes links for more information. We want to inspire you to dream and to live your own bicycle adventures.


"I asked Robin Williams why he loved riding a bicycle so much. I'll always remember his answer, because it was wonderful and true. He said it was the closest you can get to flying." 
--Jason Gay, in the Wall Street Journal 


That's the question posed in the headline of a piece in the business section of the July 27 CBC News website. "While Quebec is internationally recognized for its extensive 5,000-kilometer cycling network, La Route Verte, … it remains an anomaly in Canada, even as other countries and regions seek to cash in on the booming trade in cycle tourism." The piece does go on to note that Ontario, with its 1,400-kilometer Waterfront Trail, is in the process of making up some ground. 


While it's true that La Route Verte draws cyclists to Quebec from throughout the world, it's unknown how much the new event known as "Traversée du Lac-Saint-Jean a Vélo" will enhance bicycle tourism in the province. Nevertheless, it's an interesting concept: Fat biking 18 miles across a frozen, snow-covered lake. According to the event website, "Whether you are a 'racer,' an 'adventurer,' or an 'explorer,' we invite you to register to participate in this unique adventure on February 28, 2015." The ride was inspired by the marathon swimming competition that's been held in the lake, located roughly 150 miles north of Quebec City, since the 1950s. 


Last week we announced the lineup of our 2015 early and epic tours, along with next year's educational courses. Among the listings are several brand-new tours, including Puerto Rico Inn-to-Inn, Natchez Trace Van-Supported, Western Express-TransAm Van-Supported, and special Introduction to Road Touring courses aimed specifically at women and at those under 30. You'll find all the juicy details at this link:   
Meantime, don't forget about the 2014 tours still scheduled and with spaces remaining:


Bike Bits received a request from Travel Oregon last week, asking us to pass along this information: "Here in Oregon we love bicyclists and are on the move to help make the bike experience even better for our visitors and locals. Have you ridden on one of Oregon's Scenic Bikeways this year, or do you plan to? If so, we'd love to hear from you! Oregon is the first state in the nation with Scenic Bikeways and this survey will help us better understand what the economic impacts of the bikeways are to our state and how we can help make Oregon an even better place to ride." The survey takes less than ten minutes to complete.


If you happen to be in the area, please come to our special get-together in Cumberland, Maryland, on Thursday, September 4th. Ginny Sullivan and Saara Snow, both from our Travel Initiatives Department, will be there to discuss progress on Bicycle Route 66, the new Idaho Hot Springs Mountain Bike Route, the latest developments in the U.S. Bicycle Route System, and national advocacy projects, including an update from the Amtrak Bicycle Task Force. Food and refreshments will be provided. The event takes place at the Cumberland Trail Connection, 14 Howard Street, from 5 to 7 p.m. If you're able to attend, please RSVP at or (406) 532-2751 by September 1st. For full details, visit this link:


Registration closes September 1st for the premiere Cascade Gravel Grinder, a September 6 ride traversing the beautiful and rugged mountain country surrounding western Idaho's Lake Cascade. Over U.S. Forest Service roads in the Boise and Payette national forests riders will go, opting for a route of either 35 or 72 miles in length. The ride will host a maximum of 300 riders this year. The registration fee of $60 includes support, post-ride meal and music, a T-shirt, and a goody bag. Learn more here: 


The winners have been chosen for Adventure Cycling's 2014 Bicycle Travel Video Contest on Vimeo. Videos entered in the competition fell within one of three categories: Best Long Distance Tour Video (weeklong or longer), Best Short Tour Video, or Best Portrait of a Traveling Cyclist. Additionally, the panel of judges voted for their picks to receive the honorary Bicycle Travel Spirit Award. More than 50 submissions were received in our second annual video competition, compared to just 28 submissions in 2013. Perhaps even more remarkable was the international spread: Entries arrived from cycling videographers in 16 different countries, including Slovakia, Iran, France, Czech Republic, Canada, the Philippines, Poland, Nepal, Belgium, Tanzania, the United Kingdom, Germany, Spain, Japan, Turkey, and the United States. Learn more and find links to the winning videos here: 


The link below will take you to a revealing write-up at about the 2014 Tour Divide race. Montana Miller, the author and a former intern at the magazine, completed this summer's race in 22 days and four hours — on a single speed. Like the title says, "The Mountains Don't Care," and neither do the deserts or the high prairies. 


Chris Tompkins of Danville, Virginia, wrote to us to let us know that back in 2012, Tour Divide organizer Matt Lee encouraged him to coordinate a Tour Divide-like 'Grand Depart' of the Allegheny Mountains Loop. "This year on October 3rd we will 'toe the line' in Blacksburg, Virginia, for the third running of the AML400," Chris wrote. "As a member, I encourage all riders to purchase the route map from Adventure Cycling." He noted that the 400-mile route is composed of 65 miles of gravel forest roads, 78 miles of gravel rail-trail, 22 miles of grass-covered abandoned rail-trail, and 235 miles of paved roads. "So far, we have 17 letters of intent for the Grand Depart and three for ITTs (individual time trials)," Chris added. "We're still two months away, so we might crack 30 or more this year ... and that would be great." Check out these links to learn more: 


The link below takes you to a compelling story in the Eugene (Oregon) Register-Guard about Melissa Pritchard, who calls herself "the teacher on two wheels." A year ago, Missy set out from Barcelona, Spain, on a bicycle tour that so far has taken her more than 17,000 miles, through countries including Thailand, Australia, and Canada. Along the way, she has visited with some 5,000 young students. "Lots of people think I'm crazy for doing this, but as long as I enjoy it, that's what's important," Missy told reporter Ian Campbell. "(Cycling) is not everyone's cup of tea, but you should really pay attention to what your passions are in life and follow them. That's what I try to tell the students I meet." You'll find a link to Missy's own website at the end of the article this URL takes you to: 


Until next time, click on to see photos of a bicycle that's a real dinosaur, and we don't mean old or out-of-date. 


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Adventure Cycling Association is North America's premier nonprofit organization dedicated to inspiring and empowering people to travel by bicycle. Membership is open to anyone and includes a one-year subscription to Adventure Cyclist magazine and discounted pricing on maps from our Adventure Cycling Route Network, which now includes 42,180 miles. To join, go to: