Bike Bits Archive

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Bike Bits Vol. 17, No. 24, December 16, 2015
This is the 371st issue of Bike Bits, Adventure Cycling's twice-monthly bicycle bulletin. Bike Bits is delivered to you, and 55,712 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.


"Bicycles are the indicator species of a community, like shellfish in a bay." 
--P. Martin Scott

A number of readers sent in this Wall Street Journal link, suggesting we run it in Bike Bits. So we will! The story it takes you to focuses on retirees getting back on bikes: "According to the National Household Travel Survey, conducted by the Federal Highway Administration, recreational biking among Americans over 50 jumped 62 percent between 2001 and 2009 … compared with only a 22 percent increase in the general population." 


Join Adventure Cycling Association and Gotham Bicycle Tours for a special 40th anniversary kick-off party in Manhattan on Thursday, January 7, from 7 to 9 p.m. Adventure Cycling staff and volunteers will be in town for the New York Times Travel Show (see below for free ticket information). There'll be libations, snacks, prize giveaways, and short presentations from Adventure Cycling's executive director Jim Sayer about our 40th anniversary plans and from New York-based adventurer Charles Scott, author of a new book about a challenging bicycle journey he recently took with his young children. Click here for the full scoop on when and where to meet, and how to RSVP (by January 5th please!):
The New York Times Travel Show, January 9-10, is offering 100 free passes to Adventure Cycling supporters, on a first-come first-served basis. To get yours, go to the following link and register (under "Consumer Registration") for your preferred day, either the 9th or the 10th. Adventure Cycling will have a booth at the show, as well as a panel discussion about bike travel on Sunday afternoon. We hope to see you there!  


WomanTours is looking for women who may have suffered a loss or have overcome an obstacle, and/or are in serious need of a respite, and who may not otherwise be able to afford a trip with the company. "We have an angel who has made a substantial donation to help us keep ‘doing what we do,'" says company president Jackie Marchand. "We know how rejuvenating our bicycle tours can be, so we want to use this generous donation to pay it forward." The four winners will receive free passes for the leisurely tour known as Massachusetts Island Hopper: Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard, taking place June 10-14, 2016. The prizes will also include up to $1,000 in travel expenses. You can nominate yourself or some deserving woman you know. To apply, fill out this form and tell your story by December 25, 2015:  
To learn more, watch this video:  


We need your support to meet our challenge match by December 31st so we can make 2016 the biggest year for bicycle travel yet. In addition to funding our year-round advocacy and education programs, your support will help set the next high water mark for bicycle travel: National Bike Travel Weekend, June 3-5, 2016, when thousands of friends, families, and individuals will take to the roads and trails for adventure. Nearly 150 people have already shared their plans for the weekend by registering their rides on our Bike Overnight map. We encourage you to go online and register your own adventure or sign up for one. Most of all, please consider making a donation today so we can proceed to make National Bike Travel Weekend an annual event and get even more folks traveling by bicycle!  


This could be good, especially if you speak and/or read German:  
No German? How about French?


The Great Divide Mountain Bike Route runs smack through the middle of the small town of Lincoln, Montana, and so does the Blackfoot Option of the Lewis & Clark Bicycle Trail. Plenty of local recreational riders zip through town, as well, on State Highway 200. A State Department of Commerce grant of $66,000 will soon be going toward the $99,000 needed to build a new shower and restroom facility at Lincoln's Hooper Park. The rest of the funding will come from the coffers of Lewis and Clark County, and the project is slated to be completed by June 2016. According to the story linked below from the Helena Independent Record, "Nyle Howsmon, 76, who used to own the newspaper in Lincoln with his wife, Susan, is credited by county officials and staff for his work toward bringing [the] new shower and restroom facility to Hooper Park. … Howsmon said he sees the shower facility as something that will help Lincoln, especially if he contacts bicycling websites to let them know it's available." He has contacted us, indirectly anyway, and now you can read the rest of the good-news story here: 


The holidays are here! Forget driving to Walmart or tapping into Amazon, at least for the sake of your cycling friends. This year, why not give them the gift of Adventure Cycling Association? Our half-price Holiday Gift program provides you the opportunity to give gift memberships at half the regular rate. A year's membership includes nine issues of Adventure Cyclist, the only U.S. magazine dedicated to bicycle travel and adventure. Additional benefits for joining include discounts on route maps, access to guided tours, and much more. Simply join or renew your own membership and you can give as many gift memberships as you want for as little as $20 each. And whether or not you think membership manager Josh Tack's method of predicting the outcome of the approaching college football bowls has any merit, be sure to scroll down to the bottom and click on the "gift memberships" link: 


Last year, Adventure Cyclist magazine columnist Willie Weir was approached by Zeke Gerwein, who had read Willie's books and articles, and was planning a Mexico-to-Canada bicycle trip. Because he was just 13, Zeke told Willie, he needed adult guardians. So, what else could Willie do but join him for part of the trip? He then wrote about Zeke, and again and again. Then he wrote about Zeke's extraordinary parents. You can read it all by clicking on the following links (PDFs). 
Part 1: A Strange Request  
Part 2: Extraordinary  
Part 3: On the Road Again ... with Zeke  
Adventure Parenting 


Speaking of the Great Divide--and of the Great Parks North and Northern Tier--the Whitefish Bike Retreat is the place to stay in Whitefish, Montana, for cyclists traveling through. The staff there can even help with your planning in advance of a ride in the area. Entering its fourth summer of hosting and helping traveling cyclists, the retreat consists of 20 acres and a barn-turned-lodge, all located near 35 miles of super singletrack trail. It has private rooms, single bunks, and camping available, and the retreat staff offer numerous services catering specifically to touring cyclists, including but not limited to shipping and holding of guests' bikes and gear, long-term parking for cyclists, and shuttles to Amtrak and Glacier Park International Airport. Also on site are a bike workbench, bike-wash stations, and a common area with WiFi and fully stocked kitchen. There's also a new bathhouse for campers, and a small camp store with cold drinks, snacks, and a few small bike-related items. Check it out: 


Last week Bike Bits heard from Payton MacDonald, an avid bikepacker who is also a professor and professional musician. "Next summer I'm embarking on a very cool project that brings together my passions," Payton wrote. "It is called Sonic Divide. I'm riding the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route, and, as you can see on my ‘Contribute' page [linked below], I'm planning to donate some of the money I raise to you guys. I really love your work!" As explained at his website, Payton is commissioning 30 composers to write pieces that he will perform and record each time he crosses the Continental Divide. How amazing is that? He plans to ride the route south to north, and will also be making a film about the adventure. Payton, thanks in advance for your support, and good luck on this fascinating and adventurous endeavor! 


Until next time, click on to read about the more than $4 billion Congress is authorizing through the FAST Act, or Fixing America's Surface Transportation. 


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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 44,662 miles. To join, go to: