April 15, 2016
Every year, Adventure Cycling staff wonders when its first visiting cyclist might walk through our front door. We've had January and February arrivals in recent years and we've had first arrivals as late as May.
During the cycling season we welcome traveling cyclists to our Missoula headquarters with ice cream, soda, a free six-month membership (includes Adventure Cyclist magazine), a free bandana for those already members (good for shading your neck in the hot sun), and other perks like the use of a computer, a map of Missoula, a tour of our building, and an opportunity to buy bike-travel gear in our Cyclosource store.
When will our first visiting cyclist arrive in 2016 and receive a warm welcome and gifts like an Adventure Cycling route map, an Adventure Cycling t-shirt, a restaurant gift card, energy bars and goos, a night at the local hostel, etc.?
Well, yesterday, April 13, James Freeman of London, England walked through our front door, our first visiting cyclist of the year, fresh from Florence — Montana, not Florence, Oregon, a start of the TransAmerica Trail.
No worries! Yes, we get excited about riders on the TransAmerica Trail and when we hear the word “Florence,” we think, “Bingo!” But Florence, MT is fine, and seriously, we really enjoyed meeting James, the librarian from London.
James has traveled to Montana to visit his brother, who happens to live in Florence, MT. He flew with his recently acquired second-hand touring bike and has been riding around the Bitterroot Valley and the Missoula area, trouble-shooting his new gear and preparing for his first ever bicycle tour.
Travel to Montana for a bike tour: for the last ten years this is something James has wanted to do. He’s 31 and recently wound up with six weeks of time on his hands before starting his new job as Cambridge University Library’s Medieval Manuscripts Specialist. So, that’s Dr. Freeman to you!
Given this block of time, James realized he had the opportunity to travel to the U.S., visit his brother, and finally see Montana from the saddle of a bike.
And James has planned two trips during his visit. On the first one he plans to follow the TransAmerica Trail up the Bitterroot Valley and over the mountains to the Big Hole River Valley. At Wisdom, he’ll leave the Trail and follow the Big Hole down to Wise River, MT where he’ll swing north and over the mountains to Anaconda, MT, then Philipsburg, MT and the Rock Creek drainage for fishing and camping with his brother. This is a gem of a loop in western Montana.
Following this trip, James will then follow the TransAmerica Trail again, but this time he’ll travel all the way to Yellowstone National Park for more camping and fun with his brother.
Now, if you were paying attention to the above photo, you may have noticed James’ “extremely jazzy socks.” What’s up with those? Those were a going-away gift from James’ colleagues at the British Library and James’ answer to our question, “What is the most unusual object your are carrying?” Of course, our art director and co-founder, Greg Siple, had to get some good photos of them. James wears them well.
James is a professional librarian. And it turns out that Greg Siple is a bit of a librarian himself as the keeper of the Adventure Cycling's Peter L. Bower Library here in our building. So it was fun to see the two of them looking at some of the texts from our collection, including this one: Cycling For Health and Pleasure, copyright, 1895.
Here's a sample page we found very interesting:
Negligée for masculine riders? We grinned at this, but certainly the definition “easy, informal attire” applies. And “long stockings?” James nailed that!
Interesting excerpt: “The old styles of tight fitting, braided garments have disappeared, and club uniforms are almost a thing of the past.” Does this sound like today?
One more thing about James: He did his PhD at the Univerisity of Cambridge and his thesis is on “The Manuscript Dissemination and Readership of the ‘Polychronicon’ of Ranulph Higden, c. 1330-c. 1500.”
What’s a polychronicon? It’s “a historical encyclopedia covering the history of the world from creation to the then present day.” James has only seen the surviving manuscript copies from the U.K. and Europe and figures viewing the ones in the U.S. might make for a great coast-to-coast journey some day!
James, it was a pleasure to meet you. Thank you for being our first visiting cyclist of 2016, have a great time in Montana riding your bike, and if you need anything, as always, Adventure Cycling would be happy to help you and all those who travel by bike.
By Brink Kuchenbrod. Photos by Greg Siple.