July 1, 2010
We are two weeks into our family's trip down Adventure Cycling's Pacific Coast Route from border to border — and are woefully behind in posting blog bits about our adventure thus far. More to come (we've just finished Washington State and are just beyond beautiful Astoria, OR and nearly to Newport), but one thing has been re-affirmed: on a bike trip, there are many higher authorities, and among the highest is your bike. And we've got some good ones that are performing with authority. My wife and daughters are riding the great-for-the-value Jamis Aurora, a steady, sturdy bike with good handling and sleek looks.
I'm riding the brand-new Vaya from Salsa — and it is a terrific bike. Solid but supple, it has a perfect geometry, superb components, and is truly built for road biking adventures (plus, I've taken it for a few spins off-road). It's already drawn a lot of oohs and aahs from bike store owners and cycling aficionados along the way. My only minor qualm is the double chain ring (no triple here), but with a burly, 32-tooth cog, I've been able to haul heavy loads up 15 percent grades. I'm just wondering how the bike (and I) will perform once we hit California's corrugated coastline. I'll let you know.
Speaking of burly, I'm glad to report on our freight-hauling devices: Arkel's Kargo panniers and the terrific Burley Nomad Trailer. The panniers support a green form of travel in more ways than one, since they're made of recycled materials. The Nomad has been reviewed here. We're taking two, and they are everything you could want in a trailer; their square, two-wheeled format (light, too, at only 15 pounds) enables me to carry a lot of weight at speed on all types of surfaces. They're also highly visible and, best of all, it lets me buy fragile items like fruit pies (e.g. the marionberry pie pictured below) and carry them forever. That pie traveled in the Nomad for 20 miles on chipsealed roads and was in excellent condition for dinner.
Probably my favorite product on the tour is something I'm not using myself — but they look swell and svelte on my four girls (wife and three daughters). All of them are wearing Nuu Muu exercise dresses for the female cyclist. Stylish, flexible, quick-drying — what more could someone want from a cycling garment? Here's a picture of my daughters Samantha, Keilan, and Lucy with Nuu Muu impresario Ashley Fullenwider, who gave them the dresses. The girls are composing new lyrics to the song "New Moon" in honor of their Nuu Muu dresses. Guys, is there an equivalent cycling outfit as colorful and comfortable for us?
Photos courtesy of Jim Sayer.