Category Archives: Bicycle Touring

A battlefield finish

Day 4:   Bicycling from Elizabethtown, NC to Moores Creek National Battlefield
40ish miles — and bonus points for headwinds

The fourth and final day of our East Coast Greenway WAY (Week-A-Year) tour, cut short due to Hurricane Matthew began at the Corner Cafe in the heart of Elizabethtown.  A cafe that is open “All Day” according to the neon sign on the window, or just until 2 PM according to the fine print.  We were certain to be done with breakfast before 2 PM.

Continue reading A battlefield finish

Wine’ing down

Day 3:   Bicycling from Fayetteville, NC to Elizabethtown, NC
43ish miles — and who’s really counting when there’s so much to see?

The third day of the East Coast Greenway WAY (Week-A-Year) tour began with breakfasts piled high with ham and bacon and a side of bacon fat with fresh steamed or raw vegetables a distant memory (unless you carried your own).  With Hurricane Matthew dominating the news and expected to take out the Eastern seaboard from Florida to North Carolina, many cyclists who lived along the coast or needed to take care of business went off in separate directions.  Those cyclists who were left behind were grateful for the chance to ride another day.  And a half.      Continue reading Wine’ing down

Hogs, Logs and Miles

Day 2:   Bicycling from Smithfield, NC to Fayetteville, NC
70ish miles — and who invited Hurricane Matthew to the Carolina coast?

The second day of the East Coast Greenway WAY (Week-A-Year) tour began with new routines and new grooves setting in.  The pre-ride routine included two trips (maybe more) to drag your luggage and bicycle from your room to the lobby.  Bonus points were earned for not spilling your cup of Joe.   If you made it to the lobby without losing Joe, you treated yourself to a sit-down in the lobby lounge, chatting with bike mates, and planning your departure time for the day’s ride.  Minutes are ticking, and it’s time to keep moving, so you find your way to the luggage truck to hoist your bag onboard — a bag that has mysteriously doubled in weight — and discover there is still time for more socializing.   You then grab a tire pump, one that puts more than 40 pounds of air pressure in your tires, and quickly realize you’ll be riding a lot faster today with air in your tires.   A long glare at your bicycle seat followed by a quick request of the saddle gods to be kind, and your group-du-jour of riders — with bright visibility lights flashing — are ready to cycle on. Continue reading Hogs, Logs and Miles

Transitions

Day 1:   Bicycling from Raleigh, NC to Smithfield, NC
42.5ish miles — or more depending on bonus miles & wrong turns

The first day of the East Coast Greenway WAY (Week-A-Year) tour began in downtown Raleigh with nearly 40 cyclists jones’n to get on their bicycle legs.   Many drove double-digit hour-long car rides, tipping the scales of 70 mph speed limits for the right to transition to a pace that resembled something much slower.  Cycling at touring speeds, with the winds at your back if you were lucky.   A pace that averaged 10-12 miles per hour once you factored in the stops – that were many, especially on day one. Continue reading Transitions

Mackinac Island – a haven for cycling

Taking the Ferry - to Mackinac Island for some cycling
Taking the Ferry – to Mackinac Island for cycling

When I first heard that there was a place in the US where cars were banned and travel was limited to foot, bicycle and or horse-n-buggy, I thought — this is a place where I need to be.

Since the late 1800’s – cars have been banned on Mackinac Island, Michigan.  Located amidst the Straits of Mackinaw — where Lake Huron and Lake Michigan meet separating mainland Michigan and the Upper Pennisula – is Mackinac Island.  Accessible only by Ferry, the island is known for continuing it’s car-less tradition, promoting bicycling or foot travels and no shortage of handmade chocolate and fudge.  Bicycling, followed by chocolate.  It doesn’t get any better than that! Continue reading Mackinac Island – a haven for cycling

Bringing it home

finale
Riders…and SAG team after day #9 of touring

Day 9 of our bicycle tour that began in Bar Harbor Maine has ended in Ronks PA.   A few miles shy of our goal to reach the Maryland state line.. but who’s counting?   Our touring travels, beginning each day putting gear on our bikes, inhaling nutrients, navigating unknown roads and discovering nuggets of magic along the way – was coming to a close.

Today’s ride began at 5:30AM with the addition of a third rider (Tamar) who brought fresh legs, fresh conversation and a fast road bike.  We would ride the Amish Country just east of Lancaster.   Amish Country from a bicyclist perspective is comprised of rolling hills, farmland, churches, small towns and quiet people who embrace a simple life from simpler times.   Horses pulling buggies can be seen along less traveled farm roads as well as more populated and busy routes.  Drivers who are in a hurry, are forced to slow down for the horse drawn buggies, and wait. Continue reading Bringing it home

Bike tested by the Poconos

Friday 7/24 & Saturday 7/25/2015

Happy face having avoided the bears and snakes!
Happy face having avoided the bears and snakes!

Apparently the size of the climbs and steep pitches of the Pocono Mountains went unnoticed while researching “best routes” for our final 150+ miles. A few other details also went unnoticed.   Such as we are in “black bear country”, and the area is well known for timber rattlesnakes.   And, the roads are narrow, apparently no budget for bike able shoulders and abundance of 90 degree blind turns.   We had a decision to make.

We could ride the back woods bike trails along the Delaware River and take our chances with the black bear and rattlesnakes, or opt for the open roads with no shoulders.   I am not fond of black bear, and equally not fond of rattlesnakes, but the super skinny switchbacks on the open roads left us with no choice.   We would bike along the trails in the wilderness along the Delaware River. Continue reading Bike tested by the Poconos

Seaside to mountains…

Thursday 7/23/2015

Along the coast of Newport RI
Along the coast of Newport RI

Getting internet has been a challenge for the last few days.   Our final day of ocean side bicycle touring is in Newport Rhode Island.   After revisiting our route and wondering how we could possibly navigate the busy narrow roadways through touristy downtown, we happened on a road called Ocean Way.  Who can resist a road called Ocean Way?

Newport is home port for sailors (The Americas Cup), the Tennis Hall of Fame and some of the most amazing seafood.   All of these attractions draws tourists and traffic.   And here we are, trying to ride our bikes on one way roads that are foreign to us, with drivers that are not as bicycle friendly as our prior days of touring. Continue reading Seaside to mountains…

Saaa-weeet

19916613215_cc60309aa5_zThere is nothing quite like waking up every morning and the only item in your day-plan is to ride your bike.   No checking emails (partly thanks to no internet) to see who may be knocking on your virtual door,  no questions on what to do with your time, no coffee to jump start your brain.  After five days of bicycle touring, there appears to be some slack in my hoidy-toidy veggie organic food  diet.  We have run out wild rice and corn, and in it’s place are day-old sandwich leftovers for breakfast, pretzels, chips, cliff bars and just about anything we can get our hands on.   The switch from hoidy-toidy to anything-goes happened somewhere around day 3 and we put up no resistance to the change.

Continue reading Saaa-weeet

Bike friendly roads and less hills

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Fogged in lighthouse
Fogged in
Pausing as the fog rolls in
Pausing while the fog rolls in

Somewhere south of Portland Maine, our ride took on elements of bicycle friendly roadways (shoulders the size of entire lanes), off-road trails, and substantially less intense hills.  This area embraces bicyclists, and this is obvious by the dramatic increase in bicycle traffic.

Today’s ride was to begin at 6AM, and at 6:05 we realized that we had overslept.  Camping under huge spruce tree cover, plus very dense fog had our bio-clock confused.   Despite the late wake-up, we managed to shovel down handfuls of food, place our gear on our bikes, pump up the tires and break-down everything else that needed to be done in a 15 minute window.   By 6:20AM, we were on the road, traveling.  The only worry in our world was getting beyond heavily traveled Route 1 before the rush of humanity had the same idea.   We biked fast, together, with front lights and tail lights blinking like a Christmas tree.   And then we veered off Route 1, to begin a ride that would soon morph into a biker’s dream. Continue reading Bike friendly roads and less hills