Archive for the ‘Tracy’s Road Touring Adventures’ Category

My GREAT Oregon Bicycle Adventure – July 2015

Sunday, August 2nd, 2015

Sew…in May I gave myself a 50th birthday present. I absolutely love riding my bike and I’ve done a few triathlons and century (100+ mile) rides, and they were lots of fun.¬† But I’d never really done any real bicycle touring.¬† That was something I’ve ALWAYS wanted to do.¬† So, I chose to go on a self-contained (meaning camping and cooking and you carry all your own gear plus a share of the group’s common cooking gear) bicycle adventure tour in Oregon with an all-women’s group through Adventure Cycling.

I filled out the application and sent in my initial payment. The application was accepted and YAY, I was so excited!

Then reality struck. And panic. When I first decided this was what I wanted, I *thought* I would be able to use my road/racing bike (carbon frame).¬† I was wrong. See: “Sew I Needed a Bike”.

BackOfBike

OK I researched, ordered and got the bike.

So…then I needed racks, panniers, a handlebar bag, a tent, a sleeping pad, a sleeping bag, my own travel eating utensils, cup, plate, etc. OH my! The costs were really adding up. Remember the first time you thought about making a quilt and that it wouldn’t cost much because you’ll just use what you have?¬† Until you realize you need a new sewing machine, special tools, a particular fabric, special thread, etc.¬† Yeah, it’s a lot like that!¬† OK…deep breath…doing it…figured that out.

 

THEN I needed to find time to train.¬† After all, we were going to be riding approximately 50 miles a day, 4 days in a row (on fully LOADED bikes that are steel frames, not lightweight carbon). My bike–fully loaded–weighed in at over 100 pounds.¬† OK…several deep breaths…doing it…figured that out. Time flew by and I did the best I could with the time that I had but felt uncertain if I was truly ready.MAPScreenshot_2015-07-19-09-00-12

Then the finally came, I loaded up my little Ford Focus hatchback with my bike and all my gear and I pulled out of the driveway on my way to Eugene, Oregon.¬† Just a little over 1300 milesand¬† I *LOVE* a good road trip.¬† Yes, even all by myself. After being a multi-tasking mom, employee and business owner for most of the last 30 years, having that time alone on the road seemed like a dream.¬† I could listen to the music I like…or no music at all.¬† I could have complete thoughts without interruptions!¬† Imagine that.

Sew…I had 3 days to get to Eugene but didn’t make any hard/specific plan.¬† I like it that way sometimes. Just play it by ear and see what the adventure brings.

As I was driving through Salt Lake City, I noticed an In N Out Burger place just off the upcoming exit.

OMGosh…I InAndOuthaven’t been to an In N Out since I was last in California (many, many years ago)!!! So I pulled off, ordered my meal from a fresh-faced kid who was obviously happy to be working (what a treat to notice that!) and I thoroughly enjoyed a lovely burger and fresh french fries (something I RARELY eat anymore). It was wonderful. After I finished, I filled the gas tank, checked out my MapQuest route and searched for hotels, estimating how much farther I thought I’d be able to drive without becoming too tired.¬† I picked a hotel, called ahead and made a reservation (man, that was QUICK and EASY…sometimes technology is AWESOME!!!). So, I made it just past Twin Falls, ID by a little past midnight of my first day of travel.

GROOVYbusThe next day was a little easier…I pulled in to my hotel in Eugene by 4:30pm Pacific Time.¬† The extra hour from the time change gave me a little boost!

Now I had a whole day to rest and acclimate before meeting my group.  So I decided to explore a little of Eugene on my bike.

Check out the super groovy bus I found in a gorgeous park!

 

RichardsonParkCampSunday morning arrived. I packed my stuff back into my car and drove out to the designated

MarinaRichardsonPark

meeting place at Richardson Park (just outside of Eugene).

After finding the group, we set up camp and began our 2-day study of self-contained touring. We¬†learned how to pack, how to travel, how to operate the gas burner we’d be carrying to cook our food, how to read our maps and cue sheets, how the cooking responsibilities would be divided up, how the shared cooking gear would be divided up and much MORE!

blackberriesThe second day of camping we did a short (under 10 mile) shake down ride to test our gear, re-check our bikes and make sure we had everything we needed.  We also stopped along the roadside to pick and eat wild blackberries.  They were so sweet and delicious!!!

Oh yes…there will be many MORE adventures to come!

 

 

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Sew–I needed a new bike

Sunday, May 17th, 2015

My 50th birthday present to myself is a women only Adventure Tour in Oregon (Introduction to Road Touring) this coming July.  I booked the tour in March and started dreaming.

Then, I had a sudden, rude awakening!¬† It had not occurred to me that my current bike wouldn’t work for this new adventure.¬† Silly girl, I am. Well, of course I would need a new bike!¬† A carbon racing bike (my Maddie) is NOT a touring bike and definitely not what I need for self contained touring. Self contained touring means I’ll be carrying my own tent, sleeping pad, sleeping bag, clothing, food, cooking gear, etc. ON my bike…sometimes climbing mountains carrying all that stuff.¬† Maddie is wonderful, but she just can’t handle that type of work.

Hmmmm.

Sew…I spent several weeks researching what bike to get. I narrowed it down to 2 choices, then set out to test ride and make my decision.¬† Finally, I decided on the Surly Long Haul Disc Trucker .

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Sew…now let me tell you about Two Wheel Drive Bike Shop and why buying a bicycle from a GOOD shop will always be 1000 times better than buying from a “cheap” shop.

I ordered my Surly Long Haul Trucker touring bicycle from Two Wheel Drive in Albuquerque last Friday (May 8th) with the understanding it would be 1-2 weeks for the bike to arrive.  I received the call on Friday, May 15th that my bike was in and built for me.

Sew…I went to pick it up and we discovered the size ordered is still too big for me. Even worse, the smaller size is NOT AVAILABLE in the disc version. WTF…ARGGGH!!! What to do, what to do?!!! Well dang…Charlie solved the problem. He ordered just the smaller bike frame (the frame only WAS available in my size) and they will build out my dream touring bike for me.

My mind is blown. My heart is blessed. While I’m disappointed I didn’t get my bike yesterday, I’m 1000 times MORE thankful that Charlie was willing to make sure I get the RIGHT bike for me (over just making a sale!).

BOTTOM LINE: Quality and service are at least 1000 times more important than CHEAP. Support your local bike shop if they support you. If you happen to be in the Albuquerque Metro Area, go see Charlie and his staff at Two Wheel Drive and tell him I sent you.