It’s under two weeks now until our next cycling trip, and our training continues to stagnate. If skiing counts, we’re in good shape. We just may not quite be ready for eight days in the saddle. But the preparations continue, regardless.
Rich is our master planner. He avidly reads cycling journals on Crazy Guy on a Bike, the premier website for bicycle tourists and their journals. That’s probably his best source of trip ideas (and their viability). He researches the roads, taking Google Maps down to street view to check on road conditions and make sure they are not dirt roads. He calculates mileages, and researches lodging options. And he makes the necessary reservations. It’s like having my own personal cycling travel agent! Here’s a map of the route he’s planned for this trip.
We’re trying a few new things on this trip. First, Rich found a great organization called Warm Showers, a world-wide community for touring cyclists and hosts. It is built on the premise of reciprocal hospitality. By signing up, we agree to host cyclists traveling through Duluth, and in return we can request lodging with other members in cities on our cycling routes. It seemed like a win-win situation – not only would it save us money on lodging, but we would meet interesting people who share a common interest in long distance cycling. We are eager to try it, and already have two Warm Showers homes set up for this trip. We are also looking forward to hosting our own guests.
Second, we will be doing some camping. We have a 2,000 mile, 2-month trip planned in the Maritime provinces of Canada later in the summer, and know that some nights a tent will be our only option for lodging. So this is our test run with camping gear. On last year’s Trans-Superior Cycling Tour, we had the luxury of staying in a motel each night. So lugging extra gear and sleeping on the ground between cycling days will be novel. We plan to carry minimal equipment – 1 lightweight tent, 2 small sleeping bags and 2 short sleep mats. That’s it. It’s lodging only, not cooking. We plan to test packing our panniers this week to see how it all fits. We’ve added handlebar bags too this year. I can already see this is going to be a bulkier trip. And if spring doesn’t arrive soon, we’re going to need more layers of clothes as well. I think a few fully-loaded test rides will be necessary.
This year I’ve added cycling shoes and pedals to my gear. After a year with “mousetraps” I was ready for the real thing, and Santa delivered. I’ve been practicing with them the last few months and had my first requisite klutzy fall when I didn’t unclip fast enough. But I’m already sold on them.
Plans in place. Gear purchased. Reservations made. Training in progress. Bring on the Tour!