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Showing posts from 2015

On Riding, Writing and Sitting Still

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I'm on a writing retreat at the Anderson Center in Red Wing and took a break from my writing yesterday and this morning to get out and ride the Cannon Valley Trail. The CVT parallels the Anderson Center's property and to get to the trail I only need to bike a few blocks down a hill. I simply can't resist  riding the trail when I'm here! The CVT is my favorite bike trail and although I've ridden it many, many times, I never get tired of riding the trail or the beauty that surrounds it.

With the leaves gone from the trees, I expected the scenery along the trail would be somewhat bland. But I was wrong. I spent most of my rides simply taking in the beauty along the trail. The sun shining through the bare trees. The green moss on rocks and fallen logs. The brown leaves covering the hillsides and carpeting the woodsy floor.

On my ride to the Welch trailhead this morning, I noticed a newly constructed Marshall Memorial Rest Area alongside the trail. On my way back throug…

Milltown's Bikepacking Event - a recap

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Owen and I have done some bike packing of the "credit card travel" variety where we slept in hotels instead of camping. We like credit card travel but want to branch out and actually go bike packing for "real" where we carry tents and sleeping bags and all. But, since our camping experience are mostly limited to camping with our families when we were children, and our most recent tent camping experience was, let's just say, rather stressful, we know we have plenty to learn.

We have many questions about bike packing from "What's a bivvy sack?" to "How do we carry all of our equipment on our bikes?" So we were super excited to learn that Milltown Cycles was offering a bike packing "how-to" event for beginners.

The event sounded perfect for us so I signed Owen and I up right away. I also decided to bring our kids, Rose and Ryan, because they've been wanting to go camping for some time and actually have more recent camping expe…

Ride a Century? Done!

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On Saturday, I completed a goal I've had for quite some time - I completed a century ride on my Salsa Vaya!

I'm proud of what I did - I'm getting kinda teary-eyed thinking about that moment when I realized I rode my bike for 100 miles! You see, a century ride is something that I never though I could do when I started bicycling six years ago. It's not something I thought I could do earlier this summer, even. But rides like the Box of Frogs, Riotgrravel and my bike packing trip have made me feel stronger both physically and mentally. As the summer progressed, my century ride thinking morphed from "Hey, I think I can do a century" to "When I do a century I'll ride my Vaya" (it's my most comfortable bike) to "I'm going to do a century this fall."

I rode my bike to train but I think the most important thing I did to get ready for this century ride is this - I told myself I could do it and started to believe I could, in fact, pedal m…

Coffee and Hammock Adventure

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It's raining this afternoon so my mind is going back to last week when the weather was perfect and I went on a perfect bike ride adventure.

Last Wednesday, my friend Katy and I headed out for a bike ride from Northfield to Caron Park. Caron Park is a county park located about 8 miles south of Northfield. The route to Caron started out with a killer hill (called Question Mark Hill by the locals) and there are a lot of other hilly portions on the route as well. We managed to ride them all, though, and found our way to Caron Park.
One of our plans for the ride was to have an adventure coffee like we did on our Coffee Outside Ride. I was out of fuel for my little Esbit pocket stove so Katy packed a one burner camping stove in a backpack so we could have coffee outside. First, though, we had to find an ideal location. Katy knew of a waterfall in the park so we set off on some single track (created and maintained by the local mountain bike club - CROCT - The Cannon River Offroad Cyclin…

Prepping for a Century

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About a month ago when Owen and I were on our bike packing trip, I decided I'd like to do a century ride. I've long wanted to do a century ride but have been somewhat intimidated by, well, riding 100 miles all at once. On top of that, a lot of the organized century rides are pretty challenging. But Owen came up with a century ride idea that sounded good to me so I'm going to give it a go!

Owen came up with a hundred mile route that is all on bike trails, most of them crushed limestone. I'll ride my comfortable Salsa Vaya and Owen will ride his Salsa Mukluk. Owen has done a half a dozen century rides before (he completed one yesterday as part of his ten ride personal road biking challenge) but he's never ridden a century on a fat bike. So we'll both be doing something new - I'll do my first century and Owen will do his first fat bike century.

The route will be fairly easy to ride and I plan to stop a lot along the way to rest and drink coffee (I do that on m…

Coffee Outside Ride!

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It's been a goal of mine for quite some time to actually have an "adventure coffee" bike ride. Many of my bicycling friends post pictures on Instagram with the hash tags of #coffeeoutside and #adventurecoffee and it always looked like a fun thing to do but I didn't even have a suitable pot in which to boil water let alone know the first thing about what sort of equipment I might need. So, I talked to some of my bicycling friends, most notably Michael L. and Christopher T., to ask them what I needed to get set up to make coffee outside and come up with some suitable gravel bike routes to ideal coffee break locations.

I discovered that the little Esbit pocket stove my son Ryan has would work well enough for a stove. I still needed a pot and a coffee making system of some sort so I went to Milltown Cycles last week and talked to Curtis about getting set up to make coffee outside.

Curtis was very helpful and I ended up purchasing a nice little GSI Outdoors Pinnacle Soloi…

Meandering Sunday Morning

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Today I am thankful for gravel girlfriends and meandering bike rides.
I met up with Katy and Joy this morning at about 9:00 for a gravel ride. Katy had not had coffee because her husband, who was camping with their two kids, had the French press. So our ride started with a short hop to downtown Northfield where we enjoyed a cup of coffee at Goodbye Blue Monday. 
After coffee, we headed out on a Strava bike route that we had ridden before. Even though we had a set route, we were liberal with how we followed it and made a detour within the first few miles to take a picture of our bikes on Waterford Bridge. It's important to take pictures of your bike leaning up against things. It really is. Then we rode on and meandered around the country on a perfect Sunday morning. We rode with speed at times and at a slower pace at other times. We took pictures, especially of Joy and her new bike - Pixie Duster. We talked. We stopped at times to check our route. We stopped once because a wasp stu…

Bikepacking Trip Wrap up

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Our bike packing trip is complete and now, three weeks later, I'm finally getting around to writing up what is probably my last blog post about the trip.

The first thing to address is the big question - do we want to go bike packing again? 

The answer? Yes! We definitely want to do more bike packing and include camping into future adventures. Bucket list routes include (but are not limited to) the Katy Trail in Missouri and the Elroy Sparta Trail in Wisconsin.

Secondly, a big Thank you is in order to the good people of Milltown Cycles, aka Milltown Premium Adventure Goods for equipping us with our bikes, our seat bags and for fielding lots and lots of questions about bike packing.

Now here's our bike packing wrap-up report with info on equipment, weather, coffee and other stats! Not interested in bike packing? Well, this might be kinda dry stuff so you might want to skip down to the bottom to the Coffee section of this post and call it a day.

Bikes: Owen rode his 2013 Salsa Mukluk…

Back to Day 3 - Bike packing adventure

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It's coming on two weeks since Owen and I went on our bike packing trip so I figured I'd better get back to writing about day 3 as I promised to do in my last post.

We started Day 3 in Luck, Wisconsin with super weather once again. Owen and I keep thinking we'll get going early but it was about 9:00 a.m. by the time we had breakfast, packed up and were on the trail again. We headed south on the Gandy Dancer Trail for St. Croix Falls, an easy 15 mile ride and found our way through some city trails to downtown St. Croix Falls.

Owen wanted to see the falls, so we took some pictures then found a little coffee shop, Coffee Time, and had lunch. They were busy and we had to wait awhile for our order, but the two women working there were so sweet and the food quite good so it was well worth the wait.
We wanted to stop at Cyclova, a bike shop a couple of doors down from Coffee Time, but were bummed to discover that they were closed on Tuesdays. We looked in the window instead and s…