Category Archives: Bike Touring
Before we departed on the tour, we put together an Excel spreadsheet of daily activities and allocated a timeframe for each one. This is thanks to our spreadsheet guru, Boris, who even had the foresight to allocate several hours for “mingling with our hosts,” which falls into the “evening routine” category below.
In the first couple of weeks, almost everything about the timetable was skewed. We were riding for 10 hours instead of 7 and sleeping 5 hours instead of 7.5. Let me tell you, when you ride for more than 80 miles per day, those 3 hours of “Boris/Anna Work” don’t look as enticing as they do on an Excel sheet. But, once we figured out how to fit in more sleep and less cycling, with just the right amount of brain power left for work into our schedule, the daily numbers began to resemble our initial projected figures (to our great surprise). Continue reading
Boris and I have had our fare share of travel experiences. For us, one of the beautiful things about extended travel is connecting with people – people who are kind, interesting and willing to give you a hand if you find yourself in a bind. Boris experienced this on his many car breakdowns while traversing Africa, and I have seen it too when living with local families in Peru and Ecuador. But I think both of us can safely say that we hadn’t experienced true generosity in our home country, the great US of A, until this tour.
Everywhere we turn, we find that people willing to lend more than a hand. They offer us food, lodging, and best of all, friendship.
We’ve had almost 30 nights of stays with either Airbnb or Couchsurfing hosts. Almost every host goes out of their way to be welcoming and accommodating. Some have waited outside their homes to see us ride in safely in the dark, cold rain. Others have brought milk and cookies to our room. Some have even given up their own beds for us! Continue reading
When we began to plan the route for this trip, we had several agendas in mind. The most important was to pass through centers with a strong bike presence, so we could learn what different cities across the country are doing to promote bicycling. We did some research and came across Bicycling.com’s “America’s Top 50 Bike-Friendly Cities,” which was the basis for our initial destination choices.
By the time we had mapped our final route, we were excited about seeing some of those Top 50 places firsthand to learn what makes them bike-friendly. Though we’re not yet halfway done with the tour, we’ve already gained a lot of knowledge and insight into what various cities are doing to encourage cycling and introduce it into mainstream culture.
So, how exactly does a city qualify to be placed on a list of the top 50 bicycle-friendly cities? Continue reading
On a long stretch of unpaved trail, away from traffic and big cities, two bicyclists ride. With no one else for miles, the only sounds they hear are the whir of the wheels turning, an occasional snapping twig under a bike tire, or a whoosh of fallen leaves swept up by the momentum of their passage.
Spring weather has gifted the trail-side with flowering Trillium, fragrant wild leeks, and a healthy display of life that has been dormant for months. Hawks circle the open expanse of water searching eagerly for fish. The occasional fly-fisherman wades into the meandering river, casting his fly rod with skill and precision.
This roughly 335-mile stretch is the combined route of two of the Northeast’s most impressive trail systems: the Chesapeake and Ohio (C&O) Canal Trail and the Great Allegheny Passage (GAP), creating a complete, off-road corridor from Washington, DC to Pittsburgh, PA — and our path for four days. Continue reading