Bike touring, Adventure Cycling, and I go back a long, long way. Here’s a history of all the bicycle touring I’ve done.
- In 1976, the inaugural year for the Transamerica Trail — when Adventure Cycling was called Bikecentennial — I signed up to do the Kentucky Bluegrass section of the trail. This was a van-supported tour. Most nights we slept in gymnasiums or similar accomodations. I actually did this tour wearing Hush Puppies. No helmet. What a dork!
- In 1979 I took a Bikecentennial Leadership Training course in Bowling Green, OH. I was not selected to lead a trip, so another would-be leader (Marcia) and I did a bit of Wisconsin and the U.P. of Michigan.
- In 1981 I did the western half of the Transamerica Trail with another Bikecentennial group. Self-supported camping. Bata Bikers! Oh yeah, and I finally had a helmet — an original Bell of course. (I know it’s a long shot, but if anyone is out there from USW707 — Joe, Lisa, Karen, Bob, Libby, Charlie — shout out!)
- In 1982 I rode the Elroy-Sparta trail in Wisconsin with Steve, an old college roommate, and Paul (a.k.a. “Hez”) a friend of mine from Madison.
- In 1985 I rode from Seattle to Jasper, AB. I think I finally had “real” cleats by then (the slotted type — this was before clipless pedals). I started the trip with four others whom I met via the Companions Wanted section of the Bikecentennial newsletter. We rode together to eastern Washington, where they continued on their cross-country journey and I turned north to Canada. About one day later i met Tim, a dentist from back east somewhere, and we rode together the rest of the way.
- In 1986 I did a “leaf peeper” tour of New Hampshire and Vermont with Tim.
- In 1987 I was fortunate enough to get a paper accepted to a conference in England. Since my university had a policy of paying the travel expenses for grad students who got papers published, I jumped at the chance to box up my bike and head to Europe! I soloed through parts of England, France, Belgium, and West Germany. This tour ended on a down note as I crashed on the road going into Karlsruhe. So I took the train over to Munich and spent a few days drowning my sorrows at Oktoberfest before heading home!
- In 1990 I took a fully-supported tour — van, motels, restaurant meals — through the San Juan mountains of Colorado. This tour was run by Colorado Heartcycle. Wow, what a difference riding a racing bike and not carrying packs makes! We were done by about 2pm each day and we sat around the motel pool drinking beer. A whole different experience!
- In 1991 I took another, less memorable Heartcycle tour. I had a lousy time because of the group dynamics, and I really don’t remember any of it.
- I’m not sure what happened to me in the ’90s, because I didn’t tour again until 1998, when I did the first of three consecutive Ride the Rockies tours. On this tour, your gear is carried by a truck and you have a choice of either camping or motelling or some combination of the two. There are so many people, you stand in line for food, you stand in line to shower, you stand in line to use the port-a-potties. It’s a big rolling party and it was fun for awhile, but now that I’ve had the experience I don’t think I need to ever do it again!
In 2001 I got married and started having kids, and that was the end of my bike touring career. Until now, that is…