I’m sitting at my computer, attempting to figure out how to start this blog post, and it’s just not coming. I feel like there are very few words to describe a bike trip.
On Monday I got back from a really long bike trip with my dad. Were on-bike for five days, averaging about 45 miles per day. In the end, we biked 231 miles! The plan was to bike from my parents’ new home in the country to my grandmother’s house in central Minnesota.
I found as I was biking that it wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. The first day was really rough, but I feel like that was more because of the heat and humidity than the workout itself. I was pretty tired that night, but that’s just to be expected. Each morning when I got up and got on the bike, I felt stronger. We got progressively faster and faster as well. Dad, being the kind of biker that he is, has all kinds of nifty gadgets, one of which being a speedometer, so it was cool to track our speed.
Here are a couple of snapshots of the trip.
Total Miles: 231
Average Miles a Day: 45
Average Speed: Between 10 and 12 mph
Average Hours on-Bike: 5
But what’s much cooler about this is the stories that I’ve got, and the experience of being on the road in such a non-traditional way. Here are some of the stories:
This was by far the hardest day. We had the farthest to go on Tuesday, and it was really hilly land, AND it was most likely over 90* that day. Once we got to our destination, it was really hard to find our way around, because it was right next to a river, which meant that the geography of the area was extremely hilly. The campsite, however, was gorgeous, and the town itself was quite cute (once we were showered and not lost).
This day was quite similar to the previous day. We stayed in Cambridge, MN, which was undergoing really heavy construction along the only main road in the town. This made biking into town really, really stressful. It also meant that we got caught up for an extra hour.
Thankfully, there was a reward to our getting caught in construction: And that was fixing my bike seat! It wasn’t adjusted correctly to suit my bike, and was angled funnily. That meant that I was sliding around a lot on the seat, and generally more uncomfortable than I needed to be. The guy also re-wrapped my handlebars, which was definitely in need of doing.
That night we stayed in the fairgrounds. At first I was really creeped out by the conditions. I mean, seriously. Who doesn’t find off-season fair grounds creepy? But it turned out that the fairgrounds were used fairly often, and there was even a horse clinic going on that night! So I got to watch some kids ride horses for a couple of hours while chilling out and eating some pretty good camp-stove soup.
This was one of my favorite days on the road. It had a rocky start, because once again we had to get through the construction again. Once we got to the other side of the construction, we were sailing.
We ended up taking a highway that we hadn’t anticipated taking, and after a couple of miles on that highway, we passed a farm. We saw some people crowded around what looked like a lawn mower. Then, one of them started to hail us down. We stopped when we realized he was wearing a bike helmet.
So we stopped, and it turns out that that little farm was actually a bike hostel. The guy who lived there was bored, and so he turned his barn into a bike hostel. He had it all decked out with three bedrooms, two showers, maps all over the place, and he was going to be installing a fridge, microwave, and potentially a small cook-stove. It was so cool!
The guy who ran out to hail us down was named Derek. He and his friend, Kate, were on day two of their Minneapolis to Seattle bike trip. They asked dad and I if we wanted to ride with them, and we agreed. The place we were camping for the night was the halfway point for them for the day.
Turns out, we had a lot in common, and at the end of the day exchanged emails/phone numbers/websites. When they get back, if I’m not in India, we planned on going out to a movie or something. Very, very cool.
That night I pretty much crashed. The miles we’d traveled seriously caught up to me, and I could barely stay awake.
This day we traveled from our camp site to my relatives’ house. Visited my cousins,people I very rarely see, and when I do, it’s in a large group of people.
The biking itself was fairly uneventful, until we turned a bend. At this point there was more weird traffic due to it being Memorial Day Weekend. We figured that a lot of people were headed North to their cabins or whatnot. Then we rounded a bend, and discovered that we were on the road that led to the Mud Fest. I’m not sure what this entails, but more than one of the cars that passed us too closely were flying the Confederate Flag. That should give you some kind of an idea why we were relieved to be past the Mud Fest.
That afternoon we pulled into my cousin’s house. He’s a great deal older than me – more like dad’s age. Married to the daughter of my oldest uncle. Anyway, it was really great to stay with him because I very rarely get the chance to see him outside of large family gatherings. We went to a local history center, and I played rummi with his son, and we took turns beating the pants off of one another. (Side note: On this trip, I think dad resolved never to play rummi with me. He’s the one that wanted to play for money.)
Got up early, cousins made breakfast, packed our things, and set off to Grandma’s house. It was a fairly nice ride. I noticed that as soon as the sun was above us, the biking got a lot harder. We didn’t set out as early as I would have liked to avoid it, but it was also our last day, so that’s not a big deal.
Stopped at my cousin Russ’s house on the way to Grandma’s. He’s a famous artist, and just so calming to be around. He has invited me multiple times to go up to the cabin and draw with him, and I think that would be good to do at some point.
We arrived at Grandma’s at 2:30, and discovered that the rest of the family was coming over too. I got to see a lot of my cousins that I very rarely see, and I got to see them in a setting that was less hectic than a huge family gathering.
And thus ends the bike trip story! I will update again with some of my favorite pictures in the next couple of days. I felt like I just needed to get this *out*, as it’s been a full week since we got off our bikes.
I’ve got some more posts up my sleeve, but this one was just too epic to let sit there any longer. The others are also not specific to a particular time.
Well, I’ve got to get back to my research. I hope you have a wonderful day!