All posts by Bob

About Bob

I am Bob Kissinger, a bike touring enthusiast, who just retirement. As my blog tag line states, I am practicing for this next chapter in my life. Where did I get this idea? A few months back, I attended a seminar led by Alan Spector and Keith Lawrence, authors of the book “Your Retirement Quest”. To get the most out of retirement, Alan and Keith advocate finding activities that give us energy and joy, and start practicing them before retirement. For me, bicycle touring is something I really enjoy. My plan is to bike across American within the first year of retirement. To be ready for this BIG ADVENTURE, I am practicing by taking smaller trips, like overnighters and week-long tours. For example, Pat Napier and I spent a week biking the Natchez Trace in 2014. In 2015, I plan to bike a portion of the Blue Ridge Parkway. This blog site will follow my bicycling adventures. Please check in with me every now and then to see what I am up to. And remember, practice makes perfect!

Breaking in a Brooks B17 Standard Leather Bicycle Saddle – Six Month Update

It has been six months and 1800 miles since I started riding on the Brooks B17 saddle. I wanted to share my experience so far.

After applying the break-in technique that I described in my May 2017 blog, the B17 saddle has been comfortable from the very first mile. It was so comfortable that I could now ride with just one layer of padding. For the last three years, I had been doubling up on padding by wearing a padded liner underneath regular cycling shorts for longer rides. This was the only way I could reduce the pain from pressure points, like my sit bones. Now I only wear one layer (regular cycling shorts), and the ride is much more comfortable with less padding.

I know this may sound crazy to bicycle racing purist, but I decided to buy a second B17 saddle and put it on my Cannondale CAAD10 road bike. I used the same break-in technique, and love the ride! It is like having a road bike with shock absorbers. The flexing leather saddle absorbs nearly all of the road vibrations. I will gladly trade off the extra weight for the added comfort.

But the real test for me would be how comfortable the saddle would feel after a multiple day, self-contained tour. In September, I toured the Adirondack Mountains, completing a 428 mile loop that started and ended at the Albany NY airport. Throughout the nine day adventure, my butt never complained once. Day 7 was the highest mileage day of the tour at 69 miles. I rode from Lake Placid to Ticonderoga. That’s a lot of miles considering the mountainous terrain. Even after seven hours in the saddle, my butt was not sore. I am now a Brooks B17 saddle convert!

As for durability, both saddles look like new. They are just starting to show slight depressions where my sit bones contact the leather. I have not needed to tighten the leather on either saddle by adjusting the tension screw. I bought a Brooks waterproof saddle cover to use on rainy days, which has kept the saddle dry. I will apply a small amount of Proofide leather dressing to the top leather surface every six months per Brooks recommendations. I am looking forward to a very long and pleasant relationship with my two new BFF’s!

Adirondack Park Loop 2017 – Days 8-9

Day 8 (45 miles)

For much of the morning, I rode alongside the Hudson River. It took me a long time to get acquainted with what I was seeing. My memory of the Hudson River was the slow moving behemoth that separates Manhattan from the New Jersey Palisades. It was worth getting to know the younger Hudson that flows fast and free through rapids and falls. This particular view was from a bridge between the towns of Hadley and Lake Luzerne.

Hudson River

Just before lunch in Corinth, I officially left Adirondack Park. Ahead of me was one more climb before trip’s end. I crossed the Palmertown Range with ease. It’s name sounds much more formidable than reality; fear instead the names Graphite Mountain and Whiteface Mountain!

My last night of the trip was in Saratoga Springs. I knew I was officially back in the big city when I learned that there was a vegan restaurant nearby. I ate at the Four Seasons, which served a vegan buffet and local brews. The perfect ending to my mountain adventure.

vegan dinner

Day 9 (the final 34 miles)

The best way to describe the last leg of my trip back the car would be Trains, Plans and (lots of) Automobiles. From Saratoga Springs to the Albany International Airport, I had nonstop interactions with these other modes of transportation. I must have been in a hurry to get home. I left the hotel in Saratoga Springs at 6:30am and did not stop until I reached Lions Park in Niskayuna at 9:30am (31 miles). My last farewell photo of the trip shows the Mohawk River valley just before Lions Park, with the last of the morning fog slowly lifting. After the break I biked the remaining 3 miles to the airport and was packed and driving back to Cincinnati by 10:30am.

Mohawk River

Looking back on the adventure, I realized that the two most impressive views/experiences of the whole trip occurred on the day riding to Lake Placid and on the day leaving Lake Placid. The High Falls Gorge between Wilmington and Lake Placid is spectacular. The Ausable River churns through a narrow gap between high rocky bluffs, showing plenty of white water. I felt I was in the West, not the East. As for leaving Lake Placid, I will never forget the 40mph decent past the Upper and Lower Cascade Lakes just before landing in Keene. The mountains giveth and the mountains taketh away!

Adirondack Park Loop 2017 – Days 6-7

Day 6 (69 miles)

After calling the State Police (they control all of the traffic during the triathlon), I found out that I would be able to leave Lake Placid at 11am on Sunday. Thank goodness the race was only a half Ironman. If it had been a full Ironman, the road south would have been closed all day. Lucky me! As for the triathletes, they are not so lucky. They get to get up at 4am, jump in a 65F lake for a swim, and then ride their bikes in 40F fog before starting the run. Now that’s crazy!

I think Lake Placid wins the award for the most convenient city in the state of New York. I needed to do three things with the limited time I had in Lake Placid: replace my right brake housing and cable, do my laundry, and go grocery shopping. As luck would have it, all three businesses were within two blocks of the motel. Placid Planet Bicycles fixed my bike in two hours on Saturday afternoon, despite a huge influx of triathletes requiring last minute adjusts or repairs. The laundromat and grocery store were right next to each other, so I finished these tasks at the same time early Sunday morning. I was packed and ready to go by 11am, and took the back roads out of town.

Look what I found while leaving Lake Placid! No, not the US Olympic 90m and 120m ski jumps, but blue sky and …… SUNSHINE! My first day of clear skies and dry roads since I started my tour. What a boost to my mood.

olympic ski jump

The road from Lake Placid to my next stop, Ticongeroga, was jam packed with beautiful vistas, lots of climbing, and some pretty intense downhills. The real scary part turned out not to be the 40mph decents, but the motorcycle drivers on County Road 6 between I-87 and Witherbee. These guys would take the winding corners which were posted at 30-35mph at twice the posted speed, and then accelerate on the straights. I could hear then coming from a mile away. I prayed that their tires would hold to the road as they screamed past me and that a car was not passing me at the same time. I safely made it to Ticonderoga and breathed a sigh of relief.

Day 7 (43 miles)

Another day of blue skies and sunshine! It is so nice to be able to see the tops of the mountains.

i can see mountains

Today’s route included the longest continuous climb of my trip. From the town of Hague on Lake George, State Route 8 (Graphite Mountain Road) rises 1,400 feet in 5 miles. It took me 90 minutes to reach the top. And what (or should I say who) did I find near the top? Elephant Rock! I love these little surprises.

elephant rock

I stopped for lunch along the Schroon River just below Brant Lake. It was a perfect spot to relax and enjoy the river’s reflections. Did I already mention it was sunny and nice?!?!

Schroon river reflections

Adirondack Park Loop 2017 – Days 4-5

It’s becoming a routine with me and the weather. Overcast, cold, and occasional rain or mist. I don’t mind, though, because all I have to do is think about what the folks in Texas, the Bahamas, and soon-to-be Florida have to deal with. I’ll take the September weather in the Adirondacks hands down.

Day 4 (43 miles)

I was up at 5am and on the road by 7am. The scenery (at least what I can see through the mist and clouds) is beautiful. I stopped at Tupper Lake for a quick snack and took a picture. I know there are mountains around me, but I cannot see them.

tupper lake

With a slight tailwind, I made very good time to my next destination, Lake Clear, and arrived by noon. I am staying at the Lodge at Clear Lake. It is a quaint, spacious lodge with lake front property. I pretty much had the lodge all to myself. The owners have put a lot of work into the place (all 23 acres). I recommend that you stop by if you are in the area.

Day 5 (43 miles)

I was up and on the road by 6:30am. The predictable weather was there to greet me. Today would be my first big climb into the mountains, with the chance to get up close and personal with the clouds that have been floating just above me. As I approached Whiteface Mountain, the grade steepened significantly. The last three miles to the crest were some of the steepest I have ridden (and this includes the Blue Ridge Parkway). I reached the top of the foggy grade, and immediately started barreling down the backside at 40mph. Such a contrast! At the bottom of the mountain was Wilmington, where I stopped for my second breakfast and warmed up from significant windchill.

In Wilmington I noticed that there were lot of bicyclers on the road, and I mean a lot. They were riding very expensive tri-bikes. I first thought that Wilmington must be home to a serious bunch of health fanatics, but I came to find out that up the road 12 miles in Lake Placid there was going to be an Ironman 70.2 triathlon the next day. All the bikers were checking out the course and making sure their bikes were in good working condition.

As I  made my way to Lake Placid, I passed by the Whiteface Ski Area (and I was passed by a lot of those triathletes on their tricked-out tri-bikes.

whiteface ski area

The town of Lake Placid was anything but placid. More like Lake Hustle-and-Bustle. Triathletes, friends and family were everywhere. Now I know why my motel room at the Placid Bay Inn cost about twice the usual rate. Ah, capitalism at its finest, or is it that a fool and his money are easily parted. You get to pick!

lake placid

When I checked into the motel, the proprietor told me that there would be road closures during the race. Yikes, I forgot about that. Would I be able to leave Lake Placid in the morning, or would I be stuck here in some warped version of Groundhog Day? But that’s a story for another day …..

Adirondack Park Loop 2017

Days 1-3

I am so excited for my first (and only) bike trip this year. I will follow the Adventure Cycling Association 395 mile Adirondack Park Loop. I will start and end at Lions Park in Niskayuna NY, and go clock-wise around the loop. My plan is to camp and cook if the weather is dry, or stay in motels and eat at restaurants if it rains.

map

I took two days to drive the 723 miles from my home in Cincinnati to a hotel near the Albany International Airport. I parked my car at the airport long term lot for $6 a day. There are hotels near the airport that offer on-site parking, but I decided to use what I thought was the more secure option.

Day 1 (53 miles)

I was on my bike at 6:30am for the two mile ride from the hotel to Lions Park where I connected with the Mohawk-Hudson Bikeway. My trip had officially begun!

lions park

I was only six miles into my adventure along the Bikeway when I turned a corner and saw the GE Global Research Center. What a surprise! I worked for GE for almost 32 years, and I have visited the Center a handful of times while working for the GE Aviation business. I did not know I would be passing in front of the Center. A GE engineer on his way to work on a bicycle stopped and told me that I had the much better day ahead of me. I agreed with him 100%. Retirement is nice.

GE Global Research

There was quite a bit of traffic on the road after I left the Bikeway, but there was a decent shoulder and the drivers were courteous. I made it all the way to my final destination (Microtel in Johnstown) without getting rained on. I was so lucky. The only rain shower that passed over me was during lunch in Broadalbin when I was under cover.

Day 2 (50 miles)

I was not so lucky with the rain today. I rode in the rain all day long. I had the right gear (rain jacket, rain pants, heavy gloves and shoe covers) so I stayed warm despite the cold, wet environment. Mid-morning I crossed the Blue Line, which is a term sometimes used for the boundary around Adirondack Park. The rain did not care about the boundary; it was generous to me on both sides.

blue line

I finished the day in Speculator, where I stayed at the Cedarhurst Motor Lodge, an antiquated but adequate motel.

Day 3 (48 miles)

Another overcast, windy day with showers in the forecast. I was on the road by 7am. Those of you who have followed my previous trips know that I am a connoisseur of yard art. I had never seen “rock art” in my travels, so I had to stop and get a photo of Pig Rock, who must be some distant relative to Kid Rock.

pig

I stopped for mid-morning coffee at the local general store in Sabael. Two young men were behind the counter, so we started a conversation. Turns out they both tour on bicycles, and have experienced trips across the USA, Alaska, and Asia. They pointed out s bicycle hanging high up in front of the building (which I did not notice coming into the store), and told me that it was the bicycle their father (grandfather?) rode while touring Europe many years ago. Great stories (and I apologize to them for the parts that I did not get straight!).

old bicycle

I managed to dodge most of the rain, and avoided a one hour deluge by hanging out at the Blue Mountain Lake gas station while the storm blew through. I arrived at Long Lake by late afternoon and stayed at the Motel Long Lake and Cottages. It was a nicely updated motel right on the lake.

Solar Eclipse – 2017

Did you see the total eclipse that traveled across the USA on August 21? I did!

I live in Cincinnati OH, which was not in the path of totality, so I had to find a location south of my home. I checked out Hopkinsville KY, but by May all of the rental homes in the area were pretty much taken. I was finally able to find a house near Murphy NC located on Lake Hiwassee. It was a six hour drive to get there, so I was hoping it would be worth the drive. The eclipse map promised 2 minutes and 27 seconds of totality.

Eclipse Map

What a great location. We were near the lake, so my son and his girlfriend could kayak, paddle board and fish. It also had a pool so my daughter could cool off after sun bathing. With a full kitchen, plenty of bedrooms, and our ISO approved eclipse glasses, we were set for the four day weekend.

I wanted to take pictures of the eclipse, but did not know how to safely do this. I studied all the literature, and was able to collect the equipment and camera settings necessary for a successful photo shoot (I used Fred Espenak’s recommended settings for totality) . I even practiced photographing the sun and moon beforehand to be sure that my camera (Canon PowerShot SX50HS) was up to the task. My first pictures of the sun showed spots on the surface of the sun. What I thought was dirt on my Neutral Density 5.0 filter turned out to be sun spots. Wow! I did not know I would be able to see sun spots.

The two and half minutes of totality goes by quickly. I read over and over again that if I wanted to get good pictures of the total eclipse, I had to practice all of the changes in camera settings beforehand to be sure that I could fit all the different features (diamond ring, Baily’s Beads, prominences, and corona) into the short timeframe. This I did about twenty times before the actual eclipse. I know this sounds nerdy to many of you, but what can I say? I’m an engineer!

The only variable I could not control was the weather. I was hoping for a few openings between the clouds to get a few shots of the partial and total eclipse. Was I ever lucky. The entire three hour event was cloud free. From start to finish I had a clear view of the sun and moon. Here is a montage of the astrological event.

Solar Eclipse Proression 2017

And yes, I was able to take pictures of a diamond ring,

diamond ring

Baily’s Beads,

bailys beads

prominences,

solar prominences 2

and the corona.

Corona 2

I had read that small dots of sunlight that filter through the trees will take on the shape of the sun as it is eclipsed by the moon. Sure enough, the sunlight on the ground became crescent shaped, just like the shape of the sun before totality. Amazing!

Shadows

So my four day weekend was perfect. I spent a few days with my family, and I got to witness (and photograph) a total eclipse of the sun. I cannot wait for 2024, when a total eclipse will pass within a few miles from Cincinnati. See you then!

 

 

Updated – Underground Railroad Bicycle Tour

 

Updated Aug 29, 2017 – Three days before my bicycle trip was to start, my older brother, Scott, died. I had to fly back to Spokane WA to help my father and nephew take care of all the lose ends. I decided to postpone my Underground Railroad bicycle tour to an unknown future time (and year). Scott is in a better place now, and I pray he finds peace and love in abundance.

_________________________________________________________________________________________

May 2017 – It’s finally warm enough for my first bicycle tour of 2017. Yeah! No more winter rides with three layers of clothing to protect me from the cold. No more spinning in a stuffy room going nowhere. I was able to bike about 600 miles since January, so my legs are ready to go.
My plan is to ride a portion of the Adventure Cycling Association Underground Railroad Bike Route. I will leave my house in Cincinnati and bike to Erie PA, and include the Pittsburgh Spur. From Pittsburgh, I will ride US Bike Route 50 to Columbus OH, then retrace my route back to Cincinnati. It should be about 900 miles round trip, and take me three weeks to complete.


The UGRR route follows one of the many paths used by slaves as they fled the South in search of freedom. The entire route of 2006 miles starts at Mobile AL and ends at Owen Sound ON.

To learn more about the Underground Railroad, I went to the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center with my wife, Michiko, and daughter, Jennifer. We are lucky to have this gem in our community. This was my second time visiting the Freedom Center, but it was just as emotional as the first time. I will never be able to fully grasp the pain, suffering, humiliation and death that was heaped upon slaves in this country. I get angry when I hear whites say that it is time for African Americans to “get over” the past. So easily said, but oh such an ignorant statement! Slavery was established in the US in the 1600’s. Generation after generation of African American families suffered this abomination. We are talking about 300 years of bondage. Despite the ending of slavery after the Civil War, African Americans have had to endure prejudice and segregation. My simple arithmetic says that it won’t be until the year 2300 when there has been enough time for healing to occur. The healing will happen a lot faster when I accept that my ancestors were responsible for perpetuating slavery and prejudice, and I sincerely ask the African American community to forgive me for this sin.


I look forward to stopping at all of the points of interest along the route from Cincinnati to Pittsburgh. If all goes according to plan, I will leave home the day after Mothers Day (May 15). Please follow my blog as I explore Ohio and Pennsylvania on a bicycle built for one (and a lot of stuff).
P.S. Some of you might be wondering why I am not biking across the USA this spring. So goes the best laid plans. We are in the midst of remodeling our house, so I am postponing the cross country trip to 2018. This change in plans will allow me to take another bike tour this fall. I will bike through the Green Mountains of Vermont and the Adirondack Mountains of New York.

Breaking In A Brooks B17 Standard Leather Bicycle Saddle

The biggest challenge I face on my bicycle touring adventures is trying to keep my butt pain-free, especially those last few hours of a long day of cycling. It is not my legs that give out, or my neck/arms/wrists getting too tired. It is my butt telling me in no uncertain terms that it is going to call the Butt Protection Agency if I do not stop immediately. Something had to change, and it was not going to be my butt!

I have tried many different saddles. To date, the most comfortable saddle for me is the ISM Adamo Prologue. I have it on both my road bike and touring bike. It is great for rides up to 3 hours, but can be uncomfortable for longer rides. I have read many stories about the legendary Brooks line of leather saddles. They have been making bicycle saddles for 150 years, so there are a LOT of stories. It appears you either love their products, or you hate them with a passion. I was desperate, so I decided to try their classic touring model, the B17 Standard.

Out of the box, the saddle leather is hard as a rock. The challenge is to break the saddle in, meaning the leather is supposed to become pliable, and start to conform to the shape of your butt. More specifically, it will mold to your sit (or sitz) bones. If this takes too long, the rider quickly becomes one of the “haters”. I had measured the distance between my sit bones using a cardboard technique I found on the web, so I knew the B17 Standard has the correct width for my anatomy. Now the critical question: How long will it take to break this puppy in?

There are some very aggressive approaches to softening the leather of a bicycle seat. These include soaking the seat in water, followed by smearing large amounts of mink oil or neatsfoot oil on the top and underside of the leather saddle. The risk with this approach is that the leather can become too pliable, and it will quickly stretch beyond the capacity of the nose bolt tensioning system to keep the leather taught. If this happens, the saddle is worthless. At the other extreme, applying small amounts of Proofide (Brooks recommended leather dressing) to the saddle leather every six months may require 1000 or more miles before the leather is softened enough to become comfortable. I chose a middle ground approach.

I decided to only use Proofide as a leather dressing, so that I would not over-soften the leather. I pre- heated my oven on the LOW setting for 15 minutes (I am guessing the temperature to be about 120- 130F), then placed the saddle on a cookie sheet in the oven for 10 minutes. When I removed the saddle, the leather was warm to the touch, but not hot. I then coated the top and underside of the saddle with almost all of the Proofide that came in a small foil package along with the saddle. I let the saddle sit for 24 hours, buffed the top surface, installed the saddle on my Surly Long Haul Trucker, and went for a 20 minute ride. The leather was still hard as a rock, but the overall comfort of the saddle was not too bad. I decided to repeat the above heat/apply/age process, but this time I put more Proofide (from a 25g tin I ordered separately) on the underside of the saddle in the areas where my sit bones would contact the top saddle surface. After 24 hours, I placed the saddle on a smooth, hard surface, and started kneading the wide part of the saddle with the heel of my right hand. The sides of the saddle would flair out as I did this. I also kneaded the narrower part of the saddle where the three vent holes are located. I did this once a day for three days. The leather was definitely starting to soften up.

I have since ridden on the saddle for two 25 mile rides and one 42 mile jaunt, and I think I am going to love this saddle. The leather is soft enough to conform somewhat to my butt, and also absorb some of the bumps in the road. In a week I will go on a three week, 1000 mile tour. I will let you know how the saddle and I are getting along.

A few words on attaching the saddle to the bike. I ended up moving the B17 saddle much farther forward compared to the position of the ISM Adamo Prologue (at least 1-2 inches). I also used a level to be sure that the B17 was dead on level from front to back. These adjustments seemed to improve the comfort of the saddle. I can now ride in the drop position (hands on lower part of drop handlebars) and on top of the bars for many miles in total comfort.

Japan 2016

In early October, a Buddist memorial service had been arranged for my wife’s (Michiko) mother, grandmother and aunt. We planned a trip to Nagoya, Japan to attend the memorial service, and tour Japan after the ceremony. Two of our adult children, Jennifer and Alan, also accompanied us.
We arrived at the Buddist temple in Nagoya on Sunday, October 9th. The main temple was recently rebuilt, and was beautifully framed with large cedar beams. The distinct smell of fresh cedar gave the temple a feeling of being connected to the forests of bamboo and evergreen trees surrounding the temple. The memorial service took place in an adjacent temple. The alter was filled with ancient artifacts, including a statue of Buddha that was one thousand years old.

img_0133
Most of Michiko’s family from Tokyo, Nagoya and Detroit attended the ceremony, followed by lunch at an udon restaurant near the Nagoya train station. It was a time to visit and share, as we do not get a chance to see Michiko’s family in Japan very often.
On Monday, we started our two week adventure in Japan. Michiko was our tour director. She had spent many hours creating our itinerary, with help from Alan. It was a combination of visiting her home town of Kyoto, checking out major tourist attractions, and going to prefectures where Michiko’s ancestors originated. Here is a quick summary of our adventures:
Nakasendo Highway – The Nakasendo Highway is a walking trail that connected Edo and Kyoto. We walked the 6km between Otsumago and Magome. It was a beautiful mountain trail with waterfalls and alpine vistas.

img_0134
Toba/Ise – Toba is the home of Michiko’s grandmother. It is famous for it’s cultured pearls. We went to the pearl museum on Pearl Island, and watched a special pearl diving demonstration by Ama divers. On the train ride back to Nagoya, we stopped at Ise to visit the most famous Shinto shrine in Japan.
Hiroshima – We visited the Hiroshima Peace Museum. For me, it was very emotional. War causes so much death and suffering. Innocent civilians so often bear the brunt of war’s destruction. Below is a picture of the Cenotaph Memorial, which includes a stone tomb that contains the names of over 220,000 who died as a result of the atomic bomb. In the background is the A-Dome.

img_0136
Matsuyama – We bathed at the Dogo Onsen, one of the oldest and most famous Japanese bath houses, and we toured the Matsuyama Castle high on top of a mountain. What a view of Matsuyama!

img_0137
Kochi – Kochi is the home of Michiko’s ancestors. We visited the Kochi farmers market, a 326 year old tradition that is 2km long and the oldest outdoor market in Japan. It takes many hours to visit all of the market stalls. I bought figs and homemade daifuku (omochi with sweet beans inside) to snack on during our many train rides.
Kyoto – Visited the bamboo forest at Arashiyama with the kids. Beautiful walk along the cool, shaded paths.

img_0138
Kobe – Visited with Michiko’s aunt, had lunch near the Kobe harbor, and rode to the top of the Kobe Tower to get a panoramic view of Kobe.
Tokyo – Our last city to visit before flying back home. We had dinner with Michiko’s brother and his family at a soba restaurant. We seldom see his family, so it was a treat to visit with them again. Throughout our trip, we were constantly dodging bicycles. It is a very popular mode of transportation. I only wish we would do more daily bicycling in the USA.

img_0139

Four years ago, Michiko traveled to Japan on her own (a bucket list item for her). She stayed mostly in hostels to save on cost (rates are $30-$40 per night per person). When making plans for the 2016 trip, she made reservations at the same or similar hostels that she had used four years ago. I must admit that I was very tentative about the accommodations. I envisioned large dormitories with rows of bunk beds, and youngsters up all night partying and whatnot. Well, I was completely wrong. The Japanese hostels were extremely comfortable. Because we were a group of four, we had private rooms with either two bunk beds or four futons laid out on tatami mats. Do try out a hostel in Japan. You might be pleasantly surprised like I was.

Lake Michigan Loop – Post Script

image

What did I learn while biking, cooking, eating and sleeping solo for 30 days? One thing I learned was that I if I bike across the USA sometime in the future, I will not do it alone. I think these adventures are meant to be shared, despite the tensions that arise when two or more people try to get along in close quarters for an extended period of time. My next challenge will be trying to find someone who can put up with me and my quirky nature for more than a day or two.
I know that I am hooked on bicycle touring. It is a unique mode of travel that gives me the freedom to go at a slower pace. It attracts curious passers-by. I have never been approached by so many strangers asking me where I was from, and where I was going. Then we would talk for sometimes 20 or 30 minutes about all sorts of things. What’s the rush?
There were a few discoveries on my trip that I thought I would share with you.
1. “And God rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done.” Ok, so God is a lot smarter than me. My first day of rest was on Day 10, with only one more rest day on Day 17. One day of rest each week is a good thing. I mean, if was good for God, it should be good for me, too. Right?
2. The state of Michigan is made entirely of sand. Mountains of sand 1000 feet tall. Sand is everywhere. Be very careful. Bicycle tires do not turn well in sand. You may fall over and hurt yourself. I did. Twice.
3. Do not use the Cricket tone on your iPhone as an alarm. The real crickets and cicadas are much louder and they will drown it out. You may miss something important, like the reminder to call your wife.
4. Bicycle touring is an “all you can eat” diet. I ate seven or eight times a day, and still lost eight pounds. Second breakfast was my favorite meal of the day. Is it possible to fit a third breakfast into the morning hours?
5. The weather radar ap is the most valuable function of a smartphone. It is dangerous to ride a bike on a busy road in the rain. Knowing that a storm is imminent and being able to find a warm, dry place to wait it out is priceless. Just make sure that the warm, dry place serves food, coffee and/or alcohol.
Well, there you have it. I have no more words of wisdom. Take care, and thanks again for tuning into my little show on wheels.

image