I’m a big fan of bicycle touring! My most recent trip began on July 21, 2013. Here’s the scoop: my family was invited to a wedding that was going to take place in Stockbridge, MA. My wife, being the awesome wonderful understanding person that she is, gave me the green light to bike up there and meet her and the kids. We were to stay at a house in Hillsdale, NY for the weekend, so that ended up being my destination.
I will do a separate post on the planning, routing, and equipment for bike touring. For now, if you are interested in seeing the route I took, you can check out the following links on RidewithGPS: Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, Day 5.
For this particular trip, I enjoyed riding along the Delaware River for the first three days, averaging about 50 miles each day. The cycling was undulating, with a few steep climbs on day 3 especially. There are some wonderful quiet roads along this route, and they take you on each side of the river, so there are several opportunities to cross the river. I biked past Washington Crossing, through scenic towns such as Lambertville, and Frenchtown, and criss-crossed the Appalachian Trail numerous times. On day 4 I rode east across the state towards the Hudson, crossing it on Bear Mountain Bridge. The final day was the longest at 75 miles. My friend Tom joined me for the first 40 miles, and after some pretty brutal climbs, I joined up with the Harlem Valley Rail Trail for much of the final trek north.
I travel solo and self-supported. That means I carry all my own gear: tent, sleeping bag, food for the entire trip, stove, etc. It creates a rather heavy bicycle, but it’s a great way to go. All together, the bike is a bit over 30 pounds, and all the gear add up to an additional 40-50. Fortunately, the bike is built for it, and since much of the weight is food, I get a bit lighter each day!
It was a very pleasant trip. The weather was hot and humid, with a pattern that included a late-afternoon shower, clear evening, then rain at night, then clear again in the morning. If it’s going to rain, this is a pretty good way to go! I only had one flat tire and no other major mechanical issues.
One can see lots of wildlife on a trip like this. I saw lots of deer, some foxes, and even a small black bear. I’m sure if I knew my birds better I would have seen lots of great ones. I need to work on this.
As I mentioned earlier, I’ll do separate posts on the variety of gear. If you’re interested in doing some bike touring, I highly recommend joining the Adventure Cycling Association. They have amazing resources, including maps, equipment, and even their own guided tours.
I’ve done several other tours in the past, and try to do one week-long trip each year. Life sometimes gets in the way, but I’ve done my Skyline Drive trip (Waynesboro, VA to DC), my Lake Michigan Loop (South Haven, MI to Ludington, across on the ferry, then down to Chicago), and the Great Allegheny Passage/C&O Towpath from Pittsburgh to Washington DC. It’s a great way to travel!
Keep the rubber side down, friends!