Brand new rain coats! Kristen and I went a little nuts when we took a drive to REI in Ann Arbor this past weekend. It was an awesome store with a huge line of bicycles in front, then sleeping bags, kayaks and rock climbing gear. We looked around for a bit, then started to look for rain coats. That was my entire reason for going there — rain coats. I had been looking for a solid coat to take with us up here in Traverse City, but didn’t buy one because I didn’t know Kristen’s size.
If you were interested, it was our 1-year anniversary of dating, and instead of buying silly gifts for each other, we went with the practical. We finally decided on the two jackets to the left, both GoreTex PacLite shells. They fit great, have amazing taped seams, and look hot. 🙂
The MSRP was $250, but we found them on sale for $174.50 each, which was a pretty big price. I know we don’t NEED them, but there isn’t much I dislike more than riding my bike in the rain and getting all hot and humid inside my jacket. This baby will breathe and be a treat when we’re crossing mountains and into valleys where the humidity can change dramatically in minutes.
Our next step in our gear is a handlebar bag. Wayne at TheTouringStore.com sells exactly what we need – the Lone Peak 20H-Bar Packs http://thetouringstore.com/LONE%20PEAK/LP%20H-bar%20Packs/H100%20H-BAR%20PACK%20PAGE.htm
The price is $74, free S&H, plus $12 for a rain cover (which we WILL be getting).
Wayne is out on vacation until July 12, so I won’t hear back on the order from him until then. I’m pretty sure we’ll get a red one and a blue one…
AND I’m just about to finish Tim Ferriss’ “The Four Hour Work Week”. Talk about the right book! Talking about outsourcing and limiting time online. I have 2 mins before my internet usage for the morning is up…
Writing this from Oryana Food Co-Op in TC. Riding the bike around with the new shorts Kristen got me this past weekend. More on those to come!!
Kristen and I decided to postpone our purchasing of our tickets 1 day, so that we can talk it over in person. Today is Friday, July 3 and I won’t see her until the 5th, early in the morning. After work, I’ll be making the 200 mile drive from Traverse City to Lansing to celebrate her room mates 21st birthday.
When we’re together, we’ll head over to REI in Ann Arbor and check out the camping gear we’ll need. This will quite possibly be the most expensive weekend we’ve ever spent together!
Work at the bar has been strong, making yesterday the busiest day of the year. I got in at 4pm and was sprinting behind the bar, making cocktails and pouring beer until 11pm. Although I couldn’t even break to go to the bathroom, I was able to snack on some orange slices, drink a hemp protein shake, and enjoy a fresh-pressed lemon+lime+water in glass.
Tonight is the Polka Festival in Cedar, Michigan. It’s a small town outside of Traverse City and it’s a total riot. Lots of loud polka and bratwerst. I’ll enjoy some fresh fruit while I’m there, and dancing with just about every member of my family. In light of the dancing and the last 2 days of HIIT, I just did a 2 mile walk with my dog to get him exercise and to move my body around. I like to switch it up when we walk… jog backwards, forwards, wide steps. I like to keep it fresh, just for fun. I’m sure it helps with my muscle development at some level, but it’s also just fun. The dog gets confused and he runs alot more because of it.
Honestly, I’ll miss my parents, sister and dog a TON when I’m gone on this trip. Jake, my yellow lab (8 yrs old) has been my best friend since I moved home from college. He’s always around and we get along great.
But… Tickets on Monday. BAMN.
Here’s the story behind my bicycle, Aretha, and what’s been happening inside my mind for the last few years…
During my junior year of college, I was introduced into biking from a girlfriend of mine. I had only ever ridden mountain bikes (even though I lived in suburbia!) and the first time I got on the road bike, I was amazed. The speed that you could go, the distance… it was incredible for me! I feel like the bug hit me a little late in my youth, but it bit me hard.
She searched for a nice used bicycle for me at garage sales across Ann Arbor, and finally gave me a nice 1980’s Japanese 18speed, an Azuki. The bike was made out of lugged steel, silver, and had pretty wide tires (about 1.5inches). I rode that bike HARD for a full year at Michigan State University. I rode it to work, to class… it was the greatest thing I had owned up to that point. Then, on the last day of my last semester of my junior year, I rode down to drop off a take-home exam. I had forgotten my lock, but I knew I was only going inside for a few minutes, so I knew I’d be fine.
When I got back out, my bike was stolen.
Fast-forward 2 months later and it was July. I was heavy into biking, useing any bike I could find or borrow to play on. I decided to upgrade to a proper road bike with the ability to take it touring, because that was the next logical step. I searched online, in the stores, and ultimatly decided between 2 different models – the Trek Pilot 1.2 and the Specialized Sequoia. They were both race/tour bikes, and fit well. The prices were the same ($1200, marked down to $800 because they were last years model!), so I had to pick based on color. I went with a red and black Trek Pilot 1.2 and fell in love.
In the rest of that summer, I went from 205lbs down to 175lbs. The only thing I was doing was distance… no intervals, no actual training regemin. I purchased just about every book by Chris Carmichael on his plan with Lance Armstrong, and I started going through the sequences, the One-Leg drills, the recovery rides, nutrition, everything.
By the time I went back to college, I was healthier than I had ever been in the last 8 years, and I was in great cariovascular shape.
During my senior year of college, I tried to figure out what I was going to do with myself after graduation. One mantra that I repeated was “bike tour … bike tour…”. My best friend had moved to Gainesville, FL earlier that year, and I clocked the distance at 2500 miles or so. I could ride to see him in about 30 days.
Then I started aquiring all the gear I needed. I started with a Hennessy Hammock (Backpacker Ultralite Asym), then moved to the panniers (Ortleib Backpacker Plus). My rack was a Blackburn, and my fenders were stock from another bike I had owned. Then, I discovered CrazyGuyOnABike.com, where people all over the world record their bike journies. I remember reading one guy who was traveling around the Ring of Fire — SW most point of South America, up through Mexico, out Alaska, down the east coast of Russia, the islands, and ending up in Austrailia. The catch was — he was going ALONE!
Then I caught wind of a trip from Istanbul to Ireland (http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/?o=3Tzut&doc_id=3070&v=x8) 15 countries in 45 days. I got ahold of Gearoid and we chatted for months about the trip. How expensive would it be? Where would I sleep if I didn’t want to stay at B&B’s? Could I swing it?
After long debate, I realized that the only thing holding me back was a lack of money. The trip was set out to cost a mere $2500, the trip of a lifetime, but I couldn’t afford it after returning from college.
At that point, I picked up work mowing lawns, and kept the idea in my head about touring.
About the time I started mowing lawns, Kristen and our relationship started to take off. To spare you the details, we started seeing more and more of each other – even though we live about 180 miles apart. Our relationship turned into one of adventure and a bike tour is the next step.
I continued to pick out gear for my tour, although I had no dates, and kept in shape. My goal was to postpone the trip a year, so that I would go in Fall, 2009.
I pitched the idea to Kristen months ago and she was instantly interested. After figuring out financial issues, we have decided to go in mid-September, 2009 and return in January 2010.
I will go into detail later about what our plans our, the other equiptment we share on our bikes (saddles, lights, etc. ) and try to provide a real cost analysis of what to expect if you’re planning your own 4-month European Bike Tour.