May 2013

Month: May 2013

Oh yeah, my bike tour

Although I’ve been slogging away on details for the big fall adventure, I’m trying to keep my eyes on the bike touring adventure coming up in July as well. The problem has been actually getting on my frieking bike. The weather the last few weeks has been a bad combo of cold and wet, and neither of those two things gets me excited to get on a bike. Throw in the extra time planning the tour and the impending 6 week absence of Kimberly in France… well, biking has been more theoretical than actual.

That should change soon… we’re in a dry spell with highs in the 80s, meaning temps at dawn are more 50s than 30s. I’m hoping to do a 30 miler Friday and maybe an overnight this weekend.

The work/ride extravaganza is a kickoff for my new theory… I should be able to work and tour at the same time. I have the connectivity, the desire and the job(s) that (largely) can make this work. So, the grand experiment takes the form of a 21 day ride from Portland to San Francisco, with 16 riding days and 5 zero-mile work days. Here’s how it’s looking:

  1. bike tour 2013PDX – Keening Creek
  2. Pacific City
  3. – work day –
  4. Bev Beach or bike shop hostel (Newport)
  5. – work day –
  6. Honeyman
  7. Sunset Bay
  8. Humbug Mountain
  9. Harris Beach (Brookings)*
  10. – work day –
  11. Elk Prairie
  12. Eel River RV Park (Fortuna)
  13. – work day –
  14. Ave of Giants
  15. Standish-Hickey
  16. MacKerricher Beach (Fort Bragg)
  17. – work day –
  18. Manchester Beach
  19. Bodega Dunes
  20. Samuel P Taylor
  21. SF

* If I’m feeling good and the light is with me, day 9 could add another 25 miles (pretty flat ones too) across the state border and to campgrounds in Crescent City, CA. I can do the work day from there and tackle the big hills right out of town on a shorter day to Elk Prairie on Day 11.

This route follows the standard camping posts in “the book” (aka Bicycling the Pacific Coast Highway, the tome you see in a lot of panniers and handlebar bags on the ride). I’ve ridden every mile of this route… just not all at once. I intend to finally conquer this with the extra time I have, plus relax into it a bit with the off days.

Quick gear update… some readers had been asking about the brake converter for the Goblin. Well, it finally arrived. I hope to install it on my Marin (the never discussed black converted MTB that wallows at my cabin begging to be used from time to time) and see how it feels riding a 700c wheel on the front and a 26″ wheel on the back. My guess is I won’t notice. If that’s the case, come July I’ll fly out to Portland with my 700c dynohub wheel, the usb gizmo that takes the juice from the dynohub and makes it 5v/USB, a front fender and the brake converter. A little surgery on the Goblin, and we should be good to go… with green juice.

Ok, now I’m starting to get geeked up for the ride…

Three things to stay on top of when planning a big tour

With Tranquility Tour, I’m learning a lot about how to organize big events. It just so happens there’s about 20 of them, and they’re spread out over 11,000 miles…

Stay organized – I’ve been using Google Forms to keep all of the city organizers’ submissions in a single spot, and their responses to my questions dump into a single spreadsheet. I may not trust you Google, but I thank you.

Stay simple – every time there’s an instinct to make something complicated, I ask, “can we achieve the same things with a simpler format?” This keeps me sane.

Stay focused – it’s so easy to spiral into the details of each city, the route, the RV… everything. However, staying focused on the steps that need to get done now allow me to complete every step so I can be less attenuated for the details that will come later (I’m looking at you British Columbia ferry schedule! Do not beguile me with your times and your temporal limitations on my island hopping… yet.).

What things do you stay on top of when you plan a big event?

Lillie update: I spent about a half day cleaning the camper up, assessing electrical systems and (most importantly) sealing up the roof. If you’re ever into a camper/RV/etc. the first thing you want to check is the condition of the roof. The second you get a leak, you start into problems that include structural issues. These are things you don’t want on a house that hurtles at 55 mph+ down the highway.

We just bought some LED light bulbs to replace the incandescents in the camper. They consume 8x less energy, which means we can run off of batteries (“dry docked” or “boondocked” in RVese) that much longer. As soon as I get my battery meter installed I intend to run the lights and charge up some the computers off the batteries and see how long we can go. That will inform the decision to go with a solar system or not. After consulting with my father (an electrical engineer) the best bet may be to do a solar system that charges just the electronics rather than hook yet another charging mechanism into the camper batteries… that would be a third method (the alternator charges the batteries as we roll and when we plug into electric at a campsite or home, they charge). Apparently cleaner systems are more efficient. Go figure.

Here are some “before redesign” interior shots and I’m out:

IMG_3268 IMG_3270