Category: cycle touring

Potomac River flood near Edwards Ferry

Escape from the Potomac Flood!!

This weekend was supposed to be all about getting out on my bike to enjoy a wilderness camping trip to Harpers Ferry and back. Instead, I woke up yesterday morning to several inches of water surrounding my tent. Technically, I think I was in the actual Potomac River at that point. Rather than focus entirely on my safety, I decided I should shoot a video*.

Enjoy, Escape from the Potomac Flood! Read more about lessons learned over at my bike touring blog, PedalShift.

*In retrospect this strikes me as one notch removed from the legal definition of reckless. But, hey: another YouTube video for the world, right?

Wildlife + Ghosts

Yesterday I ran into two creatures that I shot…. with my iPhone camera:



I also biked past a “ghost bike” for a guy who may very well have been struck on that spot:


Very sad, and as you can see by the date, the incident probably happened since I was last biking here. I think bike touring is fundamentally safe, but like all things in life, there’s always a risk.

If you want to destroy my sweater

The title of this post comes from a Weezer song which has very little to do with sweaters. The post itself has very little to do with Weezer. So there’s that.


Yesterday I lost my wool sweater. It fell out of my bags about 10 miles short of camp just over the California border. When I realized it was missing, I went through the seven stages of grief, sliding into acceptance. So be it. The bike tour gods willed it so.

Then something remarkable happened.

A guy from Utah piped up… “Hey, what color is it? I think I saw it.”

“Dark Green.”

“Yeah, that was it – it’s by the lilly farm about 10 miles back.”

“Ahhh, yeah.” Acceptance stage was already cooling. “Well, losing things happens on tour. It is what it is,” I said with a casually dismissive tone.

“Oh, I’ll go get it.”


“I’ll go get it.., it was only about 10 or 15 miles back!”

After several minutes of profusely thanking him for his (batshit crazy) notion, I thought all was settled that he would not go bike 90 minutes and 20 miles to rescue a sweater for a guy he hardly knew.

About 87 minutes later, the group du jour sitting around the fire were enjoying a beer when someone asked where the guy from Utah went.

“No. No, he did not.”

“Didn’t do what?”

I explained the sweater rescue plan that was scuttled – or so I thought.

On cue, in the finest tradition of stage and screen, my sweater rolled into camp securely bungeed to the rear rack of a very, very crazy dude’s bike.

So, next time someone asks why I like bike touring, I’ll show them my sweater. Because there’s no way I can in good conscience lose it again…

The people that you meet when you’re biking down the street

No signal at Humbug Mountain, so this Saturday post comes to you Sunday.

The last few days have included the usual interesting array of dramatus personae for this little tour:

– the trio of Mexican university grads who (as a gift to themselves) are biking from Alaska to home in Guadalajara. Fun group and great stories.
– the solo expat Brit who, despite being a Spurs fan (not you San Antonio), is a funny and interesting guy.
– the dude with the camping hammock who probably wished he brought a tent given the dearth of decent trees at the sites… in Oregon. I know… define irony.
– another Brit (it is cool to say Brit, right?) who’s introduction was “hey I just biked 110 miles to catch up with the group!” and managed to impress everyone.

There are a few others but given the work day coming in Crescent City on Monday, I’ll be setting the reset button and will be traveling with a new group. They’re a day behind me right now. I’ll camp with that group for a few days before my work day in Fort Bragg puts me with the group two days behind me. It’s kind of cool that these work days maximize the number of people I’ll meet.


Portland to Newport

What a great ride so far! The Goblin is behaving well, the miles are easy and all is fun. I had a work day in Newport today… Listen all about it over at pedalshift. A few fun things so far:

– first biker I saw was heading north… He glanced over at me, flashed the peace sign and said, “Life is good, right?”. Loved that. I didn’t hesitate to reply, “right on.”

– very international flair this time – last night I shared the hiker-biker site north of Newport with a couple who were Canadian and a Brit who started his ride in DC. He’s milking all 90 days of his visa til he flies out of SFO at the end of July, not bad. Tonight, my camp area are a couple from north of Paris who started in Vegas. The French are apparently immune from heat 😉

– county campgrounds in Oregon are now triple the cost of state parks if you walk up. Although I dearly love Pelican Pub in Pacific City, next time I won’t pay the premium to camp across the street.

– Newport ain’t ugly. Here’s the view from where I’m tapping this out:


This was the damp, misty view at the aptly named Cape Foulweather:

Follow more over on Twitter – @timmooney and for more about working on tour at pedalshift. Lots of pics on Instagram too.

The Goblin’s Identity Revealed!

Many of you remember my west coast bike, the Green Goblin. It’s a vintage REI Viaggio Safari of (until just now) unknown vintage. I bought it at a Portland bike co-op that helped restore it to its current glory.

The thing is… the Internets have no info on this beast. None. I spent the last year googling in vain trying to find something (anything!) that would clue me on the details on the Goblin’s origin story. I tweeted Novara, I asked REI mechanics… no one had a clue.

And then I stumbled on this little gem… the 1998 ACA Touring Bike Buyer’s Guide. And there it was:

1998 Novara Viaggio Safari


A nice review, and it’s definitely correct because it has that weird reverse-spring deraileur that will definitely screw me up if it ever blows on the road! And, of course, you can definitely tell that’s the Goblin in the pic. It’s nice to know (finally!) what I’m riding.

And I get to see the Goblin as soon as Saturday… we fly out tomorrow for Portland and the WDS conference. Tour starts the 15th, so I get to rock some local Portland rides first. Looking forward to it!



Hey, if you dig this, you’d probably like my podcast Pedalshift. Its all about bike touring and stuff!

Do not try this at home

I took my first gnarly header over my handlebars the other day… I refuse to engage in finger-pointing (particularly since I have about a 50% blame-share) but I would like all pedestrians to please listen on multi-use paths for people like me who need to get by them. Had I been able to remain on the sidewalk, I wouldn’t have had to get off the sidewalk. This is important, because when I got back on said sidewalk, it decided to jam my wheels in a way that stopped bike momentum. This is a problem, because I kept going… and fell on the rough sidewalk… and skidded… for a few feet.



Contact point numbers 1-5 now all are pretty shredded up, but healing. The left knee never really wanted to close up until about 2 days in (hint: that’s when you’re supposed to get stitches I think?). The road rash on my left forearm is the worst… that’ll take a week or more to stop smarting (see above). The heel-of-hand scrapes are particularly fun when typing.

Like I said, I have to take some blame here… I was rushing, there was no need to take a risk and go off the sidewalk onto the grass. Still, I can’t help but feel like I need a little help from pedestrians who are unaware of requests to move to the right when a faster person (biker, runner, walker?) who is sharing the path with them needs to get by.

But now I have some solid biking scars to share. So there’s that.

It’s Goblin Time

Back in the day, there used to be Miller Time.

Today, I polished off a major project that was a monkey on my back for months… so, I’m reminded of that old commercial.

So, I went to pick up some beer and look what I found at the corner market:

IMG_3381This seems familiar… hmmm….


Behold, the Green Goblin!
Behold, the Green Goblin!

Ahh yes, the Goblin. I believe it’s awakening from his slumber in a box in my brother’s garage. It hasn’t rolled since last summer’s adventure, and in two weeks… I’ll be back to get it ready for a Portland to San Francisco ride.


(Ok, I’ll admit to having had a couple of those beers. Please disregard the all caps.)