Category Archives: bike touring

Book Review: Washington Cycling Sojourner

Walk-in (ride in) campsite at San Juan County Park

An early-years, Carfreedays family tour, camped at San Juan County Park.

edit: Book Party! Book-Release event for Washington Cycling Sojourner at Washington Bikes in Pioneer Square. 5:30pm May 1. Details & RSVP at WA Bikes. 

The  family just returned from a spring-break, car-camping trip to Yosemite National Park. While the park was beyond beautiful, the amount of time spent in the car (and in close proximity to other car campers and RVers who don’t exactly share our “don’t bring everything you own” ethos), had us longing for a another bike tour.

As you may remember, we rode the Pacific Coast Bike Route over the course of the past two summers. The big adventure was, well, adventurous, and highly recommended, but this year we’ve promised the kids we’ll stick close to home for the summer (they mentioned something about friends and beaches and lemonade stands. Hmmm….).

cycling sojournerLuckily, we’ve got loads of awesome bike touring and camping starting right outside our door and extending through out the state. In fact, there’s so much good riding here, that it’s easy to get overwhelmed with dreamy but vague potential, and fall back to the standards (our usual Mukilteo-Whidbey-Port Townsend-Bainbridge loop is always enjoyable, but getting a tad long in to the tooth). That’s why the timing of Ellee Thalheimer’s, (kickstarter funded!) new bike touring guide, Washington Cycling Sojourner is so excellent.

For just about anyone hoping to bike-tour Washington, Thalheimer’s guide is sure to contain a ride matched to your skills, interest, and available time. She even includes a route finder grid aimed at helping you choose the most appropriate tour. Continue reading

Hotel Sidewalk Bike Disassembly (Packing and Shipping Two Tandems)

2013 Pacific Coast Bike Tour
If you’ve been reading our blog for any amount of time, you probably know that Tim is DIY guy. From customizing bikes to making stoves to making a camera stick, Tim likes to make and do things himself. He rarely hires out work that he knows how to do himself. Because he’s a perfectionist. And he’s cheap. And he likes DIY projects. And I love those qualities in him. Continue reading

Day 26 in a San Diego Hotel (Neuroses of a Bike Touring Mom)

Previous post: Pacific Coast Bike Tour Day 25: San Elijo to San Diego

Day 26: Waking up in a plush San Diego Hotel

IMG_2024

I woke up on Day 26 of our tour at 7:00 AM. Bing. I was instantly awake. And everyone else was asleep. I was alone with my thoughts. And my brain started buzzing right away with so many random thoughts about all that we needed to take care of:

Where am I? Oh, right, I’m here in this plush hotel room. 

We made it. I can’t believe we made it. Tim’s knees survived. 850+ miles in 3 weeks. With our kids! We really did it. The Pacific Coast in two summers.  We’re finally here.

These sheets are nice. I’m so glad I’m not in a tent right now. No more stinky tent. No more skanky campground showers. I really hate showering at campgrounds. The dampness. The dirty floors. The gross shower curtains. Where do I hang my clothes? The quarters. I hate wearing flip-flops in the shower.  I can’t wait to take another shower in this nice bathroom. It’s luxurious. And the water doesn’t turn off after 3 minutes. It’s clean. I really do like these sheets, I should get new sheets when we get home. Continue reading

Pacific Coast Bike Tour Days 8 and 9: Oakland to Santa Cruz

previous post: A Drive to Oakland and Rest days in the Bay Area

Day 8: Oakland to Half Moon Bay 

2 giant bikes on Bart?  No problem. #familybiketour @oninformation #fb #acapaccoast

Destination of the day: Half Moon Bay. We started with a Bart ride from Rock Ridge to Daly City. Although bikes are allowed on Bart, two giant bikes take up a lot of space and we didn’t want to be rude. We waited until commute hours had passed, to avoid loading two giant tandems on trains crowded with commuters. Good plan! Bart was mostly empty mid-day and the trip ended up being stress-free and uneventful. Continue reading

2013: A drive to Oakland and rest days in Bay Area

previous post: Seattle to Portland

Days 4, 5, 6 and 7: Portland to Oakland in a minivan then a few rest days in the Bay Area

2 tandems in a minivan

Not much to report about our drive from Portland to Oakland except that two tandems and four people really do fit in a minivan. And driving is tiring. And the kids complained more on our 11 hour drive than they did riding in the pouring down rain on the highway for an entire day. Continue reading

2013 Pacific Coast Bike Tour: Seattle to Portland

Day 3: Castle Rock to Portland

Read our latest installment of our 2013 Pacific Coast Bike tour. Seattle to Portland

 - Anne

Hungry? 21 Go-To Family Bike Touring Foods

slurpees!Disclaimer: In general, food is a polarizing subject. Add bike touring, small town grocery options and it can get even more divisive.

I’m an omnivore. And so is my family. For those of you who don’t eat meat or processed food, just know I’m not trying to offend your food sensibilities. Same goes for those of you who can’t imagine bike touring without energy drinks, freeze-dried food and power bars. Sometimes we eat some pretty gross stuff on tours that we wouldn’t consider at home (gas station deviled eggs, 7-11 hot dogs and mystery meat burritos). If the mere idea of any of that makes you ill, you may just want to skip this post!

Kids and food

For all the parents out there: Do you agree that feeding the family is one of the most high maintenance tasks on your daily list? I like to cook but feeding a family day after day quickly turns into a chore.

A few years ago,  I was trying to figure out what to make for dinner one night when I remembered this site a friend had recommended (if you’re swear-averse, don’t click.) They said it was funny and that it would cure my dinner making blues. I ended up procrastinating for quite some time one afternoon clicking links and laughing. F-bombs and dinner resonated with me at that time in my life. It just didn’t get old.

In all seriousness, kids can be such a pain in the ass when it comes to food. They don’t {ahem} like that, or they say they like it but won’t eat it when the time comes. Or they won’t eat vegetables. Or they’ll eat only raw vegetables. Or they’ll only eat white food. The worst is when they tell you that the meal you just slaved over is gross. Ack! Help!

Add bike touring and meal planning gets more difficult

Grocery Store BBQ, YumYou think feeding two adults and two kids is hard at home? Try feeding them on a bike tour! Three times a day, for 22 days. After pedaling 50-60 miles a day, we all get hungry. And since we’re far from our favorite local organic grocery stores, we have to make do with small town stores that sometimes offend our high-brow-gourmet-food sensibilities.  We might even sink so low that we’ll {gasp} scrounge for anything remotely edible in nasty gas stations! But everyone must eat, so we roll with it.

If you’re interested in family bike touring and food, read on! Continue reading

Lies we Tell our Children (or how to get kids to go bike touring)

Pacific Coast Bike Tour Day 1

When Tim and I recount family bike adventures to friends and strangers, a typical response is, “What do the kids think”? “Do they like bike touring?”

If we were being completely honest, we’d reply, “of course not”. You’ll soon ascertain that we have a slight problem with stretching the truth.

We get kids on board and excited about these trips by over-emphasizing the potential highlights and skipping the parts we know the kids won’t like.

And sometimes we tell all out lies. Continue reading

Winter: A time for Planning Summer Family Bike Tours

What sort of winter hibernation do you enjoy? The Car Free Days family tried to escape the cold and dark by hunkering down at home; reading, drinking gallons of hot tea, cuddling up around the fire, and occasionally getting out-of-town to ski in the Cascade range.

But a few winters ago we started doing something even better with the short, sucky days: dreaming about and planning epic summer bike tours.

Coping with Winter Blahs

With just over 8 hours of daylight during the winter months, Pacific Northwesterners (and Scandinavians, and Russians, and ….) must come up with some way to preserve our sanity day after dark sodden day from November through March. Residents of these northen climes rely on many different methods for coping with winter dreariness. Some use light therapy, others make regular pilgrimages to day spas; soaking in hot pools and sweating away sorrows in saunas. Still others escape altogether with vacations to warm sunny climates. For some reason the historic, go-to strategy of heavy drinking has fallen out of favor. At least in our circles.

A new twist on beating dreary days came from family biking media darling Emily Finch this past December. I spent a good part of my early Christmas vacation living vicariously through her highly entertaining winter indoor-painting-therapy-program:  Continue reading

Day 1: Starting off on the wrong foot, but at least starting

bolt bus tandem loading

photo by David Clifton

If you’re bored with trip stories, you’ll just have to sit tight and wait a little longer for our excitement to pass. Because here at carfreedays HQ we’re not done talking about our Pacific Coast Bike tour.

Bike touring is one of those life changing experiences: you’re not quite the same after returning from an extended tour. But it takes a few weeks and months for those lessons to reveal themselves. Even though we’ve been home for 51 days, we’re definitely still processing the experience. And finding meaning and life lessons in the most mundane parts of the tour. Continue reading