Welcome to my blog

If you enjoy finding a lot of different outlets for your creativity, then we may just be kindred spirits.
This blog is an outlet for my interest in miniatures, crochet, plastic canvas, and many other various arts and crafts.

I also love walking, taking digital photos, and most recently, have rediscovered an old love...bike riding! I purchased an amazing new bike, a comfy Townie by Electra this summer, and have been having a grand time exploring the area as though for the first time. It's like being a kid again!

If you enjoy any of these things too, pour a cup of coffee and tea, sit down, and join me.

Take care!

Sunday, August 21, 2016

I Want to go on a Bike Tour

I think I'm crazy, but ever since I first bought my bike, and saw that couple at the bike shop with their tandem bike piled high with panniers and towing a trailer full of gear, I've been enthralled by the idea of one day going on a bike tour.

The woman, I don't know her name, told me that they were cycling around Lake Michigan, and I thought that was absolutely amazing.  At the time, I hadn't gone on a bike ride for more than 3 blocks in years, and hadn't yet tried my new Townie by Electra.

I brought my bike home and surprised myself by riding just over 6 km (3 miles) on my very first ride, on July 13, 2016.  I took tons of photos and fell in love with my new bike, and riding. You can read about my first ride here, Bike Ride 1.  
Below is my favorite picture from my first ride. I'm using it as a screen saver.
My Townie Electra on our first ride, July 13th, 2016.

I loved it so much that I rode in 95 F heat with humidity, and it didn't affect my asthma!  Usually even walking a few steps in that heat triggers my asthma but for some reason, riding this new bike is fine.  My old bike triggered my asthma, and so did the one my uncle gave to my Mom and I.  This one fits me better; it's just the right bike for me. 

The next morning I went out again in extreme heat, but it was too soon as I hurt my nether regions badly and it took a week for the tender parts to heal.  I ordered special bike capris with a built in chamois and waited impatiently for them to arrive.  I hated them when they did, lol. To be fair, I only tried them once, on another super hot and humid day, and they were awful for that weather. I'll try them again on a cool fall day to see if it makes a difference. When they didn't work, I ordered a gel bike seat cover via my bike ship, which made all of the difference when it (finally) came in.  Now I can ride 13 km in 90 F heat without problems.  I've learned I cannot ride on days when it's hotter than 90 F with humidity, and this has been a record breaking summer for heat, so I haven't been able to ride every day, as I'd hoped.  

I went for as many rides as I could, taking copious photos (like I always do whenever I go anywhere at all, lol), and then blogged about them.  Then I wondered if anyone else was blogging their bike rides. Then I wondered if anyone blogged about bike touring, so I googled Bike Touring and found an amazing blog called Going Slowly by a lovely young couple, Tara and Tyler, who had gone on a bike tour around the world.  They kept a daily journal of their travels, filled with incredible photos.  I read their entire journal, which spanned years, and although we've never met, I now  feel like I know them, like they're my adorable young distant cousins.  I also ordered the PDF version of Tara's cookbook, but it hasn't been sent to me yet.  Perhaps they are on another of their adventures and can't get to it.  If so, I'm looking forward to reading about it :-). 

Then I discovered the website Crazy Guy on a Bike
and read some cool bike touring journals. 

Even though most of these people travel vast miles (kilometers, here in Canada) every day,  and they consider 50 km a SLOW day, lol, I started to think I'd like to go on a bike tour myself.  I was a bit bummed when I realized that they all have special, super expensive touring bikes, but lets get real; I LOVE my bike and don't want another (unless it's a recumbent; I'd love one of those, lol). As of this point, there's no way I could ever do 50 km in a day; it took me 4 hours to ride 13 km.  I think I could do 20 km a day though, if I didn't stop as often to take photos or rest. The other day, when I was riding on Topsail Island after dark, I was thinking, "Wouldn't it be so cool to be able to stop and camp here?"
Darkness falls on Topsail Island
Riding at night
Of course, it wouldn't be smart to try to stealth camp on Topsail Island, our very busy, unofficial leash free dog park, lol, but it would be cool to try on, say, St. Joseph's Island, which, I've just learned, is the second largest Freshwater Island in the world.  It even has it's own Cycling Guide.

Most people I've read about would cycle around the Island in one day, as it's only about 70 km to cycle around the outer highway.  It's a lot more if you add the inner roads through the Island.  I'm nowhere near being able to bike 70 km in one day, or ever 2 days, lol.  So it would be a great place for my first "tour", taking 3 or 4 days to do what others can do in 1 day, lol.  It would also be fun!
Here's a map of the area: Map of St. Joseph's Island

I have a sleeping bag, and I used to have a tent but God knows where it is now.  It may have disappeared in one of my many moves.  I found a cheap one on Walmart.com though,  so I could always get that one without too much trouble.  I'd need, or rather, want, a simple cookstove...or I could make one out of cans, I guess, and a pot for cooking something simple like ramen noodles or oatmeal, and for boiling water for coffee or tea or hot chocolate or soup.  I'd need panniers.  Gosh, I'd need so much stuff, lol.   I don't know if I'd have the guts to try to stealth camp alone though.  St. Joseph's Island has one camping site that I know of, plus a motel or two.  I could always stay there.
It's fun to dream about, anyway. 

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