I recently returned with some friends and family from an unconventional vacation: riding bikes 110 miles over two days to Clifty Falls State Park, where we hiked and rested for a day…then rode back over two more days. Along with Kurt, Derrek, Hopi and Don we put together a bicycle tour journal with photos and stories featuring a home-built recumbent bike, wild parsnips, “road closed” adventures and more.
A first bicycle tour post-child. My wife assured me that bringing a three-month old baby on a bike tour would work out fine. For me, taking the trip was important for establishing that life does go on after children arrive.
See the complete tour journal of our bicycle tour from Richmond, Indiana to Clifty Falls State Park and back.
This was my first week-long self-designed tour. In the past I had added my own extensions to Cover Indiana and GABRAKY. Unfortunately, on both of these organized rides, I experienced some knee problems, and the fixed distances and schedules left me feeling locked into the event schedule.
By organizing my own trip, I had the flexibility to redesign the trip on the fly and use a more personally meaningful route– riding from my home to visit family and friends in central Kentucky, about 150 miles away.
See the complete tour journal.
I banked my bicycle towards the sign labeled “International Circus
Hall of Fame”. On the outskirts of Peru, Indiana Hopi and I pedaled
down the rural road looking for something that would live up to the
name on the sign.
I thought we were close when we passed what appeared to be flying
trapeze rigging sitting in a field in front of two large barns. Still,
nothing looked active or open.
I paused in front of a plain trailer with a small window labeled
“TICKETS” on one end. As a dog barked nearby, I was working up the
courage to knock on the door of what increasingly appeared might be the
Read the complete tour journal.
By the 40-mile morning rest stop in Willisburg, I was about ready to give up again, and my bike was making a strange creaking noise at times. Scott, our ever-present mechanic from Pedal Power was there to help. Meanwhile, I snacked on Clif Bars and Advil and rested.
A small screw on my brakes was stripped he said, and he didn’t have the part to replace it with him. This was necessary to hold my back break on.
I ate a banana, drank some water, and let him tinker some more, half hoping a mechanical failure would be my excuse for not completing the day. Already, all but the slowest two riders had come and gone from the rest stop.
But dropping out was not my fate. A few minutes later Scott had jammed a wire cap perfectly into the stripped hole, and promised a full brake kit replacement that evening. He just happened to have parts for the exact model in stock.
So I was back on the road again now with no riders in sight ahead or behind me. At least one hill was too much for my knee before I got to the lunch stop. I got off and walked the bike up it.
Read the complete tour journal.
Early May, 2005
“What did you pay for that?”
“What IS that?”
Along the route, I got the opportunity to try out a loose dog defense technique I’d read about. I squirted the barking booger in the face with my water bottle when he got close enough. The dog did in fact stop immediately, as confused as anything else.
Today was the first real test of my new Rans V-Rex ‘bent. After a week of waiting, the new derailleur was finally installed. I planned a twenty mile solo trip to Whitewater, Indiana and back. Out on my own, I was going to find out how the new bike compared to my old one longer trips.
One part was no surprise. As a recumbent, it was definitely a more comfortable ride. The only part of me that was a little sore coming home was my legs.
The ride to Whitewater was a little disappointing. I just wasn’t keeping the speeds that I wanted to. The terrain was some of my favorite– the rural gently rolling hills of Indiana, with peaks and valleys that are often only 10 or 20 feet apart in height.
I did notice suspiciously that each new peak seemed a little higher than the last. When I arrivied at Whitewater, my average speed was lower that I would have liked: about 14 mph.
I had not been to ‘downtown’ Whitewater before that I recall. As I ride through each of the small towns around Richmond, I have almost always discovered a new General Store or cafe that I hadn’t noticed before.