Notes from my first bicycle camping trip

Early May, 2005

Need a Ride?
I got several positive looks and comments as I pulled my full loaded recumbent bicycle out of town. With the trailer and bright yellow pannier covers, it was hard to miss.

“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.

I had chosen a conservative destination: Hueston Woods State Park and Oxford, Ohio, about thirty miles away.

I brought the Kool Stop trailer because it seemed the only way to haul the giant tent we had. I made a mental note to investigate tents small enough to fit in a pannier, even if they don’t have enough room to sleep four people.

I left with several worries. I was worried the bike would be too slow when fully loaded, that it wouldn’t handle well, that it would rain, and that I wouldn’t arrive until after dark.

All my worries were unsubstantiated. The weather was great for a pale skinned guy like me: Overcast and cool, without rain.

My cuisine on the trip was very much flavored by the raw foods lecture by Paul Nison from the night before.

For evening snacks I took a banana, an orange and some dried fruit trail mix. Halfway through the ride down, I repacked a pannier so I could easily reach in and get a handful of trail mix as I was riding. This is a bonus feature of the recumbent underseat rack system!

This system worked nicely and averted the need to prepare a meal when I got settled at 9 pm.

Although the bike felt heavier and slower, my average speed didn’t seem to be affected much. I traveled the thirty miles there with an average speed of 17 mph, faster than I expected.

This morning I sought to continue the raw foods influence by heading towards the Krogers in Oxford, Ohio for breakfast. I was pleased to find a well stocked pay-by-the-pound salad bar, which would comprise the bulk of my breakfast. I made a mental note to pack a fork next time. The highlight of the meal was a fresh coconut I bought.

I found a city park a block from the grocery to enjoy my meal in. It took me several tries to discover which pocket knife accessory would be best for drilling into the coconut. The corkscrew was the answer.

I sucked all the coconut milk out the hole I made and saved the rest for later.

That brings me to the present moment. I’m typing this out on the laptop I brought, overlooking the Oxford skatepark. While I’ve been writing, the first two skaters have shown up on this Sunday morning. I’m tempted to go see if I can borrow a board for a minute.

Oh, they left.

It’s been a good trip. I’m going to cruise around Oxford for a bit and then hit the road back home.

Next week I’ll start my first bike tour, Cover Indiana, which I now feel well prepared for.