Monday, August 10, 2009


Through the glory of technology, we all get the chance to experience, vicariously, so many things. The internet puts stories in our laps, things we might never have thought of before, people we never knew existed. Through the "Adventure Cycling Association" we get to hear stories of a fraction of the many people who have traveled across America by bicycle and stopped in Missoula, Montana. The Association has an online gallery of these pictures of Greg Siple, who started taking pictures and recording the stories of bicycle tourists as they passed through town. Every type of cyclist is represented, every kind of story from people all over the world.

We are lucky, here at the blog, to be able to share a few of them many stories in the gallery. Head over to the Adventure Cycling Association site to see them all and maybe get inspired to do a little bicycle adventure traveling of your own!

Rural Song


Hazel Rickard, of Portland, Oregon, and her sister Heather rode the TransAm Trail from west to east in 2008. Hazel used the trip as a catalyst for songwriting.

“I brought my mini-banjo and took it out to play whenever we stopped. The west was marked for me with boom and bust towns and widows reaching out to us like daughters, telling stories about cowboys and ranching and a slow life, alone but with great faith. The plains brought children and families so welcoming, telling stories of farmland and oil drilling, love of the wind and the openness. Moving into the hills of the east there were the homesteads, porch sitters, backyard graveyards, lone chimneys and stray dogs.

“This trip re-affirmed my faith in this world – there are so many kind people building up their communities, craving to connect, but content with a calm, rural life.”


Balance & Bering


Eben Wood proclaimed himself a fisherman when he came by in 2008. Perhaps it was spending time in a rocking boat off the coast of Maine, where he lives, that allowed him to pull off this phenomenal pose – a track stand while standing on the top tube.

Eben and his eleven companions were riding from Portland, Maine to Portland, Oregon.

He wasn’t carrying much gear for such an ambitious ride, but for some reason included a rock from the Bering Sea in his kit.


Out of Town Guests


Where have all the weirdos gone? That’s what Marion Rhodes, 28, of Dunedin, New Zealand wanted to know after riding across America last summer with her friend Victoria Johnstone, 27, also of Dunedin. Apparently the pair received repeated warnings from concerned locals to “watch out for the weirdos” as they made their way from Bar Harbor, Maine, to Vancouver, British Columbia, via Jackson Hole and Yellowstone National Park. It was their first bicycle tour ever.

“I think they must have been locked up for the summer because we didn’t meet a single one,” said Rhodes of the weirdo factor.

In fact, said Johnstone, America and Canada treated “these two Kiwi lassies” very well, as the pair met lots of people, saw lots of things, and were “barked at by lots of dogs.”

“We only feared for our lives once on the whole trip, due to heat rather than any hominid interference,” said Johnstone.

Traveling 5,000 miles in 91 days, the pair is now sold on bicycle touring (“Self-propulsion rocks!!!” writes Rhodes) and remain perplexed by only one aspect of their trip – the language barrier.

How many ways can you say ‘Maine?’” asks Rhodes in what is likely a rhetorical question. As in the following conversation, repeated several times during the trip.

“‘Where did you girls start cycling?’”


“‘Where’s that?’”

“‘You know, the state – Maine.’”

“‘Never heard of that one.’”

“‘Sounds like plain. East Coast, Bar Harbor, Acadia National Park ...’”

“‘Oh, you mean Maine!’”

Sure, Maine. (Before we judge our fellow countrywomen and countrymen too harshly, we really should hear Victoria and Marion speak.)

Flats, on the other hand, were not a problem for the pair from New Zealand, until they neared the end of the trip that is.

“We both were puncture-free until about the 3,680-mile mark, when Vic had her first,” said Rhodes. “She went on to have four more; my record was one puncture in 5,000 miles!”

With a record like that, these two “Kiwi lassies” shouldn’t wait too long before taking on their next tour.


Sleight of Hand


Just after this photo was taken Keith Barney, 38, of Alpine, Utah, completed the 1997 edition of the Tour of the Swan River Valley on a three-wheel hand cycle. The tour is a two-day, 220-mile event beginning and ending in Missoula, Montana. Keith, who had competed in 99 wheelchair road races, called the tour "a good warm-up for an attempt at the 24-hour record for hand cycling." The record currently stands at 240 miles.

Keith was joined on TOSRV West, as the Swan River ride is known, by two other hand cyclists, one from Salt Lake City, Utah, and one from Butte, Montana. All three men completed TOSRV without being sagged.

"The course was harder than I imagined it would be, but that was part of the mystery of signing up," wrote Keith. "The newness and mystery just enhanced our excitement. I should have expected no less from a course that winds its way through the Rocky Mountains."

Keith is serious about making an attempt on the 24-hour hand cycling record, perhaps aboard a hand-cranked recumbent, but he also sees less competitive cycling pursuits in his future. Such as riding across the country on a tandem being made by a fellow hand cyclist who is starting a hand cycle company. The tandem will accommodate both Keith and his wife, Trish, who is not disabled.

"It may look funny, but I think we can come up with something that works well," said Keith. "We want to help to dispel the myths that society harbors toward the disabled."

While Keith was riding TOSRV, Trish was completing her first metric century on a newly purchased Klein.

"When I spoke to her on the phone, she was excited to tell me all about it," said Keith. "She is now sure that she can join me on next year's tour. Wherever I choose to run off to, she wants to go along."

In fact, Keith is certain that a cross-country tour is in the future for his wife and him. They are already riding together on a regular basis.

"She couldn't keep my pace on her old mountain bike. Now that she has the Klein, I am stretching to keep up with her," said Keith. "It really feels good."


The road is calling, people! Get out and change your life. Ride a bike!


  1. Great post! I love hearing these inspiring stories. BTW the link to the ACS is broken :)

  2. noted and fixed/ thanks cycle jerk, arent they great!!!

  3. Adrienne? Totally OT- but your Batavus.. is it a three speed? If so how does it handle the SF hills? My friend has a bike shop in Ma and has a silver batavus on sale for $395. I'm wondering shuld I take the plunge or just hang on and wait....

  4. MamaVee- My Dutch bike is quite un-Dutch. It has 27 speeds! There are a number of people in SF that ride 3 speed Personal Bikes (Batavus). They are certainly working for their transportation but they all seem to love it. $395 is quite low for the Batavus' I have seen. Which model is it?