Intro to cycle touring, intro to me

Me at Gladys bikes after purchasing my new All City Space Horse October 2016.

I’ve been riding my bike for fun and commuting since right after college, moving home to Portland, Oregon, and finding out how fun, fast, and free it is in a small city that really encourages it. At times I’ve been a fair weather cyclist, until I discovered spending a little money on good gear really can keep your ass dry, and it wasn’t until last year that I really started exploring the idea of traveling by bike.

Even though Portland is home, I even have a map of the Willamette River tattooed on my body, I have always loved travel. There’s just so many interesting people to meet, different food to eat, art and architecture to see. I’ve only lived abroad once, 5 months in Bristol, UK in a college exchange program, but I’ve also traveled for a few weeks at a time to Mexico, Ecuador and the Galapagos, France, Denmark, The Netherlands, Turkey, Thailand, and Cambodia.

Now I am staring down the barrel of perhaps my most exciting, (and occasionally nerve-wracking) trip yet. My girlfriend Vanessa and I will be going to France, Spain, and perhaps some other countries, for 3 months, the longest you can stay on a tourist visa. For the first month we’ll be splitting up and I will be beginning a month-long cycle tour and she will be WWOOFing on 2 farms near the Swiss border, then coming back together to hike the Camino de Santiago in northern Spain. She is quite the traveler herself, though hiking is more her thing than cycling, and you can follow her adventures more closely, including day by day accounts of her recent 450 mile hike on the Pacific Crest Trail, at vanessapamela.com. I’m just going to let you know right now we’ll probably be linking to each other a lot and maybe even cross posting.

My PDX tattoo. Photo by Vanessa Friedman.

Now, this blog is not one thing, I’m going to let myself be free and frisky with my posts and talk about whatever damn thing I please but it will primarily be focused on travel, and more specifically bicycle touring. It can be intimidating under the best of circumstances, for women, for queers, and especially for those society deems overweight. But I am all of these things and more and I want to tell you it’s not only possible but fun.

So I want to take some of the mystery out of it. I want to teach beginners how to get out there, even if it’s just a 1 mile jaunt to your BFF’s house. I want to show you some basic maintenance if you need it, and let you know that you often don’t. Even more importantly, I want to point you in the direction of amazing people who will help you with all these things in person. If you live in Portland I would highly recommend the folks at Gladys Bikes, which is woman owned and is associated with several women and trans related cycling groups, as well as North Portland Bike Works and the Bike Farm, both of which have free women and trans bike repair nights where you can go in and get help with anything that needs fixing every Wednesday 6:15 – 8 for NoPoBW (tell Bob I say hi) and 1st & 3rd Tuesdays 5 – 8 at BF). Mostly I want to start a conversation and be open to any questions you might have while sharing routes, tips and stories.

So stay tuned for my first (real) post where I will talk about last summer, when I went on my first multi-day self-sustained bike trip for 4 and a half days solo on the Oregon coast. Then I will try to do some posts on getting ready for this upcoming trip, trying to decide on routes, freaking out etc. In between I might pepper you with some recounts of older trips that I have half-assedly (or whole assedly to be honest) written about before but never published. I hope you’ll come on this journey with me (both literally and figuratively) and realize that you can be outdoors, be a traveler, be a cyclist no matter who you are or what your size.

5 thoughts on “Intro to cycle touring, intro to me

    1. Those are such kind words Anne! I really appreciate it. I hope you continue to follow the blog and say hi to everyone at Alta for me!

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