Rolling back into real life was difficult after my work-ation. It's never easy to sleep on the overnight train even though it's so much more relaxing than driving. Big Brother finished up first grade last week and Little Brother still had a few days before he graduated preschool (today!). Biking has always been the way I'm able to find my balance again after busy times so I was really excited to have some fun bikey adventures with my biggest monster this week.
Tomorrow, we're celebrating having Little Brother join our silly summer by taking him on his first dirt ride. It'll be one of his longest rides so far as well so I'm a little nervous about taking them both on my own, but I can't wait!
I just got back from a week of working on the Adventure Cycling Columbia River Gorge tour. While I didn't get much riding in, the whole trip was incredibly beautiful and the group was super fun. It was a lot of work but it didn't feel that way.
I carpooled up to Portland with Cindy, another staff member, and stayed at my brother's for a couple days, getting coffee with Kath, and stopping in to Gladys Bikes to get Oscar a functioning front brake and kickstand.
This job is incredible! The participants ranged from 23-73 years old, rode 387 miles, and climbed over 25,000'. I was so impressed! The routes were mostly quiet rural roads. Despite the challenging ride and chilly (sometimes pretty wet) weather, everyone stayed in high spirits and got along well. There were mountains, waterfalls, and so much food to eat.
I loved getting to know the riders and their interesting stories. I think I had as much fun being on the staff as the participants. Plus, the bonus riding I got to do up Lolo Pass and in Trout Lake was amazing. I definately look forward to coming back and riding it all myself. Although I'm not sure I'd be able to do all the climbing, yet! Certainly something to start training for. If I can get the legs those riders had at 60+ years old, I'd be thrilled!
Last weekend was the national Bike Travel Weekend! We arranged an overnight camping trip to Camp Pollock but I was offered a chance to go mountain biking and didn't have the boys to enjoy the family overnight with so I decided to just head over with the small Kidical Mass group from the Capitol for the afternoon.
Even though it was hot, there was a nice breeze. The five mile route took us through the Pride festival downtown and along the American River Parkway where even the youngest rider was able to pedal on his own.
Then, I just couldn't give up the opportunity for more dirt! I can't seem to get enough of trail riding. There's a possibility that I have a full suspension bike coming my way, but for now, I've been bouncing along on a beautiful Surly Troll (affectionately known as the Trollop now).
I dragged another friend up to Cronan Ranch (again) and we checked out a longer loop along the South Fork American River Trail. The next day, we headed up to the Confluence Trail in the Folsom State Recreation area. This section was mostly too steep and too technical for me but it was some good practice on harder trails at a slow speed and extra hill climbing. I don't have any photos of these areas as I was hanging onto my ergonomic cork grips for dear life! My friend did give me his full suspension Trek to test out and I have to admit that it was pretty lovely for those rocky chunks. The weekend rides ended with Olmstead Loop in Cool which somehow managed to be uphill in both directions. We were tired and hot and there was a lot more bike pushing than before. Somehow, I magically avoided most of the poison oak that encroached the trail on both sides. A very satisfying weekend of bike playing!
Now, I'm headed up north for the first of my big summer adventures: working the Adventure Cycling Association Columbia River Gorge tour! Today was a long day of driving up but tomorrow I have a day to repack, organize, and grab breakfast with a friend. Then, it's off down the road to meet up with the rest of the CRG crew to explore the gorge for the next week!
Headed up to BLM land at Cronan Ranch for some riding this afternoon. We rode the Down And Up trail with some lovely downs and one horrible up. This Valley Girl needs more climbing practice!
Tomorrow is the last day of our school programs and we'll celebrate by riding our bikes!
Some of the Islabike crew came out to hang at a Kidical Mass event so we could play bikes at the park.
I'm working on mastering the double-bike tow ala @Familyride.
Today, I got more dirt riding in with Neil on our commute back home from work.
And, my parents are pretty cool, too.
I'm getting to the end of my busy season and really looking forward to a bit of a break and our big adventures this summer. This week was busy and I got older. Also wrapped up the week with an exciting ride being chased by a thunderstorm.
Today, I got to be a part of 350 Sacramento's Eco Home Tour, a bike ride around Sacramento, stopping at different homes along the way showcasing various ways to minimize your environmental footprint.
Since the bikes were out and some of my Bike Friday parts had just arrived, I decided to install a few of them.
Next Tuesday evening is the next Kidical Mass event with Islabikes on tour! Stop by Coloma Community Center playground between 5:30pm-7pm to test out Islabikes. June 4th is our National Bike Travel Weekend: Pedal To Camp Pollock. We'll be meeting at the Capitol for a BYO picnic at 11am then riding over to camp out ($3/person). Contact me with any questions.
This morning, Neil, John, and I hung out at the Oak Park Farmers' Market fixing bikes for donations toward starting a chapter of Trips For Kids! I did more talking than fixing but it was still fun.
Neil and his Cycle Truck did most of the heavy lifting.
It was also a big day for Little Brother who just graduated to his first 20" bike, bringing the number of 20" bikes in our family up to 5--makes it easier to shop for tubes!
We bought this Beinn 20 Small Islabike used from a friend and it needed a little extra love as the back spokes were about as tight as cooked spaghetti. Our friend Neil trued them up as best as possible. Little Brother loves it as he can now pedal comfortably without spinning out trying to keep up with Big Brother. It's pretty hilarious to see them on just about the same bike (BB's is a Large Beinn).
We rode a couple miles over to my aunt's house for lunch and came home with a chalkboard. Never a dull moment when playing bikes!
My weekend plans changed last minute but I am lucky enough to have some awesomely adventurous friends, the kind who don't mind rainy weather when there's an opportunity to go bikepacking. Neil let me borrow his classic Bridgestone MTB-6. He had his Surly Pugsley loaded up but Ryan won the heavyweight division with custom Carsick Designs frame bags on his Moonlander (seriously, he was carrying canned food in there!).
We met up with Monica and Brian of Carsick Designs who had organized the trip to Like Oroville. We parked at their friend, Gary's, house. Gary has bike trails in his backyard and rides them regularly. He led us across the dam and around the lake to our campsite, giving us our own tour and we went along.
The campsite was empty because of the weather. We set up camp and made a lovely fire to stay warm in the rain. Brian showed up a while later but Monica was sick and had to stay home.
It rained all night. My old tent was almost waterproof but my new survival blanket kept my sleeping bag warm and dry.
This was the first time in four years that I wasn't able to organize a Cyclofemme ride and it was Mother's Day without my kiddos so this was an amazing substitute.
We stopped by Brian and Monica's shop where they create these amazing bags. Check them out: www.carsickdesigns.com
I'm totally hooked! We rode about 30 miles and even climbed some good hills. I need way more mountain biking skills but I have some great bikepacking friends, the kind who peek back to make sure I haven't fallen off a cliff and don't mind my slow, careful speed, and especially ones who don't mind camping in the rain! Can't wait for our next adventure!
May is my favorite month because it's full of my two favorite things: my birthday and bikes! Make sure that you sign up for MIBM and join our Tiny Helmets bike team. We kicked things off with the Great Scott Rd. Bike and Walk event. This time, we brought more friends! I packed up my HaulaDay with two bikes, our travel vests, all the food and water we needed and then Neil packed up his truck and trailer with four cargo bikes, five kids' bikes, a Pugsley and five of us. If that's not a truck's true purpose, I don't know what is.
Starting off with Jennifer on my HaulaDay, Randy on my dad's, Neil on Randy's Mundo, me on Neil's Cycle Truck, and the four big kids on their own bikes.
After about 10 miles, the kids started getting tired and were ready for rides. It's a good thing we had so many cargo bikes to carry the monsters and tow their bikes. Big Brother crashed a couple times and took a short break but then found the energy to keep going. There aren't many photos of him because he was too fast to keep up with. At one point, he and Little Brother got caught up with some roadies and rode with them for about 10 minutes until they finally had to wait for me to catch up from about a quarter of a mile away. Where else can kids ride off at top speed without any worries? We need more spaces like this!
More recent fun, running around to try to get kiddos to all their Little League practices and games. We signed up at the local league nearby but after a shooting, they've been moved to parks too far away to get to easily--difficult with a car-free life but thankfully, we've had help from friends from the team. Also got the opportunity to ride around Davis for a Traffic Skills class. It was tricky finding difficult riding situations in Davis to challenge the students because of the infrastructure and driver behavior.
This is us. We're fun.