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Author: RideAbout57

Bike Fitting is for EVERYBODY!

Upon returning from my tour, I mentioned to my sponsor that my feet have been riding forwards on the pedals and eventually I’m pedaling with my heels. He suggested getting a proper fitting on my bike might be a good thing for me to do. At first I thought I what the F? This is not a $10,000 carbon fiber race bike what kind of benefit could I receive from this?

He made the a appointment for me at Flat Tire Bike Shop to meet Kaolin who’s to do the bike fitting. When I arrived there I let them know I was there for a fitting and Kaolin came out to greet me and we bonded immediately. He listened to all my needs and wants and ignored the points that were not relevant due to lack of knowledge on my part in the most respectful way.

He made changes in seat height, position and angle, changed the bar angle and then changed the position of the brake and gear levers. The result was so radical and impressive that I’m a true believer. He also complimented me on the limberness of my hamstrings, stating that most people’s legs are quite tight.

If you are a cross country bicyclist  or wanting to do some cross country touring, getting a bike fit is as important as having the proper gear to take you on your journey.

If you are in the Phoenix AZ area I would recommend Kaolin at Flat Tire Bike Shop for your fitting. This guy is a guru of bike fitting. I only wish that I had been turned on to this guy earlier.

Kaolin also made recommendations for better pedal choices after I expressed a concern about foot slippage on my platform pedals, my choice of platforms  is that I hike a lot along the way and carrying a set of hiking boots (except on my feet) is not in the game.

His fitting made for a better ride, solved the slippage issue and helps deliver more power to each pedal stroke. In summation, get a bike fitting before you hit the road on that next adventure, and remember dare to dream, and dare to live those dreams.

Kaolin (right) and I
Kaolin (right) and I

2018 Tour Report! May 18th – October 15th

May 18th – Oct 15th, 2018 (You can see photos from this tour in my Instagram feed!)

This year I left from Chandler Arizona where I had been house sitting amongst other wedding tasks for a good friend of mine. On May 18th I had my bike loaded up and I headed out for an adventure. I am not one of your typical hobbits, I enjoy adventures, and so I was off.

My first stop was Silver City New Mexico. I’m fond of this place and when I’m not exploring I always find myself visiting there. It’s a nice town with really nice kind people and if there is an abundance of time on hand I always find myself camping in the nearby forest for several weeks.

One of my favorite places to stay at while I’m there is a place called the Bicycle House (Google Maps: Bikehaus). It’s usually filled with an eclectic mix of people from traveling musicians to firefighters in training. I once met a man that traveled with an 85lb sled dog named Flame. He was from Australia. The town itself has a mix of shops, bars, cafes and restaurants. It has a food co-op with a great selection of food from vegan to the run of the mill. There happens to be a cafe there called the Jumping Cactus. The coffee is great, the pastries locally made and the coffee mugs are all unique and handmade by a local artist. On a side note, they have sponsored me with fresh coffee beans on several occasions. All in all a great place to visit. By the way, there is a bike co-op and great bicycle shops there as well.

On this trip, my plans were to make a quick stop there and then shoot up to Telluride, Colorado to volunteer at the Telluride Bluegrass music festival. My plans were derailed when I found out the forest was ablaze on several key sections and I was forced to head further east til I could go north into Colorado. On this journey across New Mexico I discovered many new places and campgrounds. Highlight was the Cosmic Campground, a dark sky viewing area of our country that’s hard to beat for stargazing.

Then there’s the Eco amphitheater, a state park that is a must camp spot. And these are just a few. Oh, and then there is the Continental Divide Trail. It’s an easy ride for most bikes and worth the excursion for a couple of days.

Once In Colorado, I then headed west on my quest to make the music festival. Alas, that did not work out for me. I was a week late due to the detour caused by forest fires. Telluride is an awesome little town with shops, cafes and bars all filled with live music. Their campgrounds are in Box Canyon and worth every penny. It offers hiking, some great nearby biking trails and skiing in the winter. If you need a repair on your bicycle, be prepared to spend more than normal due to resort town premiums.

To my delight, I ran into a person I first met at the Bicycle Cellar in Tempe, AZ. I had I casually recommended that he check out the area and to my surprise he rode his mountain bike there! His name is Estefan and he is from South Africa. I was getting ready to leave Telluride early that morning and lo and behold he was standing before me with his bike. I ended up staying another day with him hearing about his ride to Colorado and sharing stories about mine. He was waiting for his girlfriend to show up and tour the area before returning back to South Africa. We had a great time together.

From there I decided to visit a friend of mine that I have not seen for several years in Clarksville Georgia, a 1,700-mile journey from my present location. I took the Trans American route from Colorado to Kentucky, then headed south using a Ride With GPS route. A route that would take me from London, Kentucky to Clarksville, Georgia. If you like to ride on state forest roads, river view roads, gravel and dirt roads this is the path that you want to take. I loved every moment of it.

I’d like to step back for a moment. If you’re thinking about or planning to do the Trans American route, you’re in for a treat. Almost every town has a park, church, or a fire station that welcomes you a great experience and the people want to get and know each and every cyclist. I’d like to specifically mention the Tunnel Hill State Trail in Illinois, it’s a 55.3 mile rails to trails project with beautiful scenery.

From there I once again used the ride with GPS with a route through Georgia and into Florida taking me on the A1A south to Orlando. Where I spent time on beloved beaches an visited friends an family I have not seen in 30 years.

All in all, I traveled over 10 states and 4,000 miles in 6 months. I went through 2 chains 1 rear cassette and I cracked my rear wheel in 5 places. And it was worth every moment.

Tubers, will anything ever change?

As my journey across America goes on, I took a small amount of time off to make some money. I’ve stayed in a small tourist town called Rio Frio known for the rustic resorts and cabins for tourists. The main activities for these tourist is the Frio River. It attracts Texans from all parts of the state. The tourists/aka tubers, parties have lived up to my expectations in full measure. The land in TX is either state or private property, you can tube even kayak the entire river across the state, but you dare not step off to the shore or you will be trespassing on someone’s land and most Texans don’t cotton to that. Unless you happen to be their guest.

As it has been explained to me “I paid for this land and own this land and pay taxes on this land, so if you’re not a paying guest of mine ,you’re trespassing.” Great mentality.

Any way back to the tubers, if you’re a paying guest at some resort or renting a cabin or what not they supply you with these nifty yellow bags to take along with you. These are for putting your trash in, they even encourage you to pick up other peoples trash, great practice in theory.

Kayakers are awesome here they love nature and respect the rivers. Tubers not so much, they’re here to party, and come equipped with all the accoutrements that are necessary. If they can find state road side area where they can park there cars, vans or trucks, they not only trespass on private property doing damage to it, but when they leave they leave behind.

What do I mean by that? Broken foot wear is cast aside and left, litter and trash is cast on the ground. One time while I was hiking along the river I found a spot where people had a barbeque and they left an array of beer cans and the barbeque grill behind, to top it off the coals were still warm.

But my favorite is, let’s just hide the trash, out of sight out of mind. Like it’s going to break down by it self. The thing is they just don’t care. Our rivers and our water ways are our treasures.

I really don’t know what the answer is, stiff penalties and fines or just ban tubing all together, If  you can’t respect our waterways, just stay off our waterways.

Trashy tubers

Rio Frio, Texas shows me the money!

During one’s travels, when one ventures upon such a quest as a 3 year journey, one will from time to time stop for a short while to find work and replenish one’s bank account. This is one of those times for me .With about 4 months under my belt I started seeking short time employment and a place to abide my time in peace. The name of that place happens to be Rio Frio, Texas. This is a town that time has forgotten primarily due to the construction of Highway 83. The town offers cabin rentals to tourists and not much more. Rio Frio no longer lies on the main highway and has a population numbering less than 824.

For sixteen weeks I’m living on a 3 acre piece of land in a quaint little guest home. One of four that the owner has built. He happens to be a fine carpenter. The grounds were planted and designed by his wife. The property used to be the local school for the community, built sometime in the 1870s. It burned down and was rebuilt elsewhere. Here all that remains of the existing structure is the concrete shell. The roof collapsed as you will see in my photo gallery.

Under the skillful hands and directions of my host and his wife this place is now a sanctuary of rest. This has become a place of refuge for many bird species as it boasts a nice little pond. The back of the property has a livestock area where they raise their own animals and chickens, from which I receive a caloric benefit each morning. I spend my mornings each day before preparing to go to work sitting on my little porch and enjoying freshly pressed coffee while watching and listening to the birds and perhaps seeing a rabbit or two hop by.

I’m about two weeks into my commitment and in about fourteen weeks I will continue on with my adventures. In my free time I take long walks with my walking stick studying bushcraft books and camping at Garner State Park when time allows. I’m also currently working on a line  of line bushcraft jewelry and accents for walking sticks using antler pieces, arrow heads, leather and other materials.

More info is forthcoming. In the meantime…. live free and have fun.

Rideabout

Seminole Canyon State Park

On my first arrival at Seminole Canyon State Park I was not that impressed, it looked like any other dry arid landscape but on further investigation my insights turned out to be totally wrong.

This place is well worth stopping for it not only offers some of the greatest pictographs on canyon walls, (by the way these can be found by a guided tour for a meager sum of $5.00 for a 1 1/2 tour) but is very informative as well, well worth the money spent.

This park also offers a great set of hiking trails. One is a 7 mile trail that takes you along the canyon ridge, as well as to Panther cave which houses some of the best pictographs of a shamans journey on behalf of its people only accessible by boat tour. On another trail you are lead to a stunning view of the canyon, especially viewed after a couple of days rain with the infusion of new water.

The staff is outgoing and friendly and willing to go to great lengths to ensure a great visit. The camp host is an awesome couple as well.

I would rate this a 2 thumbs up, it offers showers, baths and water and electric. It also offers a private camping area as well. I enjoyed my stay and would recommend it to any cyclist on the Adventure Cycling Association’s Southern Tier Route.

Seminole Canyon State Park

Morons with chainsaws in national forests…

This moron is the product of a failed education system. During my first extended say in one of our nation’s national forests, Gila National Forest, I witnessed an individual park his travel trailer, size up the spot in which he was parked, and promptly retrieve a chain saw from his trailer and begin cutting branches he felt would interfere with his pop out. This is a federal crime. I was taken aback and could not let this go unanswered. Moments after I began berating this moron, a park ranger pulled up and assured me this person would be receiving a federal citation carrying a $500 fine. I debated on outing this person by leaving the license plate unmasked, but the last thing we need is vigilante justice. It’s a New Mexico plate, however.

Committing a Federal crime.
Committing a Federal crime.
Committing a Federal crime.
Committing a Federal crime.

 

I’m off! Commence 1+ year on the road!

On Tuesday, March 14th (PI Day), 2017, after a night on the couch at KKCD’s house I began making my way south to Tucson. A wrong turn forced me to briefly ride on the I-10 as I was not about to turn around and backtrack many miles. Having ridden on highways much like the I-10 in other states, I was comfortable doing so. The Department of Public Safety was not so comfortable with me doing so. Fortunately one of the patrolmen that stopped me was nice enough to escort me for a few miles after I assured him I was exiting just a few exits later.

I spent the night at Picacho Peak State Park, a wonderful place. Unfortunately they do not offer discounts to hiker/biker campers but thankfully the host found a more affordable solution for me as opposed to the standard $30 per night fee.

Upon arriving in Tuscon the following day I found a wonderful host using Warmshowers.org. I also decided that I’m abandoning my plan to bike to the Grand Canyon and then back down to Tuscon before heading east on the Southern Tier. I’m here in Tucson, right on the Southern Tier, I might as well start my trip east! But only after exploring Tuscon for a handful of days!

Salt River Cleanup

I’ve been biking out to the Salt River for awhile now, and doing little cleanups here and there. Last weekend while I was out I ran into a cleanup group and joined forces with them. Shout out to Gloria and her group, Eric and Kimberly. It was nice meeting you and cleaning up this part of the Salt River. Before and after photos below, and here’s an Instagram collage photo.

Salt River Cleanup Before
Salt River Cleanup Before
Salt River Cleanup After
Salt River Cleanup After

2016 Past Journeys

If you want a little background on me prior to 2016, the Downtown Devil published an article about me.

In the first half of 2016 I was getting my legs and gear ready for a planned 22 day tour from Phoenix to Missoula, MT.

On June 25th, 2016 I set off on what was to be a 22 day journey to Missoula, Montana ending at Adventure Cycling headquarters in celebration of their 40th anniversary. It was my first real bicycle tour and I unfortunately underestimated my daily mileage capability and slowly fell behind. When I realized I wouldn’t make the celebration I slowed and began exploring my surroundings more. I did eventually make it to Missoula and then turned west on the Lewis & Clark bicycle route to visit Oregon and northern California. 22 days became 3 months and I eventually returned to Phoenix by bus from northern California.

My trips in the 4th quarter of 2016 were within Arizona and were often to campsites along the Salt River as well as Lost Dutchman State Park, staying two to four nights. It was on these two to four day trips where I began developing my bushcraft skills. The learning experience of my first big tour to Missoula and beyond allowed me to refine/simplify my packing list and get my gear weight down as much as possible.