Weekend Overnighter

Caroline's bike

Caroline’s bike at Cherry Creek campground.

Greetings everyone! Recently, we’ve been pretty busy getting our house ready to sell. The house went on the market last weekend and we had an offer in a day and a half!  The real estate market in Denver is apparently back up to full speed.

In addition to working on the house, we’ve been putting some finishing touches on our bikes and other gear for the trip. Thanks to our annual REI dividend, Caroline and I  have new Ortlieb handlebar bags. We’ve also been riding our touring bikes on the weekends and trying to fine-tune things to make the bikes as comfortable as possible.

Part of our trip preparations will include taking a few overnight bike trips on weekends to get used to carrying all the gear we’ll use on our actual bike trip, as well as test out equipment and packing strategies. This past weekend we took our first such overnight trip to Cherry Creek State Park in the southeast Denver area. It’s only an 18 mile bike ride from our house, but that’s a good distance for a warm-up trip like this.

Alan adjusting gear

Alan adjusting gear on his bike.

We left the house Saturday around noon and within a couple blocks I had to stop to re-arrange the gear on my bike. I’ll go into more technical detail in another blog post, but I had to move some weight from the front of my bike to the back to improve handling. Other than that, we had a pleasant ride out to Cherry Creek. There were a bunch of people out on the bike path, as expected for a nice day in Spring and several people asked where we were headed, assuming we were already on a long bike tour. We usually replied by saying we were “just practicing” for an upcoming tour.

We got to our campsite and got our tent set up not long before a few scattered raindrops started to fall. The wind was blowing pretty steadily as well, which kept us on our toes to make sure nothing blew away while we were cooking dinner. Those of you who have read my blog from my bike trip to Alaska might recall that I usually cooked simple meals like ramen noodles or mac & cheese from a box. Thanks to Caroline’s culinary skills we’ll be eating much better on our upcoming trip. Look for a blog post from her about her kitchen gear and cooking preparations.

After dinner, we retired to our tent to watch a little TV.  That’s right, all the comforts of home!  We’ll each have a small, light laptop on this trip so as long as we have battery life left we can watch TV or movies, write our blog or manage all the photos we’ll be taking.

On Sunday, as we were leaving the state park, a woman biked up next to us and asked us about our trip and we explained how we’re planning a long trip starting this Summer. She started to describe another bike tourist who is riding his bike around the country for all of 2014 while also doing a Big Year.  I knew exactly what she was talking about, since I’ve been following the same blog! It’s called Biking for Birds and if you’re at all interested in bird watching or bike touring, it’s worth a read.

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