Preparing for My First Bike Camping Trip

Arkel_Orca-08_ReverseI had prepared for my first overnight bicycle camping trip for months. My brainstorming began in January when I first heard one was being organized. I started researching equipment in February; then I began to gather equipment and supplies in March. If you’ve read my Bags & Gizmos page, then you already know I favor Arkel touring products. It was a cool coincidence that Arkel had just released their new Orca waterproof panniers when I was ready to shop. They feature roll-top closures and are very durable. I opted to buy a full set, which includes a large 45-liter pair for the rear and a 35-liter pair for the front. I ordered Arkel’s AC LowRider front rack, too. I quickly loaded the panniers with notional camping gear and took a fully-loaded ride and experienced some handlebar shimmy. Continue reading

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RUSA Dart 200 km (128 miles)

20150404_OvercastStartFor many randonneurs, Easter weekend is the time for a 360-km ACP 24-hour team event, known as the Fleche (French for “arrow”). Ideally, several five-bike teams ride from different origins, departing Saturday morning, and converge on a single point at the finish, often ending with Easter morning breakfast. It’s a really cool idea. A Dart is another team ride in the form of a 200-km RUSA 13.5-hour event. Tidewater Rando hosted its inaugural Dart on April 4th. We originally had two teams that were going to ride separate routes and meet at a common finish point. Unfortunately, personal schedules shifted and we fielded only one team of five. Continue reading

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Team Killer Bees’ Swarm to Benefit Wounded Warrior Project (40 miles)

20150328_WWRideEach spring, Team Killer Bees has a “swarming” to kick-off the season, pull together as a fundraising team for upcoming charity rides (Tour de Cure and Bike MS), and to collect bicycling clothing and equipment for the Wounded Warrior Project. Thirteen riders started from the hosts’ home near Mattaponi, VA and rode through 40 miles of rolling terrain. A few of the hills were fairly challenging. But the most brutal force of the ride was the wind… 41-degree wind! I was wearing new tights and discovered that they aren’t as warm as the ones I’m retiring. I wasn’t cold, but I also wasn’t as warm as I prefer. As in previous years, the host provided three types of chili and the riders brought side dishes or desserts. It was a good time! We may have this ride in May next year in hopes of a slightly warmer ride.  00-smilie Continue reading

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ACP Suffolk to Skippers 200 km (128 miles, Run #3)


Photo by Keith Sutton

It’s been 11 months since my last rando, be it a permanent, brevet or anything else. In fact, I haven’t ridden more than 30 miles at one time since October. I had hoped to ride through the winter, but the comfort of a warm home got the better of me. 00-biggrin  Southeastern Virginia got a lot more snow and ice than usual, too. The area nearly shut down after each snow event and the roads were a mess for days on end. We’re not equipped for heavy snow removal or suppression. Plus, our local drivers aren’t that safe on dry roads, much less roads with weather-related “challenges.” As a result, this ACP event caught me under-trained. I had a few 25-milers under my belt this year; that wasn’t even close to what I needed to prepare for a 200-km ride. The lack of training has never stopped me before. Bring on the pain!  00-winky Continue reading

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Things to Come…

20150307_MapWOW! It’s been nearly four months since my last entry. As stated in September, I’ve returned to my roots and have been doing shorter club rides to recover from last year’s setbacks. The photos below were taken during  26-mile coffee shop rides. Snow, rain, ice and frigid temperatures have kept me off the bike for weeks. But it looks like the weather may be turning around soon. Sunday was a good day for a club ride. About 20 riders met and formed 3-4 groups to ride a series of out-and-backs along the roads of Poquoson, VA. I rode about 25 miles today. Here is a map of most of my ride. It’ll be good to accumulate more miles in the coming weeks. Continue reading

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Half-Marathon Coffeeneuring Ride #7 (Plus a Bonus)

20141109_MarshalsMe? Run a half-marathon? Don’t be silly! I only run if it’s raining and I really need to get to my car. Otherwise, I either ride or just walk and get wet.  00-winky  A local cyclist asked me to ride as a road marshal in support of The Virginia Running Festival at Christopher Newport University (CNU) on November 9th. Arriving early was an easy way to knock out my final 2014 Coffeeneuring Challenge drink. I opted to ride to the event since I knew the streets would be mostly empty. I hit the dark roads at 5:30am and rode seven miles to a Dunkin Donuts near the venue (12425 Warwick Blvd). Once there, I met a riding buddy, aka my “bike wife,” for breakfast and hot chocolate. Continue reading

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2014 Coffeeneuring Challenge #6

20141101_EustisInsideNovember brings the kind of weather that makes it tough to leave the comfort of my warm bed to go for a cool-weather bike ride. Saturday’s forecast was a bit gloomy and predicted rain at some point. Sunday’s forecast was for 20-mph winds. NO THANKS! That made Saturday (11/01) the better day to head out for an easy ride as well as for experimenting with cool-weather clothing. Reacquainting myself with how to layer-up during a short ride should help me to dress appropriately for longer rides. I opted to ride from my home to the relatively new Starbucks on Fort Eustis for a bowl of oatmeal and a cup of hot chocolate. Continue reading

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