Tag: bike tour

1984 Bike Tour: Day 34 – Eating across Kansas

UTICA, KAN. – How many times have I heard people complain about driving across Kansas because it's soooooo boring?

Chalk up another reason why bicycle touring is the best way to see the country. Kansas, by bike, is anything but boring. For one thing, you get to stop at all the small-town cafes.

Continue reading

I have a notion that many of these towns where we've stopped lately — Bison, McCracken, Ransom, Utica — are all frontier towns. …

Permanent link to this article: http://www.bikingbis.com/2018/06/15/1984-bike-tour-day-34-eating-across-kansas/

1984 Bike Tour: Day 26 – Ups and downs in the Ozarks

OWL'S BEND, MO. – If you could pick a time to be sick, it probably wouldn't be the day you're pedaling the rollercoaster hills of the Ozarks.

We left Johnson's Shut-ins in a light drizzle and immediately started climbing. A little while later, a carload of Boy Scouts who we camped with the night before pulled up alongside me, and they said my friend was way down the road. I waited for him, and when he caught up, Bruce said he wasn't feeling well. After that, we took it real slow. …

Continue reading

Permanent link to this article: http://www.bikingbis.com/2018/06/07/1984-bike-tour-day-26-ups-and-downs-in-the-ozarks/

1984 Bike Tour: Day 24 – Clearing a path for the Olympic torch in Missouri

STE. GENEVIEVE, MO. — We rode up along the Mississippi River to Ste. Genevieve to waves and some applause. If we had festooned our bikes with flags, the people lining the streets might have thrown money.

After crossing bridge across the Mississippi at Chester, we ran into the Olympic torch caravan again at St. Mary's. Everything is very low-key, compared to the scene in Berea.

Essentially two Winnebagos were parked in a roadside lot, some runners were milling around waiting to pick up the relay. AT&T sponsors the torch run, and the guys who do all the heavy lifting between cities are AT&T employees.

Continue reading

Two hundred were chosen, 16 on this week-long stretch, to run four miles twice a day with the torch. The torch, which they get to keep, weighs 2 pounds, 4 ounces, is about 2 feet long, and is filled with butane. …

Permanent link to this article: http://www.bikingbis.com/2018/06/05/1984-bike-tour-day-24-clearing-a-path-for-the-olympic-torch-in-missouri/

1984 Bike Tour: Day 18 – That fragrance of home cookin’ is all bourbon

HODGENVILLE, KY. — We thought nothing could smell sweeter than the good country air of the Kentucky bluegrass country, until we left Bardstown.

We had just finished an unsatisfying lunch at a shopping center deli in the hometown of  composer Stephen Foster (My Old Kentucky Home), when we caught the fragrance of good home cooking in the air. Bruce said, wherever it's coming from, “that's where we should have eaten.”

Continue reading

We rode on for a half-mile and saw the entrance sign for the Heaven Hills Distillery, the source of that fragrance. If we could have “eaten” there, our trip would have ended, no doubt. What we smelled cooking must have been sour mash. We merely cycled past huge warehouses full of booze…

Permanent link to this article: http://www.bikingbis.com/2018/05/30/1984-bike-tour-day-18-that-fragrance-of-home-cookin-is-all-bourbon/

1984 Bike Tour: Day 17 – Not everyone welcomes bicycle tourists

HARRODSBURG, KY. — What did I say about bicycle touring and the kindness of strangers? Forget it.

Tonight we're at the Parkview Guest House. When we walked in the front door of the two-story men's-only “guest house,” a guy told us to wait right there for the manager who would soon be home from work. We sat in a couple of chairs in the hallway. Soon the manager walks in:

“What the hell's going on here? And get that thing off the table.”

Continue reading

Bruce removed his helmet from the lamp table. We asked for a room. The old guy said he had one but didn't know whether he'd let us have it. It only had a double bed. “You're not going to get drunk and puke in bed, are you?”

Permanent link to this article: http://www.bikingbis.com/2018/05/29/1984-bike-tour-day-17-not-everyone-welcomes-bicycle-tourists/

1984 Bike Tour: Day 15 — Hill hell

BOONEVILLE, KY. — We never stop climbing hills. The route heading west crosses one ridge after another. I can appreciate what Daniel Boone and the pioneers had to endure.

We did go through some wide open bottomland nestled between the hills today, though, generally after passing Buckhorn Lake. We saw some cows in pastures today, something we hadn't seen for many days. Before it's been pigs, hogs, and chickens. Those smaller farm animals must be better suited for small farms on hillsides.

Continue reading

These hills are gut-wrenching for me. I start out in medium gears, but soon I'm in my lowest — the granny gear or stump-puller. I grind away, travelling 27 inches for every pedal stroke; don't try to think about how many pedal strokes in a 4.4-mile climb…

Permanent link to this article: http://www.bikingbis.com/2018/05/27/1984-bike-tour-day-15-hill-hell/

1984 Bike Tour: Day 14 — A salute from King Coal

PIPPA PASSES, KY. — Last night's fear and loathing about spending the foreseeable future dodging coal trucks turned out to be a waste of time.

Coal is king in these parts, but even the king gives a holiday to his subjects over the Memorial Day weekend. No coal trucks confronted us today. We could see them parked in gravel parking lots behind chainlink fences, their trailer beds tilted up so they wouldn't collect rainwater. It was as if they were saluting our passage.

Continue reading

Although the coal trucks were absent, the grinding terrain still had to be dealt with. As we broke camp in the morning, an old camper who knew the area said our route would be “rough as a cob.” We didn't know how rough a cob was, but we soon found out. …

Permanent link to this article: http://www.bikingbis.com/2018/05/26/1984-bike-tour-day-14-a-salute-from-king-coal/

1984 Bike Tour: Day 10 – Dickie Boyles, where are you?

Today, our stupidity almost got the best of us.

After a late start, I had problems with my front derailleur and tried to fix it as a gas station. It was 10 a.m. before we got underway. We stopped for a bite at Newbern, where several log cabins appeared to be under restoration

We continued on along a road that had a beautiful sweeping vistas of wide green valleys backed by blue tinted mountain ridges (bottom photo).

Continue reading

This led us to the Draper Country Store, “18 and 90” it said above the door. Inside, a guy cut some longhorn cheese from a huge block he kept under glass. The old store had a pool table, a cast iron stove, some well-worn chairs, and lots of unusual items for sale…

Permanent link to this article: http://www.bikingbis.com/2018/05/22/1984-bike-tour-day-10-dickie-boyles-where-are-you/

1984 Bike Tour: Day 9 – Tired, tarred and dogged

Hills, dogs, tar and lots of miles. What an exhausting day.

We left the campground on our bicycles at 7 a.m. and followed Route 11 — known locally as the Valley Pike — right through to the TransAmerica Route in Buchanan and beyond. The roadway is like a trip out of the '50s — the highway is cement and weathered roadside barns painted with faint ads dot the landscape.

Continue reading

We turned off 11 and followed some low-country roads along the Norfolk-Western RR. Many dogs here. At one house, two dogs raced out of the yard chasing Bruce's bike. One mean-looking mongrel actually bit into the rear of his pannier and tried to drag him to a stop. …

Permanent link to this article: http://www.bikingbis.com/2018/05/21/1984-bike-tour-day-9-tired-tarred-and-dogged/

1984 Bike Tour: Day 8 – Natural Bridge seems so unnatural

We bolted from the campground without breakfast, and coasted all the way down to the town of Vesuvius. This is one of the hardest climbs on the TransAmerica Route for eastbound riders; but going westbound, we weren't even warmed up.

The guidebook says 200 people live here, but we didn't see a soul. Vesuvius is bisected by the Norfolk Western RR, and it looks like both halves were the “wrong side” of town — everything was boarded up. We ended up at a truck stop on I-81 for breakfast, our bicycles dwarfed by the giant 18-wheelers.

Continue reading

We headed south down the scenic Shenandoah Valley, stopping for lunch at Lexington, home of Washington and Lee University and the Virginia Military Institute. (The congestion at W&L led us to believe it was graduation weekend.) …

Permanent link to this article: http://www.bikingbis.com/2018/05/20/1984-bike-tour-day-8-natural-bridge-seems-so-unnatural/