Bike Virginia East Bound Review

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So following a few days in the Outerbanks with friends, we cruised back through the Bike Virginia tour for a long weekend of cycling.  This year’s event was titled East Bound and focused on cycling in the Chesterfield and Williamsburg areas of VA with the first few nights of camping starting at the Pocahontas State Park.  We registered for the weekend event starting on Friday and ending Sunday, however there was a full week option with a second camping area available for those individuals looking for some additional miles.

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Sprinter Van – Camping

We rolled into camp around 2pm on Friday, just late enough to not get a group ride in, but with plenty of time to get signed in and find our campsite.  With the Sprinter, life is good… We popped out the awning, opened up our REI camp chairs, and unloaded our bikes so we could go checkout the festivities.

 

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Big Dummy

HQ, as the Bike Virginia hosts call the main meeting site, was a virtual tent city packed full of cyclist claiming real-estate and finding a parking spot for their bikes.  There were a few venders on site, a beer truck and a swag tent selling all kinds of Bike Virginia jerseys at a great deal.  We snagged up a couple of silicone pint glasses for use in the Sprinter.  The dinner served on site was a catered in Lasagna meal and boy did it hit the spot.

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Tent City
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“Puppy”

 

After dinner we biked back to the Sprinter and focused on chasing fireflies with our 2 year old.  I really enjoy how having a toddler in your life puts the excitement back into things we’ve long forgotten were fun.


Once we got our little one down for the night, Sarah and I focused on drinking some red wine, watching the fire and talking about life.  The next day we would have 65 miles of pure cycling bliss in front of us, so we hit the sack early.

 

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Wine & Big Dummy

An early morning start was in order for Saturday based on the 65 miles of cycling ahead of us.  We don’t exactly set any land speed records on our Salsa Vaya and Surly Big Dummy (with toddler attachment), although we do average about 12-13 mph over the day.

 

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GO-GO-GO

The morning went well with cyclists everywhere!  People were excited to be starting the day and everybody was enamored with our little 2 year old who was ringing her bell over and over.  The route was an awesome rolling country atmosphere with no significant hills for the first part of the morning.

 

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Eating an Apple

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The first aid station came up around the 13 mile mark at a local horse stable.  There were plenty of snacks and liquids available for a quick replenishment.  Our little girl ran around and said hello to EVERYONE to include the horses.  This was just the beginning of her making friends on the trip.

 

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First Stop

By the second aid station, people would cycle past us and know our daughters name!  She was constantly receiving compliments and greetings from fellow cyclists.

 

The day was filled with nice rolling hills all day through the Virginia countryside with minimal traffic.  At about the 50-mile point a couple of things happened…. We started getting tired and the hills started getting steeper.  None of the hills were very long, but some of them got pretty serious for short durations.

 

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Sleeping on the Big Dummy
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Second Stop on Day 1

At about mile 62 we were on the home stretch, when we noticed an ice cream shop!  As a habit, we try not to pass up on a tasty treat during a hot humid ride and today was no different.  We stopped for an ice cream and lemonade, making the last few miles to camp very easy.

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Ice Cream Stop

Once we had taken advantage of the showers at our awesome campground, we decided an evening on the town in our favorite neighborhood, Carytown Virginia would make for a perfect ending to an awesome day of biking.

 

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How NOT to lock up your bike – Carytown, RVA

Carytown has a bunch of cool restaurants and shops on the main street for hours of walking around, but because we are routinely in the area, we went direct to one of our favorites called the Burger Bach.

 

The Burger Bach is a “New Zealand inspired gastro pub” and serves some AWESOME burgers only to be rivaled by the beer selection.  Sarah and I both decided to do the noble thing and each had a burger and a beer to cap off the day.

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Burger Bach

A short 25 mile day was on the agenda for Sunday.  There were longer options, but after our 65 miles the day before and a need to get home, we decided a short day was the best option.

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Beautiful Country

Many of our acquaintances from the day before cycled by and said hello to us and mentioned how awesome if was we were introducing our daughter to cycling so early.  The ride was pretty easy compared to Saturday ending with just a few sprinkles of rain as we entered the campground.

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Sunday’s Rest Stop #1

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The Bike Virginia event was a fun tour, with tons of awesome people.  There were bikes of all types, from crazy fast folks on tri-bikes to recumbents, tandems and even a family on a Surly Big Dummy with a toddler seat (Adventure Family in Motion).  We had the opportunity to speak with a TON of people about our family cycling history and how we came to utilize the Big Dummy with a Yepp seat installed.  I hope we inspired at least one other cyclist to consider bringing their family on the next ride vs leaving them at home!

Did you get to enjoy Bike Virginia this year? Share your stories or a link to your writ sup with us! We would love to hear about it!

 

Don’t forget to check out our MUST HAVE kids cycling gear!

 

Lost – is this really a bad thing?

www.AdventureFamilyInMotion.com

 

WWW.ADVENTUREFAMILYINMOTION.COM
LOST – IS THIS REALLY A BAD THING?

I spend a great deal of my time lost… I’m directionally challenged, as my wife likes to call it.  But like many successful relationships having complementary skills makes a better team.  Sarah is blessed with the sense of direction in our relationship.

 

Once, and only once… Sarah made the mistake of allowing me to navigate during one of our adventure races. Needless to say, we got lost.

 

I make up for my lack of navigational skills by having a motor that doesn’t stop and a seriously warped sense of what I call “fun”.  A few weeks ago I was out on a very rare solo bike trip on my Surly Big Dummy.  I had used the fancy “map my ride” app to draw up a nice 30-mile loop starting from my doorstep and heading out through the country (we just moved to a new state the week before so I was completely unfamiliar with the area).

 

About 5 miles into the ride I started really enjoying the scenery and was taking in all of the new sites, distracting me from the only item keeping me from cycling in the totally wrong direction and ending up in Mexico (my iPhone).  Before I knew it, I had missed my turn and was down the road.  This is not new for me!  My wife would laugh and smile if you told her I got lost going anywhere.

When faced with the question of turning around or taking a new path, I had to take some time and remember what the goal for the day was.  I simply wanted to get out and ride my bike.  I had no time constraints or further obligations.  It was like a weight was lifted off my shoulders.  I wasn’t lost; I was doing exactly what I set out to do… Explore the area on my bike.  I had self-imposed a route on myself that was randomly selected.

 

Once I was freed from the bonds of a set distance, route and time I really started enjoying the new surroundings.  While on this free for all journey I came across Pike Road (a town also a road) and remembered someone had told me a CrossFit gym was in this area and had a really impressive facility/coaches.  Without any assistance from my mobile navigation aid I stumbled upon the Pike Road Crossfit and have since locked in a membership and started training at the gym.

 

At one point in my cycling journey I was a go-getter triathlete, where every workout was important to me and distances/speed were recorded for evaluation.  I don’t race like that anymore and sometimes need a reminder that I’m on my bike for more than just a workout.  I’m out to take in the world around me from my bike.  I realized on this day that my “curse” of being perpetually lost is my blessing.  It helps me slow down and refocus on what is important.

 

I challenge you to take some time and just enjoy the ride.  Any examples of when your wrong turn ended up being a new adventure?

Outer Banks by Bike – A Family Bike Tour – The FINAL chapter

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Let’s watch the video FIRST this time…

With only another small mile ride ahead of us to Kitty Hawk we decided to jump on our bikes for the 12 mile ride. Before we left Nags Head we backtracked a mile to Sam & Omies for breakfast! Our first real breakfast fuel on the trip!

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Sleeping Beauty

We figured out a great way to get the little one in her Yepp Seat as easy as possible.  She loves the seat but she loves to play more! So when its time to load her up we tell her we are going to look for School Buses. She eagerly runs to her seat and says “Hurry Daddy Hurry!”  … works every time!

 

Once she is in her seat she asks each of us if we are “ready”.

“Are you READY daddy?” — “Are you READY mama?” — “READY! Lets go!

 

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Are you Ready!?

 

Our ride to Kitty Hawk was slow. We had a western wind so it slowed us up a little. We were on sleepy old Hwy 12 with limited traffic but a lot of vacation rentals. We were planning on stopping at a brewery in Kitty Hawk near mile marker 8 (everyone uses mile markers there). But somehow we over shot it and missed it all together.

 

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Jones Loop Bars

 

We stopped into a bike shop and then spent a little more time at the beach. We saw the National Park for the Wright Brothers and road in! We have a National Parks pass and were able to get in for free. We only stopped for the restrooms and didn’t do much sight seeing. The monument sits on top of a tall grassy noel with a hike to the top. Working on a few pair of tired legs we chose not to make the hike.

 

After the exploration of the museum, we headed back down Hwy 12 in search of a cute place to stay for our last night. We found one that said vacant and rode in. But no one was there. I called the number left on the door and no one answered. So we rode on. We got to the end of the road where hwy 12 meets hwy 158. We found a very nice and very expensive Hilton Garden Hotel. They had a room for us with 1 king size bed. up until this point we had been able to put the little angel in her own room or bed or crib of some sort. So a 1 room arrangement wasn’t really up our alley. At the same time the motel we stopped at earlier returned my call! They had a few rooms we could choose from. So we made the 2 mile ride back into the wind.

 

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Family Pic

 

The Beach Haven Motel is a very cute and quiet place! Completely remodeled, they accommodations were excellent! It was close to nap time for the toddler so we tried to put her down in the second room for a short nap. FAIL. She was too excited to play on the beach!

 

So we walked on the beach! We took her sand tools and walked about a mile up and turned around. We ran across a star fish, lots of shells, and she spend a lot of time watching a group of kids boogey boarding.

 

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Playing with her boat
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Daddy what are you doing ?

 

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Silly Daddy
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Watching the waves

We opted for dinner at a sports bar and grille across hwy 158. A simple dinner of seafood and steak rounded the day out nicely!

 

Our last day of our Outer Banks by Bike tour was here. A 53 mile ride from Kitty Hawk to Elizabeth city on the following day and we had finished the trip. We started around 8am and were ready to hit the road. We stopped at Duck Donuts which was across from the Hilton Garden Hotel we stopped at the day before. This was the neatest donut place we had ever seen. They literally make the donuts in front of you and then you pick how you wanted it frosted! We got half a dozen, a coffee and a small milk for the little lady. We downed ALL OF THEM with no help from the 2 year old.

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kisses

 

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Gear

 

Once back on our bikes about 5 miles into the ride we encountered some road construction which resulted in 1 of the 2 bridges being closed. We were expecting to have a large shoulder on a 2 lane, one direction bridge. We road as far down the closed bridge as we could until we met up with some construction workers who told us that they were paving large sections of the bridge and we couldn’t cross.

 

Then we road the .5 mile back to the entrance and proceeded to jump into traffic on the slim shoulder, 2 lane bridge. I had Donald ride in front and I took up the rear. That way the little angel was between us incase something happened. We waited for a nice break in traffic to start the 2 mile ride across the bridge, although the break didn’t last long. Most of the drivers were courteous and waited to pass us until the oncoming traffic was minimal.  But we had a few who were in a hurry and didn’t care about our 3′ biker bubble. Needless to say we took a break on the other side and let our white knuckles return to their normal color before we proceeded.

 

Farmland again. We stopped at a farmers market and purchased a cantaloupe, a banana and some Gatorade. We let the little one run in the freshly mowed grass and she played with her dinosaur in the rock beds.

 

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Snacks!
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Farmers Market

For lunch we stopped at Weeping Radish Butcher and Brewery. A very German feel to the place complete with goats in the front of the building! We got a flight of beers and some schnitzel for lunch.

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Weeping Radish

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Goats!
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Beer Flight

Back on the road to Elizabeth City, we passed the site of the Grave Diggers “birth place” (for lack of better words). For approximately a 1/2 mile we passed museums, an off road track, a mini golf course, and a campsite.

 

With 15 miles left of our trip we stopped a park for the little one. It was brand new and she loved every bit of it!

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Once we were back on the road we spotted a crop duster. It swooped back and forth across the road ahead of us. The little one LOVED it and would call for the “airplane” every time is crossed the road!

 

The last stretch of the ride was tiring. We were sore and ready to be done. We had some headwind. A few hills and a little rain. We were ready for it to end.

 

Looking back we had an amazing time. Every bit was great and our little girl had a wonderful time!

 

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www.AdventureFamilyInMotion.com

 

Virginia Creeper, Damascus VA

In November we had the opportunity to knock out a few miles on the incredible Virginia Creeper trail in the western part of Virginia.  The Creeper trail is a two-track gravel path built on an old railway (rail to trail) and is fast becoming one of the more popular trails in the United States.  Our short trip on the trail helped us quickly realize why.

We chose to bike the trail in the autumn timeframe in order to take advantage of the falling leaves and changing colors of the surrounding forest.  I don’t mind biking up hill, however when I’m offered the opportunity I would prefer to bike down hill (who doesn’t).

With the Creeper trail, this is not only an option, but is the  “normal” method.  So on our first night in the town of Damascus VA, we stopped in at The Bike Station to secure our ticket up the hill the next morning.  The great people at The Bike Station locked us in a spot on the morning shuttle and also allowed us to park the Urban Adventure Van (UAV) in their parking lot for an overnight stay.

With both a shuttle for the morning trip secured and a place to park our home on wheels, we started searching for other intriguing places to check out.  It did not take us long to stumble into (and out of) the Damascus Brewery.  We ran through a full tasting of the beers they had on tap and additionally sampled the cider they had recently whipped up.  All incredible beers, making it difficult to choose just one, so I chose multiple.  The Damascus Brewery is yet another cool story of someone putting their mind to coming up with a dream and going for it!  We will be going back for future samplings.

 

 

In the morning we loaded the wife’s Salsa Vaya, my Surly Crosscheck and our daughter’s Thule Chariot stroller on a trailer pulled behind a van by The Bike Station team for a 30-minute drive up the hill to the White Top Station drop point.  The weather was great and the trip up the mountain was beautiful.  When we arrived, it took about 5 minutes to unload the bikes and we were off!  We bombed down the trail with our daughter behind in her Chariot stroller singing and laughing all the way.  Our bikes performed incredibly and the miles zipped by.  We stopped multiple times for pictures and to take in the scenery, however the 17 mile downhill trip back to Damascus only took about an hour an a half total.

The Creeper trail continues on past Damascus for another 17 or so miles, however during this trip we just didn’t have the time to bike the remaining miles, not to mention it was a little cold during this time of year.  The fall trip was nice to see the changing colors, but the trip could also be done during the spring or summer months providing a little warmth and less chance of rain and snow.  The Bike Station can rent you all the equipment you need for this family friendly bike adventure and Damascus Brewery can help assure you have a solid frosty adult beverage to enjoy after your ride.

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Which type of cyclist are you?

What type of cyclist are you?

Here are some great facts from the infographic:

– Cycle 20 Miles a day reduces the risk of heart decease by 50%!!

– Portland, OR is the FRIENDLIEST city for cyclist! #2 Minneapolis, #3 Boulder, CO!

– Orange County, CA has the highest sales of fixed gear bikes!

 

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Credit for infographic goes to http://www.verticalmeasures.com/content-marketing-2/bike-culture-its-personalities-infographic/

 

Adventure Family In Motion

Point Lookout, Maryland

A few months back we spent some time at Point Lookout, Maryland. Its approximately 2 hours from our house. A nice afternoon drive. We pulled the UAV into the campground and were able to get a nice spot in the RV section.
We biked the island (approximately 5 miles total). It was a nice relaxing ride.
We stopped at the beach and played in the sand! We were surprised at ALL the people at the beach!
After the beach stop, we rode our bikes off the island and around town a little only to get caught in the rain.
We pulled the baby in the Chariot. She LOVES the chariot! She sleeps on EVERY trip! She sings. She waves and talks to people!
The weather was great (MINUS the mosquitos!)
This was one of the last ride with the Trek XO1 before purchasing the Salsa Vaya! This new bike is the HEAT!!!! I love it! Best bike purchase yet!
It was one of the FIRST outings with the Sprinter UAV … Urban Adventure Van
On day two we went for a 25 mile ride. It was a nice loop. Beautiful weather. We stopped and chatted with a runner who gave us some easy directions.
Great location for a quick weekend get away!