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

 

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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?

Portrait of a Cyclist – Adventure Cycling Association

Adventure Cycling Association is hosting their 2nd annual video contest, and we are participating! We created a 4 minute video featuring our Portrait of a Cyclist.

 

 

Please LIKE the video on Vimeo and SHARE, Retweet and repost as much as possible! Every vote counts! Search Vimeo for the hashtags: TravelingCyclistACA2014 

 

 



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Bikepacking Shakedown for OBX Ride!

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We are approximately 2 weeks out from a family bikepacking trip of the Outer Banks of North Carolina!  The trip will take my wife our daughter and myself approximately 8 days to cover 250 miles via our trusty Salsa Vaya and Surly Big Dummy (Silver Back Gorilla).  A trip like this is a great excuse to snag some new accessories and gear, so this weekend we hit the road to test some of our new additions. 

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Yepp Maxi Child Seat

Our daughter is not quite potty trained yet, so for this trip we are still going to need to lug a full week of diapers with us.  The good news is they really don’t weigh much, but they do take up a ton of space.  So in an effort to find a good place to store a bulky light item, I found the Oveja Negra Threadworks Front End Loader.  This is the second bag I have from Oveja Negra and have been very impressed with the quality of their products, price point and timely shipping.  The Front End Loader allows me to strap a dry bag up on my Jones Loop H Bars and not even notice it is there.  Even with a weeks worth of diapers attached to my bars, my steering was the same and hand placement was not effected.

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Surly Big Dummy

The major addition, to the wife’s Salsa Vaya, was the Salsa Down Under Front Rack.  What a bargain at $65! Typical Salsa, the rack is super sturdy, easy to install and just plain WORKS.  We plopped some bags on the front of the wife’s bike, dropped her HUGE DSLR camera and lens with some clothes wrapped around it on one side and went for a test ride.  The racks hold perfectly, bags stay in place and everyone is happy.

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Brooks Saddle

All of our gear worked great!  I even had the opportunity to chase a couple of Tri geeks on my Surly Big Dummy after they passed me, fun race.   The weather was perfect our gear is just about all-together and we are super excited to get to North Carolina and cover some miles.

Here is the video of our new gear on our test ride!

Surly Big Dummy UPDATES

The Silver Back Gorilla (SBG) came into our life mid January 2014 and its been a hoot to put some miles on it during the winter. The Virginia weather has been a bit of a downer on outdoor activity, however the SBG has forced me to suck it up and get on the saddle. The Dummy is already proving to be an awesome addition to our growing stable of bikes, but like many other toys, this one CRAVES upgrades and aftermarket goodies!

Surly Big Dummy Yepp Seat

 

Surly Big Dummy Yepp Seat
The primary reason for purchasing the SBG was to haul our little girl around on the back (at least that is how I justified it to my wife). So the first addition was a Yepp seat. You can see the installation of this seat HERE.

Only change with the seat was moving it more to the center of the deck in order to keep it from hitting my heels when I peddled. The platform as a whole is very stable, proving to be very easy to haul a toddler, groceries, workout gear, large awkward objects and enough beer for all your friends in one trip if you so desire.

Surly Big Dummy
Surly Big Dummy
Surly Big Dummy Yepp Seat
Surly Big Dummy Yepp Seat

The next thing I swapped out was the saddle. I added a black Brooks spring seat to the mix. We have Brooks saddles on multiple bikes, but this is the first one with springs and I really dig it. The springs add a nice shock absorber to the rig and I believe some style points for sure.

Brooks Saddle
Brooks Saddle
Brooks Saddle
Brooks Saddle

The last thing we’ve added up to this point is a set of Jones Loop H bars (710 version). I chose the slightly wider ones in hopes of finding a wide variety of hand positions and so far am very pleased. I slapped on some Ergon GP 1 grips and then wrapped the rear portion of the bars. The front loop will likely receive some bar tape in the near future, providing for additional hand placement. The bars are AWESOME.

Jones loop bar
Jones loop bar

I don’t think the SBG will ever be complete. A Dynamo front hub and light setup is on the wish list. Additionally I would like to swap out the tires for something a little more in line with our dirt road touring. At this point I’m trying to choose between the Scwalbe Marathon or the Big Apples. Anybody have experience with either tire and care to pass on some advice?