We’ve been having a great time talking about bike travel and meeting long-time readers during the last couple weeks. It’s really fulfilling for us to get people excited about taking their bikes on adventures. We gave a presentation in San Diego at VeloCult last week and one at Open in Long Beach last night and are scheduled to do one final presentation in El Segundo, CA before we head for ports unknown. The lovely folks at Electric Bikes LA have helped us set up the presentation and are also Brompton dealers who have a wide selection of Bromptons in the store.
Tuesday, October 11 · 7:00pm – 10:00pm
Joslyn Center (main social hall)
339 Sheldon St
El Segundo, CA (map)
El Segundo has a cute little downtown and a great brew pub (Rock’nBrews) with an amazing selection of beer (which we’re going to afterwards). We’re trying to get a sense of the number of chairs we should set out, so if you’re coming, please RSVP on the Facebook Event page. If you don’t do Facebook, send us an email and let us know you’re coming. This is our last presentation in Southern California, so we hope to see you there!
While at InterBike, I shot video of some products that caught our eye for their uniqueness and functionality. Enjoy!
Since I’ve picked up drawing again, I’ve been doodling a lot! I’ve been trying to do a few illustrations a day for our upcoming illustrated guide and that means drawing a lot of Bromptons in various styles and folded states. I thought it would be fun to offer the drawings as little pieces of artwork from the road.
Each drawing is an actual drawing and not a photocopy. As I get an order I’ll draw it (specify if you want the Brompton folded or unfolded) in my sketch book with a brush pen and grey markers, cut it out and mail it to you at the next post office we find. Each one will be a little different but have the same style of a heavy brush line with warm grey shading. Each drawing is about 4×5 (current size of the sketch book I’m using) on white acid free paper and the price will be $15 per drawing.
If you’re interested, you can either email me or go to this PayPal link. Please be sure to include a) a mailing address and b) in what folded state you want the Brompton to be drawn in. If you like, I will also inscribe where it was drawn (for example, Cut Bank, Montana). We’re always trying creative ways to help us to continue to travel and you all have been so supportive. I’m hoping this is another way you can be part of our journey. Email us and get yours today!
I’ve started to illustrate some of the “truths” we’ve learned while bike touring. If you follow us on Facebook, you’ve seen a few more I’ve drawn. This is the first in a series that will be on the website and our upcoming illustrated guide!
Before video, photography and writing, I used to draw. Lots. I put away the pencil and paper a long time ago, but was still able to absorb a fair amount from my dad, who is a fine art painter. It’s funny that, decades later, I find myself doodling again. Part of it is a desire to capture and describe our trip in a more intimate way and part of it is to do something that doesn’t require so much technology. I’m rusty and there are far more talented bicycle touring illustrators out there.
However, a chance meeting with Dan Price of Moonlight Chronicles really inspired me to give drawing another shot. His work is simple but emotive and flows seamlessly with his text. Reading one of his chronicles feels like reading someone’s journal (because it actually is!) – intimate and personal – which is such a refreshing change from the mechanical blogosphere. So I’ve picked up a fistful of pens and have already filled up two notebooks full of sketches and badly-drawn attempts at sketches.
All this drawing has also given us the inspiration for our next project! We were already planning to do a Brompton Touring e-book – but we have decided to up the ante and create an illustrated guide, with doodles and vignettes, that will be available as a printed zine or an electronic PDF.
Our goal is to have it done by Interbike (a month away!) and to launch and start selling them at the show. The illustrated guide will have lots of tips and tricks that we’ve learned about touring with a Brompton, as well as a mix of portraits, short stories and even a few trip suggestions. The goal will be to create a bicycle touring e-book that doesn’t feel so e-book-y. Something personal, intimate and unique. Something different from all the other bike touring e-books out there! We hope you’ll like this direction for our next publishing effort. Email us or leave comments for any suggestions.
After an eye-opening talk with Bill White, the man who rallied the community of Twin Bridges together to erect the nation’s first ever Bike Camp, we’ve been thinking a lot about bicycle touring and its effects on small towns. He started Bike Camp as a means to get touring cyclists to stay in town and to benefit the local economy. He became enamored with the many stories of passing cyclists but also saw an opportunity for the town of Twin Bridges to benefit from hungry and tired bike tourists riding through.
For Bill, it was simple. To not do something to keep the cyclists in town was like “watching gold flow down the river.” So he dreamed up Bike Camp and raised the funds and community support to see it happen. It was such a simple insight, but one that we as bike tourists always clamor for. Show us a modicum of bike friendliness and we’ll be eternally grateful. Heck, we’ll even spend money in your town.
This got me thinking about our spending habits and how it would be different if we were in a car. We’re pretty average as far as touring cyclists, shooting for about 50 miles a day. Far enough to move through the landscape, but slow enough to do some fishing and eat some pie. Because of our limited distance per day and the massive amounts of calories we’re expending a day we eat a lot and require a place to overnight (camp, RV park, motel, etc.,).
I began thinking of how our spending habits would be different if we were driving. Take a 200 mile road trip. It would be easily accomplished within a day in an automobile. You’d probably stop for lunch, refill the gas tank along the way and get dinner and lodging at your final destination. You might pass a handful of small towns along the way, but since you’re moving so fast and not expending any calories, chances are you probably won’t stop unless you have to use the bathroom. Those small towns would just be a blur from inside your car.
Take that same 200 mile stretch and think of how a bike tourist would move through the landscape. If they’re 50-mile-a-day cyclists like us, they would require 4 nights of lodging or camping. Because we’re constantly burning calories, that same trip would require 12 meals or snacks in between (either cooked with food bought from local markets or meals at the local eateries). We would definitely stop in every town to refill water bottles, stock up on food, use the restroom and spend the night.
Given the same 200 mile stretch, a touring cyclist will make more of an economic impact on the small towns along the way than a person driving in a car. Now imagine, if small towns across the country welcomed cyclists by offering simple accommodations like the Bike Camp, especially those along Adventure Cycling routes. Not only would it benefit cyclists, but small towns would benefit as well with a constant stream of tired and hungry bike tourists coming through town. The more accommodations, the more people touring, the more people spending money in small towns.
It’s a dream for sure. But after seeing Bike Camp, in Twin Bridges and talking to Bill, we had a momentary glimmer of what bike tourism could be.
Just a goofy video of us going down Big Hole pass into Wisdom, MT. The road had little traffic and was straight as an arrow in parts. I let it go and hit 42mph with the fully loaded Brompton!
Just a quick micro-post to let you all know where we are at. Internet has been a little scarce in Montana. After a relaxing week in Missoula we set off towards Bozeman. We crossed the Continental Divide yesterday at about 7200 feet, the tallest pass (so far) on the little wheels. It was a challenge with headwinds, multiple flats and even a tire blow out. The next few days will take us through Jackson, Dillon, Twin Bridges and Bozeman (hopefully by the end of the week).
The sky seems infinitely bigger on this side of the divide.
In this video, we make it out of the Wallowa mountains and land in Joseph, OR. While there, we have the opportunity to spend a day with Dan Price, author of Radical Simplicity and The Moonlight Chronicles. Dan has been living the “simple life” for decades before minimalist bloggers (heck, before blogs!) and 100 thing challenges. True to his word, he lives simply in Hobbit home and gives us a tour of the meadow.