I’m excited!! My old SEEKING emotional neural circuit is really humming. Pumping out that dopamine and adrenaline it is. What is it I am so excited, pumped about? Glad you asked. This is hot off the press, so to speak: My bucket-list desert Southwest bicycling tour is back on! It It has transmuted to a two-month, cross-country bicycle tour going from Tempe, AZ to St. Augustine, FL, some 2,168 miles, plus side trips. It crosses both the Sonoran and Chihuahuan Deserts! Cool. (No, actually probably still pretty hot in September.) I’ve got it scheduled for starting September 17, 2022. More on this below.
I had the bike tour idea about two years ago, even got me a nice touring bike, an R.E.I. Adv 1.1. Covid-19 got in the way. I had been riding and training at first on my old road bike and then got the touring bike, even had a lower gear put on it for the hills around here. Lots of mountains (e.g. Rocky Mts) where I’ll be riding. COVID hit and I realized it would be very difficult for me to take an extended touring ride for a number of other reasons. There were a lot of things in the way back then. Even during this period I continued to train though. After over a year of self-training and in consultation with folks again at R.E.I., I decided to switch to an e-bike (e for electric), one that I could tour on, a Cannodale Synapse. It had an advertised range of 150 miles for the battery between charges. However, that depends on how much weight it is carrying and the terrain. Wind would also be a factor out where I am going. I figured though, I am only shooting to average 50 miles per day. So even fully loaded and going uphill, I should be good. Just have to make sure I have a place to recharge it when needed. Don’t want to get caught short of juice. I love the e-bike, but felt like a traitor or cheating for switching to an e-bike. I still have the Adv 1.1 at this point and am torn between taking it or the e-bike. The Adv 1.1. touring bike is a much more comfortable bike, but, oh those mountains!
Between COVID-19 and the other obstacles, it looked just too much. I got discouraged and gave up on my idea to do one final grand bicycle tour, cut back on my training regime. Besides the hills around here were tougher than I was. After a year of training, they had gotten easier but were still a challenge. Enters the e-bike. I had abandoned my tour idea. During the ensuing months, several things worked themselves out and I got the e-bike. But I still had abandoned the idea of the tour until a few days ago when a synchronistic (C.G.Jung) event occurred. I got an inquiry about the A1.1, “Was it still up for sale?” I said, “Yes,” with mixed emotions: I really liked that bike!
I really like riding the Adv 1.1. It is a well designed bike and rides smoother than the e-bike. The e-bike is classified as a road bike, and is just not as nice a ride. It also can’t carry the weight like the Adv 1.1 can. But, by gosh, it will do those hills/mountains! If the Adv 1.1 doesn’t sell, I may yet use it for the tour. But going up over the Rocky Mountains, that pedal assist would really be nice. As you can tell, I’m torn. As long as no one offers to by the Adv 1.1 for what I want to sell it, I have the option. Even if they offer to buy it, I still might turn them down.
The e-bike is what is called a “pedal assist”. I can determine how much “assist” I want. It has four levels. I mainly stay in the lowest “Eco” level around here. On hills, I’ll kick it up to the next level, “Tour.” Had it up to the third highest level for about five seconds once getting away from a dog. Never tried the highest level, but I understand it really scoots. Of course, the higher the pedal assist, the more power it draws from the battery, which means it is draining the battery faster, etc. I ride it around here a lot of time without the pedal assist even turned on, but on the hills around here, it is really nice. I have a nice Buel bicycle trailer for it. Right now, I mainly use the trailer for when I go grocery shopping. It can carry up to 100 lbs and a lot of camping gear for my tour. I already have the camping gear I need for the trip. So, I am good to go for touring.
How did I get back on track again for this great adventure? It is a combination as I said above of Jungian synchronicity colliding with recent and ongoing changes at this time in my life. Let’s talk about the synchronicity first. Then, I’ll get back to more about the tour.(more…)