Thrilled to do a quick bike tour with my daughter and a friend. Even a short trip takes the same amount of gear and lots of planning. And then of course, those plans get changed on the road.
I absolutely LOVE my bike when it has all of the gear. And it was a total challenge to ride it fully loaded on the hills of the Hudson Valley. My legs felt the burn of climbing and the thrill of the downhill.
The days were HOT and challenging. We ended up starting a day late and in the hills rather than the valley. So we rode more uphill than I initially had planned. Staying close to the Hudson was the plan, and rivers can definitely help to smooth out a ride. But because we were later, we ended up starting miles from the river in the hills….
The first day out was both Sadie and Katie’s first time riding with gear on their bikes. A totally new feel to the bike and more challenging in the hills. But as always, the best way to train for bike touring is to ride on a quick bike tour.
The pile of gear didn’t really seem to be any less than my cross country tour. You still need your camping gear, your sleeping gear, your cooking gear (although we didn’t carry a full kitchen set up). It all added up. And we carried two tents. Bikes were heavy.
We made it out of the mountains and then changed our route to get off of the bigger roads and travel on the back roads to Bard College at Annandale-On-Hudson. On my bucket list this summer, was sitting on the rock in the pond at Bard College. Google maps took us onto a bike trail but not a trail made for bikes with gear. We ended up on BIG gravel trails pushing our loaded bikes uphill….. with bugs and heat. Miserable. But we emerged onto the campus after four miles on the trail.
The campus, beautiful. The rock, magical. AND no good pictures of it!!
Food stops were scarce and that was totally unexpected. As were water stops. Outside of Rhinebeck we happened upon a fruit stand that had bottled water and we bought eight bottles. Still not really enough to get us all the way into town.
Katie and Sadie saved a turtle on the road. I didn’t even see it and usually I see these things. But I was focused on the road ahead, I guess.
Rhinebeck finally appeared and lunch in a nice tavern with lots of air conditioning revived us all.
Our campsite for the night was with a #Warmshowers host just outside of town. We have hosted many, many cyclists from around the world through Warmshowers.org but this was our first Warmshowers stay. It just never worked on to our routes before. The family was wonderful. Generous in letting us take a swim, shower and cooked delicious food. It is always fun to meet local people when you tour. You learn more about where you are!!
Day two, took us towards Val-Kil National Historic Site.… We biked back into Rhinebeck for breakfast and a toothbrush (I forgot mine). And then headed along the river to visit historic sites and make it to the next campground.
Short days — we made it to the campsite by 11 AM and decided we didn’t like the look of it. So, we all decided to head back to the campground where the car was. It was ambitious as we had biked 15 miles and this would mean a 40 mile day. Since it was a first tour, I had planned 25 mile days. And this campground was 15 and then we were going to ride into Hyde Park and visit the National Parks. But we turned around and headed back into the hills.
We had to decide flatter road with lots of traffic and a good shoulder to ride. OR, hillier roads with less traffic and less shoulder. We opted for the latter…. and there were hills!! One after another.
We again, found few places to fill water bottles and with the heat we were going through bottles quickly. Lesson learned — CARRY EXTRA WATER!