Sunday, September 22, 2019

WTF Bike Explorers Weekend, Vermont Style

Welcome to WTF Bike Explorers weekend! From as far away as Georgia, upstate New York, NYC, and Boston, we all set off from Old Spokes Home in late July on a hot weekend to spend two nights and 3 days pedaling Vermont's back roads, cooling off in lakes and streams. 

My rig. My front rack loosened on the first evening's ride on dirt and was never the same afterwards, but held up throughout the rest of the adventure. My plan is to focus on the Clementine's rack, seat, and handlebar setup in 2020.
Diversity in experience was also key and, I believe, was the glue that bonded many of us, helping each other through difficult situations: from novice campers riding skinny-tired bikes to bike-packers with numerous WTF trips behind them, plus some whose mechanical knowledge kept us all moving. I fell somewhere in between, knowing my perseverance, low-geared  Rivendell Clementine, and as a veteran camper meant I was comfortable being outdoors. 

My mascot dog, unnamed, and a last minute addition.

All coming from different places meant someone kindly offered tent stakes at dusk when I couldn't locate my own; I lent soap to another who forgot theirs; and giving each other private space when needed. The first night we all scampered down to a beautiful, cold river to cool off - a welcome relief!

Encountering flat tires were teaching moments, time to chat, or use the woods. 12 riders meant we spread out in small groups and no one was left alone.

On the second and particularly difficult day, resupply happened at a coop before climbing and descending for the remainder of the miles.

Fortunately, there was water around though not always easy to get to. I struggled with having enough potable water, but someone brought a filter and filled my bottle as we stopped to regroup on one of the many dirt road intersections. I was profusely thankful. I attributed that boost of energy late in the day to adequate liquid, and especially after swimming for a half hour with others in a lovely warm pond just shy of the campground helped to make another warm evening tolerable.

On the third morning, I split from the group after ten miles and continued mostly downhill on paved roads to meet my husband and shuttle home. It was my birthday weekend and I wanted to celebrate with family. 

I'm very grateful to have gone on such a wonderful adventure with a great group of like-minded cyclists. I hope I get another opportunity in the future.