map deck

Dreaming up the next tour

If you’re like most readers of PedalShift, you’re in an offseason for touring… after all, it’s winter in the northern hemisphere. While many can handle the cold of winter, it’s the incredibly short days that often hamper tours or even simple weekend bike/camping adventures. Winter for many (not all, of course)  is more about dreaming up the next tour. And that’s where I am right now.

I’ll write more about this in coming weeks, but I’ve fashioned my work life in a way that allows me to spend at least a few weeks to a few months per year working on the road. Last year I experimented with a combination of mobile tech and on-bike energy production to allow me to be productive while I was on the road between Portland and San Francisco. This productivity allowed for a longer tour. I learned a lot, and have a few tweeks to make to the system (again, more on that in future posts).

But winter is more a time to dream up what’s possible with the route. So, here’s a couple of trips I’m hoping to make:

DC to Pittsburgh via the C+O Canal Townpath and Great Allegheny Passage

Sometime this spring, I’m looking at a 6-day trip to finally complete the well-traveled C+O/GAP combo. I live most of the year on the DC end, and my early bike tours were almost exclusively on the C+O. I friend from San Francisco is coming out this spring – time TBA, but almost certainly after Daylight Savings Time begins, the temperatures rise and the trails dry out a bit. We also need to wait until  Big Savage Tunnel on the GAP opens, which isn’t until the first or second week of April.

Portland, Oregon to Somewhere in North Dakota via the ACA Lewis + Clark Route

This summer, I’m planning on embracing the heat rather than fleeing from it. For the past few summers I’ve biked while enveloped in the Pacific coast’s cooler temperatures. It’s time for something different, and I’ve always been attracted a reverse route of the Lewis + Clark expedition (starting in Portland rather than the coast due to logistics more than anything else). There’s the added bonus of getting to roll through North Dakota, my elusive 49th visited state. Start would likely be sometime in mid-July and I am looking at hopping on the train back to DC to help transition back from tour to reality.

I’m neck deep in details and maps, and after too many weeks off the trails and roads with a fully loaded bike… I’m starting to get that excitement back.

What kind of tours are you dreaming up? Are they new experiences or repeats of well-loved routes?

image credit: “stacked deck” by fluidthought