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Bike Touring: Food for the soul! (June Adventure, Part 1)

Consider the endorphins and physiological benefits of going on a 20 mile bike ride, now consider doing 110+ miles per day for days on end and hauling all of your gear... yeah, that's what I'm talking about!

I've had the pleasure of doing a couple of bike tours in my life and hope to do many more. This past June, my good friend Dave and I rode our bikes from South Minneapolis to Sleeping Giant Provincial Park (north of Thunder bay along the lake) in 4 days. It was magnificent! Something about the daily routine of eating as much as possible, riding all day, sleeping a deep recovery sleep, and doing it over and over... Yes, that really is the life!

Following is a tale of day 1 of this 4 day bicycle odyssey:

Day 1:
This year's tour of 4 ambitious days totaling 460 miles ironically began with a 5 block cruise up to my favorite local coffee shop, Tillies Bean in Minneapolis. There we had some amazing coffee and a big old plate of biscuts and gravy. From there we rolled north. We decided to go paperless on this trip and rely on the wonders of technology, guided by Dave's Garmin Edge 705 GPS unit with some help in a pinch or two from his I-Phone (and here I thought a compas was high tech). Between Minneapolis and Banning State Park (north of Hinckley) we found amazing roads with very courteous traffic.
It's funny, the things and people you run into when on the road when bike touring. Everything from wild hogs blocking the trail standing in your way to lonely old folks who just want to tell you a bunch of dirty jokes (yes they've both happened to me). On day one, we can across a heard of little ponies which were very friendly and strangely ingriguing. Again, the things you miss when driving at 80 miles per hour on the freeway! We saw this little pony somewhere south of Hinckley on a little gravel road we got stuck on for a few miles.


Sometimes when you're toward the end of a long hard day in the saddle, you just want to be done. Day 1 of this tour was one of those days! After stopping in Hinckley and finding Dagget's grocery store had closed 1 minute before we tried to walk in, we settled for gas station food. Now we rolled off to camp at Banning State Park. We quickly realized that stormy black skies were rolling in - it was time to really move! With about 110 miles in our legs, we up shifted and pace lined our 70 pound loaded bikes at about 26 miles per hour and went as hard as we could to beat the storm. Feeling fatigued, I just wanted this day to end. Just as we were about to give up to the storm, a magical bike trail appeared that led us straight into the campground. We quickly got camp set up and settled in for dinner and good nights rest. What a day!

Come back to soon for more on this bicycle journey!

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