I absolutely love the classic looks of a touring bike. Especially when punctuated by leather accents and accessories. I honestly am not sure what it is about the touring style that draws my attention so much (even though I can’t seem to get the stuff together to get my own touring bike project off the ground.) And the 2016 edition of the North American Handmade Bicycle Show provided plenty of beautiful examples to fulfill that interest. Keep reading →
I’d been waiting all day for the phone call that was supposed to come around 12:30. It was almost 12:45 and I’d taken to looking at the time every 3-4 minutes. Finally, the phone rang. I was practically in the elevator before I even thought to answer it. She was done with her meeting. It was time to walk the 4 blocks to our designated rendezvous point.
I had to contain myself as I made the hike. Somehow it seemed that, right then, everyone on the sidewalk was hell bent on walking directly in front of me… slowly. I made it to the address. She was supposed to be standing outside. Oh god… I don’t even know what she looks like.
But then I spotted it…
It is unfortunately difficult to ride a bicycle on public streets in most parts of the country without running into someone expounding on all the ways that bicycles hinder auto traffic. While there is no denying that a car has occasionally been slowed by a cyclist, the more realistic truth is that cars do a much better job of slowing each other down than a cyclist cruising in a bike lane ever will. In fact, that cyclist is actually helping by removing one car from that traffic snarl.
I happened to run into a couple of heavily laden bikes with some rather interesting signage while on my commute home. Signage that claimed these folks were on their way towards South America on bike. I seized on the opportunity to get a quick interview with them. The full audio is available here in mp3 format:
[Text transcript of interview]
Ross Del Duca: We’re here at the Caltrain station at 4th & King in San Francisco and we’ve got a couple of heavily laden bikes that just made their way off the train. What are you names?
Jessica: I’m Jessica.
Antonio: I’m Antonio.
Ross: I see you’ve got a couple of other passengers, who are they?
Antonio: Sophia and Tonio
Ross: And so, what are you guys starting today?
Antonio: Today we’re starting our way down the coast of the United States and the coast of Mexico through Baja and into central America. And we’re not really sure how far into south America but that general direction.
Ross: Are you doing it entirely on the bikes I see in front of us?
Antonio: Both the same, yea.
Ross: So, have you done long trips like this before?
Jessica: This is our first one.
Ross: This is your first one? That’s amazing
Antonio: We didn’t know much about bicycles like three months ago.
Antonio: We were running a hostel in Las Vegas.
Jessica: We had a guest named Mark Doherty, and he was cycling around the world.
Ross: Oh interesting…
Antonio: It was interesting to hear his adventures, and follow him on his blog. We have our own blog now and also we want to start our own hostel. We didn’t really like Las Vegas, it wasn’t for us. So we’re kinda hoping that a South American beach somewhere will be our home. We like that kind of living where we live at home and clean up after people and meet people…
Antonio & Jessica: laughs
Antonio: The cleaning up is just part of the job.
Jessica: It’s like traveling without having to go anywhere.
Ross: Nice. Anything else that you’d like to let people know before we sign off here?
Antonio and Jessica together: Check us out on FunkyMonkeyFamily.com
Ross: Excellent. Thank you very much.
Antonio and Jessica together: Thank you.
Don’t let their relative newness to cycling fool you though. These are definitely not folks who just jumped on their bikes and started pedaling. In fact, if you check out their list of gear purchased for their trip, you see some very smart purchases. Their pair of Surly Long Haul Truckers are, to some, the very definition of touring cycling. They have clearly done their homework.
Another interesting tidbit picked up after the recorder was turned off: they were actually starting their ride in San Francisco following a Critical Mass ride.
So join me in wishing Antonio, Jess and the twins a safe, interesting and enjoyable trip. I know I’ll be following their blog with interest.
You may not have heard of them before, but you’ve really got to check out The Woodward Family. I honestly do not recall how I found these folks initially, but their blog details a ride they did together across the United States – from the east coast to the west coast. Right now (yes – possibly this very minute) they’re at it again – only this time they are traveling the California coast line. They are posting blog entries, videos and photos along the way. You can also keep track of their travels via twitter feeds @zachwoodward and @somewhereonabike.
Join me in wishing them the best of luck, no flats, safe roads and tailwinds all the way.