Friday, June 26, 2009

The first 500 miles

The full Join the Cycle crew

We have cycled over 500 miles! And what an interesting trip it has been. We have been faced with many challenges along the way: 5 flats, 2 broken spokes, a broken saddle, a fishtailing bicycle, a busy highway with no shoulders, some kind of stomach bug, heat exhaustion, a pulled back, and a relatively major accident (see blog soon to come). Unfortunately, the out of whack back has caused one of our riders, Chris, to drop out of the ride - at least for now. We hope he heals up and that we can meet back up with him a ways down the road.

Fixing a flat

Despite all of these challenges, we have had a pretty amazing trip. As mentioned before, we have met and keep meeting amazing people - some of whom have really helped us out and have totally taken us under their wings - some of whom have made us happy just by getting excited about our trip and pledging to ride their bikes more. I can't explain how great it feels to see people's eyes get wide when we tell them where we've come from and where we're going to - and to have them tell us about their bicycle experiences and get so excited about it all that they want to get out and ride their bikes.

At Joshua Tree National Park

We have also seen many cool places and things. We got to pedal through Joshua Tree National Park; we've seen the landscape change from city to Joshua tree and cactus desert to creosote desert to mountains and forest and back to creosote desert (with some juniper and grassland transition in between); we ran into a rattlesnake that was unhappy about our presence but held its cool; we have ridden along large portions of Route 66; we got to hang out in Flagstaff, AZ - a great town with some crazy and fun people; and we stayed on a corner in Winslow, AZ, like the Eagles (in "Take it Easy"). And now we're going to do just that - take it easy, as we let Hannah heal a bit from her crash.

Adventures and Accidents in Flagstaff and Winslow.

After days of roadside camping, we arrived in Flagstaff at the home of our great host, Joe and his great dog, Gordo. Food, hot showers, and killer mojitos were waiting for us-what a welcome! Flagstaff is a fun, funky city, with people to match, and just about everyone seems to know Joe. We took full advantage of the opportunity to relax, socialize, and run plenty of errands.

Joe joined us on ride out of Flagstaff to our next destination. . .which turned out to be closer than we expected. Outside of Winslow, I took an epic spill on my bike and ended up with a concussion and a fractured rib. Thanks a million, helmet! Joe and his awesome friends came to the rescue and helped us get rested up and fixed up for the next leg of the journey.
I'm all healed up and in riding condition now, the only things that hurt are belly laughs, sneezes, and mega-hugs!

Friday, June 19, 2009

The Kindness of Strangers

Ramona and Joshua from the Bicycle Kitchen

Jim, Ricardo, and Jeremy leading us from L.A. to Pamona

The Join the Cycle tour has gotten off to a bit of a rough start. We've had complications with bicycles, busy shoulderless roads, and illness. Each time strangers have appeared and offered a helping hand. We have been overwhelmed with the kindess of strangers and send out a hearty thank you to too many people to name. All of these people went out of their way to make sure that 4 travelling strangers were safe and well taken care of. We are so very grateful to all of you. We would particularly like to thank "Saint" Craig. Craig helped us out time and again by feeding the hungry, giving shelter to the needy and providing time and resources beyond what anyone could ever hope for. Thank you.

"Saint" Craig bringing us lunch

The desert and my Imagination narrated by Morgan Freeman

I'm starting to know where the sidewalk ends and where the wild things are..only thing i'm missing is my full body pajamas's with the slippery feet...
Trying to express the experience and scenery is something I'm having difficulty with,The Desert colors, the cool breezes that are quickly replaced with daunting gusts of momentum-stopping,skin-drying,who-do-you-think-you-are?-out-here-in-the-desert-riding-a-bicycle winds! We're constantly reminded by the locals that it's unseasonably cool right now (Niiiiice, it's cool..i have no feelings, make me feel like a baby, Awesome! ;)
While shaking my fist at the hills, it's something of a treasure to actually hit the crest, coast down and enjoy the same gravity that broke you like a circus horse going up.
Top of a nasty Incline near Amboy,Ca and before
THE SWEETEST downhill ever! It's a bird it's a plane, oh no...
it's big chris running out of gears!

Here's a great Mechanic (Mike) in Yucca Valley @ Ye Valley Bicycles that helped "Jezebel" (Yeah! that's my bikes name! the no good temptress!) And The Kraken (Me). He was from the Seattle area and in a band called the comb-overs, Great Mechanic! Great guy!

Let's talk again soon! Don't Judge me! it's the sun's fault! Catch you on the Flip side!


Saturday, June 13, 2009

Living Green in California

Our first week has passed, and we've already met a huge number of notable characters who care a great deal about cycling, adventure, and our earth. In California we were hosted by two very generous, very interesting communities that have created environmentally sound living space in cities.

Los Angeles Eco-Village

The Eco-Village provided us with an apartment to stay in during our time in L.A. The community lives in two buildings on a quiet street in Koreatown, and are immediately recognizable by the overflowing gardens at the entrance. The Eco-Village makes use of all of the free, accessible natural resources on the property. The courtyard house gardens, fruit trees, chickens, a composting area, and clotheslines.
The Eco-Village is a very friendly, welcoming community that we were happy to connect with. Many of the residents use bicycles as their main mode of transportation-and many of them spent the time to ride with us and show us around the city. Our thanks to all of the villagers!

Regen is an intentional community located in four houses in a quiet neighborhood of Pomona. The coop's mission is to create an environmentally-respectful community that embraces diversity and practices equality. We were treated to a great tour of each of the houses, which use solar panels to offset electricity use and a greywater system to feed the thriving vegetable, fruit, and herb gardens that surround the properties. A potluck style dinner is held by the community most nights of the week, and we got to chat cycling with most of the house members. We all slept well after our first day of riding in under their roof. Thank you Regen, keep growing!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

More in Los Angeles

While Chris and Casey were helping out at one SAG stop for the LA River Ride, Hannah and I were pretending to know something about bicycle maintenance at another. It was a lot of fun and we learned a lot about how to fix bikes while helping others fix theirs. There were also lots of tires to be pumped up - and probably the funniest fix was for somebody who had stepped on a wet Clif Bar and got it jammed in the cleat of his shoe.

We also biked part of the route around the city to take down signs after the ride was done. It was a really cool way to see the city. And a great introduction to riding on big city streets.

Last night there was a girl's night at the Bicycle Kitchen - giving a space for just women to come in and learn to build and fix bicycles. What a fabulous idea to get more women to learn about bicycles - who may otherwise feel intimidated. Just one more thing that makes the Bicycle Kitchen so great! The 3 Join the Cycle women headed down to check that out and offer whatever knowledge we may have.

Today was errand day. Now there's just one more day to get everything all ready for the big start on Thursday! Getting so excited!

I want to throw out a huge thanks to the Pedal House in Laramie, WY for helping soooooooooo much in getting me ready for this trip. They were very supportive and worked magic in getting my bike set up for a cross country ride. Thanks Pedal House!!! Y'all are awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

~ melissa

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Supporting the L.A River Ride

We volunteered at the L.A River Ride today, The event is put on by the The Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition (LACBC). Myself and Casey helped out with providing energy and water for the estimated 1800 cyclist riding the different lengths of the route.

Steve Itano was our SAG coordinator, Everything was laid out just right. Steve's a riot and helped make the experience enjoyable. We had Recycling deposits and even compost containers so nothing would go to waste!

The Guys from the Bike Oven and Flying Pigeon Bicycles were next to us providing the technical support for the many bikes that needed anything from a Flat fix to a broken component.
These guys helped me out by fixing a shifting issue my ride was having..just another day for a group of A-list mechanics.

Hannah and Melissa were at another SAG stop helping out, We can't wait to meet back up and trade stories of the interesting people we met. Please support your local bike shops and cycling clubs a little can go along way in helping yourself,others and the environment.

P.s - Rode past the new Captain Kirk (Chris Pike) on the way to our assigned outpost. I wanted to yell something like "live long and prosper" but that's just ridiculous and not me so i gave him the head nod and kept pedaling...Good! the new filter is working!

~ Star Date 0-6-07-09 Chris's Log ....Energize! (Don't Judge Me!)

Out and about in sunny LA!

The team is finally all together! Here we are at the Bicycle Kitchen, a friendly and totally awesome bike coop in LA. Ramona and Josh and everyone else from the bike kitchen has been amazingly helpful and patient with us as we worked to get our bikes out of their boxes and set up for our cross country ride.

Today we'll be hanging out with them all again, as we all volunteer a the LA River Ride, then it's off to finish some errands and tie up a few loose ends before we REALLY head out on thursday morning!

p.s. our train ride out to LA was pretty fun and relaxing! We had some nice friendly neighbors, and got to spend some time getting to know each other. Beautiful scenery as well!... definitely not the worst way to travel!