Monday, July 27, 2009

Nebraska. . .The Good Life

We've been riding across the (mostly) flat prairie for a week now and for the most part, it has been the good life! People have been so kind to us-we've recieved food, money, and help from the locals, and nearly everyone is eager to talk to us about our trip. We've also enjoyed some great free campsites in town parks, what a good idea!
We're giving back to Nebraska by way of blood donation, to Nebraskan mosquitos, that is! Insects are abundant here; by day we try not to run down too many of the massive grasshoppers that line the roads and by night we race to get our tents up so that we can hide from the clouds of mosquitoes.

We haven't seen any tornadoes yet, but we met up with a beautiful but powerful thunderhead one evening. The wind was strong enough to keep us off our bikes for a while, but the churning clouds and intense rainbows were worth it.

We passed through Funk! *Insert cheesy song here*

Apparently when the temperature gets super-hot, roads explode! This was news to us but the clean-up crew had a business-as-usual attitude about it. We're imagining what it would feel like to have an explosion under your bike.

The roads have been straight and rolling all the way across the state. After the Rocky mountains this stuff is a treat. Our daily mileage keeps on climbing!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Barley, Hops, and Bicycles in Fort Collins

Well, our final city in Colorado arrived with much anticipation-family and friends to see, beer to drink and of course the Urban Assault Ride.
We started our stay with an awesome BBQ at our hosts house to reconnect with friends (and sisters!) and to meet out teammates for UAR- the Urban Assault Ride. New Belgium Brewery sponsors the event, and was kind enough to sponsor our party in a way. . .they donated the beer!

The UAR is part scavenger hunt, part obstacle course, part race and all performed on bicycles. Teams of two race through the city streets of Fort Collins to find checkpoints where wacky challenges await them. Since the race is all about knowing your way around the city, we had three clever locals team up with us to show us the way. Thanks Kendra, Josh, and Mark! We didn’t snag first place, but it was huge fun, especially the afterparty where the three of us jousted with plungers on minibikes. Yep, you heard me right. And of course there was more free beer, and food, and raffle prizes. Don’t’ worry, Urban Assault Ride happens in cities around the country, so you can find one and get in on this action.
The next day, once fully recovered from our big competition, we took a ride over to the New Belgium Brewery to take a tour with Brian, one of the New Belgiums’s most experienced brewers. We tasted goodies like Skinny Dip, Dandelion, and Mothership; learned how grain, water, and herbs become that lovely stuff called beer; and learned about the company’s small beginnings, strong values, and connection to bicycles. The brewery gives every employee a beautiful bike on their first year anniversary of employment. They also have a fleet of cruisers waiting to transport business guests. And of course there’s Fat Tire Ale, their most popular beer with the bright red bicycle on the label.We were sad to leave the great people, beer, and bike lanes of Fort Collins, but we have a great stretch of prairie ahead of us. Here we come Nebraska!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Dynamic Denver

Wow, the last week has flown by! We have been so busy here in Colorado, but everything has been so much fun! All this excitement in the Denver/Fort Collins area started at a little hot dog stand in the middle of the mountains.... where we ran into the nicest people from Littleton who took us in off the street for a delicious meal and shower, and turned out to be a great help with networking for our trip!

When we got to their house, we found out they live right next to Columbine High School, so we had to take a short detour to visit the memorial and pay our respects.

After that it was only a short ride to Denver where the non-stop action began, and hasn't cooled down until today! We spent a long afternoon with our new sugar-daddy... Mark, a representative for Keen shoes. It was so amazing: apparently Keen likes what we're doing enough to give us all new cycling shoes, and help us spread our message that biking is fun and healthy through their website! We are really looking forward to working with them more, and hoping to generate a lot more buzz for Join the Cycle through our connection with them! Go Keen!
After that, it was off to the Denver Cruisers: a weekly costumed pub-crawl-slash-humongous-group-ride! Hundreds of people participate, and the event is tons of fun... this weeks costume theme is saints and sinners (if you can't tell by these ladies' costumes!)
But the main event in Denver was our meeting with the Park Hill Bike Depot, a new community Bike shop in the Denver area that's working hard to get bikes out to people who need them... and doing a great job! We had a nice tour of their facilities, and got to fix up our own bikes as well. With over 1,000 miles under our belts at this point... we could use a little tune-up!We are headed out of Colorado soon, and I'd really like to take this moment to send out a huge THANK YOU! to all the wonderful people here who've helped us out along the way. CO has turned out to be full of the friendliest and most welcoming people we've met along the way, and we're honestly a bit sad to be heading out of this beautiful state!


Saturday, July 11, 2009

Our First Road Recipe: Asian Rice & Mung Bean Pudding!

Well, we’ve been on the road a month now and we’re finally posting our first recipe! Its taken some experimenting, and some failures, but we’ve started making some pretty darn tasty food on the side of the road! 

Our most important cooking tool has been a big thermos. Backpackers, boaters, and other adventurers have been “cooking” in thermoses for a while now, and we decided to try it out on this trip. The idea is that you put grains like rice or quinoa into the thermos with boiling water and leave it for five to eight hours while it slowly cooks. That way you can do all of your cooking in the morning, and have a hot meal at the end of a long day.

We’re still working out the kinks of the technique—some grains are fussier than others, but we made a spectacular sticky rice and mung bean pudding with coconut milk which made a great breakfast. The can from the coconut milk became our measuring cup, so everything is measured by cans!

Asian Rice Pudding

One 13.5 oz. can of coconut milk

13.5 oz. water (use the coconut milk can to measure!)

Half a can of sticky rice

Half a can of mung beans (found in asian food stores)

One big dollop of honey

Add-ins like dried fruit, spices, chopped nuts. . .be creative

This recipe cooks for 12 hours! This means preparing the pudding in the evening and having it for breakfast the next day. Thermos cooking requires some forethought!

To maximize the cooking power of a thermos, it needs to be pre-heated by pouring boiling water into the thermos and letting it sit, closed tightly, for ten minutes. This is key to cooking the grains fully.

Combine coconut milk and water in a small pot and bring to a boil. Empty the thermos of the pre-heating water and pour coconut milk & water mixture into the thermos. Add the rice and mung beans and put the lid on quickly. Shake the thermos to combine everything and pack it away.

Forget about your thermos for 12 hours. Crack it open and you’ll have creamy, coconut-scented rice and mung beans just waiting for some honey for sweetness and perhaps even a little cinnamon and sliced banana. . .

Joyful Journey

Colorado has treated us well – beautiful mountains;

 short afternoon thunderstorms that time themselves with the towns (and shelter!) we hit  - for the most part; 

another bicycle tourer who has basically lived from his bike for the last 14 years; 

kind and generous friends (thanks Deb, Todd, and Cascade!!); 

grandmothers and friends who take us in as their own; 

and amazing hot springs at the end of a 72 mile ride.  

Now we are taking our time through the mountains and excited about coming into Denver!!

A note from Joyful Journey Hot Springs:

Choose life-  

Only that  

And always

And at whatever risk.

To let life leak out

To let it wear away

By the mere passage of time

To withhold giving it and spreading it

Is to choose nothing.

-Sister Mary Corita Kent

Thursday, July 9, 2009

It's a Small World After All

We were in Santa Fe for the 4th of July. There we were greeted by our awesome couchsurfing host, Eric, and his fun friend, Tim. Eric showed us around town and invited us to a great BBQ. At this BBQ (with about 15 people) we were shown just how small this world can be. Back in June, Casey, Hannah, and Chris all rode the same train out to Los Angeles. On that train they met and hung out with a guy named Tyler, who was going to visit his brother in Santa Fe. And guess who was at the BBQ? Tyler’s brother! To add to the craziness, I met a woman who went to the same college I did – at the same time! We even have a common friend. Fun times in Santa Fe. ~melissa

Tuesday, July 7, 2009


We would like to take this moment to pay a sincere apology to our adoring fans that we have not made a blog post recently, and we will be making a whole-hearted effort to blog more regularly! That said, this last week has been GREAT! We've had trials and triumphs and some wonderful biking!
We are back on the road again, Hannah is feeling much better! In fact, that broken rib of hers doesn't seem to be slowing her down at all! She's pretty amazing, and way at the front of the pack as always!
We had a great stop in Albuquerque, where Melissa’s friends Peter, Huan and their 3 lovely children were wonderful hosts. We gave 3 presentations to children ranging in age from 6-16, at a Boys and Girls Club, and a local summer camp. It went great, the kids were super excited, and I'm pretty sure they all went home saying, "mommy, when I grow up, I want to bike EVERYWHERE!" We also had an interview with the Albuquerque Journal, and were supposedly featured in the paper over July 4th weekend. Basically... we can now consider the trip a success!
We had our first day of serious rain to cycle through this week... which was unpleasant, but we survived, despite that not-so-friendly coffee shop we had been SO looking forward to! We've also had some really wonderful biking weather mixed in, and the absolute more gorgeous scenery we've had to date!
Just before we hit Colorado, we were cycling out on the open plain when a thunderstorm started rolling in! Luckily we made it to a small town cafe just in time to escape the hail! We had a great break there, and even met our first celebrity... The Singing Cowboy of American Idol Fame!
When bad weather strikes, and there's nowhere to hide... our tarp saves us from the rain! (Thanks Mom!)

Colorado has given us some beautiful biking, scattered thunderstorms that roll past as soon as they arrive, and some absolutely amazing friendly locals! Last night we met a National Forest employee who invited us to camp at his place, we really enjoyed getting to meet his family... and especially his shower!

We're still really sad that we lost Chris due to back problems... But the trip has been going great! We are having a wonderful time, and Join The Cycle seems to really inspire people along our path!