Northern Tier Ride Prep: Who’s With Us?

How ironic. Adventure Cycling Association’s Bike Travel Weekend coincides with the very first day of our coast to coast ride.

What is Bike Travel Weekend? It’s a weekend set aside to encourage people of any age, any cycling experience, throughout the world to go on a one or two night bicycle trip with friends, family or even solo to a campground, hotel, cabin, friend’s house, whatever. The idea is to promote bicycling as a healthy, sustainable way to travel and have fun.  This is the third year Adventure Cycling has sponsored the event.

This year there are over 500 rides registered with 6,100 participants.  Here’s your official invitation to join us on Bike Travel Weekend or any part of our coast to coast ride. Don’t worry, Tom is taking the lead on navigation. #debsalwayslost


If Washington state isn’t in your summer travel plans maybe there’s a bike trip closer to you.

The Central Indiana Bicycling Association (CIBA) has a ride registered right here in central Indiana. Whether you’re a beginning bike traveler with lots to learn or a seasoned veteran with lots to share, consider participating.  Your contact to sign up is Nathan Dinges,

Are the reserved campsites sweet or what? Nathan even has a limited amount of gear for you to borrow.


#getoutandride #beatsyardwork

And, if you register and ride, you’re eligible to win a bike and Amtrak tickets to Glacier National Park.  Check it out here. Riding the Amtrak Empire Builder is an unforgettable experience. #beenthere #donethat

PS: As of April 28th, they are looking for ride leaders in North Dakota and Hawaii, the only states not yet represented in Bike Travel Weekend, so if ya know someone….

Whether you join us, CIBA, or do your own thing on Bike Travel Weekend, post pics using these hashtags because as the saying goes, “pics or it didn’t happen.”






Northern Tier Ride Prep: What’s In the Bag?

One of the most frequently asked questions about riding coast to coast is, “What’s in the bag?”  So here goes:


Tom’s Panniers (38 pounds)

Rear right:

  • REI Co-op Half Dome 2 man tent
  • G4Free camp chair

Rear left:

  • Kelty down sleeping bag
  • REI Air Rail 1.5 sleeping pad

Front left:

  • The “kitchen”, includes 2 mugs, 2 bowls, 2 sporks, coffee filter, spatula, cutting board, knife, MSR pan, MSR whisperlite stove with wind shield, soap, scour square, pan grabber, P-38 can opener, lighter
  • 1 liter fuel can
  • Flask

Front right:

  • Clothing bag including 3 jerseys, 2 cycling shorts, Chacos sandals, 2 pair socks, 1 pair Smart Wool socks, stocking cap, gloves, fleece, rain jacket, cycling leggings, arm sleeves, cycling shoes, convertible pants, shorts, 2 short sleeve t-shirts, 1 long sleeve t-shirt, 2 underwear, baseball cap, head buff
  • Bath bag includes camp towel, tooth brush, tooth paste, dental floss, shampoo, liquid soap, deodorant, razor, shaving cream

Handlebar bag:

  • Electronics bag including chargers for phone, Garmin 1000 GPS, portable charger, shuffle, charging cord for front and rear bike light
  • Sunglasses case
  • Bike lock
  • Tire pump
  • Rag with chain lube
  • Head lamp
  • Suntan lotion, chap stick, bug juice
  • Duct tape, bungee cords
  • Snacks
  • Passport

Strapped on back between rear panniers:

  • Tent poles wrapped in tarp

Seat bag:

  • Multi tool
  • 2 spare tubes
  • 2 CO2 cartridges
  • Tire levers
  • Patch kit


Cycling shoes

Cycling gloves

Water bottles – 3

Front rechargeable light

Rear rechargeable light


And the second most frequently asked question regarding bags is: Why is Tom carrying twice as many bags as Deb?  Answer? Because if Deb carries equal weight she won’t get to Maine until two weeks after Tom.



Deb’s Panniers (24 pounds)

Rear right:

  • Cycling clothing bag including 1 short sleeve jersey, 2 sleeveless jerseys, 2 bike underwear, 2 shorts, arm sleeves, cycling leggings, 2 pairs cycle socks, 1 pair Smart Wool socks, bright orange cycle vest
  • Camp clothes bag including 1 sleeveless shirt, 2 short sleeve T-shirts, 1 long sleeve T-shirt, black running shorts, khaki convertible shorts/pants, pink anorak, Marmot raincoat, 2 underwear, 2 jog bras,  1 extra bandana, gloves, stocking cap
  • Food bag

Rear left:

  • Kelty down sleeping bag
  • REI Air Rail 1.5 sleeping pad
  • North Face fleece
  • Solar lantern
  • Bathroom bag including hair brush, toothbrush/paste, floss, soap/shampoo combo, moisturizer, wet wipes, razor, deodorant
  • 2 gallon water bucket (I never go camping without it. Serves as a laundry bucket, ice chest, dish pan, etc.) #BestGadgetEver
  • Camp towel
  • ACA route maps

Handlebar bag:

  • Bandana
  • Waterless soap
  • Chap stick
  • Sunscreen
  • Electronics bag (iphone charger, portable charger, shuffle, shuffle charger)
  • Headlamp
  • Ball cap
  • First aid mini kit
  • Snacks
  • Passport

Strapped between the panniers:

  • G4Free camp chair
  • Chacos sandals 

Seat bag:

  • 2 spare tubes
  • Patch kit
  • Tire levers
  • 2 CO2 canisters
  • Spare cyclometer battery


Cycling shoes

Cycling gloves

Water bottles – 2

Rear rechargeable light


We had three consecutive riding days with no rain, snow or sleet. #shocker

Twenty five miles on Friday and back to back 50’s on Saturday and Sunday, fully loaded.  Northern Tier, we’re coming for you!

Below is our weekend riding recap video.  As you’ll see, it’s not all rainbows and unicorns.





Northern Tier Ride Prep: Finally

The bags, aka panniers, are loaded and on my bike! Tom will be carrying two front and two back panniers, and I, just two on the back.


What goes in the bags if you want to camp, cook, clean up and keep the top layer of your skin in tact on a 4,000 mile bike trip? Find out next week.

Godspeed to all participants in the Boston Marathon tomorrow. #BostonStrong #Boston2018 #WhereChampionsRun

Northern Tier Ride Prep: 25, 30, 35, 40

If you only ride your bike when it’s warm and sunny in Indy you probably don’t ride your bike very often. Especially when it’s April 8th but it feels like January 74th because winter has overstayed her welcome.

Last Thursday Tom and I made a pact. We going out riding, no matter the weather. Tom’s been spinning and commuting to work but we have only been out once together for a short 20 miler.

It’s not so much strengthening the legs and lungs as it is reintroducing certain body parts to the saddle, especially over multiple days. #ouch

So the last four days… 25, 30, 35 and 40 miles. Today Tom loaded his panniers and we took a spin. #allgood

As for fair weather riding, we didn’t get much of it. Just wind. Lots of wind. And cold. But oh was it nice to be out.

We are stoked to start on June 1!

Northern Tier Ride Prep: Not much ridin’, just runnin’

Here we are just 60 days away from starting our bike ride across the country and we still haven’t been able to squeeze in much outdoor riding. #indyweatherblues

We did however participate in the Carmel Marathon races yesterday with our Back on My Feet team, Tom running the half and I, the full.

Tom and Deb Finish Pic

Tom took six months off running and thought running a half marathon was out of the question. Ever. But dang if he didn’t crank out a speedy half marathon and finished without any knee pain. As for me, it was a flat, fast course and despite the wind, I ran my third fastest marathon. Ever. Something about eliminating gas station roller meat from my diet and including more greens and plant based proteins may have helped.

A lot of people think running is a solo sport. Not necessarily so! Running groups, especially our friends at Back on My Feet are like second families and that’s the way the Carmel Marathon event played out this weekend.  People came out to run, volunteer and cheer for our BoMF team members. Whether it’s your first time running with BoMF in the Carmel races as seen in the video below, or running in the most recent Carmel races as team members, it’s always a reunion of friends.

Soon celebrating seven years in Indy, Back on My Feet is still empowering its members using running as a way to build confidence, accountability, relationships and connect team members to jobs and sustainable housing and for this reason we’re riding this summer to support that purpose. Happy Anniversary to Back on My Feet and congrats to the Carmel Marathon, for currently being ranked 3rd on the “Most Likely to Qualify for Boston” list.

BoMF Carmel Runners 2018 (Photo credit: Liz Navarre)

And guaranteed… if you wear your BoMF shirt in a race, even if you’re in a different city, you’re gonna get some hollars. You’ll get noticed. You’ll get support.

BoMF Team Shirt

Best thing about this weekend though is Tombo is back to running. And we can run together. So there’s that.

But. We have this epic bike adventure coming up in just 60 days. As for the cycling together, I know y’all may not have issues with riding in the snow, but dang with more of it coming tonight, we may wait even a little longer to get out for some long rides together. #onecanonlyhope

Until then we’ll be runnin’ not ridin’.

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