Northern Tier Ride Prep: FundRiding | Camping for Cash

What is FundRiding? It’s when you’re riding for FUN but you add a “d” and decide to pedal for a purpose to raise funds for organizations in which you volunteer and believe. The St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry and Indy Back on My Feet are two such orgs.

We thought it might be interesting to throw a couple challenges out there. Challenges, dares, wagers, incentives… #whatever

That makes it a little more fun, doesn’t it?

Tom and I will donate $5 to either St. Vincent de Paul or Back on My Feet for every night we camp instead of taking the easier route and hoteling or warm showering it.   Because we are spreadsheet geeks, we are keeping data here.

We challenge our readers to donate $1 a night for every night we camp. Or double the challenge and make it $2 a night!  If you’re in, click on Contact (located at the top right of this page) and message us on the blog. That will give us an incentive to rough it a little bit and camp for cash.

Disclosure #1: We’re not beginner campers. We have some camping experience and we may air out our dirty laundry occasionally. Stay tuned for pics. Who knows what Montana will bring besides mountains.

Katy Trail, June 2017

Disclosure #2: Sometimes we pitch our tent but if it looks like there are gators nearby, we hotel it.

Such was the case in the Florida Keys where we pitched our tent in what looked like to me, a gator invested swamp.


We left our tent set up for the gators and high tailed it to the nearest hotel in town where we grabbed some grilled cobia at a local restaurant and hoteled it. #nogatorsallowed

Florida Keys Camp
Swamp just beyond the treeline
Florida Keys Hotel
Gator free hotel room



Northern Tier Ride Prep: Bye Bye Bikes

We finished our last “loaded” ride last weekend. No we weren’t carrying Baseline IPA or Weizengoot from Bier Brewery in our water bottle cages. Last weekend was our last ride with panniers (bike bags) loaded.  Post ride we tuned up, cleaned up and boxed up the bikes and shipped them to Bellingham, Washington where we will pick them up two weeks from today. That’s TWOA folks!

Thanks to Jon at Carmel Cyclery for the Cannondale tune up and Nick at REI for preparing them to ship.

Folks have been asking about our bikes and bags and how much they weigh. The answer? Too much.

Here’s the “skinny” on the “fat” bikes. BTW Damon and Vic will have conniptions. What can I say? I won’t go without my camp chair; Tom won’t go without his underwear. #essentials

Weight before water, food and fuel:

Tom’s REI Coop:
Bike weight: 39 lbs.
Panniers: 44 lbs.

Deb’s Cannondale:
Bike weight: 29 lbs.
Panniers: 25 lbs.

Click on the image below for a weekend recap video.




Northern Tier Ride Prep: What To Do With a Weekend Off of Cycling

Why not run in the 20th annual Flying Pig Marathon!  Tom and I decided it would be fun to scoot over to Porkopolis for a quick run, check in with some college buds and visit family. Check, check and check!

Finished! with a bag full of SWAG and snacks.

Hot and hilly but only one minute slower than my marathon time 20 years ago when I ran the Pig. I’ll take it! Tom on the other hand is running half marathons and getting faster and faster after taking six months off from running.

Xavier University friendships, almost 40 years running. #LetsGoX
Thumbs up for the fam!

And finally it looks like the North Cascades Highway, the road we take through the Cascade Mountains, will be cleared of snow by this Friday giving way for scenic and challenging cycling in just about four weeks.  #thumbsup

Cascade Highway
East and west side crews are just six miles apart clearing SR 20 for traffic. #byebyesnow #seeyanextwinter

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!