Range Roaming: A nerd unleashed – Introduction

Bike tours can be whatever you want them to be. They can simply be a ‘ride’ of passage or a long-planned ride of passion. They can be a fast-paced, fitness-focused race across a continent or a slow, meandering investigation of local culture. Bike tours can be a two-week holiday or a lifestyle. Cyclists can follow prepared route maps turn-by-turn or make it up as they go along. There really aren’t many rules related to how it has to be done – just keep the rubber on the road and enjoy yourself! Read more

Range Roaming – Illinois 2013 – Day 1

A sneaky start: Forest Glen Park, IL to Monticello, IL

Monday April 15, 2013, 67 miles (108 km) – Total so far: 67 miles (108 km)

Yesterday, there was a wind advisory current when my parents dropped me off in the deserted tent campground at this park. They unloaded my gear with a few tears and much trepidation. I assume part of the fear comes with any departure of a child on a solo adventure, no matter the offspring’s age or competence. Read more

Range Roaming – Illinois 2013 – Day 2

The rumble of… trains?: Monticello to Clinton

Tuesday April 16, 2013, 34 miles (55 km) – Total so far: 101 miles (162 km)

The forecast calls for a 40 percent chance of rain and thunderstorms this afternoon with a north wind 10-15 mph shifting northeast, high of 53F.

At 7.30 am, though, there are shafts of sunlight streaming through the remainders of last night’s clouds. Based on the forecast, my thought is to head for Lincoln, skipping Clinton by staying south, picking up a tailwind as it swings northeasterly later in the morning. Read more

Range Roaming – Illinois 2013 – Day 3

Trying to beat the cold front: Clinton to Havana

Wednesday April 17, 2013, 73 miles (118 km) – Total so far: 174 miles (280 km)

Today is a race. And I will lose.

There is a strong cold front advancing toward Illinois today. Strong storms are forecast with its arrival. However, it should not arrive until the evening, and I should have good southeasterly tailwinds until it hits. My choice today is: go long to Havana (71 miles) or go short to Lincoln (34 miles). There is really nothing in between. So I take up the challenge and decide to go long. Read more

Range Roaming – Illinois 2013 – Day 6

SUN!! Cold but sunny, yay!!!: Macomb to Fort Madison, IA

Saturday April 20, 2013, 55 miles (88 km) – Total so far: 255 miles (410 km)

Brrr…. it is 29F when I leave this morning. But it is sunny!!! It has been nearly a week since we’ve seen a clear day. The guys get to ride in the handlebar bag today. The wind is a light 5-10mph breeze from the WNW. I underestimate the cold though and have to put on another layer 10 miles up the road. Read more

Range Roaming – Iowa 2013 – Day 7

The first lost item: Fort Madison to Lake Wapello State Park

Sunday April 21, 2013, 79 miles (127 km) – Total so far: 333 miles (537 km)

State Highway 2 in Iowa is known to be pretty hellish for cycle tourists. In places it is in poor condition, and like most roads in southern Iowa, it generally has little to no shoulder. It is also heavily used by trucks. In 2010, I avoided the highway where I could by using the good-quality (generally) county roads. The one thing that was helpful then, however, was the courteous car drivers who almost always gave me plenty of room as I traversed the state. Read more