Back in June, I had one of my best weekends of the summer—a two day cycling trip on Washington’s San Juan Island. Just days before our departure I was perusing John Crouch’s Cycling the Islands. I was looking for an island within reasonable distance of Vancouver, with great cycling and scenery that wasn’t too large, too small, too mountainous, too flat, too busy, too quiet, too beholden to too many ferries…Bingo! With its stunning coastal vistas, pleasantly rolling terrain, good roads and courteous easy-going drivers, San Juan is a total pleasure for cyclists. Damn! To think that this island could have been ours (Canada’s). Continue reading
Mike and I recently purchased hybrid bikes. We’ve taken them for spins in the Vancouver area but this was their first test on a multi-day trip. We drove to the Tsawwassen ferry terminal (south of Vancouver), parked our car and boarded the ferry with just our bikes and brand new panniers. It was nice…this unencumbered feeling. An hour and a half later, in Swartz Bay, Vancouver Island, we rode off the ferry and directly onto the Lochside Trail. For four days and 200+ km, we rode the Lochside and Galloping Goose trails, passing along ocean and through forests, farmlands, wetlands, towns, and B.C.’s lovely capital city, Victoria. Continue reading
November, 2015. What do you do with 6000 km of unused railway lines? At the beginning of the 20th century, Spain had ambitious plans to connect its rural communities via rail. With the economic crisis brought on by WWI and then the Spanish Civil War, these plans fell apart. Many of the railway lines, in various states of completion, were never used. They lay neglected until the early ’90s when Spain introduced the Via Verde Program—transforming unused railway lines into biking/walking greenways. There are now over 2000 km of Via Verdes across rural Spain, with over 100 different routes. We had the pleasure of cycling the 36.5 km Via Verde de la Sierra, which links the villages of Olvera and Puerto Serrano in southern Spain’s Andalucia region. It is the crowning jewel of the Via Verdes and has won numerous awards for best greenway in Europe.
What do you think of when you picture Southern California (SoCal)? I’d guess that “the beach” is near the top of the list—that iconic SoCal beach scene immortalized by 60s tunes like California Dreaming and Surfin’ U.S.A.
So, on a recent trip, passing through Los Angeles for just one day, we decided to check out the famous SoCal beach culture. A really fun, and efficient way to do this is hopping on a bike and riding all, or at least a portion, of the 22 mile Marvin Braude bike trail. It’s also referred to as The Strand or The South Bay Bike Path. Continue reading
My son Alex turned 16 in March and we decided to give him more say in the “where to go during Spring Break” decision. I gave him lots of great options, hoping he’d pick a place like Morocco or Borneo. But no, he was set on Southern California; specifically Los Angeles. I can understand the allure for a 16 year old boy—beaches, babes, movie stars, and Mexican food (not necessarily in that order). So much for exposing him to exotic cultures, unless Venice Beach counts! To my dismay and delight, it turned out to be his “best trip ever”, and his parents had a pretty good time too.
What’s on the hit list for a 16 year old boy visiting LA? Continue reading
Mountain biking among the Big 5 in South Africa’s Kruger National Park is a unique and exciting activity, but what happens when a 2000 kg hippo stares you in the face?
Kruger National Park is one of the world’s greatest game parks. Most visitors see the animals from the comfort of a private car or open-air safari vehicle. We did that too, but also opted for a more active adventure—mountain biking at Kruger’s Olifants Camp. Continue reading
How often have you been blown away by truly exceptional service? My family had the rare pleasure of experiencing this in Moab, Utah while on a mountain bike trip on the White Rim Trail with Magpie Cycling.
Maggie and Mike, a wonderful husband and wife team, run Magpie Cycling. Their tours range from insanely difficult to those suitable for the fit novice rider. We opted for the latter, selecting the White Rim Trail in Canyonland National Park – a 4-day riding and camping adventure. The 100-mile loop on a four wheel drive road travels through impossibly dramatic landscape – think the Bugs Bunny and Road Runner Show. Flat top mesas, giant spires, sheer drop-offs and gravity defying arches dazzle the senses. Continue reading