Adjusting to Life on a Bicycle

Railroad Run Trail outside of Saratoga Springs, NY

Into our second week on the road, we’re still trying to find a daily rhythm that works for both of us.  We’ve been focusing on the basics:  riding, eating & sleeping.  It sounds simple enough, but in reality, all three take some planning and forethought when you’re first starting out, especially if there are two of you, with potentially different ideas or expectations about how things will be done.  We’re calling this our “adjustment period” – a transition into the life of full-time travel by bicycle.

That being said, we’re taking it slowly, and haven’t had any problems with injuries or breaking in our saddles, which can make the transition to bicycling even more challenging.  We’re also experiencing some sunshine and milder weather, and we had a great start to the week.

After our short stay in Wilton, NY, we headed toward Saratoga Springs, where we stopped at one of the many public mineral springs to fill our water bottles.  Each spring has a unique taste, determined by it’s mineral content.  The water is naturally carbonated, at varying degrees, depending upon which spring it comes from.  It took us awhile to get used to taking a swig of carbonated tangy water as we rode along, it always came as a bit of a surprise.

Public Mineral Spring coming into Saratoga Springs, NY

We stopped off at the library to catch up on email and then made a quick trip to Four Seasons Natural Foods to fill our food pannier before heading toward McConchie Heritage Acres for the night.

Road to McConchie Heritage Acres Camping, Galway, NY

McConchie Heritage Acres Campsite

McConchie Heritage Acres Campsite, evening falling

We decided to head toward Route 5 and the Canalway Trail, so we weaved our way toward Amsterdam on some gorgeous backroads of New York.  After a quick night off the trail right outside of Amsterdam, we woke the next morning to find flooding had damaged the trail.  Despite the signs that the trail was closed, we pushed on, hoping we could still navigate by bicycle, or at least find a detour further up the road.

Around Galway, Ny

Canalway Trail to Fultonville, Closed

The river, the morning fog, and the grittiness of the bridge provided a great backdrop for a morning photo session.

Sheila’s Bicycle, outside Amsterdam, NY

Kai on the bridge, outside Amsterdam, NY

 

The flooding damage was extensive and sobering.  Construction crews we met beyond the bridge directed us onto a road closed to regular traffic and away from the parts of the path that were washed away.  The fog, the scenes laid before us, and the lack of traffic on the closed roads was a bit eerie but the quiet start to the day was welcomed.

Flooding Damage, near Amsterdam, NY

 

Soon we found ourselves back on the trail heading toward Fultonville, NY.  There, we were able to catch a glimpse of an Amish family/community working in the fields.  The horses would move a few feet every few minutes then stop, while the farmers would move alongside and throw the already bundled stalks onto the wagons.  It was fascinating to watch and it prompted a conversation about how the Amish could teach us much about sustainable farming methods.

Kai riding the Canalway Trail

Canalway Trail Signs along the Trail

Watching an Amish Farming Community

We hadn’t seen anyone on the trail all morning, so it was a pleasant surprise when Steve and Dian pulled up beside me while I was taking a water break.  Riding Bike Fridays with trailers, they had traveled from Washington to partake in the self-guided Inn-to-Inn tour and had started, of all places, from Vermont!  They were an enthusiastic and fun couple to talk with and share stories with.

Within minutes of our conversation with them, another touring couple pulled up beside us, and you won’t guess where they were from – yes, Vermont!  Bryan and Debi of thrubike.net had quit their jobs and headed south to Mexico two years ago, bicycling for 10 months, then returned to live in Vermont for another year before deciding to embark upon an open-ended tour of the States.  We ended up cycling together for awhile and then met them later in Canajahorie, NY for lunch.  It was wonderful to spend some time talking with another couple that understands what it’s like to tour.  (Thanks for the company Bryan & Debi – we wish you the best of luck on your journey!)

Bryan & Debi

 

While at the Canahajorie Library we were excited to discover there were campsites available at designated locks along the trail.  As Bryan & Debi rode on, trying to beat the forecasted rain, we decided to make a run into town to pick up grocercies then headed toward Lock 15, just outside of Fort Plain, NY, to set up camp for the night.  When we arrived, we found very nice camp grounds and a super friendly lock operator, who made our evening with the offer of a hot shower in the lock house.  Not a bad end to an already excellent day!

Making Dinner at Lock 15

Next Stop: Second Part of Week 2 – Continuing on the Canalway Trail

4 comments to Adjusting to Life on a Bicycle

  • I know I said it before, but I have to say again that I love the photos you guys are posting; I don’t know if it’s the New England scenery or how you can say so much with so few words.

    I also think it’s really cool how you’re meeting other cyclists on the road. That happened daily when I was in Oregon last month for a week long tour, but I’ve only seen other cyclists twice on this tour in two weeks now (I suppose the cold here may have something to do with that).

    Are your mudflaps home made? They look like the bicycletouring101.com pattern.

    • Thanks Sean! The scenery pretty much does the talking in New England — one of the reasons we love that area. 🙂

      The mudflaps were actually inspired by Alex Wetmore: http://www.phred.org/~alex/bikes/fendermudflap.html

      They’ve been working great. We used an iron to flatten out the stair tread (put it between a towel so as to not melt it to the iron) and then rivets to fasten the to the fenders. We did both front and back fenders and they’ve made a huge difference plus they’re very reflective.

      Thanks for dropping us a hello to let us know you’re out there. Good luck on your own travels!

  • Charlie Crary

    I am really enjoying keeping up on your journey. I feel proud to have had the opportunity to meet the two of you and really hope your journey goes well. It’s
    been a great journal with wonderful photos.

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