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BICYCLE TOURING EXPERIENCES

 

 

Photos from post ride & on the road Adventures

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Chicago Sculptures

Utah Sculptures

The Paris loop ride

RAGBRAI trail food

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 ..checkpoint charlie Berlin...

Photo Adventures

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I enjoy the physical aspect of cycling and can survive by relaxing with nothing more than a good cold glass of water and story telling about the day’s ride.  But, a bicycle tour offers more than the completion of an impressive tally of miles each day.  In addition to communing with the environment there are numerous opportunities to visit historical sites, museums, national parks, cities and catch the local entertainment along the route.  We call these experiences our “off-bike adventures.”   

 

What got me on the bicycle on my first bicycling adventure to France was the “off-bicycle adventures.”  The physical part of cycling was down the list.  The tour my son Jack designed included visiting the World War II sites in France and checking out the Tour de France which was in progress.  The sightseeing appealed to me more because I was not sure the cycling would be that much fun.  He also discovered during the planning that we could enter a lottery to join 10,000 riders on the Champs-Elysees in Paris to ride the route the Tour riders rode. We entered and were accepted.  That was enjoyable and I do not think it has been offered again. 

 

On all of our adventures since France we have designed our routes to take us to the attractions we want to visit along our route.  We also take advantage of a flight through London to spend a few days to visit the British Museum, take in a couple of plays and tour the tourist sites in the city.  We also took a tour bus to visit Stonehenge during one stay.

 

Pictures have been used to illustrate our "off-bicycle" adventures.  The accompaning text is brief and I hope that a picture is worth a 1000 words.  

 

 

 ... one of many...Angkor Wat Cambodia...

 

 

...dressed in my best bike shirt for Mozart..Vienna

 

...Brandenbrg Gate Berlin...

 

..visited concert on the Danube riding into Ebbs Austria..



 CHICAGO  SCULPTURE - sites to see in downtown Chicago

 RAGBRAI - Northern Illinois Ride

Chicago Sculpture

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 ...as part of our awaking to our surroundings during a bike adventure we stayed 4 days in Chicago after completing the RAGBRAI and the Northern Illinois Bike Ride.  Chicago has a large number of art sculptures located in the downtown area within easy walking distance of each other which afforded us the opportunity to visit the art, see downtown and mingle with the people of Chicago. We stopped for lunch during our exploration,visited the Art Institute of Chicago, and consumed a Jamba Juice as we strolled along Michigan Avenue before catching the subway back to the hotel.  

 
       

Monument with Standing Beast

Jean Dubuffet  1984

Location:  James R. Thompson Center Plaza 100 West Randolph Street

Crossing

Hubertus Von Der Goltz  1998

Location:  LaSalle Street at the Chicago River

Freeform

Richard Hunt  1993

Location:  State of Illinois Building

160 North LaSalle Street

The Flight of Daedalus and Icarus

Roger Brown  1990

Location:  120 North LaSalle Street

 

 
       

Flamingo

Alexander Calder  1974

Location:  Federal Center Plaza Dearborn and Adams Street

Lines in Four Directions

Sol LeWitt  1985

Location:  West Wall

10 West Jackson Boulevard

Large Interior Form

Sir Henry Moore  1983

Location:  The art  Institute of Chicago Chicago Stanley McCormick Memorial Court

Michigan Avenue near Monroe Street

Miro's Chicago

Joan Miro  1981

Location:  Cook County Administration Building 69 West Washington Street

 

The Four Seasons

Marc Chagall  1974

Location:  Chase Tower Dearborn and Monroe Streets

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Photos - Scenes from Utah

 

..on the bike path that runs through Brice Canyon..

 

..natural tunnel in Brice Canyon..

 

..scene along bike path in Brice Canyon..

The ride across Utah

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...Scene from Arches National Park..  

..scene from Arches National Park...

Our bicycle ride across southern Utah took us through one of the most beautiful areas in the world.  We have ridden overseas in France, Spain, Germany, the Czech Republic, Bratislava, Austria, Italy, Vietnam, New Zealand, and Chile.  In the States we have ridden across Texas, California, Nevada, South Dakota, Iowa and Illinois.  None of our other bicycling adventures provided the spectacular views we experienced in Utah.

 

In many places huge rock cliffs climb skyward hundreds of feet within a few feet of the side of the road and view continues for miles.  As we rode we saw huge rocks that had been sculptured by the wind into strange and wonderful rock formations that were scattered over the landscape as far as the eye could see.  Many rock formations and sculptures could be seen for miles in the distance as we rode and consumed the landscape as we passed within a few feet of them along the road.  

 

We also rode through desolate desert areas which I do not personally find interesting or attractive.  But, a fellow cyclist from Switzerland came across the road to tell us about how much he loved the desert because he could see from horizon to horizon.  He said it was impossible to do the same in Switzerland. 

 

We also visited the Arches National Park after completing our bicycle trip across Utah to the Colorado Border.  I found the sculptures in the park were especially wonderful and interesting.

 

The ride was difficult.  The wind that created all of the rock wonders that we saw along our route continued its work even as we rode and it is brutal.  The route has double digit grades but it is the wind that makes the cycling difficult.  But it is the sculptures created by the wind that make the bicycling effort worth it.

...our Swiss friend loved the view from horizon to horizon..

..entering another awesome view...

..every turn produces another beautiful scene..

     

 ..completing a 10% climb to the top...

 ..I remember this climb...around the corner I slowed to 5 miles an hour to take in the scene for the next two and a half miles climbing at times at 10% until I was riding above the cliff to my right...

 ..climbing along the cliffs...

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The adventure in France 

 

 ....Paris is waking up and the Tour de France is on its way to the city...

 

 ...my bike buddy riding along the canal...

 

 ..our American flags brought a lot of attention...

 ..we had a great time riding on the tour loop around Paris....

  Riding the Tour de France Loop in Paris

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....10,000 cyclists participated with us in the Paris Tour Loop ride. (Note the various colors of the rider's jerseys.)...

My son Jack found a website during the preparation for our adventure in France advertising the "Paris Loop Ride."  The website explained that 10,000 civilian riders would be selected via a lottery and allowed to ride on the finishing loop of the Tour de France in Paris.  

 

To qualify, an application must be requested from the website, filled out and returned.  Those selected would receive an invitation and an arm band to be worn around the wrist the day of the ride indicating a qualifier.  The color of the wrist band would indicate the color of shirt the qualifier would receive from a booth near the Eiffel Tower the day before the ride. 

 

We sent our entry forms in and all of us received our qualifying arm bands.  The shirts we would be given were all yellow.  We had hoped for one shirt of each color but the important result was that we had been selected to ride.

 

I assumed riding the Tour de France loop in Paris was an event held every year.  I learned from my son that this was the first time the French had sponsored the event! That added a special feeling to the experience.     

 

In Paris my wife rented a bike to join us on the ride. The morning of the ride we waited with 10,000 other qualifiers at the start.  All of the riders wore their shirts of yellow, green, polka dot and white.  Each color represents an individual winner in the Tour de France.  Yellow is awarded to the over-all winner, green is awarded to the winner of the most sprint legs, polka dot is awarded to the “king of the mountains” or the rider who has successfully gotten to the top of the mountain climbs first on the Tour stages, and white goes to the rookie with the best overall time. 

 

With 10,000 riders, I was apprehensive that I would perish in a huge bike accident ten minutes after the loop ride began.  To my amazement, the crowd dispersed quickly and we rode the entire 20 miles in the clear. 

 

Jack surprised us with small American flags he brought with him from the States that he insisted we stick in our helmets on the ride.  One group of French riders began singing the US national anthem as they rode pass.  I could not return the favor and sing the French anthem!  Several Americans rode up next to me and asked where I lived in the States and had I followed the Tour. 

 

The Loop Tour itself was approximately 20 miles in length.  The route started along the Seine River turning at the Arc de Triumph to complete the second half of the loop.  We had begun to ride near the Eiffel Tower.

 

The Coke Company provided complimentary bottles of coke at the finish.  There was also the usual bag of goodies.  Jack found hats and other goodies that we missed out on but later he gave us two yellow hats that he had found.  It was great fun!

 ..waiting at the start of the ride...

...the mass of riders broke up quickly...

...making a move on the cobble stones... 

 ..complimentary refreshments after the ride... 

     

 ..the Tour rolled onto the Paris loop in late morning...

 .....they were cranking along at 30 plus miles an hour....

 ..it got very fast at the finish...

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RAGBRAI Trail Food

 ..we bicycled to the first destination town in the morning and selected our breakfast...

 ..at noon Mr Pork Chop's bus would appear along the route,,,

 ...Mr Pork Chop became a regular...our lunch host on RAGBRAI...

 ...the pork chop was a delight and one could carry me to the ice cream stop..

 Register's Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa (RAGBRAI)

car free adventure _________________________

 

 ...the Farmer's Association was a sure bet for a good breakfast to start the riding day...

On RAGBRAI we stayed at peoples homes in the destination towns.  A transport service hauled our duffle bags to the destination towns and left at 7 AM sharp.  We had to get our overnight clothes to the truck before 7 AM. 

 

To avoid eating breakfast early my wife suggested we eat breakfast at the first destination town typically 20 miles down the road.  On day two we began to execute this plan.  

We made our truck stop to dump our overnight luggage and bicycled to the first pass through town.  The street was packed with cyclist and as we walked we passed a stand serving breakfast.  We got a large serving of scrambled eggs with toast and sausage at a very reasonable price.  It was good start to the day.

 

We discovered the fire department or the local farmer’s organization offered a good breakfast in a huge tent or warehouse near town and we often started our day with them. Unfortunately we left Farm Boy’s to the last day.  They set up outside the first pass through town and provided all of those "fat" breakfast goodies that I avoid accept on vacation or a bike ride.  Their breakfast was awesome!

 

We quickly adapted to lunch on the road.  Actually lunch began 2 hours after breakfast and lasted until our ice cream treat and hour or so before we reached the destination town.  We stopped for free watermelon offered by a church group.  We purchased corn on the cob from a farmer. 

 

Our main source of protein however was provided by Mr. Pork Chop.  The first time we stopped we were timid and shared one “Mr Pork Chop."  It was great and after that it became one Mr Pork Chop apiece. 

 

While standing in a long line to be served pancakes for breakfast by the fireman a fellow cyclist told us about Beekman’s Ice Cream.  It is churned on the spot by ice cream machines driven by gasoline engines.  It is fantastic and became an afternoon must.  The first day we experimented with a small.  We bought two large after that for the remainder of our tour through Iowa.

 

The evening meal was pasta at the Catholic Church.  The Catholic Church in every destination town offered a pasta meal with home made pie for desert.  They were so popular they typically ran out of food.  The location of the "pasta church" was posted on signs along the road.  Our routine became locate the church via the sign on the way into town, locate our truck to pick up our clothes to take to the home were we were staying for the evening then cycle to pasta. The food was very good and hit the spot after a long day’s ride.

 

All of the pass through towns provided complimentary water.  Also, there was a beer tent with complimentary transportation to the destination town for those who might stay too long at the beer tent!

 ...the booth's along the street in the first destination town offered a great breakfast...

 ..there were unexpected treats that could not be passed up along the day's route..

 ..watermelon provided by a religious group in the afternoon drew quite an audience..

 ..every few miles a snack could be found...

 

 

...Beekman's home made ice cream became our afternoon treat...

...we mingled with the ice cream crowd while we ate our "huge" ice cream portions and watched the riders pass along the road... 

...every town offered a large variety of home made pies baked by the locals ladies...

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