Sunday, April 7, 2013


When we moved into our house in 2005 there were various things that needed fixing, changing etc.  Two updates I was sure would be done within the first year.  One is the blue and yellow tile print carpet in the dining area that makes me feel quite off kilter after just one glass of wine, not to mention two glasses..

The other required change being the reddish brown baby poop color mini blinds in the living room.

Yet here we are eight years later and both are still here.  And why?  Well, I could say that the mini blinds are of very good quality, and the carpet keeps me from overindulging, but that is not the case.

The real reason these lovely items still grace our home is bicycling.

About the same time we moved into our home I happened to read an article in an old copy Outside magazine while waiting somewhere,  probably at the doctors office.  The article was by a woman who flies to New Zealand alone to tour the south island alone.  After that I was hooked on bike touring.  I imagined myself headed out alone, camping, biking, exploring.
Every ride I went on was "training for New Zealand" I rode my old Specialized Stump Jumper as fast as I could.  I took my Trek 830, circa 1994, on "road rides"  Finally I decided I had to get a new bike.  I looked and looked.  Most bikes were too big, others too expensive.  Finally I found the Salsa Vaya.  The wheels even came in a 26 inch option.  I could stand over the thing.  It had disc brakes, brazons, touring geometry it was a beautiful upside brown, not baby poop brown.  Blinds could wait.  I wanted to go bike touring.

When I got the bike we discovered the clearance was such it would accept 2.1 inch MTB tires with fenders.  Yay!  now I could go bike touring on gravel roads.

Josh was naturally jealous... but too tall for the Vaya with 26 inch wheels, if he got one he'd have to use skinnier tires.  Sometimes being short pays off!  He found the Fargo, worked a bit of overtime and he had his bike.  In geeky Lord of the Rings terms.. "One bike to rule them all."  Josh said he would not need another bike his entire lifetime.

 We discovered the Adventure Cycling Association.. We spent our 10th anniversary on a bike tour.

Then we heard about the Tour Divide.  We went and rode a section.

We watched the movie, we read blogs.  Josh said he wanted to race.  I thought about sitting home and watching his spot move down the computer screen.  I thought about touring it behind him.  Then I decided I wanted to race too... Why not?  No entry fee, no prizes, just touring fast.

But there was a problem.   I was already at a big disadvantage.  I am slow.  My only athletic ability being that I can go slow for a really long time. I began to think of another bike, and the ugly carpet... We were saving up to replace it.  Hmm.  Priorities.  Experience of a lifetime, vs new flooring... I could just ride the Vaya..  I was not going to be fast anyway and would a different bike make that much of a difference.  But I was jealous of the frame bags, and the MTB geometry.  I was afraid my panniers and rear rack would rattle apart before New Mexico, and they are heavy.

I am not a cyclocross racer I told myself  I need the mountain bike to avoid having to push my bike all the way to New Mexico.  I need to be able to carry more water.

 I need the advantage of a light weight MTB so I can put more stuff on the bike.  I am a knitter, I carry lots of stuff, I might want to knit along the way as I usually do for my mental health.  I knit a hat on our last tour...

And lots of stuff on your back leads to sores on your nether regions, so I needed a mountain bike that I could fit out with spiffy bags instead of carrying a huge backpack.

So, I got a new bike.  A titanium Fargo,  I decided I can live with the carpet.  Its not so bad.

I realized  drips of chain lube and mud do not show on super ugly tile printed carpet.

The beauty of my new bike and the amazing experience of bike touring and racing makes up for the flooring.


  1. Remodel the house or go for a bike ride, I think you guys made the right decision.

  2. That Vaya looks wonderful in brown. Of course that Fargo isn't anything to sneeze at. Fun blog. I have friend who's doing the Divide this year. I'll have to mention your blog to him.


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