Sunday, October 10, 2010
Load up your bike for an enchanting ride!
A few of us involved in Sheclismo are highly interested and/or experienced in bicycle touring.
I took my first tour in 2006 as a way to "research" for my paintings (featured). My friends Andrew and Elliot invited me to tag along on their tour from Vancouver, Canada to San Francisco, California (basically, I wouldn't stop nagging them and asking how their tour plans were going so they really had no choice but to include me). It sounded like a blast, but most of my experience was through commuting, so I wasn't sure if I was capable of riding my bike 45-70 miles a day for 5 weeks. Luckily, I have always had this huge fear of waking up one day, only to feel like I'm not doing enough with my life (Carpe Diem!), so at 23 years old I decided I better get started.
It was a magical experience that changed my life in a really amazing way and lead me to fall head over heels (sometimes literally) in love with cycling and everything that comes with it, including the fun and liberating parts as well as the painful and exhausting.
It also lead me to two other awesome guys (Damon and Jonn) that I toured with from Lincoln to Denver to Santa Fe in 2008. As an artist, both tours and cycling in general have provided me with endless fodder for my work. As a person, they gave me experiences that taught me a lot about myself and what my body and my brain could handle after anywhere from 5 to 10 hours in the saddle a day. They made me realize that I'm a lot stronger and patient than I ever thought I was, especially when trying to power through mind-numbing headwinds and never ending climbs.
Bicycle touring is really close to my heart and for me it's really difficult to articulate how ridiculously blissful and bewitching it can be. I would encourage anyone interested in long rides and camping to try a tour whether it's a short 4 day jaunt or 4 week journey. I started by rigging my bike up with racks, a cheap but durable set of panniers I found online and some shnazzy clipless pedals (which in the beginning, I used mostly for falling down at stop lights). Toss in a sleeping bag and you're ready to go.
I've been feeling really antsy lately and hope that I can get another tour in really soon. Maybe this time with a couple bitchin' Sheclismo girls.
Paintings by Kimberly Brown
Top: "Eat Our Dust" oil paint on canvas, 2006
Bottom: "Keep Up" oil paint on canvas, 2009