Northern Tier 2010

June 27, 2010

Last South Bend Ride and Shipping the Bike

Filed under: Preparation Rides — Henry Scott @ 2:20 am

Just heading out of town on the Darden pedestrian bridge at ~6:20 a.m.

I’ve been preparing, physically, for this trip for six months now, and overall I’m feeling very good. One thing that’s been in the back of my mind, however, is that to really test the fit of the bike and my overall fitness I should do at least one century ride before heading west. After realizing that I should ship the bike on Saturday (yesterday), to ensure that it will be ready and waiting for me in Seattle on July 1st, it became clear that the century would have to be on Saturday.

However, I already had plans for early afternoon, so to make this work I needed an early start, and on Friday night I hatched a plan to get up early enough to make this happen. I figured the chances of me actually following through were pretty low but, believe it or not, I woke up at 4:30 a.m. and, slowly, got on my way. It took longer than I expected to get everything ready, including making and eating a huge bowl of oatmeal, but I was on the road by 5:50.

It was dark and misting, and it stayed dark for several hours because the mist turned to rain and thick heavy clouds. Any remaining doubt I had about whether or not it was worth the cost to build the bike with a generator hub and expensive lights were quickly laid to rest — I kept the lights on for the first several hours, and I couldn’t have done that with battery operated lights. I am very impressed by how bright the current generation of hub-powered LED lights are.

Meat shop in Buchanan -- just starting rain (and getting considerably darker)

Anyway, I headed northwest and went through Buchanan, Berrien Springs, Baroda, Bridgman, Three Oaks and New Carlisle. The only off the bike break I took was in Warren Dunes State Park — I took a nice swim in Lake Michigan (that was the 60 mile mark, and the rain had turned to sunny skies).

I got home at 1:30 p.m. — just in time for one of Jennifer’s BLTs with ingredients from the farmer’s market and the tail end of a party I wanted to attend. All told the ride was just over 107 miles in a little under seven hours for an average speed of 15.7 mph (not bad on a 33-pound touring bike, IMHO). Most importantly, I felt great. I didn’t have any discomfort in any of the usual places: back, butt, wrists, shoulders, etc.

A little south of Three Oaks. Almost hard to remember the dark rainy start.

It took longer to pack the camping gear and get the bike ready to ship than I expected, so it ended up being a long day. Once packed, I rode the bike to the Amtrak station (putting my daily mileage to 112 and the total for the new bike to 799) and Jennifer followed me in her car. Once there, we packed the bike in Amtrak’s $15 bike box. The box is pretty cool; it is so big that although I had to lower the saddle and remove the pedals and bars, the wheels could stay on. I’m a bit nervous about how all the gear will do during transport, but I think Amtrak is the safest bet — it will go on the west-bound train this morning, and it won’t come off until it arrives in Seattle. It was a good deal as well: $86 to ship the bike and just about all of gear.

… Now I just need to keep my fingers crossed!



  1. Henry
    Hope you have a great trip! And that your bike makes it there a-ok! Looking forward to reading about your adventure.

    Comment by Lauren — June 30, 2010 @ 3:43 am

  2. We are all very impressed down here, I can tell you. You previous blog said something ridicuous about you not slowing me down on the way back from Barcelona – well my average speed on that 15 miles was about the same.

    Comment by John Scott — June 30, 2010 @ 3:04 pm

  3. Best of Luck on your ride. We will be looking forward to seeing and hearing about your adventure. Take your time and enjoy this adventure, sometimes they are once in a lifetime!:)

    Comment by Barb and Ed Behnke — July 2, 2010 @ 12:52 am

  4. we are just preparing for a multi year bike trip. We have 6 months in the USA to do the Sierra Casscades followed by the Northern Tier. I am surrounded by boxes as we pack up our home before we fly to New Zealand for part one. Feel quite low about leaving our home so needed some inspiration – which your blog gave. So thanks so much for that.

    Comment by esther & warren — January 13, 2011 @ 3:12 pm

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