Keep the car or not?

Like many Americans who live outside major urban centers, I own a car. It sits in the driveway for months at a time. 2014-04-25 jetta port bowWhen I am in Charlottesville, I only use the car to carpool or to haul our trailer. My son, Daniel, drives his car every day, so he appreciates having somebody else drive once in a while. Like the proverbial little old lady in the joke about the car salesman, I can almost say that I only drive it to church on Sundays. Continue reading

Any day on a bike is a good day

Bike Tribes (Cover)

Whether you have read Bike Tribes, by Mike Magnuson, or not, chances are you have observed that there many different types of bicyclists. Magnuson has in fact identified about 20 groupings of bicyclists, and he argues convincingly that we need to respect each other, as well as motorists and pedestrians, and learn to get along.

My point from what he writes is that it really doesn’t matter what kind of bicycle you might want to ride. No one of them is better than the other, if it is doing what the rider wants it to do. A little child on a shiny red trike is perfectly happy. A chic city girl riding in heels on her way to work would never ride a bicycle if the only thing available were a clip-equipped road bike. heels on bikeAnd pizza delivery is really not very efficient unless you’re riding a work bicycle. I have no desire to ride a mountain bike at all, but I would have to be blind not to see how much the mountain bike riders love their steeds. Continue reading

Why should anyone else do this?

Two weeks ago, I answered the question “why do I ride?”

On that subject, I have to admit that I am not all that impressive as a cyclist. This week, the Freewheeling Freelancer was added to the open Facebook group, Bicycle Touring Websites. I already knew that there were many cyclists who ride more than I do. I was amazed at how many cyclists of all ages were riding around the world like cancer patient Walter Judson Moore, or toting their young families from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego, like the Sathre-Vogel family (www.familyonbikes.org). Granted, most are touring (going out and coming home, with work or school suspended), but there are hundreds of cyclists out there who are living on the road, with small children, spouses, pets, etc. And some of them have been out there for years.

Some of them are following this blog, which I find very humbling.

Returning to the theme of why, let’s ask, “Why should anyone else?” Only I am not looking at just the question, “why ride a bicycle?” but the subject of this blog, “why live and work on the road?” Continue reading

Why do I ride?

Sunset was still more than three hours away, but the light was fading fast outside the little window to my room. I shut down my computer, slipped into my bicycle shoes and a rain jacket, and threw my fleece jacket, a scarf and a hat into the pannier. It was still warm, because the clouds had only just rolled in. Continue reading

A time of transition

Florida feels like a lifetime ago, although I was in Jacksonville only last week.

It is too cold here!

It is too cold here!

As I rode to the PACEM rehearsal and concert, I felt like Charlie Brown in the comic strip. On Monday, we had 15-20 cm of powdery snow. Shoveling the driveway, I wondered if the Southern Swing had only been a dream. Only living out of my panniers reminded me that I was still “on the road”. The bounce box from Jacksonville was stuck in the UPS warehouse outside Charlottesville. Continue reading

It’s your turn: how would you like your blog?

Trip update: This is the end of the Southern Swing 2013. Yesterday, I rolled into Charlottesville, Virginia on a Greyhound bus from Jacksonville, Florida. Five months, 4,500 km, five States and dozens of towns, large and small. I promised my son and myself that I would devote a full month to organizing my stuff and the next trip, and that meant being back by 1 March. Today, I am singing a concert with the Oratorio Society of Virginia to benefit PACEM, an interfaith ministry that houses the homeless in our city’s places of worship during the winter months (http://www.oratoriosociety.org/concertinfo.php?concert=Mar2014).

It is NOT the end of this blog. Coming up: the Northern Trek 2014. I will be laying out the broad strokes in the coming month, and report out on it as soon as I have something. Posts will continue at 1400 every Saturday. PLEASE CONTINUE READING. Continue reading

Deciding where to go.

When contemplating a life on the road, one of the first questions is “Where do I go?”. Once one is out there, this question becomes “Where do I go next?” Continue reading