Sunday, October 2, 2011

pacific northwest brewery tour by bicycle

The husband and I headed to Seattle a couple weeks ago and road tripped it down the coast all the way into San Francisco.  And while there are a ton of stories I want to get posted here, I'm going to start with this one...its out of order but I found it really interesting.

After a day in Seattle we headed out towards Mt. St. Helens (which we saw very little of due to rain...weird, right? rain in the pacific northwest) and then over onto Highway 101.  Periodically, as we got closer to Highway 101, we noticed small groups of cyclists but didn't think much about it.  But the longer we were on the road and the more we started watching, we noticed how much gear these cyclists were carrying.  Most had at least saddle bags on the back of their bikes but there were some loaded up with packs on the front too; a few were even pulling separate carts behind their bikes. 

As we pushed down the coast of Oregon day after day, we would run into single cyclists and then packs we had to maneuver around entirely.  There were signs everywhere calling out the highway as a scenic bike route and road signs everywhere urged us to watch out for cyclists.  At this point, we figured this coast must be a pilgrimage cyclists take.

Every hill we would pass them on I would wonder how the hell they were ever going to make it to the top.  Some of these climbs would go on for miles and the first two days we drove, these cyclists were dealing with crazy rain and low visibility.

Finally in a brewery in Eureka, California we ran into two cyclists who appeared to be making the "trip" (whatever that means) and the husband decided to ask them where they were from and where they were headed.  They were actually from Seattle and had started out on Sept. 11th on a 25 day bike trip down into San Francisco.  They were on day 9 (he had to check his calendar as they were confused as to what day it was) and had about 5 hours of cycling left that day.  This was their first time making the trip, but the coolest thing was they had planned the whole trip around visiting breweries all along the way.  She had on a "Will Bike for Beer" headband and they had the sample flight of beers while they refueled.  They told us they averaged between 60 and 80 miles a day depending on elevation and the climbs they encountered.

The husband thought they were crazy but I could totally see myself doing something like that.  We were travelling the same route at about 60 miles an hour but imagine how awesome it would be to do it at less than half that speed.  You wouldn't miss anything.  It was very inspirational but those cyclists were far more extreme athletes than I ever will be.

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