I am a cyclist. That very fact has been ingrained in my soul since I first put my six-year-old feet to the pedals of my Schwinn Scrambler and darted off to school. It became all but solidified when my parents first took me to the BMX track. When I was 14-years-old, a cycling group rode past the park just as I finished playing tennis with some friends. For reasons unknowing, I hopped on my bike, caught up to the group, and rode 20 miles until I realized how far I was from home.
I am a cyclist. It shows in the ratio of bikes to cars in our garage (nine to two). I wear my Commute Options Board of Directors badge proudly; along with the scar from my first bike crash. And, I take pride in the days or weeks I go without starting a car.
I am also a backpacker. The ridiculous number of backpacks hanging on my garage wall, the line of sleeping bags on the shelf, and the stacked tents—organized by season and number of occupants—tell the story of my love of sleeping outdoors.
So, it’s no wonder I have taken to bicycle touring. While I have often lamented about having to drive to get to the woods, I have deemed it a necessary evil. Therefore, the pure joy of packing my bike trailer, opening the garage door, and heading towards the Three Sisters Wilderness— self-powered—is borderline uncontainable.
On a summer’s Saturday, I loaded my trailer while sipping tea, left the house at my own leisure, and headed through town and up Century Drive. The unbridled sense of freedom blocks out the soreness in my legs as I pedaled mostly uphill towards Mount Bachelor. Huffing and puffing quickly turned to smiles and relief as I crested near Dutchman Flats and finished my ride downhill.
I set up camp for the night amongst some South Sister climbers at Devil’s Lake. Maybe next time I’ll include a summit in my adventure. But, as my weekend is only two days long, a bike ride, small hike around the lake, and peaceful night under the stars would have to do.
Like any good adventure, the planning for the next one took place that night. A multi-day excursion, perhaps along one of Oregon’s Scenic Bikeways, would land on the calendar shortly after returning home.