Bikes.

Over the past handful of months I have gotten very into riding bikes. It started with a fat bike in the winter. Then an adventure bike this spring; which is going to be my wondrous bikepacking mule. Very recently, I got a road bike and it has been a blast zipping around on streets and paved areas I wouldn't typically be near. This new found love of bikes is a form of play that is really exciting. It's fast and energizing and a great workout. I'm able to go to new places, ride fast and be in a community that is very welcoming- much like the hiking and climbing circles that welcome you with enthusiasm and smiles.

In this post I'm sharing some photos from a few of my favorite adventures with my beautiful bikes. It's been so rad. The only downside of cycling to me would be that these are all taken with a mobile, because carrying a giant camera would be... impractical. Maybe this mild complaint warrants a GoPro :)

This is the type of place I would not generally be seeing via foot. And really, only on my road bike. When given the choice between pavement or natural terrain, 95% of the time I'm gonna go with the latter. But it is very freeing to zoom through these beautiful places one after another and being able to travel much further distances.

"The bicycle is the most civilized conveyance known to man. Other forms of transport grow daily more nightmarish. Only the bicycle remains pure in heart." -Iris Murdoch

This was a very beautiful day in mid-March. It was a chilly, but very springy day. There had been a lot of rain and snow melting because of it. A lot of the trails were flooded. During a hike, you would need to tromp through woods to avoid this. On the bicycle, I rolled through the water quickly and enjoyed the always way-colder-than-expected spray my wheels would blast out. It feels wild and somewhat primal. This will probably be the bike I eat shit on most often.

This week, Monday was near the 60's so Jon and I biked to The Gateway Trail and had a great time soaking up the sunshine until dusk. This is where the trail ends and where we decided to snap a few pictures and sneak a couple kisses :)

My fat bike is probably my favorite. It can go anywhere and do anything. Slowly. This includes wiping out. And as someone who happily tries silly maneuvers and things that I have no business doing, I appreciate that. Snow, sand, mud, gravel, pavement, ice, water. Whatever. It's all fucking badass on this guy.

"It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle." -Ernest Hemingway

I'm very much looking forward to my future in cycling and bike adventures. It's a new way to explore, see new things, work my body in a challenging way and play hard. Add it to my long list of interests and obsessions. This one is here to stay. Yay bikes!

Quick ride.

Playful ride.

Unreal ride.

Split Rock Lighthouse.

4:25am. January 30th. Alarm goes off.
By 5:00am we were on the road! Jon and I had planned to go up to Split Rock for some fatbiking for a while and the day was finally here. The night before we got all of our gear ready and loaded up. We wanted to be sure to find the perfect camping spot, which is why we jumped in the car hours before sunrise.

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The sun was rising as we rolled into Duluth and we were absolutely delighted by the gorgeous views that welcomed us. Gold with streaks of pink and red. We tried to savor all of it, but setting up our camp was top priority. Because once that was done, it would be time to hit the trails on our bikes!

 Setting up camp :)

Setting up camp :)

 Oh so cute. Our tiny red home.

Oh so cute. Our tiny red home.

There were so many very beautiful things to see and touch. Everything was covered in ice. It made the scenery magical and gave us a lot to play with right around camp. It was easy to get distracted for quite a while before heading out to ride. But once we did- holy moly! It was the perfect thing to do. There was so much to take in and the trails were nice and wide. We decided to venture up, up, up. Which led us to the most magnificent views.

 This was a little too steep for me. And a little too long on top of that. So I put my functional fitness to work and powered on up, pushing my great big bike :)

This was a little too steep for me. And a little too long on top of that. So I put my functional fitness to work and powered on up, pushing my great big bike :)

 The view from the top!

The view from the top!

We spent the rest of the day playing and riding around. Making food and getting deep in touch with nature. That night I got comfy and Jon had a blast with night time photography. Everything felt amazing and right. It's funny how spending just one whole day outside can do that.  One whole day. If you haven't tried it, please do. That much fresh air will sooth your soul.

The next morning I woke up nice and early to catch the sunrise. It did not disappoint and we were very lucky with the lack of clouds. Did I mention- we lucked out on the weather for this trip. It felt like spring and was almost always very sunny. Mother Nature wanted us to have a kickass time. That much was clear. She is a generous hostess.

The picture above was taken on my one-mile bathroom run around 6:55am. A nice thing about this area is that they have an outhouse about every mile, because there is a giant trail that runs through. I didn't always take advantage of it, but most of the time I'd bike/run/walk a mile for that luxury :) On my way back from the amazing outhouse, the view had changed quite a bit.

We sat together on an old frozen driftwood log for a very long time. Watching the sky transform. Sometimes silent and sometimes talking about life. It's extremely easy to be open and vulnerable and honest in this type of situation. Really, there is no other way. When you're living simply, things are just easier. And everything is art. Especially the things in life that we cannot control and that are wild.

And of course, as per tradition, we stopped at the Duluth Grill on the way home. We both had the Waabooz omelet (yasss, rabbit...soft and tasty...) with curried kale. And so much coffee. Life is good.