We enjoy multi-week self-supported bike touring on our tandem recumbent. This blog is our ride journal.


  • Photo memories

    Today I found an easy way to have my computer combine a bunch of photos and videos into a single video. As I watch this I find myself forgetting the hard parts and wanting to return and do the whole thing again.

  • The flight home - July 7 and 8

    It has been more than a week since we flew home. In hindsight, everything worked out perfectly, but in the moment it seemed like there were going to be a lot of opportunities for things to go wrong.  

  • Fini

    I slept great, even though our window faced railroad tracks (with frequent trains) and a moderately busy road on the other side of the tracks. The house we were in was built prior to 1900 and had super thick walls and great windows, both of which muffled the sound. We’ve also found that these bike rides exhaust us such that we sleep well. (Natalie didn’t sleep particularly well, but she was grateful to be comfortable.)

  • Ride to Hirzenach

    We both slept so well! We went to bed around 8:30 pm and slept a solid 10 hours. Sleeping that long is very rare for us. I woke up briefly in the middle of the night to use the bathroom and could hear it raining outside. I was grateful not to be camping. The house we were in had blackout shades, so were it not for our digestive systems turning on we might have slept another hour or two. It was good to only have 66 miles to ride today, as we didn’t feel rushed to get on the road.

  • Leaving Bitburg

    We let our blog slip a bit while we focused on Matt, Jessica, and their family. It was so much fun to be with them in their home in Bitburg,Germany. We arrived at their house on Friday afternoon and had a tour of their fun house, watched the boys’ creative pulley adventures in the backyard, got to know little Jaine, cleaned up and stuff laundry, and just enjoyed hanging out.

  • Ride to Bitburg

    Today we had a slightly less than 40 mile ride to Matt and Jessica’s house in Bitburg. Much of it was in beautiful forest trails. It was slightly uphill with about 10 climbs of significance. We got off the bike and pushed a few times. The weather again was cooler and cloudy until later in the day.

  • Climbs of consequence

    We loved our last Airbnb in Oberheimbach. We were so comfortable and our host was outstanding. Having the fully stocked kitchen saved us, or we would have been eating one of our two emergency backpacking meals.

  • Ride to Oberheimbach

    Our Airbnb in Ludwigshafen am Rhein was great. It was spacious and comfortable. We slept well and it was hard to get motivated to leave, but today was the day we’d meet Matt and his family near Frankfurt, so that was the motivation needed.

  • Leaving Strasbourg

    It was great to rest and recover for two days in Strasbourg, France. Our two-day liquid intake total exceeded 15 liters, mostly water, followed by chocolate soy milk, followed by apple juice. We clearly sweat a lot on our ride days and even though we are constantly drinking from our water bottles, we must run a deficit.

  • Birthday in Strasbourg

    Natalie writing again. Note about yesterday: Pete took two naps, and then he was still able to go to bed at 9pm and sleep fine. That’s what these rest days are for!

  • A day of rest

    This is Natalie writing. I’m more of a random list format on these, kinda stream-of-consciousness, in case you haven’t noticed.

  • We made it to Strasbourg!

    Many months ago as we thought through our route, we wondered if we could make it from Paris to Strasbourg in one week. Riding on the Eurovelo routes this transit would be 600 miles. Given our desire to avoid riding on Sunday, this was a little out of our range. We adjusted our arrival day and planned to get an 80-mile head start on Friday and Saturday. That would put us at six 87 mile days – right at the edge of possible for us, if only there were perfectly spaced accommodations. Well our plans fell victim to reality in multiple ways, including a run in with the police who noticed it wasn’t a good idea to ride directly out of Charles de Gaulle Airport (thank you kind officers for the same), a rear-end collision while getting out of the airport in a taxi, and a taxi driver who decided to take us somewhere away from our route. However, we made some adjustments to our plans and started riding. Shifting to the south by 20 miles on Sunday, while initially not designed to save our itinerary, did just that. It put us in a position to ride right to the edge of our endurance for the next 6 days, arriving in Strasbourg today around 4:30 PM. Some of the miles were extra hard, some were extra beautiful, but in the end each one counted the same in getting us here. 500 miles in one week is the most we have ever done. It is probably the most we will ever do.

  • Dry ride to Zillisheim

    Natalie is writing tonight. We were on the road by about 8:20. We both slept pretty well. It was lovely to listen to the rain and be dry.

  • Ride to Besançon

    Today marked our midway point on this difficult segment of our ride. The progress feels satisfying.

  • Welcome to the vineyards

    Last night’s Airbnb was super comfortable. It blackout shutters, great air conditioning, and a bed with just the right firmness. It was very quiet there too. We both slept very well. Tonight’s Airbnb is crazy modern super nice finish apartment in downtown Beaune, which happens to be hosting a music festival tonight. Tonight might be like trying to sleep in the middle of a rock concert. Seriously, it is so noisy!!!! We are hopeful it ends at 10.

  • A long ride to Digoin

    The campsite worked out fine, but compared to a hotel it was 1/6 the cost and 1/6 the experience. The most inconvenient aspect was the one-minute walk to the bathroom and having to get properly dressed for the journey. It is easy to take for granted the convenience of having a bathroom inside your living quarters so close to where you are sleeping.

  • A rainy ride to La Charité-sur-Loire

    We were able to leave our nice accommodation relatively early, on the road by 8 AM. Once again, our route was a combination of nice paved paths, dirt paths, and today we added a muddy construction zone. The construction zone was the most difficult and we probably were not supposed to be on it. It is where Komoot routed us, so we went with it. There were deep ruts from heavy equipment, which made it super difficult to ride. We tipped over once, but luckily we were were far enough away from the canal not to go for a swim. Gratefully this very hard part was only 1.6 miles

  • Repositioning and resting

     Our Saturday night hotel was perfect in a few ways: comfortable bed, near a good grocery store (with our favorite European -brand chocolate almond milk), exceptional breakfast, and kind staff. However, the location wasn’t the ideal place to spend a Sunday. The surroundings had the feeling of an abandoned strip mall and there was enough noise during the night to make sleep difficult for Natalie, so we decided to shift our accommodations to the south by a little under 20 miles. We found a nice room in a secluded area (beautiful renovated castle, golf-course grounds, and outbuildings) and were allowed to check in early. They allowed us to store our bike in the pro shop in a storage room for golf carts.

  • A much calmer day

    We actually slept pretty well, in the end Both of us woke up a little before midnight and were wide awake. However, after about an hour, I fell asleep, and then eventually Natalie did too. I slept in until almost 8. Natalie slept till a bit after 7. I was actually hoping to wake up a little bit earlier and start putting the bike back together. It was split in half and in a storage room in the hotel. We feel like we’ve experienced a little bit of a miracle. Normally when I take the bike apart, I can be very careful to ensure every nut, washer and bolt is back in place before I move the bike. Yesterday we had disassembled it on the side of the road and just throw all the bolts and nuts in a Ziploc bag and shove the bike in the back of the van. We just hoped that we didn’t lose anything on the ground where we were taking it apart. The taxi driver found a small brake pad in the back of the van yesterday right before he left (the rear brake caliper has to come off in order for the bike to split in half and separate, because it and the shift mechanism for the Rohloff has to go with the front of the bike). Had he not seen that we wouldn’t have had rear brakes for the next several days. Amazingly every nut, washer, and bolt (and brake pad) has been found and we’ve been able to reassemble the bike. We count it as a miracle.

  • A solid start

    We made it to the Paris Charles de Gaulle airport with our panniers and bike boxes. It was a little nerve-racking to watch the AirTags track our luggage and show one apparently left in Salt Lake, but everything showed up.

  • Packing our bike

    So many people ask us how we get our bike to the place will start from. I made a one minute video which does a time lapse of that process.

  • Getting ready

    The process of preparing for a long ride is both fun and frustrating. Some of our steps include:

  • Family and Friends

    Our last day in the Kansas City are was a nice relaxing one. We woke up early and went water skiing with Zack, Mary, and Eliza. They are all amazing water skiers. It was beautiful glassy water and such a great way to start the morning. We ate breakfast, then headed over to visit with Dan, Hannah, and Jo. We loved visiting with them and getting to see their home. Dan was especially proud of his garage. He let me (Pete) try his motorized skateboard. Let’s just say that didn’t work out the first try very well. The board went fast, but my body stayed in the same place, with no feet. I hit the ground fast and hard, but fortunately with only a bruised ego. We went out to lunch with them and ordered our normal cycling portions. The gentleman behind the counter suggested perhaps we’d ordered too much food. When the plates arrived, we realized he was  correct. Luckily we still had our cycling stomachs and were able to polish off almost everything we ordered. In the afternoon we went to the home of our good friends, the Messners, visited with them through the evening, and stayed there overnight. It was so good to reconnect.

  • Last Ride - Sedalia to Lake Winnebago

    Note: We are writing this 2 days after doing the ride, but with the help of some notes Natalie took during the actual day.

  • Hartsburg to Sedalia

    Our sleepover in the Hartsburg Volunteer Park gazebo was noneventful. Thankfully it was a quiet night other than the coyotes howling and the dogs barking at them. There was a baseball game going on nearby, but it wasn’t a problem. 

  • Washington to Hartsburg

    For some reason we woke up early and were ready to go by 7:30. We rode about a half hour on a busy road to get from Washington back to the trail, but thankfully there was a decent shoulder. Next time we do the Katy Trail we will only stay in places right on the trail because there are so many and it’s less stressful.

  • Rest day in Washington

    Our rest day in Washington has been wonderful. We woke up and made pancakes (to help Pete feel better about carrying pancake batter for the last 300 miles…). We walked 30 minutes to church. Luckily it was the 9 AM block, so we didn’t get too sweaty on the way there (but we did get a bit sweaty on the way back). We were impressed by how many kind people welcomed us, and meetings were good. It was nice to sit together the whole two hours. (We haven’t been able to do that for a few years due to Pete’s calling.) The rest of our day has been lazing around the house, eating, reading, and happily doing nothing.

  • St. Charles to Washington

    We slept great last night. In the morning we woke up and ate another big hotel breakfast. We were riding before 9 AM. There is something a little bit different about being on a trail that you are somewhat familiar with. The time seems to go slightly faster. 

  • St Charles to Machens, the terminus of the Katy Trail

    We slept exceptionally well in our nice hotel. The complimentary breakfast was very good. It was a beautiful Friday morning to be back on the trail, with perfect weather.  We had only one light pannier and our snack “trunk.” We were riding by about 9 AM.

  • McKittrick to St Charles

    We slept well in Joey’s Birdhouse B&B, and woke up to the beautiful songs of all the birds outside.

  • Eleven servings of tater tots

    We eat a lot on these rides. Dinner consisted of a bag of salad, 6-7 clementines, 2 bananas, 2 apples, 6 cookies, a medium bag of potato chips, a full bag of tater tots (11 servings), half a jar of pickles, half a watermelon (mostly Pete), a small bag of m&m’s, and about 100 ounces of juice and sparkling water. People often ask if we lose weight on these trips. The answer is no. An emphatic no.

  • Pilot Grove to the Turner Shelter

    (Night of Mon 30 May to Tues 31 May) 

  • Clinton to Pilot Grove

    We left at 8 am from Clinton, after a good rest day. Our stomachs were full of food and juice and our bodies were well rested. We rode at an easy pace, drinking extra water. We were determined not to wear ourselves out as much as we had Saturday. We succeeded!

  • Day of rest in Clinton

    Today we had a day of rest in Clinton. Our hotel is comfortable (air conditioning is magic). We mostly rested today. We were able to attend our home ward via zoom. It is wonderful to connect in that way when we can’t attend in person.

  • Lake Winnebago to Clinton

    It is Sunday and we are resting in a hotel in Clinton, Missouri. Yesterday started with Pete going early morning water skiing with Zack, Mary, and Eliza. They live on a lake and ski many days a week during the warmer seasons. Both Zack and Eliza skied while Mary was the designated driver. They pulled me too. Like riding a bike, I could still manage to ski, but also like riding a bike after not riding for a long time, it wore me out fast. It seems that many of the muscles used for water skiing are different than the ones I regularly use. 

  • Day 0

    We started our adventure by driving from Salt Lake to Kansas City, through Nebraska. The drive was happily uneventful. It’s a long drive, but we were able to do it all in one day. We didn’t arrive at Mary and Zack’s home until about 11pm, and then we visited with them for a bit before crashing. Natalie was thrilled that one firefly followed us into their house when we arrived! Mary caught it, and we tried to get a few pictures of it before she released it in their backyard.

  • Getting ready

    This year, we ride from Kansas City to St. Louis. I’ve been spending extra time over the last few weeks getting ride miles in, but we are definitely not in the same shape we’ve been in for previous rides. We are leaving the day after high school lets out.

  • Sample Page

    This is an example page. It’s different from a blog post because it will stay in one place and will show up in your site navigation (in most themes). Most people start with an About page that introduces them to potential site visitors. It might say something like this:

  • Last ride of the trip

    Monday morning started with a drive from Harrison to Hamilton. It was tough leaving such a comfortable Airbnb, but it was also comfortable to travel so many miles in an air-conditioned vehicle. Our adventures teach us to appreciate our modern vehicular conveniences but also appreciate opportunities to travel in a slower, more immersive way. You experience a landscape differently at 10 mph with no glass isolating you from the sounds and smells. In any case, the Idaho panhandle and Montana are beautiful both on bike and in car.

    As we drove to Hamilton, backtracking some of our route, it was cool to see how far we had biked. We also had some really great conversations with Page and Vance. Upon arriving in Hamilton we were excited to get riding again and we were also grateful to find the truck in good condition where we had left it two weeks earlier.

    We got ready to ride and rode the Bitterroot Trail for 30 miles back towards Missoula, before turnng around and riding back toward Hamilton. We
    rode from about 4:00 to 9:00 PM. It was pretty warm, and we had a head wind going north which turned into a tail wind going south as we returned to Hamilton. We enjoyed riding through pretty farmland, small towns, and mountain scenery. We were on a dedicated bike path the whole way but were close to a highway with some traffic and its associated noise. The route was part of the same trail we had done 2 weeks ago.

    Total miles today were 63.5 and our whole trip total ended up at just under 730.

    We found a hotel, cleaned up, soaked in the hot tub and pool, and went to sleep, happy and tired.

    As we write this it is Tuesday and we are driving home. We are sad to see our adventure end but happy to think about the memories we created. We love seeing the world this way and enjoy this unique opportunity to accomplish something difficult together. It was also fun to share the last part of our trip with people we love.

  • A day of rest

    Two gifts big rides give you are 1) the ability to sleep well and 2) the ability to eat a ton of food. We are taking advantage of both in Harrison on Sunday.

  • A big day

    Saturday was a big ride day. We all slept well in Heyburn State Park. It was lightly raining through the night which created a peaceful atmosphere and kept the temperature just right. It stopped in time for our tents to partially dry prior to packing. The campground was much busier due to it being the weekend, but our site was surrounded by trees. We ate, walked by the lake, packed up, and hit the trail around 11 AM. We were riding the Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes all day.

  • Avery to Heyburn, the right way

    We slept great in the Avery Hotel. We had plans to meet our shuttle at 4 PM so we had to leave around 10. I’ve grown to appreciate the times we are not tied to a schedule, but having a shuttle through the dangerous part of the ride is totally worth the inconvenience of a schedule.

  • Tandem tandems

    We slept well in our hotel room in Wallace. It was a good night to be inside because it started raining early and continued to rain through the morning. It is one thing to sleep in a tent in the rain and entirely another thing to pack up a tent and all your gear  in the rain. Our hotel room helped us avoid this.

  • Heyburn to Wallace

    There are few things more peaceful than camping near a lake with birds quietly singing in the early morning while rain lightly falls. That was our Wednesday morning. The temperature dropped considerably, which was nice because I was starting to complain about hauling our larger warm sleeping bags in our panniers instead of our ultralight ones that pack down into the size of a Nalgene water bottle. I even had to zip my bag up last night — a first for the trip.

  • HIIT from Spokane to Heyburn State Park

    We really didn’t know what we were going to be riding on today as we headed out of Spokane toward the southern end of Lake Coeur d’Alene. Because we do not know the area it is hard to judge in advance what the shoulder of the road will look like and what the hill profile will be. Mostly, it is hard to predict the traffic. And more than anything else, traffic drives us nuts. Because of all of the unknowns, we planned a relatively easy day. We started early and well rested. We rode through Spokane and Spokane Valley prior to heading south. In Spokane our route did pretty well at keeping us off the busy roads, and we mostly were in old quiet neighborhoods and industrial areas. Out of Spokane we stayed on mostly farm roads, with a few highways interspersed. Generally the traffic was light and the shoulders were adequate. There were a few places where traffic got busy, and there were a few places with no shoulders, but generally they didn’t happen at the same time.

  • Resting like a boss

    Two things happen to us when we ride multiple long days in a row. First, our sleep improves and second, food tastes so good (I could boil one of our socks and we’d think it tasted like chicken.) As a result, rest days are pure magic. We buy a ridiculous amount of food and then sit around in a Airbnb gorging and sleeping. For the reasons mentioned previously, we did two rest days back to back.

  • Coeur d'Alene to Spokane

    Saturday was our earliest start yet. Maybe it was because we felt a little crowded at the full campground, or maybe it was because we were looking forward to the Airbnb. In any case, we were packed and riding just after 8 AM. We started on roads with little traffic and eventually found ourselves at the beginning of a short trail to get us under I-90. The trail didn’t look like it was used often, and we might not have taken it had we not just seen two gravel bikers push up it. The steep section was short, so instead of unloading our bike to make it lighter, we attempted to push up it. We failed a couple times but eventually made it. It was a bit stressful, but in the end we succeeded and made it under the freeway and to the Centennial Trail, a 63-mile bike trail connecting the east side of Coeur d’Alene to the west side of Spokane. It started by following the north side of Lake Coeur d’Alene and then followed the Spokane River the rest of the way to Spokane.

  • Heyburn to the northeast corner of Coeur d’Alene

    We slept great in the Heyburn State Park campground. Every day we expect to wake up early and start our ride early, and every day we sleep longer than expected. We both slept light and woke up several times. Each time we could listen to the lake birds, enjoy the peaceful surroundings, and eventually go back to sleep. It wasn’t the best way to sleep, but we both rested.

  • Avery ID to Heyburn State Park ID

    One of the realities of biking like we do is that some days you have to put up with a little less beautiful ride to get to your next cool ride. Today was one of those days. It was a nice ride from Avery, but not quite as beautiful and amazing as the previous two days.

  • Day 3 Superior MT to Avery ID

    We slept well in the motel, ate oatmeal and the rest of the groceries we had purchased the night before, and left just after 9 AM with rested legs and full stomachs. Our bodies feel like they are adapting to our new reality. And we love being able to just forget what time it is, talk together, zone out, and enjoy the beautiful ride. We started on a nice frontage road that eventually veered off into some small mountains – the road was nice and the grade was rideable. We were rewarded at the top with the world’s cleanest pit toilet.

  • Wye to Superior

    We slept great. The room smelled a bit like smoke when we went in. Within a few minutes the smell of our exercise gear had completely taken over. I guess that is one advantage of how we travel.

  • Hamilton to Wye

    (Natalie and Pete writing this together)

  • About ready...

    I said I was going to tell you about how we determined our route… Unfortunately we changed our route about every day over the last two weeks, so there wasn’t a story to tell. I started with Kamoot - the routing software we use when riding in Europe. It is great, for Europe. Once I had my route figured out, I’d export it to a GPX file and then load it into google earth and do a fly-through in 3D of the entire route. It was a bit boring, but better than figuring out on our ride that we’ve made a bad selection. Each time I’d do this I’d find something majorly wrong with the route - like it would take us on a path that Komoot thought was asphalt and google earth/maps thought was a handcart trail. Komoot may be right, but it is hard to trust it.

  • Getting ready

    After a year off, we are getting ready for our next adventure.

  • Ride to Amsterdam

    We slept great. For the second time on this trip we had air conditioning. It is so nice to have a cool room to sleep in. The hotel had a large breakfast buffet, so we just continued our feast from last night and over-ate a second meal. We were on the road around 10 and had an easy 30 miles to the airport. It was a different experience than in past days: often I watch miles wondering why they pass so slowly. Today I wondered why they passed so fast.

  • Ride to Almere

    Today we left our Airbnb around 8:30 AM and headed toward Amsterdam. Our tour took us 55 miles to a town about 15 miles northeast of Amsterdam. The first half of the ride felt like we were in small towns the entire way. It wasn’t the most scenic, but we were on a bike path and enjoyed the lack of climbing. Eventually we reached the water and as we rode south we started to enjoy more beautiful and secluded bike paths.

  • Rest day in Zwolle (Eindhoven)

    Picking up where the last post left off…. We rode buses and trains for about 3 hours and covered a distance that would have taken us 2-3 days to ride. Everything just flew past and I can’t remember much of the landscape. Apparently we missed seeing a cow statue on a balcony (according to our new friend who helped us navigate public transit). We hit each bus and train perfectly, arriving at church about 30 minutes early. It was really good to see Holly. She just radiated happiness. Several people commented on how consistently happy she is. It was fun to see her interact with people she had grown to love so much. We didn’t want to get in the way of the special moment between her and those she will be leaving this week to return home and restart her college education – so we mostly just enjoyed observing her and her friends’ happiness.

  • Ride to Zwolle

    We are writing this Sunday morning as we ride in a train headed for Eindhoven to attend church with my niece Holly who is finishing 18 months as a missionary here. We are excited to see her. We are so grateful to a couple of locals who helped us navigate public transportation, as the train station in Zwolle is being repaired, which necessitated a slightly more involved bus transit to t’Harde where we caught our first of two trains. There was one especially helpful college student who basically had us follow her as we hustled between buses and trains. With her help we were able to just make each connection within minutes of departure. We woke up around 5 am to make sure we’d be early for our first connection, leaving the house around 6. We are grateful we were conservative with our travel estimates, or we wouldn’t have been successful this morning.

  • Last day in Germany -- ride to Assen

    We are writing this on Saturday morning, as last night we were completely exhausted. We started at 7:30 in Bremerhaven, just missing the ferry about 10 minutes into our ride. We waited about 20 minutes and soon were across the river riding towards Holland. It was about 70 miles to the border.

  • Ride to Bremerhaven

    We loved our simple little campsite last night. We shared the tent space with three solo bicyclists and one cute cyclist family with 2 young children. They were very helpful to us, as in Germany we are finding not as many people speak English as readily as in Denmark and Sweden. When we arrived at the campsite last night it was cash only – which took a bit of help from our new friends to understand. We ended up riding into town to find an ATM. We didn’t feel much like riding more after our long day, but capitalism was calling and we had to answer.

  • Ride to Brunsbüttel

    (Natalie writing)

  • Last day in Denmark

    We slept well in our Airbnb. It has been hard to justify camping when you can sleep on a bed, have as long of a shower as you would like, and have a normal kitchen for the same cost. Our stays in Denmark have all been around $50 per night, including the night we slept in our tent. As I’ve started to look for accommodations in Germany I’ve begun to realize that even though Denmark felt more expensive than Sweden, both are inexpensive compared to Germany.

  • Ride to Herning

    We actually were on the bike by about 7:15 this morning, because we got ourselves into an earlier sleep schedule (hope it lasts). We hoped to do about 85 miles today, and we did 90. Trying to do a bit of catching up from the two days we lost due to the bike being stuck in Paris. It was a cooler day but also very windy, sometimes a head wind. So we were on the road for almost 13 hours, including a few grocery store breaks. It was a bit rainy, but not too bad. And now we have good rain gear, unlike our first Europe trip two years ago.

  • Two in a row

    Today was our second rest day in a row. We couldn’t find another way to make the logistics work to see Skagen, have a Sunday rest day, and have a reasonable itinerary to make it back to Amsterdam in time for our flight. Our current plan is to ride about 520 miles over the next 6 days, taking a rest day next Sunday about 100 miles north of Amsterdam. That gives us two days the following week to ride 100 miles and then pack our bike at the airport on the end of the second day.

  • Skagen day trip (no bike)

    On our first rest day (Saturday) we took a day trip out to Skagen and Grenen. The train station was just minutes by foot from our Airbnb so that was nice, and we stopped at a delicious bakery on the way! Even better! Skagen/Grenen is a really cool site, the most northern point in Denmark where the North and Baltic Seas meet. That meeting creates a big sand dune from the beach out to sea, and it also makes a series of waves crashing into each other in a line out to sea. The day was perfect weather except for a very strong wind, but we survived (it was a good place and time not to be on our bike.) We ended doing quite a bit of walking, from the little town out to the site, so we were glad for the good temperature. It is so nice to walk along the beach!

  • Riding to Aalborg

    We woke early-ish, ate oatmeal provided by our Airbnb host, and headed to the ferry. It was literally minutes away on our bike and through a funny old door in a huge wooden wall. Our host said it was like the wardrobe door in the Chronicles of Narnia, and it was! One side was old houses and natural landscapes (forest, wildflowers, etc.), and the other side was 12 lanes of pavement and cars headed for part of their 7:20 AM commute via a big ferry. There was only one other bike, a couple of motorcycles, many many cars, and at least one double decker bus! The ferry ride was about an hour, and we sat comfortably on the passenger deck, using the free wifi and eating our chocolate croissants we bought on board.

  • Final day on Sjælland

    We left our Airbnb and kind host in Værløse for a 55 miles ride to Sjællands Odde where we had booked an Airbnb near the sea. Based on our Monday night experience of finding it difficult to get a place to stay we booked this room a day early, not knowing if we would make it to the last ferry crossing in time to make it on the last boat to Aarhus. We were overly conservative and made it with 3 hours to spare. We could have easily made it across and made further progress, but it was a unique place to stay and Natalie’s ankle injury from last year has returned so we are trying to find ways to take it a bit easier. We resolved to stop early and start early the following day.

  • Celebrating Natalie's birthday in Copenhagen

    (with some commentary by Natalie)

  • Last day in Sweden

    We began a bit later, due to being up so late the night before. It was another day of beautiful weather, high forecast for 82F. We are getting used to riding in the sun all day, so sometimes by afternoon we feel pretty tired and we stop and find a shady place to have a snack and break.

  • Getting worked

    I am completely worked. We rode 90 miles with only about 2000 vertical feet. I had thought we could do more, but I realized as we suffered through our last 20 miles that we have been sedentary for a week, not counting Sunday, and this is our longest ride this year and the first one with over a hundred pounds of gear strapped to our bike. That combined with 100 pounds of bike makes for a lot of mass to get up to speed.

  • Taking a break from our break

    We’ve been going stir crazy waiting for our bike. It feels so great to finally have it again. Typically on these long trips Sunday is a full-on rest day. Today we needed the opposite. We walked to a small church near where we are staying and enjoyed worshipping with those who live here. Even though we didn’t understand everything said, enough of the service was familiar to us to be meaningful.

  • Reunited...

    … And yes it feels so much better than being separated from our orange bike!

  • yeah, I know them.

    Today we are back at the airport. The online status for our bike indicated it arrived last night, so with reckless abandon we took an Uber to the airport. To get back into the baggage area there is a protocol where someone from the handling company has to come get you, as you are bypassing security by going through customs in reverse. Today as we came through, following another passenger, he helpfully pointed out that we were tailgating (totally appropriate from a security point of view). The worker escorting us simply replied “yeah, I know them.” So on the positive side, we are on first name basis with the staff here….

  • Exploring the abandoned city

    The first half of the day was spent at the airport trying to encourage the airlines to look for our bike boxes. Maybe I’m just overly sensitive, but finding it didn’t seem to be high on anyone’s list. The common answer felt like “call us tomorrow and we’ll see if it turns up.” Eventually a Delta agent I contacted through Twitter responded that the bike boxes were slated to be here by 5. While that didn’t happen, at least it was more specific. Air France is now saying they will arrive at midnight.

  • First hiccup

    We arrived in Gothenburg yesterday on schedule, but our bike and checked panniers didn’t. Natalie thinks our bike wanted to party in Paris and missed the flight on purpose. Hard to fault the bike for having the celebratory spirit when in France. Now we are spending quality time on the phone with Delta and Air France trying to find it….

  • It's go time

    We spent the last couple of days packing our bags and bike. It is an interesting experience to try to jam 3 weeks worth of stuff into two small panniers. I’m always surprised when everything seems to fit.

  • Getting ready for our next ride

    Some people commented that our Iceland blog ended abruptly. Sorry about that. It was an amazing experience and we love looking back at the photos and remembering the beauty of the country. We are so glad we did it.

  • Last ride in Iceland ... to Keflavik

    We woke up Tuesday morning to a very windy, chilly day. We ate breakfast and did a good job of running our food supply down to almost zero. It’s funny how a big ride like this kicks in some instinctive food hoarding behavior – we’ve been constantly trying to stock up on food and running our supply out required mental effort.

  • R&R in Reykjavik

    We’ve been recuperating for two days in Reykjavik. Any weight we had managed to lose is back, and then some. One’s body tends to get used to consuming all calories available while riding 12+ hours a day, but it is also burning said calories. Now that we are just lounging around with more calories than we need at our fingertips, we are binging without burning.

  • R&R in Reykjavik

    We’ve been recuperating for two days in Reykjavik. Any weight we had managed to lose is back, and then some. One’s body tends to get used to consuming all calories available while riding 12+ hours a day, but it is also burning said calories. Now that we are just lounging around with more calories than we need at our fingertips, we are binging without burning. Similarly we are sleeping a ton. Last night I slept 11 hours. I normally sleep 7. Friday was rainy. We were happy that we were not logging miles on our bike. The campground was a madhouse. I’m really sad I didn’t get a picture of it. The more we walked around the more tents we saw. I would estimate 500 people were in the campground. They were all wet like us. And the whole place was very muddy. This campground was expensive – almost $50 for the two of us. We went to the nearby pool and soaked our sore bodies for an hour and a half. It was raining lightly and we may have stayed longer but we needed to get out of the campsite by 2 or we would have had to pay for a second day. We had reserved an inexpensive hotel a little bit away from the city center – close to our Airbnb for Saturday through Tuesday. Even though the ride was less than 5 miles it was actually a bit tough. Downtown Reykjavik has several hills which combined with rain and a confusing route to the hotel made for a difficult ride. It probably didn’t help that our muscles were all relaxed from soaking and our bodies were saying to us “what’s up – I thought you gave us the day off!” However, once we made it to the hotel we were back in heaven. The room was small and simple, but compared to a wet 2-man tent in the middle of 500 stinky, muddy (like us) campers, the hotel felt like it was a 5-star luxury resort. First things first: tent and fly get unrolled and stuffed under the hotel bed to dry and then long showers for both of us. We found a great Indian restaurant nearby and ate until it hurt. Then we slept soundly. At the hotel our bike was able to be stored inside for first time on this trip! We really appreciated the hotel staff for that. When we traveled Europe our bike was almost always stored indoors. On this trip it’s been a lot more out in the elements – like us. Except we don’t have a tent for the bike…. So at the hotel, the bike was tired yet happy too. It has worked hard! I think I could have sat around in the hotel room for the rest of the day today and been content, but we are in Iceland with so much to see – so Natalie motivated us to take the bus back to the city center and walk around. We were able to walk around in a 3-masted ship used by the Italian Navy to train its cadets which just happened to be at port. We mostly walked around, looking at the ships and city architecture and art, strolling along the seashore, enjoying the perfectly sunny day. So nice after such a rainy yesterday. We ate vegan ice cream for lunch. Around 3 PM we bussed back to our hotel and rode our bike to our Airbnb. It is perfect – ground floor with a fenced area to store our bike and hang a clothes line. The first order of business was to do laundry. We were smelling bad! It is so nice to be able to wash our clothes. The campground had two washers, but they were shared with 500 people so you can guess what that line looked like. After getting our laundry started drying outside we headed for a grocery store where we bought food for the next three days. We cooked a great meal and finished it with vegan ice cream. It was a good day.

  • The indecisi-century to Reykjavik

  • Ride to Varmaland

    Today’s ride started with a sustained climb into dense fog. The traffic was light and mostly moved over when they saw our flashers. The climb was such a grade that we could churn along slowly without pushing our legs to their limits. After reaching the summit it was pretty much downhill to our campground. Today’s ride was just under 50 miles. Our mileage these last few days will be lower, as we are close to Reykjavik now and no longer have to bank miles. Instead we are planning a slight detour into Reykjavik that takes us east and avoids the section with a tunnel that was going to require us to put our bike on a bus. (Bikes are not allowed in that tunnel.) The campground we are in is really unique. It used to house some small university, but now has a cucumber farm and a grade school. And it has a swimming pool, of course. We made it here before 4 and soaked for a little more than an hour. Every campsite needs a swimming pool…. Today Mr. Frugality had to face an uncomfortable fact. In the airport a kind tourist recommended that we buy a camping card – something that lets you camp for free at campgrounds in Iceland. For $200 we only needed to use it 8-10 times for it to pay off. Easy! We bought one the first night but then discovered that it is only accepted at a subset of the campgrounds here. Tonight we will use it for our third and last time. I think it could work out better for people in cars. There were several times that we were within 25 miles of a campground that would accept it – but on our bike, that usually was too much out of our way. Note from Natalie: After a very foggy, misty beginning, the day became beautiful and sunny as we descended into a green valley north of Reykjavik. The campground has filled up as usual. Vertical feet gained today – close to 1500. Much nicer than a close-to-4000 day!

  • Blönduós to Staðarskáli

    We are in the northwestern region of Iceland. We are working our way around to the west coast, and tonight we are within 100 miles of Reykjavik. Strange to think that we are that close to accomplishing our goal.

  • Ride to Blönduós

    Goodbye and thank you Akureyri! It was great to spend a few days relaxing and resting. Our Airbnb worked out wonderfully. We were able to cook all of our meals there and let our gear air out, and we felt very at home. We hydrated like crazy: I think we drank 10 liters of juice, oat milk, and chocolate oat milk. That’s not counting the water we constantly drank. We also ate a lot. We spent about $150 at the grocery store and almost ate everything we bought. We enjoy cooking together, and given our restrictive diet, it works so well to be able to cook for ourselves. Plus, it costs less….

  • We're practically retired

    Super restful day today. We slept in, had a nice breakfast, went to church, had a nice lunch, went to a concert at another church, had dinner, and are finishing the day with hot chocolate. The only thing missing was another soak at the pool.

  • A good and proper soaking

    We slept in until almost 9 AM, and then lazed around the house eating the groceries we bought yesterday. The weather is a bit rainy and we are grateful to be in a nice Airbnb. At first we were worried this wasn’t going to work out, as the home is full of nice stuff and our gear kind of explodes out of our bags to dry when we get an opportunity to be inside. However, the owner was gracious and welcoming and assured us that she didn’t mind if we unpacked our things around her house to let them recover. So now her living room floor is covered by sleeping bags, pads, etc…. Plus, she allowed us to use her washing machine. When you only have 2 or 3 changes of clothing, every opportunity to do laundry is precious!

  • Vacation from our vacation

    One more note about last night before writing about today. Quite late we decided to go see the waterfalls that were literally across the road from our guesthouse at Godafoss. They are spectacular! They really are like a mini Niagara Falls. Beautiful.

  • Ride to Goðafoss

    We didn’t sleep that great (see previous post) but we woke to dry conditions. It was also very windy. The wind did help keep the flies away from us and bit. But it’s hard to break camp in the wind of course. We headed out as quickly as we could. The washboard road was better without rain.

  • Ride to Grímsstaðir

  • Riding to Egilsstaðir

    It rained at night (but we still slept great) and we woke to the most beautiful sunny blue skies! Our tent even dried out before we had to pack it! That rarely happens in Iceland, at least in our 8 days of experience. We biked along the Atlantic up and down hills, stopping once for the biggest order of fries we’ve ever had (to go with our canned peaches).

  • A different kind of century

    I’m posting this two days late, because two nights ago neither of us had energy to do anything beyond set up our tent and eat a quick dinner of canned soup, and last night, when I tried to publish it, I was too out of it to realize I have to successfully hit the publish button…

  • Cruel and unusual punishment

  • Riding to Höfn

  • Beautiful finish after a long ride

    Blogging first thing in the morning…. We were too tired last night.

  • Begin and end your day with a waterfall

    After a hard long day yesterday, today was beautiful. Within view of our waterfall-of-the-moment, we ate breakfast (oatmeal and hot chocolate), packed up camp – talking to several other campers about our bike all morning (which turned out to be a theme for the day) – and got on our way. Dry weather and a tail wind much of the day! By a bit before lunch time the skies became blue and sunny. Ahhhhhh.

  • Long day

    This is actually the day after our long day. We were too tired last night to write a blog entry.

  • Day 1

    Monday and Tuesday melded together into a single day. Bryan dropped us off at the airport and we quickly made it through the Delta check-in process. Let’s just say there are a few extra steps when part of your luggage is a disassembled tandem bike.

  • Staying married

    Several years ago I was on the roof, doing whatever people do on roofs, and noticed the rain gutters were full of leaves and muck. So I decided to clean them out. Natalie was down below working on her own project, but because apparently it was too hard for me to go back down the ladder to get the garbage can myself, I asked her if she could wheel it over from the side of the house and position it below me - providing a place for me to throw the mess I was about to pull from the gutter. She stopped what she was doing and walked down the steps headed toward the side of the house. In the process she misjudged her footing and went to the ground in pain. With a voice filled with concern and compassion I said something like “yeah - that looks like it hurts - you still able to grab the can?” She hobbled over and retrieved the garbage can (although at an annoyingly slow pace.) Later that day Sam took her to the hospital and we found out she had a broken foot. This story provides my friends with never-ending fodder for jokes.

  • Knick knacks

    Outfitting our bike has been fun. I’ve enjoyed the challenge of finding things that fit the unusual size and shape of this bike. Below I try to describe several of the knick knacks that are attached to our bike. I’ve tried to include links to products – not because we’re sponsored (obviously we’re not) – but to make it easier for someone with a similar bike to outfit their own rig.

  • I'm waxing

    I’m waxing now. It’s a sacrifice I need to make for Iceland. Yeah, we’re still going to Iceland. Just haven’t been posting…

  • The obligatory FAQ

    We’ve been intending to post this ever since our last day in Amsterdam. Life just became too busy….

    How did your bike work out? Any major breakdowns?

  • Amsterdam day

    (Natalie writing)

  • Completing the loop

    Pete writing tonight…

  • Back in the Netherlands

    (Natalie writing today)

  • Simple Sunday in Antwerp

    Team writing today…

  • Wind at our backs

    (Pete writing)

  • Rest day in Bruges

    (Natalie writing today) 

  • Calais to Bruges

    We are team writing today.

  • Independence day

    (Pete today)  Today’s ride was to Calais, a simple 50 miles jaunt to the North. When you are skilled at navigating as I am you don’t need a GPS, so today we decided to declare our Independence from the oppressive GPS directions lady. Using my carefully honed scouting skills, I identified a way to get around the only significant obstacle we faced today: a half-mile climb maxing out around at around a 14% grade.

  • Great ride to the beach at Berck, France

    (Natalie writing)

  • Au revoir Paris!

    (Pete writing again) Another good night for sleep! We thought about trying to time our departure from Paris so that we could miss rush hour, but rush hour is several hours so we just decided to embrace the madness and roll whenever we were ready to leave, which turned out to be just before 9. 

  • Rest day?

    (Pete writing)  We slept great. We are at an eclectic artsy Airbnb flat. At first it seemed extra cramped, but after a short adjustment period it felt great. It seems like the owner just goes and stays with friends when she is able to rent it out - so it feels really lived in.

  • Sufferfest from Compiègne to Paris

    (Co-writing today, but the “I” is usually Pete as he was typing.) We are writing this from an Indian restaurant near where we are staying in the 18th arrondissement. We are happy to have found a vegan-friendly place to eat (recommended by a local on the street and also our Happy Cow app). The real challenge of this tour is less about riding a bike through Europe and more about finding food that fits our diets.

  • Now turn left onto cow path

    Pete again…

  • Winning the bed and breakfast lottery

    This morning we rode from Sedan - rain was threatening, but never materialized. The weather was perfect.

  • Rainy ride to Sedan

    Pete writing… 

  • Wonderful Reunion in Bastogne

    Natalie writing today. This morning Pete and I went to “Le Mardasson,” the beautiful World War II memorial in Bastogne. I of course had been there in 1987, but in 2014 they had built a new museum. The outdoor memorial really is as beautiful as I remember. The new museum was very nicely done, with many interesting artifacts, interesting audio, informative displays, and readings. But our favorite parts were probably the three rooms where elaborate scenes had been created with films and narration about three parts of the Battle of the Bulge, in and around Bastogne near the later part of the war in Europe. The whole memorial/museum experience was sobering and very moving. It was good to go and reflect. 

  • Birthday girl rides to Bastogne

  • June 25 - Rest day, day of rest

  • 30 years ago

  • June 24 from Dilsen-Stokkem to Monschau

  • June 23 Bruchem to Dilsen-Stokkem

  • June 22 - First day in the Netherlands

  • How do you pack 3 weeks of stuff into 4 panniers?

    Short answer: don’t bring a lot of stuff.

  • Schlepping this thing around

  • Wind at our backs

    Our stay at the mansion in Nephi was just what we needed: an outdoor pool to cool off in, hot tub to soak sore muscles, big meal from random Mexican restaurant (mostly rice and beans), comfy bed (we sleep well when exhausted), and a spinach smoothie for breakfast to fuel our ride.  The ride out of Nephi was beautiful - we’ve always been on I-15 for this section of Utah and had never taken the time to be on the smaller roads to the west. We rode down through Goshen Valley with the wind at our backs, then worked our way around the west side of Utah lake, finishing our ride where we started 3 days earlier in Sandy. Our total was a little over 200 miles and 6000 vertical feet.

  • Day 2 was so much better

    We both slept really well last night. Our camping spot was perfect. It was a small park on a ranch. We put our tent near some big trees to block the wind, cleaned up, ate, and passed out.

  • That hurt

    Today we started in South Jordan and rode to Vernon via Eagle Mountain. The ride was about 70 miles and a little under 3000 vertical feet.

  • Still riding

    It has been more than a month since we last posted. We have been riding every weekend, but nothing seems exciting enough to justify a post. Today isn’t different, but I’ll at least write about what we are doing to prepare for this trip.

  • Day two

  • Second multi-day ride

    Last night we drove to Cedar City and stayed at accomodations booked via Airbnb. First time experience with Airbnb. The host family was a young couple with two small kids and were welcoming and easy to work with. We didn’t know what to expect, but so far so good.

  • Day 3

    Last night, after soaking in the hot springs, we thought we’d sleep well and be plenty warm. Not so much. Pete did seem to fall asleep pretty quickly, but I was sleepless until about 2am, I think because I was too​ cold. I was sure the temperature must be in the 20s, but when I checked my phone about 7am it was it the high 30s! We must be getting old. Our tent and sleeping bags were comfy, and the campground was practically deserted – except for an owl or two – but I just wasn’t warm enough.

  • Day 2

    Last night we stayed at the Largilliere Carriage House bed and breakfast in Soda Springs. We slept great and had an amazing breakfast of grilled vegetables, potatoes, vegan gluten free blueberry muffins, and fresh fruit. Thanks Robbie! By last evening I was questioning our choice of hobbies, but by the time breakfast was over we were all in once again.

  • First day of first multi-day tour

    We loaded up our bike with about 60 pounds of gear (clothes, food, tent, sleeping bag, cooking gear, bike tools…) and left from 5 miles above Garden City headed for Soda Springs Idaho. It was a slog! We had a powerful headwind for 90 percent of the ride. The high temperature for the day was about 35 degrees F. I used a German route mapping program to set our path. I thought I had a route with minimal hills and all pavement. We ended up climbing about 1700 feet over 67 miles, with about 20 miles on a dirt road.

  • Natalie's first post

    Yes, this is Natalie. I’ll be posting here sometimes too. I’m here to let you know that I am seriously excited about this trip to Europe – AND our future trips as well! I am already thinking about Iceland, which is where I want us to go next. ?  So to all of you who think Pete is the only one excited about this, Nope! I am SOOO excited! I really really really am enjoying the bike, even more than I anticipated! And it was honestly not hard to get used to, as I feared it might be. I have loved all our longer distance road bike rides, and this is a way we can “see the world” but still have adventures too. It allows us to travel together more, in a way Pete will like better, and in a way I will love too. So stay tuned! 

  • Second ride

    We rode our tandem again today. This time we rode from North Salt Lake to the marina, about 43 miles. We had a headwind both ways. I’m not kidding. We made a few rookie mistakes putting the bike together (it has to fold in half to fit in our truck) but everything turned out fine.

  • A special kind of cheap

    I just spent an hour trying to save $15 on a jacket for Natalie. Splitting the value of my time evenly with the salesperson, we are both valued at $7.50 hour. I’m a special kind of cheap.

  • Redneck neckrest

    Natalie wanted a neckrest. She needs one in Church too.  The bike has her laid back at an angle that requires exertion to hold her head up straight. Same problem in Church, just not so much… I started searching for something specifically made for a recumbent hard-shell seat. Most were over $100, some far over. Most didn’t look that great. I didn’t know if any of them would fit her seat. All would require me drilling holes in the seat. So I released my inner redneck:

  • Heroes

    Our heroes change as our interests change. Today I tip my hat to Ethel MacDonald of Missoula Montana. Ethel is a great grandmother who took up tour cycling at the age of 65 and now, approaching 80, has put down 10,000 miles around the world solo riding on her pink Brompton folding bike (she actually has two bikes - a second one is stashed with a friend in Europe, making it easier for her to ride there.)

  • First ride

    Our tandem arrived on Wednesday. Saturday was our first opportunity to go for a ride. It was threatening to storm, be we were going to ride no matter what.  I was really worried we weren’t going to like it as much as I’d hoped - kind of like when I was a kid at Christmas and I’d imaging how magical everything was going to be on Christmas day, and then it wouldn’t be quite so magical and I’d mope around for a few days afterwards. I really had my hopes set high, so I knew it was likely the experience wouldn’t match my anticipation. I was also worried we would be super slow. The bike weighs a lot more than I had expected. I didn’t do my research well enough - I assumed it was going to be in the 50-60 pound range, but it turns out to be a 80-90 pounder.

  • This is how we roll (last summer)

    Natalie and I stayed in Garden City on Sunday night and left early Monday morning with the intent to ride 100 miles - up to Bern Idaho, over to Montpelier Idaho, over to Liberty, and then around bear lake. At about the 15 mile mark we both had to swerve to miss broken glass. Luckily we both missed it. About a mile later Natalie lost all of the air in her front tire (right when she had her hand off her handlebars drinking from her water bottle.) She almost wrecked, dropped the bottle, and came to a stop. We are running tubeless and I could see a little bit of sealant coming out of the hole. I could tell the hole was pretty big but it looked like the sealant had barely been able to plug it after the air blew out. I didn’t want to waste time with a tube, so I used a CO2 and inflated her tire and we were off. It lasted about 10 seconds. Too much pressure blew the same hole. So I took the tire off, put a patch on the inside of the tire (I had some that were made for tubeless setups) and then tried to inflate the tire. Unfortunately, the inflator was clogged with sealant, so it didn’t pressurize the tire fast enough to seat the bead, so I wasted the C02 cartridge. I had two left, so instead of risking another I put a tube on and used the third C02 to get us on the road. We only had one cartridge left and one tube, and still wanted to ride 85 miles. I thought maybe I could buy something in Montpelier. Spoiler alert - the answer is no.

  • Finding the right ride

    Figuring out which bike to buy was difficult. Last summer we went on a few 100 mile rides (I’ll post an email describing one of them.) Although we had a few problems on each ride, we really enjoyed it. But I ran into a few problems. First, the pressure from my seat for extended periods of time was causing nerve damage and giving me prostate infections. I’ve tried several different seats, but I’m coming to the conclusion that I need to limit my rides to 2-3 hours. Second, my hands were going numb (tingling, not fully numb), and staying that way for several weeks. This may be carpel tunnel from my keyboard, rock climbing injuries, or a result of the pressure on my hands from the handlebars. Next, my lower back is somewhat fused, and I had one doctor tell me I should stop riding because it would cause damage above the part that was fusing (another doctor tells me it is fine.) And finally, Natalie and I ride at slightly different speeds. As long as we stick together she can leverage my draft to keep her speed up, but at times I lose track of where she is only to find we are separated by hundreds of yards. Also, as my pace pushes her limits, she is constantly working really hard to keep her speed, which isn’t mentally relaxing for her.

  • Big plans for a big trip

    Natalie loves to travel. Probably the best trip in her life was the summer she spent living in Europe while a college student. She still talks about the adventure and the friends she made. When we talk about our life goals, she often mentions the desire to travel the world.

  • Abouti us

    We are Natalie and Pete, avid cyclists who are dipping our toes in the waters of bike touring. We ride a big, long, orange, somewhat-heavy (but awesome) recumbent tandem. We also road and mountain bike. We are passionate about the environment and love spending time together in the beautiful outdoors. We created this blog to track our adventures through Europe this summer:  route-finding, searching for accommodations, and eating vegan. Although we really like biking, we are also adoring grandparents of three, so if we don’t post too often it’s probably their cute fault. 

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