Bike Camping Lite – A Reboot for the Weary


What do you do when you feel unable to do anything besides watch TV or sleep? My first response is to give in to that feeling. I’m sixty-one years old. Why shouldn’t I take it easy?

The answer is because I am sixty-one years old. I don’t have enough time to have the luxury of wasting it. And if I want to retain the mobility I do have and hopefully, improve upon that, I have to move!

Because I was feeling so low and stuck in self-pity, I decided that what I needed to do was challenge both my body and my beliefs.

Steve and I had recently purchased front racks and panniers for our bikes. On a previous bike camping ride, we only had back panniers and discovered that putting all the weight at the back of the bike causes issues with stability.

bike touring

I also switched my bike’s handlebars to a Jones H Bar in the hope that it would give me more positions to put my hands and provide steadier steering. With new equipment, we didn’t want to just head out for a whole week. We decided to do an overnight bike camping trip to test things out.

It turned out that the front panniers were a brilliant decision. My bike was so much more balanced. I could actually stand up and pedal, something I couldn’t do with only back panniers.

The only thing that went wrong is that we got terribly lost on the way to the campground. What should have been a forty mile ride turned into a fifty-six mile ride. That wouldn’t have been so bad but by the time we realized how off course we were, we were also getting loopy from the heat and had reached the most hilly part of the trip. Neither of us had any oomph left, much less any putt putt.

bike touring

Fortunately, we ran into a young bicyclist who was on his way to the park we were trying to get to. We followed him until we were back on our route, then we let him go on alone as there was no way we could keep up with his young legs and unburdened bike.

The campsite at Lebanon Hills was nice and roomy and there were plenty of trees for privacy, but noise still carries and it was a bit raucous until 10 PM. After that, it was peaceful. I could hear what sounded like a Great Horned Owl. It didn’t take too long before a second owl returned the call. Laying down in the tent with the top flap open, I could see the stars overhead and flashes of light from fireflies skittering along the tree line.

Lebanon Hills campsite

The best part of the trip, of course, were the stops for food.

Before hitting the campground, we had dinner at Bonfire restaurant. I had a Mesquite Salmon salad that tasted like a piece of heaven. This may have been due to my exhausted, starving bicyclist state.

Near the restaurant, there was a Cupcake shop. We were going to get our cupcakes to go so we could have them for desert at the campground. But I didn’t think we should take the risk of having them melt or get smooshed. I had a yummy gluten free chocolate cupcake with peanut butter filling.

In the morning, we stopped at The Mason Jar. I had two eggs with roasted rosemary potatoes and ample cups of coffee to revive me for the ride home.

Halfway home, I needed a recharge so we stopped at Izzy’s Ice Cream, where I had a scoop of lingonberry with a scoop of chocolate ice cream – an excellent combination. I have to commend the people who work there. They researched their ice cream/gelato options to find me something that did not contain corn syrup or anything soy (I have a bad reaction to both).

The ride did a number on my knees and my ass. I was worried the knees would lay me up for awhile. I was going to take it easy for a couple days to allow them to recover, but I needed to pick up a book at the library. I decided to ride the six miles there. When I returned home, I also took the dogs for a three mile walk.

To my pleasant surprise, my knees felt better afterwards. Movement really does help both the body and the mind! Being outside helps A LOT too!

My body is wiser than my brain. She reminded me to be thankful for what I can do and not focus on the things that I can’t. Because every day that can change, sometimes for the better and sometimes not. Wishing for something else is wasting precious time.

bike camping

Links You Might Like

Every Body is a Yoga Body by Maggie Fazeli Fard

Fard’s article discusses Lauren Lipton’s book, Yoga Bodies: Real People, Real Stories & the Power of Transformation. There is commentary by people of a variety of shapes, sizes, ethnicities, ages, and backgrounds.

I appreciate the comments from seventy-eight-year-old Babette Becker on yoga and an aging body. What Babette says goes along with this post: “Everyone’s body is changing all the time… You learn in yoga to accept these things instead of saying, ‘I did this yesterday; why can’t I do it today?’ You can’t do it today because your body is different today… You might as well allow it to be OK.”

Jenna Moreci – The Nine Weird Habits of Writers

I don’t have all of these habits, like writing into the wee hours of the morning. Probably because I have a day job. But I can relate to most of the other weirdness mentioned (plus a few others).


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  1. Awesome post Maery! You’re my hero! The 4 of us should bike to Psycho Suzie’s sometime (if they have food you can eat) or wherever. A bike outing with food would be fun. 🙂 You’d have to probably wait for us–haha.

  2. such an excellent read! I love how much you share, even about the stuff I don’t know about and this adventure sounds like a winner. Good for you for taking care of yourself just like you do your pet friends.

  3. I couldn’t agree with you more – movement is the cure for so many things! It sounds like a wonderful overnight trip – and like you made great changes to your bike to make bike camping more fun!

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