A Wet Weekend of Bikepacking: Oregon Microadventures

“This is what it means to be an adventurer in our day: to give up creature comforts of the mind, to realize possibilities of imagination. Because everything around us says no you cannot do this, you cannot live without that, nothing is useful unless it’s in service to money, to gain, to stability. The adventurer gives in to tides of chaos, trusts the world to support her – and in doing so turns her back on the fear and obedience she has been taught. She rejects the indoctrination of impossibility. My adventure is a struggle for freedom.”


Last weekend Kevin and I set out on an impromptu “bikepacking” trip, which in short is cycle touring on unridable paths which involve a lot of pushing or carrying. In this case, after a beautifully sunny day riding on the beach and the highway, we camped at the top of a large hill (Tillamock Head for those of you in the region) overlooking the ocean (and the jumping wales down below) before pushing and carrying our bikes up and down an extremely muddy 7km path.

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The Perfect Day: What We Missed Most About Cycle Touring

“Your bike is discovery; your bike is freedom. It doesn’t matter where you are, when you’re on the saddle, you’re taken away.”


Today was a wonderful day, a sort of perfect day full of high highs that come with cycle touring, and with it, Kevin and I realized how much we had missed this lifestyle during our six week pause in Turkey. We were surprised at how bored we got in Turkey during our vacation month, and how little there was for us to see or explore when we no longer had the help of our bicycles, and so along with adventure and entertainment, here are the top five things we missed most about the cycle touring lifestyle.

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The Georgian Cuisine

“He never realized that people are capable, at any time in their lives, of doing what they dream of.”


I haven’t ever given much thought to talking about or photographing food – I’m the kind of gal who can eat spaghetti and cheese seven nights a week and never complain – but Kevin has convinced me that some of you out there may be a little more curious about the Georgian cuisine than I appear to be (though don’t get me wrong, I love the food here too!) so here is your obligatory post about food.

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75,000km and Counting

“You always have time for the things you put first.”

That’s right, in Kathmandu I met a couple who has been riding for the last seven and a half years around the world, racking up over 75,000km in the process. When Kevin yelled down to me “Shirine, I see touring bikes! There are other cyclists here!” I never expected to meet some of the most well traveled cyclists around. Though we only got to speak briefly with them as we all happened to be shifting hotels, here is a small glimpse into their amazing story.

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My Lovely Hank

“We’re all a little weird. And life is a little weird. And when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall into mutually satisfying weirdness—and call it love.”


“Lizzy, you had better be taking care of Hank up there,” I said looking up at the roof during our extremely bumpy bus ride.

“Shirine, the bikes can’t hear you,” Kevin scolded me teasingly.

With an exaggerated sad face I turned to him and said quite seriously, “Kevin, those bikes can understand us, please don’t hurt their feelings.”

“No, no,” he emended, “I meant they can’t hear you over the noise of the road.”

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On The Un-Road: 5,650km

“Your bike is discovery; your bike is freedom. It doesn’t matter where you are, when you’re on the saddle, you’re taken away.”


“All my troubles disappear once I pedal my bike.” Kevin turned to me on our second day of riding and announced that he would love to create a bumper sticker that said just that and attach it to the back of his bike. Though we had both been suffering from stomach problems (which I am quick to blame on the deathly spicy chowmein we consumed), the beautiful landscape we found ourselves cycling through was enough to dispel our stomach troubles. After a magnificent downhill through the small farming villages doted along the hillside, we arrived at the valley were we found ourselves following a river. Kevin, being an avid fisherman, proposed we stop early for the day in order to spend the afternoon exploring the river. I readily agreed, and spent a peaceful afternoon bathing, wandering, and watching life slowly pass by me.

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Common Misconceptions About Touring

“Whenever I see an adult on a bicycle, I have hope for the human race.”

“Wow, you must know everything about bikes!”
Nope, I know absolutely nothing. I changed my first (and only) flat on the road once my trip had already begun, and I still don’t know how to do anything else.

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180 Days and Counting

“I travel a lot; I hate having my life disrupted by routine.”


My tent has turned into my home, my bike into my best friend, and the world into my playground. I have no deadlines to keep or appointments to make. No stress or frustration to deal with. And my hardest daily decision typically involves picking what type of noodles I feel like making. I am living in an alternate universe, in a world where nothing can take me by surprise. I live in a world where seeing an enormous yak meander down the street, sleeping in a small stone hut with a tarp for a roof, and showering in a river seems perfectly normal… because it is. For the last 180 days I have been living the life of my dreams, cycling through the unknown on a quest to live and experience life around the world.

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All in Your Head

“The advantages? Exercise, no parking problems, gas prices, it’s fun. An automobile is expensive. You have to find a place to park and it’s not fun. So why not ride a bicycle? I recommend it.”

How is it that 20km of flat can be harder than 40km straight uphill? Because cycling is a mental game. Most five year olds can happily ride their bike around the block, and touring really isn’t that different. Sure, you are doing a few more kilometers, and hopefully can cycle a bit faster than them, but it’s the same simple motion. It is always possible to turn your pedals just one more time. Sometimes though, that one push seems much harder than others.

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