Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Day 217 Fort Collins to Golden

Time: 6:17:19
Distance: 71.5 miles
Avg Speed: 11.0 mph
Terrain: Rolling

I can’t really think of a title for the blog today. There was just so much that went on. We rolled out of Ft. Collins about 6:30 this morning and quickly got under way heading south. We did take a quick pit stop to get a battery for Leslie’s cycling computer so we could share our stats. We made it Loveland during the start of rush hour and quickly worked our way to some quieter country lanes. At about 8:00 am we caught a glimpse of a silver streak over our left shoulders. The streak turned out to be our friend Diane armed with a couple of coffees. She was so good, she had even ordered them extra hot so they were still hot when we got them. We chatted on the roadside for a little while, took a couple of pictures and then went our separate ways. It was a great surprise and really made our day. Leslie and I figured out how to put the cups in our water bottle cages so we could ride and sip at the same time.
Further south we drifted into Boulder County and were immediately aware of it by all the road cyclists keeping the highways hot. We usually wave to fellow cyclists and usually get a smile, nod or wave in return. The cyclists from Boulder are above that. I bet we were 50/50 on being acknowledged and being ignored. I would bet we saw 100 cyclists. Leslie finally got fed up with all the smugness and would wave really big and smile at other cyclists. She was finally able to crack a shell on those lucky enough to encounter her. It all reminded me of a South Park episode where several characters become so smug that the only thing good enough for them is the smell of their own farts. That was our welcome to Boulder. We stopped for a couple of sandwiches and got out of town riding past the always impressive Flatirons and Eldorado Canyon.
The ride on into Golden was nice with a little tail wind in parts and not crazy amounts of traffic. We both got to Golden and decided that we were probably cooked for the day and called in the Calvary. Leslie’s dad was kind enough to come get us and haul us the rest of the way home.

Granite Gears

Day: 216
Horsetooth Mountain Park
Time: 2:20:00
Distance: 17.0 miles
Terrain: Singletrack

We followed up a day of climbing and hiking with a day of biking. The venue was Horsetooth Mountain Park, just west of Fort Collins. Every time we ride here we wonder why we didn’t ride it more in the past. I guess we’re a little more free from a day to day routine and that “let’s just get in a ride” mentality.
The ride started with a gut busting climb to Horsetooth Rock and there were no speed records set on the way to the top. We stopped for a moment to take in the fantastic views before rolling into an exciting downhill singletrack. In this case, exciting takes on two meanings. The trail was both thrilling and scary. The scary part entails the chunks of granite found at various places along the route. For those of you who have ridden through this type of landscape you know that a fall can tear you to shreds.
And now for the geology lesson…
Granite is an igneous rock that was formed far below the earth’s surface. Due to the depth it cooled very slowly and the rock formed with very large crystals. As the Rocky Mountains were formed (during a geologic event called the Laramide Orogeny), the granite formations were forced up and eroded down into what we see today. Chris was unlucky enough to examine one particular outcrop of the pink rocks up close during the ride. Those same crystals we discussed earlier did a number on his knee and he quickly remembered that it’s more important to look at what your tire is rolling over rather than the signs ahead.
We finished our ride by checking out the new bike skills park at Spring Canyon. We made a couple laps around the perimeter to check out the catwalks and teeter-totters. Don’t worry, Chris wasn’t allowed to try anything…
Keep the rubber side down,

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Extracurricular Activities

Day: 215
Grey Rock
Time: All Day

We often would talk while we traveled about all the things that we like to do, but were unable to since we only had bicycles and four bags.
Today we took part in one of our favorite pastimes…Climbing. Leslie, Chris S, and myself all headed up the Poudre Canyon to take a little trip up to Grey Rock. The area is about a 2 mile hike off of the Poudre River. Grey Rock is a large granite mountain that contains hundreds of rock climbing routes. We decided to do a 5.7, 4 pitch climb called Barfy’s Favorite. Chris and I climbed while Leslie scrambled around and took pictures. The climb was nice and straight forward (by Grey Rock standards) and took Chris and I about 2 hours. We met Leslie at the top and quickly scrambled off and headed back to our packs. Towards the bottom we began to discuss the Michael Jackson album ‘Thriller’. Chris wasn’t so sure that it was that great of an album so Leslie and I started listing the songs we remembered and began singing the lyrics to Billie Jean.

She was more like a beauty queen from a movie scene
I said don’t mind, but what do you mean I am the one
Who will dance on the floor in the round
She said I am the one who will dance on the floor in the round
2nd verse
She told me her name was billie jean, as she caused a scene
Then every head turned with eyes that dreamed of being the one
Who will dance on the floor in the round

For full lyrics click here:

We were about back to our packs when we heard a climber above us belting out the lyrics to the song we were discussing. He did quite well with the lyrics, and even though he probably wasn’t born when the album came out, he was passionate.
We made it back to the car with out incident and promptly went to the climb shop to replace the gear that we lost on the climb today. We usually don’t lose gear like that, but today was just one of those days. A couple of stoppers and a carabiner is a small price to pay for a great day out.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Retail Therapy

Day 214
Time: All Day
Avg Speed: Stop and Go
Terrain: Pearl St Mall

I had a chance to get out shopping today with a good friend. We both wanted a day of retail therapy - she is off on vacation soon and I've got a few things I need for the next phase of our adventure. I definitely got a couple of things that I didn't need but it was nice to not have to be practical about every purchase. It's become second nature to avoid purchasing extra items but I found I was able to adapt quickly (ha, ha).
We shopped in the fine Front Range city of Boulder today. It's been awhile since I cruised up and down the Pearl St Mall. Despite the intermittent snow showers, the scene was lively with shoppers, buskers and everything in between. The local cyclists didn't mind the weather either. In fact, Boulder has a great bicycle network. Check out this link for more info. I'm always interested in the different bikes and the people who ride them. "Fixies" seem to be all the rage now and Boulder was chock full. I'm sure Chris and I will join the bandwagon at some point - we are, after all, equal opportunity cyclists.
Signing off from the "People's Republic",

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Press Release: Bicycle Geography Continues...


Leslie Kehmeier
Bicycle Geography
10773 W Marlowe Pl
Littleton, CO 80127

Chris and Leslie Kehmeier Continue to Ride Bicycles around the World to Promote Geographic Knowledge

Chris and Leslie Kehmeier of Colorado are realizing a lifelong dream of seeing the world by bicycle. In the summer of 2007 they sold their house, quit their jobs and started traveling the globe on two wheels. They call their project Bicycle Geography.

The Kehmeier’s self-supported journey started in September 2007 when they flew from their home state of Colorado to New Zealand. After three months touring the North and South Islands they moved on to Australia and then Southeast Asia. Chris and Leslie have recently returned home to prepare for a summer tour of Colorado. In early August, the two-wheeled pair will depart once again for Asia and continue their international travels throughout China, Nepal and Europe.
During the first six months of the journey, Chris and Leslie have expanded their geographic knowledge while experiencing the landscapes and cultures of different countries. They continue to inspire people to ride bicycles, learn about geography and consider sustainable modes of transportation.

Chris and Leslie think bicycles have great practicality and functionality and continue to use them as their main mode of transportation. Bicycles not only allow increased mobility, health and economic benefits, they require only human-power as fuel.

After reading an alarming news article in 2006, The Kehmeiers were inspired to promote geographic awareness as part of their trip. They learned that young adults in the United States are significantly lacking in their geographic knowledge. They hope to bring more awareness to the subject of Geography through photos and journals on their Bicycle Geography website.


About the Bicycle Geography team:
Leslie Kehmeier was born and raised in Colorado. She can usually be found turning the pedals on her mountain bike, hanging from the side of a mountain or planning a weekend trip to Paris. Leslie is a 1991 graduate of Bear Creek High School in Lakewood, Colorado and 1995 graduate of the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs with a degree in Geography.

Chris Kehmeier was born in New Mexico, and raised in Nevada and Colorado. He gets out on his bike, on foot, and on a rope as much as possible. When he is resting his legs he dabbles in the kitchen and plans his tick lists for future bike and climbing trips. Chris is a 1993 graduate of Littleton High School in Littleton, Colorado and a 1998 graduate of Colorado State University with a degree in Horticulture.

For additional information about Bicycle Geography please contact Chris or Leslie Kehmeier bicyclegeography@yahoo.com or visit http://www.bicyclegeography.org

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Three Kids, Two Schools and a Minivan Part II

We've managed to survive until almost bedtime. Two-thirds of the group have pajamas on and are in various stages of going to bed. Chris is reading to the 4 year old from a novel about climbing. In the past it's been very successful in putting munchkins to sleep...
The start of the afternoon was a repeat of the morning, only in reverse order. We realized on the way back to pre-school that we had sent the 4 year old with his overnight bag, not his school backpack. Oh well. Nothing was mentioned when we picked him up so we just acted like we knew what we were doing.
We picked the oldest up at school and then headed to lunch and a movie. We only had to go back to the house one time for a forgotten bag. My mom and sister had their doubts about the movie but we thought we'd go for it. After all, how hard could it be? (Ha, ha - we do know how hard it can be) Anyway, we went to the IMAX at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science to see The Alps. As most of you know, climbing is our other passion and we try to influence all of our neices and nephews whenever possible. With time running out before the 3pm show started, we managed to park, buy tickets and hit the bathroom before the beginning of the movie. Surprisingly, the movie grabbed the kids' attention right from the get go. Even the 15 month old was doing her best to follow the movement on the giant screen. Not surprisingly, the 4 year old asked the famous question about fifteen minutes into the show - "is it over yet?". I just smiled and gave him the countdown. Much to our amazement we were able to see the entire film. We felt like WE had actually been climbing in the Alps, but were proud to have made it through without any emergency bathroom breaks or being asked to leave.
It was great to spend some quality time with our niece and nephews. We look forward to doing the same with the rest of our nieces in the near future.
Back to the grind (of a bicycling kind),

Three Kids, Two Schools and a Minivan Part I

Day 211
Somewhere Between Castle Rock and Littleton
Time: All Day
Avg Speed: School Zone
Terrain: 18 month old to 12 years old

We're helping out my sister today. I'm going to try to keep track as the day progresses. So far the morning has been hectic. It has become very obvious that we haven't had a schedule in a long time...
Our first goal was to get the 12 year old off to 6th grade and take the 4 year old to pre-school. The pre-teen was easy. The second part shouldn't have been a problem except for the stop at the gas station. Chris popped the lid for the tank while I hopped out and grabbed the nozzle. I heard the beep, pressed the button for the low grade unleaded and squeezed the handle - nothing. Chris wiggled his way over to the passenger window and yelled "You'll have to use a credit card if you're not going to prepay with cash". I opened the door and fumbled through my coat, retrieved my credit card and proceeded. I got ready to pump again when Chris said "do you have a discount card?". Ahhhhhhh! Too many buttons, too little time. Meanwhile, the 18 month old and 4 year old looked at us like "Mommy doesn't do it like this...". The petrol stop only put us behind by about five minutes and we had a good laugh about how inept we have become in the last six months. A gas station stop for us is usually related to food and a restroom, not fuel for a car. Anyway, the four year old is now expanding his mind and we're doing laundry.
Stay tuned for the afternoon report.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Castle Rock Run

Day: 202 and 203
Littleton to Castle Rock to Littleton
Time: 4 hours each way
Distance: 31 miles each way
Avg Speed: 8.5 mph
Terrain: rolling
Location: 39.38 N, -104.84 W

It was kind of like Cannonball Run, but without Burt Reynolds and that cool Ferrari.
We decided that our run really wasn’t going to be a race, but rather a ‘nuts and bolts’ tour down to Leslie’s sister’s house. We had recently gotten our BOB trailers and were keen to give them a go. We didn’t carry as much weight as we will in our tour this summer, but we did give our bikes, trailers and handlebar bags a thorough shaking. We left Leslie’s parent’s house in the heat of the day on Tuesday. We enjoyed 80˚ weather as we worked our way across Denver and through one of the last dirt roads in the area. Daniels Park Road heads out the back of a large housing development and climbs a large sandstone bluff overlooking the Front Range. We enjoyed views of downtown Denver to the north and Pikes Peak to the south. We eventually dropped down and wound our way through some high end golf courses and finally into Castle Rock. We wound around some bike paths and eventually found our destination. It is always interesting to ride somewhere after you have driven it several times. The bike allows us (and sometimes forces us) to take different, more intimate routes. In this case we decided to stay off the road we normally drive and follow a bike path that went in a different direction. After winding our way around the development we called and were set straight. We were close, but not too close. We enjoyed a mellow night hanging out with family and watching Transfomers.
This morning broke with cooler winds from the north, but clear skies nonetheless. Leslie and I both thought that the storm forecasted wasn’t going to go anywhere. We had a mellow morning seeing our two nephews off to school, and enjoying a nice breakfast with Leslie’s sister and niece. The weather kept cooling off, and to the north it just kept getting darker and darker. Maybe the storm was going to materialize. Leslie and I finally got on the road and enjoyed a swirling tail wind propelling us back up Daniels Park Road. The weather continued to get cooler and cooler and at the top of the road we donned more layers. Leslie’s sister found us on top and took some pictures of us riding together (check out the above pic). She left us, and Leslie and I were left alone to descend into the snow starting to fall. The snow continued to pick up and we took a pit stop at a Starbucks for some tea and cookies. We put on the rest of our layers and got back on the road for two more hours of snow riding. Leslie reminded me that the last time we toured was in Laos where the temperature was in the mid 90’s and the humidity was about the same. Nothing like a 60-70˚ swing to really put your body in shock.
Our ‘nuts and bolts’ tour turned out well with us riding in all conditions and all of our gear coming out great.
Yeah for tours!!

Monday, April 14, 2008

The Colorado Plan: Summertime in the Rockies

Day: 202
Denver, Colorado

Here it is – the route we hope to follow this summer. A snowy winter and a late spring start are sure to bring some winter-like campsites and classic Colorado weather. We accept the challenge and will be packing our sun, rain and snow gear.

See map below for intended route and dates:

Stay tuned for more detailed maps and descriptions. Also, let us know if you want to join us along the route.

Happy Monday!

Friday, April 11, 2008

The Bicycle Commuting Diaries: Maiden Voyage

Day: 199
Time: 2 hours or so
Distance: Across South Denver and back
Avg Speed: Stop and go
Terrain: Urban

It’s been almost a year since the last installment of the Bicycle Commuting Diaries. In the previous post I shared the accident I had with a BOB trailer. I escaped with minimal injuries but I have not pulled a trailer since. Today I got back on that horse and took one of our new “Yaks” out for its maiden voyage.
It wasn’t an especially nice day today but we needed to run errands and get some exercise. We watched the weather alternate between sun and snow showers all morning but decided to brave “springtime in the Rockies”. After changing into our cool riding gear and switching out rear quick releases, we ventured out into south suburban Denver. Chris pulled the trailer first and we worked our way to the first stop: the post office.
It’s amazing how different a very familiar place becomes on a bike, and on the side of the road. We put our recently acquired urban riding skills to the test as we navigated our way through several intersections along Kipling St. We took turns pushing the crosswalk buttons and caught some interesting looks out of the corner of our eyes. It couldn’t have been the big yellow flag sticking up from the back of the trailer…
After mailing off our applications for Nepalese visas, we continued east to drop off Chris’ new wheel. DT Swiss, the company who manufactured the rim, was kind enough to send a replacement right away and we didn’t want to waste any time getting it rebuilt. After a few calls, Chris found Arapahoe Cyclery and made plans to drop off the wheel. From the post office, we plotted a course through city streets and paved pathways. Meanwhile, the skies to the west were becoming increasingly dark. I shouted back to Chris “I’m guessing we’ll get snowed on before this ride is over”.
Our circuitous path finally brought us to the bike shop. In a matter of five minutes we were back outside the store; it had taken almost an hour and a half to get there. I guess commuting by bike is mostly a labor of love. Luckily, there was a fabric store right next to the bike shop. We were relieved that we could accomplish the next item on our “to do” list so easily. We popped in and Chris got more supplies to turn his bicycle helmet into a sombrero. By the time we got back outside to the bikes it was snowing. Go figure. We mounted up and Chris yelled “WHITE SQUALL!” as we rode out of the parking lot.
The ride home was uneventful. I pulled the trailer and can say that I made it back to home base without incident. You see, this time, I read the directions and I now know how to avoid crashing with the BOB trailer.

Happy Spring,

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

R & D Day

Day 197
Favorite Singlespeed Loop
Time: 1:10
Distance: ??

We were back at work after a weekend with friends up north. We had a few things on our to-do list to take care of so we got after it. Our timeline for Colorado is shaping up, so we decided to do a route to match. When it is all said and done, I am sure we will be a little off from what we had planned. Leslie got to work figuring mileage, roads and timelines for Colorado. It should be published here soon, so check it out and see when you can join us for a few days. It looks like it could be fun. Leslie was able to get a lot of the road info from the C-DOT website. It is always fun to find little gems of knowledge.
While Leslie was hard at work with the planning I had the sewing machine out making a visor/bicycle sombrero for our helmets. Leslie’s helmet was the guinea pig and I think it turned out well. We got the idea from our Aussie cycling mate, Hamish. He had a great sun shade on his helmet that his mum had made. I hope that I make his mum proud with our version.
We took a couple of breaks today for a ride on our singlespeeds before the weather started to turn and a run to the grocery store for some grub. We have now been home for a week and are staring at our third snow day. I can’t really complain about the weather since we only get a little taste of this year’s winter.
Tomorrow I will give my sombrero a go as well as head over to the American Alpine Club (AAC) library for a little research on China and Nepal. The AAC library has tons of information on international travel. We stumbled on the wealth of knowledge there last year while checking routes in the Tetons. If you are ever in the neighborhood of Golden, Colorado check it out.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Kickstands Are Cool

Day: 196
Fort Collins to Denver
Time: A Few Hours
Avg Speed: 65 stay alive
Terrain: Interstate 25

It took some convincing by Chris to put the package in the shopping basket. I was really reluctant to purchase this particular piece of equipment. In the end, practicality won out and I held my head high as we checked out. It’s been a long time since I’ve had a kickstand.
I’m not sure at what age I turned against the small apparatus, but along with mirrors and reflectors, I have always shunned it. It was the first thing I removed from a new bike and the last thing I thought I would ever need again. However, after watching several fellow bicycle tourists stand their bikes up with little effort, I’ve slowly become convinced that it might make my daily ride a little more enjoyable. In fact, it will probably save some time since stopping usually requires pushing the bike around to find the right place to prop it up. The alternative requires setting the bike on the ground and that can lead to an entirely different conversation.
I’m now looking forward to keeping my bike upright. My two-wheeled companion really does deserve first class treatment. Who knows, perhaps I can inspire other “non-kickstand” cyclists to reconsider the usefulness of a metal stick on a spring.

Ps – Happy 12th Birthday to our nephew Alec!

Friday, April 04, 2008


Day 192

We’ve been home a couple of days now. We’ve been catching up on sleep, unpacking gear, washing clothes, etc. I’ve also been spending time thinking about our trip so far. I feel really happy about what we’ve done and I’m really excited to continue. I also feel pretty inspired about life.
A few years ago, Chris shared some words with me that he found on a website. They (the words) come from Mark Twight, a climber, who maintains a fitness website called Gym Jones. I’ve read the words from time to time in the last six months. Early in the game I needed to read them to remind myself why I wanted to do this trip. Now, as I reflect back on the first part of our journey, I revisit the words. I feel satisfied. I like the words because they are raw and intense, pure and fresh. I’d like to share my favorite part:

“Burn the bridge. Nuke the foundation. Back yourself up against a wall. Have an opinion one way or the other, get off the fence and rip it up. Cut yourself off so there is no going back. Once you're committed the truth will come out. You ask about security? What you need is uncertainty. What you need is confusion; something that forces you to reinvent yourself, a whip to drive you harder…”

If you’d like a link to the whole thing, email me. Be warned though, the full version is very intense and could possibly be offensive to some.


Thursday, April 03, 2008

Where are we and what day is it?

Day: 191 ( I think)
Seoul to Denver

We have now been traveling for a long time. I know times, but at this point I can’t add them up in my head. 12 hours on a bus, 19 hours at an airport, 6 hours on a plane, 6 hours at an airport, 11 hours on a plane, 2 hours at an airport and finally 2 hours on a plane. Leslie had the plan broken down into stages. We are now on the final stage of our trip home. I hadn’t realized how long we had been going until I looked at myself in a mirror and I had a healthy stubble on my face. I had shaved the day we left Vientiane (which is also the last day I showered…yummy).
We grabbed an iced-tea in LA and had the urge for a chocolate chip cookie as well. I think we are both regretting the cookie a little. We have been on a see food diet for the past 6 months and for the past 2 we have really been fortunate to have a lot of whole foods in our diet. The cookie wasn’t a very clean food and our bodies are reminding us of that.
I dozed a little on the final leg to Denver. I woke up and saw the undated map in front of me with the time on it. I set my watch to Colorado time, but I couldn’t figure our what day it was. A nasty, or nice, habit that we got into on the road is completely losing track of what day of the week it is. Our calendar was broken down into ride days and rest days. Anything beyond that was unnecessary. It turns out it is Wednesday and I had thought that it was Thursday. I am sure people thought I was on drugs when I asked Leslie what day it was. I probably look it at this point.
We were lounging at the airport in LA and we both hoped that weather would be nice enough to go for a little ride tomorrow. I think we are both happy that after all the saddle time we have had the past half a year that we were looking forward to a ride. Singlespeeds here we come!!!
We are both very happy to see and spend some time with our families. It will be a nice treat for us to see them.
I am not sure how often the blog will go while we are holed up for a couple weeks. I think it will resume when we are on the road in Colorado though. I know the Poudre River doesn’t sound as exotic as the Mekong River, but adventure is where you make it.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

In Transit

Day: 190
Suvarnabhumi (Suwanna-poom) International Airport
Time: 18 hours

We’ve gotten to hour 14 – only 4 more to go. Somehow this airport marathon hasn’t been as bad as others. We’ve kept ourselves busy all day. We’ve been eating, sleeping, walking, surfing and people watching. Some of those tasks have been done multiple times. The sleeping was pretty interesting – we both actually slept for a couple of hours. This was an accomplishment considering the cushion-less benches we were perched on and the Thai tour group chatting the morning away right next to us.
After meal number three (Chris tells me that the pork dumplings at 7-Eleven this morning count as a meal), we strolled through the garden area outside the airport. We managed to stay out of the sun and enjoy a green space amongst a lot of concrete and steel. Back inside, we explored another level and noticed a hair salon and spa. Chris spotted the 45 minute foot massage on the list and before I knew it we were both relaxing in comfortable chairs. It’s a known fact that I don’t do feet so I wasn’t going to keep Chris from getting his “dogs” worked on. Our justification was the 12 hours we just spent getting to Bangkok on the bus and the upcoming 20+ hours of flight time. Really, it was just a great way to kill another hour at the airport.
Now we’re on cruise control. We’ve got our boarding passes and the luggage checked in. We managed to get through another round of “let’s see what your baggage weight is”. They only weighed one of the bike boxes and said “the other one is the same, right?”. We both quickly shook our heads yes and whisked the bike boxes off to the oversized luggage check-in. We’ve learned to act quickly and not share ancillary details. Soon we’ll be tucked away in our exit row seats and dreaming of spring in Colorado.
See you tomorrow,