This Week's Links
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by Joe Harkins - June 23, 98
Sometimes you may wish your computer had two wheels and a 21-gear derailleur. If so, roll your cursor over to the Bike Map. Click on the outline of a state where you want to go biking. Each clean, crisp map of bikeable routes and off-road trails includes a fact sheet describing public transportation that will carry you and your bike to a starting point and back.
Other Bike Map pages provide richly hyperlinked advice on transporting bikes across oceans, deserts, and international borders. Travelers reports cover safety, legalities, costs, baggage clerks, customs agents, finding assistance from local bikers, and anecdotes from those who have been there on two wheels and done that.
If your sense of adventure doesnt include organizing your own bicycle tours, theres plenty of online resources that will do it for you. Cycle America offers guided tours of national parks, across selected states, and even coast-to-coast. You can go from sea to shining sea in one summer-long trek across the upper tier of states from Seattle, Washington to Cape Cod, Massachusetts, or as selections from nine one-week segments spread out over a fly-drive-bike itinerary.
Some flavor of that cross-continental experience can be found at Bicycle Touring Select which contains two webmasters own wheeled adventure journals as well as links to an eclectic collection of personal experiences. My favorite among them, perhaps because it resonates with my own in-the-bone laziness, is aptly named Armchair World.
An interesting contrast can be found in the tales of two separate trips by the same good writer. In 1996, Bunni Zimberoff, then 55 years old, and Carolyn Walker of Pismo Beach, 60, calling themselves The Bobobs ("Batty old broads on bicycles") rode from California to Florida. Bunnis less satisfying but instructive trip the following year is reported as When Good Cyclists Make Bad Choices. The site sums it up, "The trip went anything but smoothly . . . learning experiences can sometimes be learning experiences."
Tailwinds chronicles Ed Noonans 98 day, 6,011 mile bicycle trip from Alaska to Florida. I hope I dont discourage readers from enjoying that personal adventure by saying the site deserves a web editors hand. Readers who are as stumped as I was can click directly from the Travel The Net web site to the obscurely titled menu item, Timeline.
Bicycle Adventures focuses on "the bicycle friendly Pacific Northwest." A USA Today editor reported on his four day, inn-to-inn journey "through the picturesque San Juans, a chain of more than 170 islands 90 minutes north of Seattle". "Every day is a challenge. Every day is an adventure,'' tour guide Amy McGhee, 31, tells the group as they ferry to the island, passing between the majestic Cascade and Olympic mountains.
Rough Tracks tours France, Portugal, Turkey, and my favorite getaway destination, the Dominican Republic. I lived more than three years in the area covered by their Caribbean trip. The DR is one of the most beautiful places in the world, populated by genuinely warm friendly people. The trail begins at a superb windsurfing village.
"From Cabarete on the Atlantic Coast, you head inland on unmade back-roads and off-road tracks, passing through tropical forests and charming, gingerbread-style villages on the way to the spectacular highlands. There, you can savor impressive views of Pico Duarte (almost two miles tall, the Caribbeans highest peak) in the Armando Bermudez National Park, enjoy the spectacular scenery of the lush Cibao Valley and relax overnight in the mountain town of San Jose de Las Matas. You'll ride past coffee and tobacco plantations and fields of sugar cane near Constanza before returning to Cabarete for the remainder of your holiday."
If you go, make sure you drop by The Bic Windsurfing School, right on the fabulous Cabarete beach, and tell em Joe sent you.
(note: The material that appears below may or may not have been published in your local newspaper depending on the available space in this week's edition.)
International Bike Fund
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