I don't think I had ridden a bicycle since I turned 16. But about 5 years ago, when my dad gave us a pair of garage-sale bikes, I immediately started telling myself stories about how my wife and I would go for all-day rides through the countryside. We would have picnic lunches under a tree on the edge of a field or beside a creek. We would explore dirt roads and escape from the drudgery of suburban work-a-day life. It was very romantic.
Then I actually got on the bike and rode, maybe 2 miles, to return some videos. I thought it was going to kill me. Leastwise, it wasn't nearly as easy as I remembered. Eventually I worked up the nerve to start biking to work a little bit during the summer. Sometimes on the weekends we would ride to nearby parks. It was hard, but the feeling of freedom, the feeling of having fun, made it worthwhile. It turns out that after a while it gets easier. And it never gets less fun.
Last summer I went with my good friend J on a bike camping trip in the Roosevelt National Forest. While we planned for it to be a two-nighter, it turned out to be more of an S24O kind of thing. Except it was a bit over 24 hours. We did another camping trip later in the summer, but this time with car support, as my wife and daughter came along and set up camp while J and I rode across the Pawnee National Grasslands. It was always the plan that these rides would be practice for something bigger.
In less than two weeks, I'm going for it. The inspiration struck me some time last autumn: I need to ride from my home in Denver to the Grand Canyon. My family isn't up for making that kind of ride, so they will be meeting me there. I can get my bike tour in, and we can throw a family vacation into the bargain.
The trip will take me through some 670 miles through Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona. We'll then spend a day or two at the Grand Canyon, and then make our way back home together. My daughter is hoping to do some camping on the way back. It's going to be great!