Saturday, May 30, 2009

New Texas Hill Country bike tour

We finally developed the bike tour our cross-country cyclists have been asking for. Our new Texas Hill Country bicycle tour should show everyone the best territory the Lone Star State has to offer. It's always been the area our Southern Tier tour cyclists tell us they wish could return to. And who better to design it than Michelle Slusher who has led our women across the country on their bicycles half a dozen times. We'll hope to hit it at the peak of wildflower season next April 3-9, 2010.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Second California Bike Tour Added to Fall Schedule

Our October Santa Barbara and Santa Ynez Valley tour filled so quickly that we've added a second tour to our fall schedule. It will be October 26-31, 2009. You can still be added to the waiting list for the first tour if someone cancels. But we have plenty of space on the second tour.

The Santa Ynez Valley is where the movie Sideways took place. I'm not a big fan of the film, but I do love the area's quiet vineyard roads for biking and the fantastic restaurants for dining. It offers all that Napa Valley does, but without the traffic and high expense. And then there's Santa Barbara, the Silver Bicycle Community Award winner, for all of its bike paths and lanes and bike friendly accommodations. Our tour is a good combination of the two regions.

Because of this addition, we've taken our Arizona in Autumn tour off of the schedule. We've been running it the same way for years now and it's time for a face lift. There are so many wonderful places to ride in and around Tucson. We're exploring some new routes and lodgings and will be changing our tour itinerary for the February tour. Stay tuned.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Santa Barbara and Santa Ynez Valley bike tour

It's funny that I would write about biking in the rain and then a week later, be in sunny Southern California. Boy, it's beautiful here. We had to switch the days of our Santa Barbara tour itinerary because of the Jesusita Fire last week, but in the end, it all went off splendidly.

We biked all the routes as planned, just on different days. The weather was perfect, the food excellent, and as always, the women have been a blast. For me, it was wonderful working with Michelle who was able to step in at the last minute. She filled in for Patty who had a family emergency. I'm jealous of the two of them who get to do this tour together this fall. They won't have the scent of ripening strawberries in the air. Instead, they'll get to watch the grape harvest.

WomanTours founder Gloria said that this tour beat our old Napa Valley tour hands down. "The roads are so much quieter!" she said. And we still got to do our share of wine tasting!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Riding in the Rain

One of the most common questions I’m asked by women new to our bicycling tours is, “Do you ride in the rain?” The easy answer is that it’s always a choice to ride. Whether it’s rainy or sunny, it’s always your personal decision. However, peer pressure can take over and before we know it, the whole group will be bicycling in weather that individually none of us would have chosen to do on her own!

So the next time peer pressure gets the best of you, be sure that you’re prepared for it. Don’t let improper clothing or technique ruin your rainy ride.

First, invest in a good rain jacket. It should be a bright color, so it’s highly visible on grey days. Look for a jacket made of a waterproof but breathable fabric and is unlined, so you won’t roast in it. It should have a back vent and zippers beneath the arms to help let your body heat out as you ride. It should have a high neck and a low back, and its hood will either detach or fold up to get out of the way.

According to women on a cross-country tour who got caught in hurricane-like winds and rain, the Showers Pass Elite jacket is the best jacket on the market. Good rain jackets aren’t cheap but they’re worth it.

If there’s a chance of rain, you may also want to start your ride by putting a blinking red light on the back of your helmet or bike seat so you’ll be more visible. Wear wool socks to keep your feet warm even if they get wet, and a helmet with a visor to keep your eyeglasses streak-free. Stuff a hotel’s shower cap into your pocket to throw over your helmet if there’s a downpour. On colder days or in the hardest of rains, consider wearing rain pants and shoe covers to keep your legs and feet dry.

Once you find yourself in the rain, ride cautiously. Roads are especially slick at the first sign of a light shower. The little water can cover oil spots on the road and make them treacherous, so be especially careful. Remember that it takes longer to slow down when you brake on wet rims. Leave more space between you and the rider in front of you. Walk your bike over all railroad tracks, metal bridges and steel grates. They’re slippery when wet and have caused many a cyclist to go down! Avoid riding over wet leaves and through puddles. It’s hard to tell how deep a puddle is and what lies beneath its water’s depths.

If you’re careful and wear the right clothing, riding in the rain can be exhilarating. Colors take on a muted, surreal look. Smells become heightened and sounds louder. It can feel as if your senses have come alive. So the next time it rains this spring, don’t run for cover. Suit up and enjoy it!

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Free Bike Clothing Offer

I recently received this email from one of our riders, Tracy.

I have been working really hard to lose weight and so far, I've lost about 75 pounds. I have lots of plus-sized bike clothing that I would love to get rid of so that I will not have it to fall back on. Do you know someone that would wear about a 2X or 3X that would ride or ride more if they had the proper clothes? I would be happy to give the clothes to someone who would use them to get themselves in better shape.

Anyone out there in need of some larger size bike clothes? Pop me an email and I'll forward it to Tracy. No sense in having perfectly good cycling clothes go to waste!

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Cross-Country Southern Tier Tour Finishes in St. Augustine!

Our group of women successfully bicycled into St. Augustine, Florida on Thursday, completing their cross-country bicycle tour. Congratulations to all of them!

Here are some of them as they wait for the police escort before cycling their last few miles of the 3000-mile trip. And Lois dips her front wheel in the Atlantic Ocean. Her smile says it all!