Monday, September 2, 2013

Bike Camping

Yesterday we took our bikes out for a spin to the Cowichan River.

The weather was perfect, so we had a great ride to the river.  Part of our route was on the Cowichan Valley Trail, which was beautiful, but a lot bumpier than what I'm used to.  (See my post about our ride on the Trail last winter.)  My bike is supposed to do fine on trails so I was surprised at how tense and uncomfortable I was.  It seemed like everything was bouncing around and kind of unstable.  When we got to the campsite and unloaded, I realized what was going on - my rack was missing a bolt!  On one side of the wheel it wasn't attached at all, and neither was my fender.  So a full and heavy pannier had just been bouncing around the whole ride!  Very fortunately, my husband was prepared and had a spare bolt.  

So this is a public service announcement: Always check your bolts before heading out on a trip and always bring a few spares, along with the tools to attach them, of course.  The ride home felt so much smoother and easier with my rack and fender actually secured in place.  

I also want to plug our new Ortlieb panniers.  I've been using mine around town for laundry and hauling stuff, but this was the first camping trip we took them on and they worked really well.  I very much appreciate how easy they are to get on and off the bike.  It makes loading and unloading so much faster than my old dry sack and bungee system.

We found a spot to camp near the river and had a nice afternoon knitting and relaxing.  After dinner and roasted marshmallows, though, we heard a loud rustling in the bushes.  It seemed too noisy for a deer, and sure enough, a bear poked its head out of the bushes!  It was the last thing I expected and he looked even more surprised to see us.  He turned around bolted back the way he came.  

photo from Wikipedia

I know there are bears around the island, and I wouldn't be so surprised to run into one on a trail or in the woods, but one being tempted enough to come to our campsite right before we were about to call it a night seemed like really bad news.  So we decided to pack it up and had a gorgeous evening bike ride.  

I think we'll try again next weekend.

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