Hello my name is H.W. (Hugh Willoughby) and recently I married the beautiful love of my life, Selka. We recently pedaled our bicycles from Central Washington down to Central Oregon and back. It was an incredible expedition, filled with mountain passes, river crossing, exquisite camping, deluxe trail mix, and hot romance the whole way.
We rode two steel machines that I built up over the last 2 years, Selka pedaled a “Marin – Larkspur” with 26” Mavic wheels and I pedaled a “Surly – Long haul trucker” with 700c Mavics. Two quality and even elegant modern machines.
I have ridden that route half a dozen times over the past few years to and from my Bicycle Expeditionary Guide gig, but this time was special.
This time I got the chance to see the route through a different lens. You see over the years I have kind of created a daily schedule for where I should stop and eat and where I should stop and camp and so forth. But this time we stopped and even camped at some different places and experienced the trip differently than I have in the past. So it was a breath of fresh air for what was becoming to me to be a worn out route.
Not to mention the fact that we stopped half way through the expedition in Portland and got married. So it is officially the best ride of my life. Since then we have have done some sweet rides here in British Columbia I intend to make frequent posts on Selka’s blog about our cycling lives and adventures. So stay tuned for “The Adventures of the Bicycle Life”.
I love bicycle culture. I love thinking about bikes, looking at bikes, touching bikes, smelling bikes, tasting bikes (a mild flavor of salty sweat with a hint of sweet Tri-low) and of course riding bikes. My heart swells every time I see a fellow cyclist float by on two wheels.
Sunshine, rain or snow, are all quality riding conditions and have a special place in my heart. I never met a time of the year that didn’t seem appealing to ride in. As my Sergeant in the Marines once told me, ” there is no such thing as bad weather, just bad gear”. We live in the age of Gore-tex, Under Armor, and SmartWool so I do not see any reason not to ride any day of the year in any part of the world.
Sure some days are cold and wet and even with my mittens and four layers of insulation on I may still feel some early stages of frostbite coming on in my phalanges, but alas it reminds me how good the summer time is to me, when I can ride all day clad in nothing but riding sandals, gloves, tiny skin tight riding shorts (that would be otherwise inappropriate for public display), and of course a helmet.
Oh how I love those summer days. Though life is not all summer sunny days and so I embrace the cold, dark and windy days as well to maintain a healthy balance, understanding and acceptance of life and nature.
I have ridden road bicycles my whole life. My father is a cyclist and during my childhood he was an avid bike racer. He taught my brothers and I how to ride and instilled in me a deep respect for the human powered machine. I trained and raced in many triathlons during those early years. I was constantly inspired and motivated by my father’s ability, strength and love for the physical engagement. As I have gone through my life, my engagement with the bicycle has shifted many times and reflected my
experiences, needs and desires. I have dedicated my adult life to bicycle transport as my main daily mode of transport, while I have lived in both urban and rural settings. In 2009 my good friend and I pedaled our machines across the U.S. (coast to coast 6000+miles) in a summer. I have worked as a Bicycle Expeditionary Guide in Oregon and Hawaii since 2007.
I believe that bicycles are the best thing since sliced bread. Well, actually I think bikes have been around longer (ha ha, that’s a bicycle joke). What I really mean is that bicycles are incredible tools in so many ways.
A bicycle can be anything a person wants or needs it to be. It can be a simple leisure device for relaxed rides in the park on the weekend for the family. For the athlete it can be the most extreme adrenaline rush during a race down an epic mountain pass. It can be an income wagon for the noble bike courier as he/she whips through the back city streets en-route.
It can be the pack-mule for the dedicated long distance tourer. It’s a free and healthy transport alternative for the commuter. It is, freedom to any kid on the block. The list goes on….. Simply think of your personal needs and desires and fill in the blank with a bicycle and you are sure to be on your way to a life filled with adventure, growth and happiness. I guarantee it;)
So until next time, take life one pedal stroke at a time, and I will see you down the road.
Viva Bikes! – H.W.