The latest leg of the Gap Year began about two weeks ago. We left Colorado and headed for Ohio for family celebrations. The 2-day road trip from Colorado to Ohio was uneventful. There was much rain and much corn. We stayed at a (very nice) Comfort Inn in Grain Valley, Missouri for our one overnight. We ate too much McDonald’s food and not enough salad, though we were fortunate to find a Chipotle on the way into the hotel and the Tour de France on the hotel’s television.
The family portion of the trip was a delightful blur. Lots of visiting, lots of party prep, lots of partying, and lots of food.
Fortunately, we also got to ride our bikes in Ohio. If you are a regular reader of this blog, you’ll know that my old touring bike, which was a hand-me-down from my Mom, was totaled in an incident earlier this year. (You can read about that incident here.) I went shopping for touring bikes while I was home in Colorado, but was unable to find a single steel touring bike in my size to test ride. I did, however, find a Salsa Vaya in a smaller size that I liked quite a bit. Sadly, touring bikes are manufactured in small quantities. Small sizes of touring bikes are even harder to come by. By some weird quirk, a bike shop in Cincinnati, only an hour’s drive from my parents’ house, had a Salsa Vaya 2 in stock in a size 52 and on sale! So my parents were able to acquire a bike for me that was waiting for me in Ohio.
In preparation for the new bike, I purchased Planet Bike fenders from Salvagetti Bicycle Workshop, where the knowledgeable salesman congratulated me on “sourcing” the Vaya, and a Salsa Wanderlust HD rear rack from Campus Cycles. Before our first Ohio ride, I installed those accessories, a Terry Liberator X Gel saddle, new Shimano SPD (mountain style) pedals, and my “vintage” American Classic water bottle cages. Here she is on our first ride:
That ride took us down “the snake,” a newish bike path near my parents’ house, to the Great Miami River (bike) Trail. We had a lot of party prep still to do, so we rode only a few miles south from the intersection.
My next ride was several days later, after the party craziness had subsided, and not on my new bike, since I needed a little more speed than the steel bike with knobby tires can handle. My father and I rode down the snake and north on the bike path to Panera Bread near the University of Dayton (my alma mater, BTW) campus. After coffee and yummy Cinnamon Crunch bagels, we pedaled back against the wind for my longest ride of the visit.
I did get two more short rides on the new bike, so I know it handles well and fits better than the old bike. I am particularly excited that she has disc brakes, which really improve stopping confidence under load. One of these rides was interrupted by water on the bike path, which I did not attempt to navigate with the new bike 🌊🚲🐠