A few weeks ago, before I went on my S24O bike camping trip to Hillsdale Lake, a few of the local cyclists and I had discussed going on the trip as a group. In fact, my solo journey was partially a reconnaissance trip to see how the route would work and to get me back in the backpacking mindset after so many years of heavily-loaded "tent party" style camping.
I started mentioning the group S24O on some relatively tight-knit mailing lists. To my surprise, I've had eight other cyclists show a lot of interest. That's not to say we'll definitely have nine loaded bicycles rolling from Johnson County out to Hillsdale Lake, but it's a definite possibility. Imagine nine loaded bicycles slogging at something like 13 MPH through the countryside. Let that image sink in for a bit. I think it would look awesome!
By my math, 9 cyclists into 2,000 pounds is roughly 220 pounds per bike. The average touring bicycle plus a 20-30 pound load with rider means we could realistically have a One Ton Paceline™. Especially with a few clydesdales like me added to the mix. I haven't actually trademarked that yet, but I want to, darn it!
I've gone back and forth on whether to mention the trip here. A lot of my readers are not in Kansas City, and a lot of the ones that are in Kansas City might not have the equipment, the interest, or the endurance for this. I'll readily admit that the trip was harder than I thought it would be, particularly riding home -- with only two eggs in my belly, perhaps some ramen remnants from the night before and barely 3 hours of thunder-broken slumber.
That said, if you've been itching to try bicycle touring (or you've already done some of these yourself) and you know that you, your bike, and your camping gear is ready for a ride to Hillsdale Lake (a 70-mile round trip for me), perhaps you'd like to join us. I don't have a snazzy form set up for this ride, so use the email contact widget on the right side of my blog to inquire. I'm honestly not expecting many new takers, but if there are more, that'd be cool by me!
Right now, this is what we know:
- We roll out to Hillsdale lake July 25th
- We will probably converge for lunch or something light to eat in Southern Olathe
- We plan on leaving Olathe near noon
- If you are the kind who wants a few cold ones or would rather purchase your comestibles closer to the camp site, there's a pair of great convenience stores in Hillsdale a few miles from the camp site.
- Tent fee is $8.50. It sounds expensive but if you already have some backpacking gear, this could be the cheapest weekend fun you have all summer long.
- Bring something to do. There's fishing and swimming and a bait shop at the lake, lots of wide open space for frisbee or bike friz, and plenty of trails to ride on. Remember it probably gets dark before you are ready to sleep. A book to read (and a light) might not be a bad idea.