It wouldn't be mid-winter without some scheming. Sometimes good things come of it. This year, I have decided to organize two cycling events, and I thought I'd mention them here for those who may be interested. Participation in either or both is open to everybody.
First, June 1-3, 2012, the First (possibly annual if you don't wreck it) Midwest Rivendell Owners Rally. These started on the West Coast, spread to the East Coast, and now we're gonna do it for all the good people in the middle of the country. Details are in the exploratory phase, but the rough idea is to start in Red Wing and ride adventurously around Lake Pepin in 2 days, with camping or a hotel stay at the approximate halfway point. Yes, I know that Lake Pepin is often done as a moderately challenging 1-day ride, but I will add some miles, hills, spectacular roads and views, and adversity to the route to stretch it to 2 days. An easier route option will be available for those disinclined to pursue high-adventure in the bluffs, and it will be possible and easy for any rider to combine sections of the more challenging route with sections of the easier route. Obviously, if you own a Rivendell, please bring it to this event. If you don't own a Rivendell (I don't), come for the ride anyway, and try not to feel inadequate.
The second event to keep in mind doesn't have a specific date yet, but I'm thinking it'll be a week in mid to late August. I'm planning another week-long bicycle tour, which will be open to anybody who wants to come and can make it happen. In 2011, five daring excursionists enjoyed a lovely week exploring the backroads, mountain peaks, and camping areas of SW Wisconsin, with an Amtrak segment included to get us to and from the start/end point of the loop. Basically, I will be providing a loose outline and tentative route (always subject to change on a whim), companionship and good humor, and some basic guidance as needed on fundamental bike touring practices and equipment. The basic idea is to provide a welcoming atmosphere for people who are new to bicycle touring and who may be somewhat intimidated by the logistics of traveling by bicycle. It won't be a supported tour where a fossil-fuel burner carries your stuff and gives you a ride when you get tired. A modicum of self-reliance is required, but it won't be a test of extreme fitness and suffering either. Just a fun ride with good people in a beautiful area not exotically far from home.
Feel free to contact me with questions or comments about these events. My email and phone number are somewhere on this page.