Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Video from Idaho

The Un-Road Trip reaches Sandpoint, Idaho and traverses the state on train, seaplane, and bicycle.

Day 65 - 66 from Boaz Frankel on Vimeo.

Special thanks to Paul Gude for composing and recording the song featured in this video.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Nearly 100 with 1 day to go

It's been a busy few days in Seattle, and somehow this Un-Road Trip is coming to an end tomorrow. But first a quick recap of my other modes of transportation in Seattle.

#93 - Escalator up to the monorail at Westlake Center


#94 - Monorail from Westlake Center to Seattle Center


#95 - Elevator to the top of the Space Needle

#96 - Roller Skates


I stopped by my former place of employment, Groupee, and borrowed them from my friend Paul. I skated around the office, but soon realized that I didn't actually know how to roller skate. I guess I haven't done it in about ten years, and now that I think of it I'm not sure if I ever really knew how to skate.

#97 - Rowboat


I headed down to the Center for Wooden Boats on Lake Union, rented a rowboat, and paddled out to the middle of the lake. It was a beautiful day for rowing, but rowing by myself was a little complicated as the rower faces backward and there was no one to tell me that I was about to hit a boat. I didn't actually hit a boat, but I may have come close.

#98 - Streetcar


From South Lake Union I hopped on the streetcar to get back downtown. And with only two more modes of transportation to reach 100 I think I should be able to make it. In Portland I'm planning on riding velomobile, pedicab, and the aerial tram.

And lastly, don't forget the Un-Road Trip party coming up tomorrow, Sunday June 28th from 4-6PM at the Keen Footwear Headquarters in Portland (926 NW 13th Ave # 210). There will be alternative transportation to check out, a performance by jugband sensation The Dexter Street Stompers, food to eat, and new videos to watch. Hope to see you there!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Video from Milwaukee

Milwaukee, Wisconsin here we come! I have a hard time keeping the 'Laverne & Shirley' theme song out of my head as I explore the city by cargo tricycle, electric Alfa Romeo, and Hydro Bike!

Day 61 - 63 from Boaz Frankel on Vimeo.

The Race to 100 Continues in Seattle

I started yesterday morning on foot with 86 modes of transportation under my belt, but by the end of the day I would surpass 90. I headed down to Westlake Center, a shopping center in Seattle, where I met up with Paul and Chris, two former co-workers and current friends. Paul's written all the original songs in the Un-Road Trip videos, and Chris filmed the very first Un-Road Trip promo video. Paul was going to provide me with my 87th mode of transportation:


Piggyback ride! On Paul's back, I traveled about a block down 5th Avenue as Chris documented the ride. Next I was headed to Play it Again Sports, who generously loaned me a bike for the day. I biked along Lake Union to The Electric Boat Company, who offered to take me across the lake in one of their Duffy Electric Boats. That's also where I met up with Michael and Mark of KING 5's Evening Magazine. They were joining the journey for the afternoon to film a piece for the show. I wheeled my bicycle onto the boat, and we were off across the lake.


I was dropped off at a dock on the other side and rode over to Inner Space Skatepark in Fremont. I've never been on a skateboard before, but I was excited to learn. Mike, who started the indoor skatepark a few years back, gave me a few tips and coached me as I took my first few kicks and rolled forward a few feet.


The skatepark was full of dozens of preteens zipping by and over various ramps. I was the annoying beginner, zig-zagging through the room, but everyone was amazingly supportive. The kids would clap for me when I didn't fall off, told me I was doing great, and one ten-year old even offered, "you're better than I was when I first got on a skateboard." I took a few tumbles, but I managed to skate across the room and even down one of the small ramps. As I successfully made it down that ramp, the kids took their skateboards and banged them against the ramp in triumph. I was not only pretty proud to call myself a remedial skateboarder, but I felt like I was part of the gang.

Next I headed to my friend and jugband colleague, John Brown's house on the other side of the bridge. He had proposed a pretty unique mode of transportation on twitter a few days before, and I couldn't pass up the offer. My 89th mode of transportation would be puppy-pulled longboard. As we were about to head out with the puppy, I noticed a wheel barrow in John's yard and fit in another quick mode of transportation. Then we headed down to the Burke Gilman trail, I fastened my helmet, stepped onto the longboard, and took the leash from John. John instructed Zulu, the puppy, to run, and I was suddenly zooming down the path. I was still figuring out how to balance, and after a few seconds I stumbled off the board and was simply running behind the dog. I decided to try again, and within a few seconds I was speeding down the path again. I was going pretty fast as I noticed Zulu veering a bit towards the grass and dirt... Next thing I knew I was sliding across the ground in a sudden wipeout. I sat up, then stood up, then decided to sit back down again. I was pretty winded and a little out of it. I wasn't too badly bruised, except for the rough patch on my elbow.


I felt better after a few minutes and hopped back on the bike to head back over to Fremont and the Dutch Bike Company. Fritz and Stephan invited me to take out their 7-person conference bicycle. But first, I had to find six friends to bring along. I didn't have to look very far. I realized it was the perfect opportunity to reunite The Dexter Street Stompers, Seattle's jugband sensation, for whom I play kazoo. We loaded our instruments on board- easy for a kazoo and jug but not so easy for a washtub bass.


Then we hit the streets, playing our tunes as we pedaled up and down Ballard Avenue. People seemed pretty happy to see us- even the motorists who were forced to slow down as we blocked most of the lane.

Boaz & Jug Band

I'm really looking forward to seeing video of this. We returned the bike to the store, and I chatted with Fritz and Stephan about their range of vehicles.


They sell a true cargo bicycle, different from most of the cargo trikes I've seen as it only has two wheels. I took it for a test ride before I hopped in the front and became the cargo as Fritz pedaled. And there I had mode of transportation number 92. I think I can almost see 100 now. Stay tuned...

A Quick Seattle Post

I'm heading over to KING 5, Seattle's NBC affiliate to do an interview on the morning news, but after that I'll have time to post a more thorough post about yesterday. Here are two photos to pique your interest though...



Come back later to hear the action-packed stories.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Un-Odorant Goes Everywhere

Crystal deodorant takes the ultimate test as it travels beyond the underarm...

The Un-Odorant Goes Everywhere from Boaz Frankel on Vimeo.

Thanks to Crystal for sponsoring the trip!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Can I get to 100?

So far I've used 86 modes of transportation, and I'd really love to get to 100. My 86 modes have consisted of:

1. Motorized Cooler
2. Walking
3. Tandem Bike (with Mayor Sam Adams)
4. Amtrak Train
5. BART Commuter Rail
6. Ferry
7. Motorized Yacht
8. Inflatable Motor Boat
9. Electric Golf Cart
10. Agricultural Helicopter
11. Horse Drawn Wagonette
12. Bike
13. Duffy Electric Boat
14. Hobie Pedal-Powered Kayak
15. Harley Motorcycle
16. Pi Electric Bike
17. Electric Shuttle Bus
18. Tesla Roadster
19. Catamaran
20. Los Angeles Subway
21. Kangoo Jumps
22. Spring-Powered pogo Stick
23. Pneumatic Pogo Stick
24. RowBike
25. Natural Gas Bus
26. Xtracycle
27. Camel
28. Kick Scooter
29. Walking Rickshaw
30. Wine Bike
31. Pedal-Powered Drum Tank
32. Gramophone Bike Cart
33. Electric Ladder Machine
34. Water Taxi
35. Secret Senate Subway
36. Paddle Boat
37. Airboat
38. Horseback
39. Flats Boats
40. Kayak
41. Hotel Luggage Cart
42. Motorboat
43. Sailboat
44. Electric/Diesel Hybrid Boat
45. Electric GEM Taxi
46. Vegetable Oil Powered Ambulance
47. Electric Lawn Mower
48. Shopping Cart (pushed by Lauren Ponder)
49. Fuel Cell Powered Segway
50. Folding Bike
51. Unicycle
52. Powerwings Razor Scooter
53. Industrial Cargo Tricycle
54. Pedal Powered Surrey
55. Sail Powered Land Cruiser
56. All Terrain Pedal Buggy
57. Recumbent Tricycle
58. Razor Electric Scooter
59. Greenwheel MIT Electric Bike
60. Biplane
61. Segway PT
62. PUMA
63. Paragliding
64. Geometric Reciprocating Pedal Bike
65. Sike (Snow Bike)
66. Paddle Surfing
67. Pick Up Truck Bike
68. Penny Farthing
69. Treadmill Bike
70. Handcycle
71. Hula Bike
72. Recumbent Bicycle
73. Kick Bike
74. Family Truckster
75. Horse-pulled Carriage
76. CouchBike
77. Tandem Recumbent Bicycle
78. Light Rail
79. Cushman Electric Cart
80. Rollercoaser
81. Electric Convenience Vehicle
82. Converted Ford Focus
83. Pedal-Powered Pub
84. ZAP 3 Wheel Pick-Up Truck
85. Hydro Bike
86. Float Plane

In Seattle I already have plans to ride a conference bike, monorail, street car, row boat, electric scooter, escalator, and get a piggy back ride. That brings me up to 93, but I'm still looking for 7 more modes of transportation. Any ideas?

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

It's a Long Train Ride to Idaho

I got on the train Sunday afternoon and thirty-some hours later I finally arrived in Sandpoint, Idaho. Of course, a lot happened in between. Especially as we got into Montana and started riding through Glacier National Park.




It's pretty stunning scenery and I even forgot about the lack of power outlets on Amtrak trains for a few hours as I watched the mountains go by. And then it got dark outside, and I wished that I could charge my laptop...

At around 1:40AM this morning, (about two hours late), the train pulled into Sandpoint, Idaho and got off the train at the nearly abandoned train station. I ventured outside and followed the directions I vaguely remembered from an email message I had received before my cell phone lost power. And as I crossed over a bridge into downtown, I realized that these are the moments I'll really miss after this trip is over. There's something exciting about walking around a city you've never been and finding a place you've never seen in the middle of the night. It turns out I remembered the directions pretty well, and within a few minutes I was walking up to the Inn at Sand Creek and picking up the keys they had hid for me.


They had generously put me up in a spacious and comfortable suite and after living in a train seat for nearly two days it was a welcome sight. After a great, (though brief), night of sleep I was up before 8AM to get ready for the day. I walked over to Outdoor Experience to talk with Kevin about borrowing a bike for the day.


They're just starting a cruiser rental program, and I was the very first customer, (though they were nice enough to lend me the bike for free). I even gave them some feedback on their rental forms. Here's the official inaugural rental in action:


I rode the shiny new cruise on an awesome bike path for three miles down to Dover, Idaho. That's where I met up with Steven of Sandpoint Seaplane Service.


He's been flying float planes for years, starting in Alaska, and he moved down here a few years back. In Alaska, Steven made deliveries to remote areas in the northern part of the state, but now he's primarily giving visitors to the area a unique view of the surrounding lake and mountains. I climbed aboard, buckled my seat belt, put on my headphones, and we were off- gliding on the water for a few minutes before we took off over Lake Pend Oreille.





It was a pretty spectacular ride. I thought it was beautiful from the ground, but it was breathtaking from the air. I said goodbye to Steven and rode back to downtown Sandpoint where I met up with Jim, an active member of Pend Oreille Pedalers, the local cycling club. Jim uses bike as his primary modes of transport, and though he sometimes has to get around in his car he certainly puts more miles on his cycle than on his automobile. The Pend Oreille Pedalers have been working on a lot of neat projects, including an action-packed bike week full of dozens of cycle-related activities and events. They held an incredible successful "Bike to Work/School" day, where hundreds of kids rode to school. And even more impressive- a lot of them rode to the school the following days as well.

I returned my bike to Outdoor Experience and checked out the A2B, an electric bike they selling. It's made by a company called Ultra Motor, and I'm embarrassed to say that this is the first I've heard of them on this journey.


I took it for a spin around the block and it was a pretty powerful ride. It reminds me of a more angular version of the Pi Electric Bike, though this one looks more like a motorcycle.

And now I've got a long evening ahead of me until my Seattle-bound train arrives at 11:40PM. Actually, I just checked the schedule and it's already thirty minutes late. Hopefully it won't be two hours late like last night...

Crystal Rides the Rails

My Crystal deodorant and I made it through the 30-plus hour journey from Minnesota to Idaho.


Thanks to Crystal for supporting the trip!

Video from the Twin Cities

The Un-Road Trip travels to the twin cities to check out Mineapolis, Saint Paul, and the not-so-small city that is the Mall of America. Also, a pedal-powered pub and an electric Ford Focus!

Day 58 - 60 from Boaz Frankel on Vimeo.

Special thanks to Paul Gude for composing and recording the songs featured in this video.

Monday, June 22, 2009

One week till the end (and the party)

It's hard to believe I'll be arriving in Portland next Sunday and this Un-Road Trip will be all over. It's been a whirlwind of interesting vehicles, amazing people, and beautiful places. I've biked farther, slept less, walked longer, and sweated more than I ever have before, (but thanks to Keen Footwear my feet don't hurt, and thanks to Crystal I still smell good). And hopefully I have some good footage and stories to show for my travels. I'm getting excited about looking over all my footage and seeing what all this raw video turns into. But before I get to that...

If you're reading this blog you are officially invited to the Un-Road Trip wrap party on Sunday, June 28th from 4PM - 6ish. It should be an action-packed few hours complete with:

• a performance by Seattle jugband sensation, The Dexter Street Stompers

• free socks from Keen Footwear

• test rides on some alternative vehicles

It will all be taking place in downtown Portland. If you can make it, send me an email at boaz(at)unroadtrip(dot)com, and I'll send you the location.

Hope to see you there!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

A Weekend in Wisconsin

Friday morning I called the boat rental shop again to see whether they'd be renting Hydro Bikes that day. It had been extremely stormy the night before, and their dock had flooded so they wouldn't be open at all that day. The forecast was looking good for the weekend though, so I wasn't giving up yet.

I went downstairs to the lobby of The Pfister Hotel and met up with Joe Kurth, the general manager of the hotel. He took me around the hotel, pointing out some of their Victorian art collection, (which is the largest one in any hotel), as well as the ballroom, and amazing views from the top floor. He also took me by the artist in residence studio, which is part of the new program they started a few months ago. Reginald Baylor is the first artist in residence. He'll be working out of a studio in the hotel for a year, interacting with hotel guests, and eventually leaving a piece behind when his residency is up. It's the first program of its kind, and it seems like a pretty cool one.


Next I met up with Dana, who does marketing for The Pfister Hotel and some others in the area. The Intercontinental Hotel nearby recently got a cargo tricycle to do some food deliveries and Dana arranged to let me borrow it for the morning.


Then the rain started falling and I decided to return the bike before I found some cover in the Milwaukee Public Market- a fun collection of restaurants, bakeries, coffee shops, and various food merchants. The rain stopped just in time for me to make it to the train station for my shortest Amtrak ride yet. After ten minutes on board I got off at the Milwaukee airport station where I was met by Chris and his converted Alfa Romeo. Chris started up K-Man Auto and Scooter, Wisconsin's first electric vehicle dealership.


Chris has done a number of electric conversions over the years, but this was a special project. He bought the Alfa Romeo from a junkyard for $300 and wanted to see how cheaply he could build an electric car. He sold the engine out of the car for $300, (so the car was free), and has spent $5,000 on the conversion. It runs pretty well now, with a range of around 20 miles. We drove around a bit and picked up some frozen custard from Leon's, a Milwaukee institution, which was amazingly good. We stopped by his shop to see a few projects in progress before we hopped in a ZAP! three-wheeled truck and returned to the airport station.


After another short train ride I started my walk to my home for the weekend- Marc and Bonnie's house. I was put in touch with Marc the day before and he had generously invited me to be their guest for a night or two. Marc has worked on a lot of unique photo/video projects of his own, and it was awesome to hear about the,. Since July of 1999, he's been taking a polaroid photo of himself everyday.


Here's what one box of the pictures looks like. And this is just a small percentage of the collection. Next month, after ten years of taking the photos, he's going to put an end to the project. Now he's sorting out what he's going to do with this documentation of his life. He's assembled an exhibition of a few years of photos and he's been putting together some videos too. Here's one of them:

On Sunday morning I called the boat rental place at 10AM, and got the answer I'd been waiting for. The Hydrobikes were available for renting! So I headed down to Juneau Park Paddleboats at the Veteran's Park Lagoon, put on a life jacket, and hopped on a hydro bike for my 84th mode of transportation.


It moved through the water a lot faster than I expected, and it's very stable. I couldn't imagine taking it into any seriously moving water, though Tim, (of Juneau Paddleboats), told me some people have done the Mississippi upstream in a Hydrobike. Either way, it was a very pleasant ride.

And now I've found some WiFi before I depart on a 30 hour train ride to Idaho. I hope they have power outlets in these train cars, though I'm not holding my breath...

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Twin Cities Live covers my trip to the mall!

Twin Cities Live, a local afternoon talk show, followed me around when I visited the Mall of America this past week and captured all the excitement in this segment:

This is totally different from any other segment I've filmed with local affiliates along the way. It was fun to "host" the piece, and they really edited this together in a fun way. Thanks to producer Sarah and cameraman Nick for coming out!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Video from Ontario

The Un-Road Trip rolls through Ontario on some of the most unique bikes in Canada. See the treadmill bike, penny farthing, CouchBike, and more in action as we travel over 100km.

Day 53 - 55 from Boaz Frankel on Vimeo.

Thanks to Brent Curry of Bicycle Forest for making this leg of the trip possible. And thanks to Evan Nisenson for filming most of this episode.

Extra special thanks to Paul Gude for composing and recording the songs featured in this video.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

A Car-Free Trip Across (the Mall of) America

A few days ago, as my trip to the Twin Cities was approaching, I sent an email the Mall of America. I figured that at such a huge complex, there were bound to be some unique modes of transportation. Within a few hours I received a phone call and Bridget, a PR Coordinator for the mall, was not only supportive of the trip but she was more than happy to set up a tour including some new forms of transit.


So yesterday morning I boarded the light rail in Minneapolis and rode it to the end of the line- The Mall of America. Bridget met me along with a TV crew from Twin Cities Live, and we headed into the largest mall in the USA.

We followed Bridget into one of the back entrances and within a few minutes we were riding an electric cart through the underground tunnels of the Mall of America. It takes a lot of people to make the Mall of American run smoothly, and we met up with Lydell, one of the guys in charge. He showed us around the recycling center, which was a pretty huge operation. A few times a week, people sort through the waste, separating out bottles to recycle and food to send to hog farms. Another impressive fact about the mall- they have no heating system. So how does the mall stay warm during the long winter months... I'm still not exactly sure, but it's quite impressive.

Next we headed down to Nickelodeon Universe, an amusement park in the center of the mall, where I experienced one of the most fun modes of transportation- roller coaster.


I'm in the last occupied car, wearing the green shirt. There some pretty hardcore rides, though I chose one of the calmer roller coasters, (the one that didn't go upside-down).

Next I hopped on an Electric Convenience Vehicle- basically one of those electric carts that you see people using in supermarkets.


I threw my backpack in the basket in front and rode (very slowly) to Underwater Adventures- the aquarium underneath the mall. We checked out the sharks, rays, and sawfish from the moving walkway that leads through an underwater tunnel. Then I said goodbye to the Twin Cities Live folks and Bridget and I explored the mall on my own for a bit. Not only is there a theme park and aquarium inside the mall- there's also a special retail-focused high school and a wedding chapel. And that's in addition to the 500 plus stores. I stopped by the new Columbia Sportswear store, (they're outfitting me with clothes for the trip), and said hi to Laura, one of the managers.


Then I got back on the light rail and headed back into downtown Minneapolis. I met up with Lisa, who works with Twin Cities Streets for People, a local bike/pedestrian advocacy group. They're a new organization, but are already coming up with some cool projects. The city already has a lot of bike lanes and I noticed a lot of bicycle commuters on the streets, so they must be doing a lot of stuff right.


Next I met up with Chris and his wife, Judy. Chris converted his Ford Focus into an electric vehicle about a year ago and he took me for a spin. It felt strange getting into a car, but as soon as he started up the nearly-silent car I knew I didn't have to worry. Chris didn't have any experience working with cars, but he found a lot of helpful information online, and his background in electrical engineering didn't hurt either. It's got a range of about 35 miles, which is more than enough to get him to work and back home along with a few errands on the way.

Chris and Judy dropped me off in downtown where I met up with the PedalPub. It's a fifteen person bike built around a bar, so you can enjoy various beverages as you pedal through Minneapolis. People can reserve the PedalPub for two hour rides, bring their own keg, and celebrate in style. I didn't have the cash to reserve a PedalPub on my own, but there happened to be another reservation that night and they said they didn't mind if I joined up. So I ended up pedaling along with Kelly and her friends on the occasion of her 21st birthday.


Happy birthday Kelly!


It felt a little strange crashing someone's portable birthday party, but everyone was super friendly and they seemed glad to have another pedaler along. I rode along and filmed for about an hour before I headed off around 9PM. I wanted to be able to walk back to my hotel in the light.


Early this morning I got on a train bound for Milwaukee and pulled into town around 3PM (about an hour late). I scoped out the city, looking for interesting modes of transportation. I had heard rumors of hydrobikes available for rent in one of the parks. Sure enough, I found them at the Veteran's Park Pond. Though they were floating in the middle of the pond- unused. Although it was warm and sunny out, lightening had been in the forecast, and they don't rent them out if there's a threat of stormy weather. I tried to negotiate with the woman at the rental station, but she wasn't changing her mind. She told me to call tomorrow morning to check in. I'm keeping my fingers crossed, because that could very well be my 82nd mode of transportation.

Now I'm sitting in my room at The Pfister Hotel, who generously invited me to stay for the night. I think this may be the most beautiful hotel I've stayed in so far. The lobby looks more like a museum or cathedral, complete with an amazing fresco on the ceiling. And when I got back to my room, they had left these in my room.


Pretty fancy! Now, I've got some chocolate to eat. But I'll keep you posted on those hydrobikes.

Just when I thought I was unique...

Uh oh. It looks like this guy had a TV show where he tried out a bunch of modes of transportation too. The only difference- he was a dog.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Un-Odorant Goes Biking

I put my new sponsor, Crystal deodorant, to the test in Ontario. One application and 100km of bicycling- see what happens...

Biking with the Un-Odorant from Boaz Frankel on Vimeo.

The Un-Party!

No, it's a real party, but it's an Un-Road Trip Party! It's hard to believe I'll be making my way back to Oregon in less than two weeks. So get ready to celebrate alternative vehicles and sustainable transportation!

We'll be celebrating in downtown Portland on Sunday, June 28th from 4-7PM. It should be a fun afternoon/evening full of snacks, cool vehicles, and a performance by jugband sensation, The Dexter Street Stompers (I'm their kazooist).

I'm not posting the address here, but if you've been following the trip then you're invited! Send me an email at boaz(at)unroadtrip(dot)com, and I'll send you the details.

See you there!

Un-Road Tripping Home... Somehow

I thought I had my return route all sorted out. From Minneapolis, I'd backtrack to Chicago via Milwaukee and get on the Amtrak's California Zephyr to head west via Salt Lake City. I could even stop by Lake Tahoe for a day. Then I'd come up through Southern Oregon, past Portland up to Seattle. After a few days in Seattle, I'd get back down to Portland. But now many of the modes of transportation I'd been planning in those cities are falling through...

So I started coming up with a back-up plan where I'd still have to backtrack to Milwaukee, (as I've already scheduled some activities there), and then I'd head back in this direction through Montana, Idaho, and into Seattle. There seem to be some cool modes of transport around Sandpoint, ID and then I could also get to Seattle a little earlier and spend some more time boating/exploring the Puget Sound area. Though this last minute planning is always a little haphazard, and it's always tough to predict what will actually work out.

At this point, I'm pursuing both options and looking for any feedback/ideas/thoughts/transportation. So if you have any brainstorms- send them my way.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Un-Road Trip (and Un-Odorant) passes through Chicago

It would take 473,362,674 sticks of Crystal deodorant to fill the Sears Tower! That's enough deodorant to keep the entire population of Illinois smelling fresh for over seventy lifetimes!

Actually, I just made up both those facts but don't they sound impressive?


Thanks to Crystal for supporting the trip!

Video from Vermont

The Un-Road Trip whizzes through Vermont on Geometric Bike, Snow Bike, paddleboard, and ferry. See tensions escalate as the threat of missing a train become very real...

Day 51 - 52 from Boaz Frankel on Vimeo.

Monday, June 15, 2009

My Un-Odorant Crosses the Border

My Crystal and I crossed the Canadian-US border this morning.


Thanks to Crystal for sending it out and supporting the trip!

Biking every which way through Ontario: Part Two

After checking out pretty much every bike available at Brent Curry's Bicycle Forest, we rode over to Mohrgan's house where we met up with Ted, and all of us boarded another of Brent's creation- the Family Truckster.


It's a four person recumbent bicycle, where the two cyclists in the rear sit back-to-back with the cyclists in front. I sat in one of the back seats, which was a little disorienting as you never knew what was coming next. One second we'd be riding by a field and the next second we'd be crossing a busy intersection. It was a good thing I trusted the guys who were steering the bike We also got a visit from a local police officer, who was interested in the Family Truckster's construction.


We rode the Truckster into St. Jacobs just as the rain started coming down. We took shelter inside some of the shops as it started pouring and had a long lunch hoping to avoid the rain before we continued our journey. Ted, Brent, and Mohrgan were heading back on the Truckster while Evan and I were meeting up with Glen who'd be taking us to Phillipsburg on his horse-pulled carriage. After an hour, the rain turned to a drizzle, and I picked up a bright yellow poncho at the hardware store on our way to the stables.


Evan and I climbed aboard and with Prince (the horse) leading the way we started the 30 km journey. We passed a number of other carriages on the way, as this part of Ontario has a large Mennonite population.


After three hours we arrived at Neil and Laurel's house. The poncho did a good job at keeping me dry, but I was pretty chilled after the ride. Laurel made us some tea and lent me a sweatshirt and we took a short tour around the property, checking out their varied livestock along the way. Brent, Natalie, and Mohrgan arrived shortly thereafter and we all sat down for a great dinner and an impressive dessert made by Laurel's mom.


The next morning we woke up early to start our adventure on CouchBike. The sun was shining as Brent and I got comfortable on the pleather furniture and started pedaling.


Although it may not be the most efficient cycle out there it was really pleasant to ride, especially with the tailwind propelling us slightly. Brent's taken the couchbike on a 500 km journey, so this was nothing. After about two hours we pulled up to Meg's house. She's a friend of Brent's, and she allowed her house to be used for a swap point. She also left out a cooler of snacks!


After refueling, we got a visit from a local paper and from the CBC who interviewed me for the 6 o'clock news.


Apparently, gas prices had just passed $1 per liter, so fuel-free transportation was big news. Though the morning had already been pretty exciting, the largest biking segment was still ahead of us. I hopped on a recumbent with Brent for the 70 km to London, Ontario. Evan hopped in a car this time, as he had to make his flight back to New York, and Mohrgan joined us on another bike.



Brent's a powerful pedaler so I think he was probably doing a lot of the work, but the ride was surprisingly easy. We passed many farms and cows and eventually in three hours we were already riding through the London suburbs. I was sad to say goodbye to Brent and Mohrgan after so many fun biking adventures together, but the Un-Road Trip must go on.

I spent two nights with the Levin family, (relatives of friends from Portland), before getting on another train bound for Toronto. I was originally supposed to re-enter the US through Detroit, but bicycles aren't allowed through the tunnel or over the bridge border crossing, and the river was closed to all crossings due to some air races. Hotel Novotel in Toronto generously put me up for the night, and after a great night's sleep I was boarding another train.

Now I'm in Depew, which is outside Buffalo, NY for a ten hour layover. A little before midnight tonight I'll be boarding a train to Chicago, and after a few hours in Chicago tomorrow I'll be boarding another train to Minneapolis/St. Paul. I'm really looking forward to visiting the twin cities. I'll be checking out some converted electric cars and even visiting the Mall of America. The mall is pumped about the Un-Road Trip and it sounds like there are more modes of transportation in there than you can imagine. Although with the very limited space in my backpack, I don't think I can really do any shopping...