Ready to Ride into Retirement

As John’s retirement approaches, and with our first long trip planned for early January, we have been slowly outfitting Vanda with items that will keep us comfortable and keep us prepared for whatever comes up. Yes, we have splurged a bit here and there…

** Let me acknowledge that we are so fortunate to be able to purchase what we like, in pursuit of what will be our retirement adventure. We have worked hard to prepare for our retirement, and we are deeply grateful for the abundance that blesses our lives. **

So. We have purchased gravel bikes for what we anticipate to be endless riding on beaches, dirt paths, and the numerous rail trails that abound in our country. Back in the day, we were mountain bikers, reveling in the opportunity to get deep into the backcountry, hopping over rocks and tree roots, and forging streams. My continued low-back issues brought that to an end, at least for me, but John being the good man that he is, joined me in hanging up our mountain bikes to transition to road bikes. We’ve been on the road bikes for over 20 years now; road riding is civilized and generally predictable, whereas mountain biking is rough, rowdy, muddy and wet, leads to falls (numerous in my case), and requires a hardy back. It will be interesting to learn to ride these new gravel bikes, which can and will be ridden on paved trails, but they will also take us off road onto gravel, dirt, and sand. The fat tires should allow for a comfortable ride, and the head shock will hopefully take the brunt of any jolts from the tree roots and rocks that we will encounter off-trail. We opted to stay with these factory pedals and not change out to the clipless pedals we have on our road bikes; this way we won’t have to take along our riding shoes, but can wear our sneaks. There is only room in Vanda for a finite number of accoutrements!

Here’s what the rack/bike system will look like once it is installed. For those of you who know me, you will see right away that I have neither the height or the strength to lift a bike on or off this rack! Oh well! We opted for this rack — as opposed to having a trailer hitch installed to carry a rack off the rear bumper — to minimize the amount of gear sticking out from the back. A bumper rack can get smashed into by another car (or a tree!), whereas it is unlikely that a car will back up into the bikes on this higher rack. It swings out to the right, for ease in accessing the garage space in the van. (This photo is from the Thule website; I just may send them one of John’s photos after our rack is installed as this photo is not of the high quality you have come to expect when I share photos, eh?! By the way, the first photo of the bikes leaning against Vanda is my iPhone photo…)

We hope to ride long and often while we are traveling, as well as zip around any campgrounds at which we may be staying. Gotta stay active in retirement…



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