Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Biking Boy Scouts

Last week I traded some email with Gail Petranek of Poulsbo Washington. Gail's husband Mark is the Assistant Scoutmaster of the Poulsbo Boy Scout troop and they were planning a bike camping trip to the Iron Horse Trail. Gail asked if I could come out and chat with the scouts about bike safety, maintenance and repair and bike adventures in general. Naturally I said yes.

Monday afternoon my friend Matt Newlin and I rode the few blocks from the Seattle Bikestation to the downtown ferry terminal. We took the ferry over to Bainbridge Island and then rode up the island, across the Agate Pass bridge and into Poulsbo. The early evening sun was shining warmly and we stopped for a great supper of fish and chips on the patio of J J's Fish House. After supper we rode over to the Liberty Bay Presbyterian Church and met up with the scouts.

They were a good batch of kids. They at least pretended to pay attention when I talked about safety and a I got to teach a couple of them the basics of things like brake adjustments, cable tension, and derailleur limit screws.

I also managed to get one of my main messages across to them, that any distance is biking distance. I told them about my friends who right now are racing the GDR, how they are covering more than 100 miles per day for days at a time. I also mentioned that Matt and I were making today a bit of an adventure and that we'd be camping on Bainbridge island.

Matt and I were back on Bainbridge well before sunset, made tea with the Kelley Kettle and rolled out the bivy sacks at the luxurious "primitive" camp site in Faye Bainbridge State Park.

The birds of Bainbridge Island don't come equipped with snooze alarms and they wake at dawn so Matt and I followed suit. After brewing up some coffee and packing up camp, we followed the small, hilly island roads south to Winslow. It would probably have been quicker to take Hwy 305 straight down the island but on these roads less travelled by we saw an otter strolling across the road and several deer. I was back at the Bikestation at the usual time Tuesday morning.


Anonymous said...

Ah the Boy Scouts. When I try and think of what got me into cycling I am often puzzled but I remember seeing the obligatory films (Breaking Away and American Flyers) and working on my cycling merit badge and I figure something in there clicked into place and hard. I can still remember the shock on my dads face when I showed up at home after he dropped us off 40 miles out - He thought we would not make it back for days!

nollij said...

I was a horrible boy scout but I always had fun: I was far more interested in the outings and camping trips than getting my merrit badges. I never did a bicycle camping trip w/ the scouts though... lucky kids!

brad said...

Scouting introduced me to my very first long distance rides. I lived in the very flat bottom of a large valley and I can still remember the scout trip where I hit my first major hill out on Summerville Road north of La Grande OR. I thought I was going to die! I was the last guy up the hill and tears streamed down my face. We kept riding as a troop though and I got stronger and faster, eventually beating the troop on a 50 mile ride by almost an hour. Redemption. Something clicked that summer and I've never been without a bike since. Let's hear it for rearing those kids right.

katenunes said...

Hey, we walked right by your class and didn't realize you were presenting info on touring. We rode across the country last summer (Jacksonville Florida to Poulsbo) and our daughter would have loved to tell the boys all about long distance cycling. If you want to check out our journal it's on

Kate, Ron and Elizabeth Nunes