Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays' take on things and experiences

Gonna Ride

with 4 comments

What else would I do? Eight months ago, at the end of the 2018 Tour of Minnesota week of biking and camping, I contemplated the possibility that it might have been my last long bike tour. I just don’t get out on the bike like I once did in years gone by.

The Tour of Minnesota is limited to 200 riders and the registration opens February 1st. It fills up fast, so I needed to make a decision yesterday about what I will be doing in June this year. Will I ride it again?

The significant factor inspiring my desire to do it another year was seeing the names of friends and acquaintances who had already registered. I jumped in at number 141, and many of the people before me were the key reasons I have returned for around 20 tours since I first took the bike camping plunge back in 1994.

It’s the dozen people who have become precious friends, and the community of over a hundred treasured like-minded adventurers whom also return, year after year, to ride long miles and sleep on the hard ground, through good and bad Minnesota weather, that draw me back.

Another factor in my decision was the thought that I have no other expedition adventures in mind if I don’t choose to do the tour this year. How would I cope with not having an adventure trip to look forward to?

With Sue and Paul Schurke in a park after a day of biking

This year we will pedal from Grand Rapids, MN up to Ely and back. I’ve got a real soft spot for Ely, MN. That is where Cyndie and I learned winter survival skills from Will Steger at his homestead back when we were in high school. Ely is also where we took our children for a 4-day lodge-to-lodge dogsled expedition with Paul Schurke.

Paul was a member of the Steger expedition to the North Pole and he is also an alumnus of the 2008 Minnesota bike tour, back when Jim Klobuchar was the illustrious Conductor of the ride, so I’ve pedaled miles on the road chatting with him.

How could I not sign up for this year’s Tour?

I’m definitely planning to ride the Tour of Minnesota again, and I’m looking forward to communing with friends, old and new, who share an affinity for this kind of biking and camping fun in June.



Written by johnwhays

February 2, 2019 at 11:27 am

4 Responses

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  1. The Tour wouldn’t be the same without. Glad you are coming. Bring. your guitar. I will bring my drums.

    Talk to you soon. Bob

    Bob Lincoln C: 952-215-5056 Tour of Minnesota




    February 2, 2019 at 2:52 pm

    • You are kind to say this, Bob. I have been playing my guitar about as much as I have been riding bike lately, but interestingly, I pulled out the old travel guitar last night, thinking about the trip, and plotting to include it again this year. Thanks!


      February 2, 2019 at 6:08 pm

  2. Good to see you took the plunge; now just make certain to allow plenty of time to get into biking shape. It is harder as we get older, you know!


    February 2, 2019 at 2:29 pm

    • Excellent point. This is what has gotten harder for me in the years since we moved to the ranch. I struggle to get enough hours and miles on the bike in the months prior to the start. Essentially, I use the ride as my training period. Luckily, my fitness is good enough that I can get away with that. This year, the daily mileages are going to be less taxing than last year, so I have that going for me, too.


      February 2, 2019 at 6:06 pm

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