July 2014. My husband and I were on a bike touring high. We felt in peak shape, ready for adventure, and noting areas for improvement. Five short days after our awesome Deception Pass trip, our beloved bikes were stolen. I headed downstairs to the secure condominium garage where we had 5 bikes locked in various ways to each other and a rack. The first thing I noticed was that John’s brand new custom Gunnar was gone, and I ran upstairs to tell him. I didn’t even notice at first that my Salsa frame was still locked to the rack with no wheels. All that remained were the Salsa frame and the Surly single speed mountain bike. Both new touring bikes were gone (or unusable), and both of our former touring bikes were also gone!
We followed all the procedures to report to theft to the police and our insurance company. It all went about as smoothly as it could because we had receipts for all the bikes, and we knew the exact make and model of all the attached accessories. Even though it went well, it still takes a while to process, as well as special order the new items. My Salsa Vaya was stock, which would have been easier to replace, but special ordering the missing parts took a few weeks. The Gunnar obviously was going to take a month to build, even though our bike shop was nice enough to persuade Gunnar to put John’s order at the front of the queue.
The thieves took our stuff, but it felt like our summer was stolen from us too. We were so excited and had big plans. We have a long mental list of campgrounds and routes we are itching to try out. We have a wish list of gear to use on long and short trips. Knowing we would eventually have replacement bikes, it was a battle to stay positive, stay in shape, and be patient until the next tour. It wasn’t easy.
September 13, 2004, over 2 full months later, we were ready to get back on the road. Before this excursion, I rode my bike to work a few times, and John had 2 after-work rides. We had talked about going to Belfair State Park, the location of our first bike camping adventure, because it was a fairly easy route with many towns and facilities on most of the route. Since we are in the process of moving (kicked into high gear after the theft), we decided it was just not going to happen this weekend. A day trip to the brewery was much more reasonable goal.
Plans to bike to Red Hook evolved into plans to American Brewing for the exact reasons mentioned in this blog post from June. Red Hook involves the Burke-Gilman, which is an amazing regional trail, but not a good place for a grumpy bike touring couple to be on a beautiful Saturday afternoon while University of Washington is in session. The ride to Edmonds did not disappoint.
It wasn’t perfect. My knee was sore for some unknown reason. I felt really frustrated that I was not in as good of shape for riding as I remembered being in July. But it was just what we needed to get back out there. After a few schooners, and a refill of that growlette we got last time, we headed back to Seattle. The 25-mile ride took a few hours in total, including the pit stop, and it was a great way to spend a warm sunny afternoon. And most of all, we felt like we were back to our normal selves. Maybe Belfair will be in the cards next weekend.
Speaking of security……I am shocked how many breweries we have visited that do not have any bike parking. To me, this is as easy as a metal bar, but maybe it is more complicated than I think. I like to take photos like these not just to call out places that need bike parking, but also to document how the bikes were parked in case the unthinkable were to happen when we are inside. American at least had a chain link fence. We are getting experienced at locking up to whatever we can find.
I apologize for not filling this blog with countless bike adventures like I originally planned, but they will come. We are even more determined to figure out how to bike tour year round, and I suspect with that will come some interesting stories. I cannot wait to tell you about it!