What can we say about Adventure Cycling that we haven’t said already? Before we started this trip, we didn’t even know about the small organization located in Missoula, Montana. Hell, we didn’t even know about bicycle touring! Our worries and fears about what to do were eliminated though, once we were showed the Adventure Cycling Association’s website.
All we knew about the organization was that they had great maps, and their website was full of helpful information about bike touring. However, when we arrived at the Adventure Cycling headquarters in Missoula, they welcomed us in with smiles, cookies, and we learned that the company was so much more than just a touring encyclopedia! For most touring cyclists on the TransAmerica trail, Adventure Cycling is something of a Mecca.
We ended up staying with an employee of the organization, Julie Huck, while we were visiting the town. She talked to us about the organization, offered us a great place to stay, and even let us cook her some homemade pizza while we used her oven and utensils!
The kindness and hospitality didn’t end there. Once we got to the building, we got a tour, met the folks involved with their operations, and even met one of the original founders of the company, art director Greg Siple. He showed us some of their old bikes that they have on display throughout the building, discussed with us what it was like to tour the country back in the “old days,” without things like cell phones, GPS devices, padded bike shorts, and the only way they could communicate with people was through telegrams. Feel free to Google what a telegram is, if you’re under 25.
As long distance bike touring has progressed over the years, the Adventure Cycling Assocation has seen more and more people come through their offices to get some ice cream, get their picture taken, and even get their bikes weighed to find out just how much weight you’re lugging on tour! We weighed our bikes, and both Michelle and I came in around 125 pounds (both on the heavier end of the spectrum). Michelle’s weight was 119 pounds which you’ll see in the video, but you have to add in the camera and tripod and we actually weighed in the same!
Our third member, Sarah, came in with a 74 pound trailer, and a 78 pound bike, which ended up being a hefty 152 pounds, only two pounds shy of the women’s record!
After weighing our bikes and learning so much about the organization, we realized that we should do a video about our time there. We pulled Greg aside and interviewed him, and talked to some of the other employees about what it’s like to work for such an interesting organization. One of the best pieces of advice we got from Greg about touring was that it’s not complicated to tour, and that anyone can do it. He said that no matter what, everyone has to start somewhere. You don’t have to go on a long tour, and you don’t have to have a great bike; you can just take a trip to the local ice cream shop or grocery store and work your way up from there.
We truly had a great time seeing all of the old photos they had, getting our portraits taken by Greg, and we actually were able to convince them to hire us on to produce some videos, which you will be able to see as we get them produced.
As far as Missoula goes, the city is great. There are big bike lanes, great local businesses and bars with great food. There is $1 sushi, a great ice cream joint, and plenty of warmshowers.org hosts in the town to take you in. So if you end up staying 5 days like we did, you will definitely be able to enjoy yourself and get a good meal.
Just make sure you stop by and see the great people at the Adventure Cycling Association! They love having cyclists stop by!