Saturday, February 16, 2019

10 years of living car-free!

Hi, as you know this site has not been very active over the years. I am curious to know if you all are still following or have your eyes and hearts on the carfree life style. Send me a note if you are out there!

I am working on multiple projects to promote carfree living with the primary focus being to promote a healthier world-people, environment and community.

Over the last two years I have traveled by bicycle to Mexico, Canada, and on the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route which spans from Banff Alberta south to Mexico. I have had some extraordinary adventures.

Feel free to connect with me on Facebook to learn more!

Here is a tale from the road:

Tip : How to find a place to sleep while traveling on the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route. What “they” don’t tell you in the Guide books.
(Non racing)

Jack, Anna, Bahne, and myself had come off a long climb from Pinedale, WY heading north and were a day away from Grand Teton National Park. At the bottom of the mountain we stopped at a lodge for the usual GDMBR fare: burgers, fries, beer. I noticed a couple and a older woman, the mother in law staring at our disheveled group, but being a vagabond and wanderer I was used to the stares, as we were a live story.

After we ate I walked outside to gather water bottles for refills. The couple and old woman followed me out.

They smiled. “Where are you traveling from?” The man asked with kind eyes.

“New Mexico.” I said and explained the route to them, that we were self contained, the four of us met on the road, and were traveling together for a few days.

“Where do you sleep” the woman asked as though somehow searching for her past. 
“Any place.” I say simply. “On the side of the road, in a shelter, bathroom, campground, back of a restaurant, lawns, people invite us into their home, but really, when the sun starts to set any place will do.” 
Their eyes widened , they looked at each other and nodded in complete understanding. 
“Where will you sleep tonight?” The woman asked.
“Dunno?” I said smiling. “There is a campground a few miles up the road, or we may just keep moving till we find something and head into the woods, something will present itself, it always does.”
The couple thanked me for telling them about our travels.

I walked back in the restaurant and told my companions what happened. Seconds later the man came back in, and said, “My wife says you all can stay in our cabin tonight.”

We graciously agreed, and half hour later we were at the cabin. Jerry and  Anna, and Anna’s mother hosted us for the night. Unconditional. 

Full-blooded Arapaho, Jerry later that night confided in me -he longed for the “old ways” of his people. 

He said, “The way you are traveling on your bicycles, with your gear, free on the land, was the way my ancestors traveled on horseback or foot. I am envious.” He gave me a serious look, “You will always be welcomed here.”

That night I slept deeply. Embraced by kindness, present and past. That’s the Wild West, that is the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route. 

The next morning we rose to coffee, off the balcony, good food, took pictures of our new friends and us, then we rode.

Side note: While on the Divide three Native Tribes showed me incredible hospitality- Pueblo, Apache, and Arapaho. I came to the West to see how the past and present meshed with smells of sage and pine.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Surly Troll review-getting lost in Montana and Canada

Surly Troll Review-Getting Lost in Montana and Canada                        
South Fork Road between Polebridge, MT
and Eureka, MT

I recently completed a 22 day, 1250+ mile, self contained bike packing tour from Missoula, MT up into Canada much of which was on the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route. Primarily the roads were gravel, forest service roads, minimal maintenance,  single track, and pavement. This is my Troll review from that trip.

When buying a bike I look for these things: Durability, minimal maintenance, utilitarian options, and looks. The Troll met all requirements-and then some.
For specs go to Surly website:

Overall: the Troll handled well over the myriad of terrain it was put on.

Safe ride: whether climbing on loose gravel for 15 miles or bone jarring descents, I felt completely safe with the Troll’s abilities. One reason was Jones Bars: They gave me wonderful control on the down hills, and a great feel on the climbs the wide bars helped open my chest so plenty of oxygen could get into my lungs. They took me awhile to get use but once comfortable I adapted-I won’t go back.
mud somewhere on the GDMBR in Canada next to Weary Creek
The Micro Shifters: Simple minimal maintenance. Options to make them friction so no adjustments needed-I liked that a lot!

Gearing: The 27 gears gave me enough options for any terrain, there were some hike/bike sections on the GDMBR and some of the other trails I rolled over, but for the most part I was able to stay on the Troll.

Seat-WTB: I really like standard seat that comes with the Troll, plenty of cushion and most riders I came across, like myself, wore regular clothes and no padded bike shorts.  

Steel Frame: Heavy-yes. But as they say, “Steel is real.” Tough and absorbs road shock well. Tough tough tough!

Brakes: I love the disc breaks. With all the downhill sections I would have worn out pads, but the disc brakes perform excellent. I did have to replace the rear caliper but that was only because I did not adjust them properly in the first place. Your local mechanic should teach you how to adjust them as needed. 
Bowman Lake, Glacier, NP

Wheels and tires: I used my own custom wheels but my tires were the Surly Extraterrestrial 2.5s. They proved to be a great choice for the rough roads- I just lowered the tire pressure and rolled comfortably. When on pavement for long stretches I would pump up the tires and glide smoothly. I was able to ride with other cyclists who were on slicks. The rear tread wore down quickly-2000 miles, but that was expected considering the differences in terrain. Openly: I beat the crap out of tires and had ZERO flats-will use them again.

 I love my Troll and feel like I could take it anywhere: pavement, single track, gravel, it can adapt to most terrain. Truly it is a bicycle you can take to the ends of the Earth and –get lost!

The only thing I don’t like, yes there is always that, is the horizontal dropouts for the rear wheels. Surly says they did it this way for other options-single speed, Rolf Hubs, and other cool things I most likely wont use. I prefer vertical dropouts. But then again-options.
road going to the Sun in Glacier, NP
Other considerations and thoughts: I used a Surly Rack. I like the entire eyelet options for water bottle cages and anything cages. The fact there is the option to ditch the disc brakes and go with old school brakes is appealing especially if traveling in a 3rd world country. 26in wheels VS 29ers-well that is just personal preference, although again in a 3rd world country 26in wheels are said to be easier to obtain.  If you want one bike that can do everything well that is extremely durable, cost effective, and will have little, if any, maintenance issues the stock Troll is an excellent option.  I met many people on the road with Trolls who were happy with their choice. Surly has other excellent choices as well for your cycling needs but the Troll met mine.

One last thing, I did not realize how much this bike meant to me at the end of the trip, until I got off the train and Amtrak told me they could not find my bike. Now I am a simple man, I don’t do the whole material possession thing, but when I was told that my heart sunk as though I just lost my best friend-we had just spent the last 22 days, 1250+ miles exploring multiple national parks and forest over terrain that would scare a Grizzly, but we did it and survived. Over the next few days I came to realize how connected I became to the Troll on the trip. This confidence it gave me on the tour was amazing, sure it
back home safe and sound
was partly me, but not worrying about the durability of my bike, well, that was priceless for a bikepacker like myself. I got it back three days later, but without explanation. I like to think it wanted to have its own adventure.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Still Carfree

I'm still loving my lifestyle. For me there is more freedom and beauty in the world living carfree.

Currently I'm exploring different career options and travel options as well.

You wanna connect with me on Facebook :



Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Book Review-Bicycling Around The World

Book Review-Bicycling Around The World

We all want to, but most of us will not make the time or have the fortitude to take extended bicycling treks for weeks, months, or, as in the case of Grace Johnson and her photographer husband Paul Jeurissen, years at a time.

Bicycling around the world is an excellent, an FREE, collection of pictures from the roads in China, India, North and South America, and many more places.

Each picture will make you start fantasizing about the possibility of your next adventure. Some will make you laugh while others will make you feel alone and small because of the remote locations photographed.

Paul has a eye for the depth of his shots in mountain areas few photographers are able to find the right scale. In his images, the lone cyclist making their way through the high passes of India is inspiring.

The only thing I think they might have done is add some maps of where they were. Otherwise this is a excellent photo book!

In speaking with Grace and Paul, the future looks grand!

Why did you all make it free? 

Why not?

In the future we might offer a paper version of the book via Blurb but the cost will be high since the book has more than 200 pages.  The only way to keep the printing costs down would be to order a large print run of the book – and that would cost us thousands of dollars up front plus a lot of time spent marketing / promoting the book to ensure that all of the copies are sold. 

As for selling it as an eBook – of course we could earn some money that way yet it would also cost us more time to market and promote it than a free eBook.

So we decided to just offer the eBook for free so that it would be easier to reach people who enjoy looking at bicycle touring and culture photos.

I saw a photo essay once with you all in it in the Adventure Cyclist magazine, do you know what month and year that was by chance?

Do you have any future cycling plans?

Right now we are still on our trip.  As for future plans – we would love to go back cycling in South America, especially Argentina.  Argentina has the Andes Mountains, a lot of opportunities to wild camp, inexpensive good wine (cheaper than bottled water) and great back roads.

Do you use a bicycle for transportation at home as well as on trips abroad?


I moved from the U.S.A. to the Netherlands in 1986 and still haven’t changed my driver’s license over to a Dutch one. Holland is densely populated and thus has an excellent public transport system plus they are world leaders when it comes to bicycle infrastructure.  I don’t miss driving a car at all. It’s so much fun cycling on segregated bike paths to the stores, town and work.  Even when you are cycling on roads it feels safe since Dutch drivers are used to watching out for bicyclists.

What’s also different from the states is that Dutch people don’t think it’s strange when I mention that I don’t have a driver’s license.  When I used to cycle to work in Washington State even the neighbourhood kids asked me, “why are you cycling? Don’t you have a car?”

What advice would you give people who want to travel by bike as you did?

Right now I’m busy helping a friend of mine (Friedel Grant of update her free eBook Bike Touring Basis which is full of information on how to get started. It will probably go online in February 2015.

‘Bicycling Around The World’ celebrates bike travel and culture around the globe.
In 2010, we (photographer Paul Jeurissen and Grace Johnson) set off on a multi-year bicycle tour covering four continents. Wherever we go, we search out bike culture, dramatic landscapes and remote places. So come pedal with us through the icy Himalayas, the barren Pamir highway, tropical East Africa and the chaos of Dhaka in search of unique cycling images.
We also show you glimpses of bicycle culture via painted rickshaws, overloaded cargo bikes and even two wheelers piled high with cotton candy.
By the end of this book, we hope you’ll agree that the world is best viewed from a bike saddle.
High and low res photos for reviews can be found here

I am ready to hop on my bike and join them!!!! BP

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Bicycling in winter

 "Your not riding your bike in this are you? How do you do it?" Someone will asking when the weather turned cold and snowy.

I smile and tell them, "I am riding in this, and I will be riding all winter and when I can't ride, I will walk." I smile.

And they roll their eyes, and say cliches like, "Well, your a better person than me. I could never do that"

But truth be told- they can.

Winter cycling to me is the most fun. The extreme, often unpredictable weather, adverse road conditions, and lack of day light, make it an adventure.

I think having a positive attitude is a big part of it as well.

Here are some things I do to make my rides and  commutes safe and fun.

BE Prepared:
I am always prepared for changing weather. I carry extra clothing-shirt, gloves, neck gaiter, socks, hat, helmet cover, pants, and whatever else I may need.
Temperature drops of 30+ degrees are common in winter.

Bike prep:
My bike is well prepared for winter. I have fenders, rear rack, and multiple lights.

Actually, three lights in the front an three in the rear. May seem excessive, but it is not, being visible is very important with the low light conditions of winter. Reflectors and reflective clothing are OK, but nothing catches the eye of a driver like a blinking light. And if you can, don't go cheap on a light- it can save your life!

Lubrication-I use a generous amount of oil on my chain, gears, and derailleurs. The salts and sand are very harsh on the bike.

Obeying the laws:
One should ALWAYS obey the laws of the road. If you have a driver's license you know you know the laws.

Winter is a time for me to be hyper aware of my surroundings. I know the road conditions, what is in front, behind, and on my sides 100% of the time. I am also aware of options to get off the street-especially in icy conditions.

One great strategy to have, all year round, is to assume you are invisible. Too many times people are distracted, and if they are un-use to seeing cyclist, they may not be looking for you and may not see you!

Biking skills in winter: 'What if you slip on ice or snow?" I think one of the best ways for a cyclist to prepare for the adverse road conditions is by learning how to bike on dirt and gravel trails with multiple terrains. Like mountain biking, winter road cycling has its share of obstacles: sticks, leaves, walnuts, sand, ices, snow drifts, branches, slush, mud, just to name a few. Mountain biking prepares you in that you learn how to go over and through obstacles like these. Tires are not as important as you might think, it is more about the pressure in the tire so experimenting with different tire pressures can help insure a safer ride. Studded snow tires are an option, but I have never felt the need for them....yet. Peter White offers an excellent article about studded bicycle tires at Peter White Cycles

Why ride in winter? Why not ride in winter?!
Layering, layering, layering! That is the key, there is no magic one piece of clothing, and in most cases less is more. For instance in winter I usually wear, in temps of 20f to 35f, skull cap, helmet rain cover, neck gaiter, fleece gloves, two light weight wick able long sleeve shirts, a light weight wind breaker with a back vent, cycling shorts, wind pants, or micro fleece pants, wool socks, hiking boots ( I use platform pedals).

I went to platform pedals four years ago and have not looked back! They are easier to use and less
hassle than their clip-less cousins. If you race, you should stick with clip-less. For commuters, in winter, going platform is a better option as use are not clipped in and you can where your winter boots. Better to be able to get your feet down if you hit some black ice.
Our friends at Rivendell Bicycle Works wrote a great article on the benefits of use platform pedals called "the Shoes Ruse". I use platform pedals on all my bikes and all year round, including my long distant tours of hundreds and thousands of miles, much on gravel roads.

In mild dry cold weather I now prefer wearing wool is possible: trousers, underwear, socks, sweat, shirt, hat, gloves, neck gaiter, with a good tough boot. When wet, the one piece of high tech clothing is my Transit Jacket from Showers Pass it is hard to beat for functionality, made by cyclists, for cyclists. A little pricey at $160US, but considering the benefits, well worth it. Also great for Walking, hiking, snow shoeing, cross country skiing, running, anything outside in winter. The Adventure Cycling Association has some great gear options for you

I regulate my temperature buy the zipper on my jacket, and on my level of exertion. All this takes practice and what works for one person, may be different for another, so be patient. The only rule is: to go ride and experience it for yourself!

I have biked in blizzards, sleet, 31f degree rain, snow storms, when temps were well below zero, and all I have to say is: it is FUN...AS LONG AS YOU ARE PREPARED!

So give winter cycling for transportation a try! Here are some resources that may help.

Happy Cycling  and stay warm,

(All pictures were found online if you are the taker, let me know.)

Monday, December 8, 2014

Walk or Bicycle

I remember back in June of 2009 when I made the decision to be CAR FREE. It was a good move.
I now have a girlfriend who has three kids and she drives a huge SUV, and needs a car, well at least she has a life style that demands it. So now there is a car in my life...but I still manage not to own one and when I am not with them I am car free.

I love living without a car. Transportation is much simpler.
Cross Country Ski

I am healthier (mentally and physically), more in touch with my community, polluting less, and saving money.

Everyday I wake up is a good day and walk out my front door ask "Do I walk or bike today?"

I hope you can enjoy this life as well.

Tell me about your life style...are you living without a car, or do you have one part time?