• Megan Hottman’s 4 Day, 265 mile, Ramble Ride–What a Backcountry Adventure!

    Submitted by Bill Plock on July 19th, 2021

    oday was hard. Like… real hard.

    It’s taken me 5 years to forget how hard this ride is/can be. I last did it in 2016- the first year they did this event- and I’d honestly forgotten (selective memory?) just how difficult the riding is. And also how much fun… To get off grid away from cell signals; to meet a whole new group of rad humans; to ride bikes on quiet back roads with the ONLY objective of the day being simply to make it to the evening campsite, and set up my tent before dark. Read more

    • Advocacy in the Wake of Tragedy; Tenacity, Patience and Empathy Needed

      Submitted by Bill Plock on May 24th, 2021

      The senseless murder of Gwen Inglis at the hands of person with a history of impaired driving enrages most anyone, cyclists or not. As cyclists we are outraged and we want more protection and stronger punishments. But it’s not easy, it’s not simple. And while it may be obvious what needs to change, it takes time, it takes advocates, it takes patience and it takes understanding and empathy. Read more

      • Megan Hottman: Prescott, AZ Racing and Forest Bathing

        Submitted by Bill Plock on April 19th, 2021

        By Megan Hottman

        This van trip kicks off with a lovely dose of #americana – some ball sports, some lively hockey, some bike racing, kids running around, the requisite amount of dirt and dust, loads of campers and RVs, ample flag flying and one helleva sunset . I took the @canonusa out to capture all the feels

        Life these days offers glimpses of normalcy and it feels really *really* good.

        Ok so where are we? We’re in a large sports complex park in Prescott, AZ. Here for a mountain bike race, I’m experiencing for the first time this parking lot-event style camping vibe.
        This wouldn’t be my top vanlife venue choice on a regular basis …but for this event and experience it’s totally fine. This location boasts temps a full 20-25 degrees than in Phoenix so we’re enjoying the nice cool evening temps and the escape from the big-city-heat. Read more

        • The Simple Joy of a Day Trip & Vacation Time Thoughts 💭

          Submitted by Bill Plock on April 5th, 2021

          Every morning my in-box was full of e-mails asking me to do things I did not want to do or presenting me with problems that I now had to solve. It got more and more intolerable until finally I fled town to the Undisclosed Location from which I’m writing this.

          Here I am largely unmolested by obligations. There is no TV. To check e-mail I have to drive to the library. I go a week at a time without seeing anyone I know. I’ve remembered about buttercups, stink bugs and the stars. I read. And I’m finally getting some real writing done for the first time in months. It’s hard to find anything to say about life without immersing yourself in the world, but it’s also just about impossible to figure out what it might be, or how best to say it, without getting the hell out of it again.”
          Vanlife and van excursions can be somewhat involved. There’s quite a bit of packing and prep that go into them. While it’s always worth it- sometimes I’ve found that a simple day escape is just what the doctor ordered. It’s a chance to get out of the daily mundane and into nature but without the fuss. Done midweek when parks and trails tend to be less-populated, these one-day excursions can really recharge the batteries and leave me feeling motivated for the days ahead. Read more

          • A Giant Slice of Humble Pie, What Megan Hottman Learned

            Submitted by Bill Plock on March 22nd, 2021

            If you said 4️⃣above, you’d be right.
            Even though I’m not new to bike racing I committed several cardinal sins today and acted like a total newbie: I didn’t eat three hours before my race. I didn’t cool down last night. I didn’t warm up this morning.
            When the race started and my group took off uphill towards the single track I popped. Immediately. Legs imploded. 💥 My race was over a few minutes into the thing. I watched my entire AG ride away from me and I never saw them again.

            As easy as it was for me to spend the next four hours reading myself the riot act, I didn’t. Read more

            • Megan Hottman; Back to being a ‘Newb and Pandemic-versary

              Submitted by 303cycling on March 15th, 2021

              The tears welled up in my eyes today as I stood near the start line for the national anthem. It gripped me by the throat – more, I dare say- than ever before. My throat tightened and emotions bubbled up as I reflected on my reality:

              I am at the start line of a bike race

              One year ago, my world (and your world & the entire world) felt like it was ending. We were locked down and scared out of our minds with so much uncertainty, so many unknowns, so much panic. For the first time in my lifetime I went to my local Sprouts in March of 2020 and saw many of the shelves totally empty. How could we NOT panic when we saw our neighbors hoarding food and supplies?! Read more

              • Megan Hottman, Mt Lemmon Ride and Dry Shampoo

                Submitted by 303cycling on March 1st, 2021

                That is the sweetest climb ever… one I will definitely come do again and one I recommend for every cyclist who loves to climb in the sunshine…. The gradient is gentle enough you can push the pedals and never have to stand due to steepness- the pavement is good, the bike lane/shoulder is pretty consistently present and wide-ish, and though there is steady car traffic, there are so many cyclists out that drivers seem to have an awareness and are more cautious driving around us (that’s how it felt but who knows?!).

                I parked a couple miles up from the bottom selecting my campsite for the night early into the ride. Then I rode up towards the top and once the temps stopped feeling warm and I started to see more snow and smaller shoulders, I decided to flip around. Read more

                • Megan Hottman’s First Time In Tucson Riding and Exploring

                  Submitted by Bill Plock on February 22nd, 2021

                  While I’ve spent a lot of time in Arizona in my life, I’ve never made it to Tucson. When I began mapping out my vanlist dreamlist of places I wanted to do, Tucson was on the list. For very specific reasons: I wanted to ride the “loop,” this amazing network of protected bike lanes all over town, totaling close to 130 miles (basically, a bike advocate’s dream come true, short of visiting Copenhagen!); and, I’ve wanted to ride Mt Lemmon, a nice long sustained climb that I’ve heard about for years. Read more

                  • What Makes a Perfect Ride & Perfect Ride Partner?

                    Submitted by Bill Plock on January 11th, 2021

                    I’ve often thought that the perfect riding mate is one of those elusive and difficult-to-describe creatures. Like unicorns, you know it when you see it. To articulate it and actually describe, it is quite another. I’ve been blessed to ride bikes with a handful or so people in my life, who have set the bar incredibly high as perfect ride partners. I’ve paid close attention to the nuances, asking myself, “just what exactly makes this so magical?” in the hopes of being able to distill it down into words without doing the dynamic an injustice. It’s hard to describe a flow-state feeling.  Read more