Sunday, June 19, 2011

We're Back in the Saddle Again

After a verrrry loooong winter we're back at it. We signed up for a tour with Mike Roon owner of Michigan Coast Riders.  We are going to ride our bicycles counter-clockwise around Lake Michigan. According to my travel guide Lake Michigan is "the third largest of the five Great Lakes in surface area. It is about 300 miles long, an average of 75 miles wide, 118 miles across at its widest point, and up to 925 feet deep." Starting in Muskegon, Michigan, our route will take us just over 1000 miles (assuming we don't get lost) and 14 days. That turns out to be about a 75-mile bike ride every day with one day off. There are nine riders with three support crew members. We, somehow, tricked our good friend Joy Hunter into riding with us. This is her first time riding anything like this. We, also, get to reconnect with our pals, JB and Loren, from Maine. JB rode the East Coast with us last summer.

Yesterday we met up with the team and our bikes were assembled by, Shane and Brad, our talented mechanics. My bike, affectionately known as Gladys, had a bent derailleur acquired upon shipping. Shane was able to bend her back into shape and I think we'll be ok. (Cross your fingers.)

We took the bikes out for a little warm-up ride. I had been craving stroopwaffels (a yummy, syrupy, Dutch cookie) and ta-duh! we happened upon a cute Dutch Bakery in Muskegon----owned by an authentic Dutchman.
One of the best parts of these long bike rides is eating. We're always on the lookout for our next snack stop. And by "we" I guess I actually mean me.
It's always so fun to meet and talk to Nederlanders. Mike practices a little Dutch and pretty quickly we have some new best friends. This little bakery was decorated with klompen (wooden shoes) and all kinds of Dutch trinkets. 
This is Lake Mona. So far, we haven't actually seen Lake Michigan. We understand it's just like the ocean, but you can drink it.

Sunday we didn't ride. We watched the other cyclists take off from the hotel, then we went to church. According to my father-in-law (and Disney), "it's a small, small world." We attended the Spring Lake Ward. It was just two miles down the road from our hotel. So, we walk into the chapel and sit down. I look up and there is Ken Otto, the ophthalmologist I served with in Cambodia last summer! What a great surprise to see him again. I had forgotten that he is a Michigander.

A huge part of the fun of these bike trips is the people you meet---whether it's the other cyclists, or random people along the way.

And the food.... Just tryin' to be honest.

Tomorrow is our first day riding. We are excited to get going!

For more photos see the Michigan Coast Riders blog, and also here.


  1. AWESOME! glad to see you back again. We were just thinking about you the other day at church. It was our first Sunday in our new ward in Texas and Bobby mentioned how much he missed both you and Bishop Dicou. You'll be pleased to know that we are expecting another little girl in 3 weeks! Check out our blog!

  2. kathiol@rochester.rr.comJune 19, 2011 at 9:55 PM

    Hey Les,
    Great blog! I'm going to go to it tomorrow at school so the kidlets can see it!
    Kathi O'L

  3. Jewels, you crack me up. It's so classic that your cycling trip is really a coverup for discovering new and exciting snacks. Oh I'm on to you. And stroop waffles out of the blue? Truly you lived a charmed life, my friend. So anyway, you are making me want to at least go out for a jog or something. I love you, and your photos are really good ! Nat

  4. Finally another post! Reading your blog made me first want to get out and exercise, but then that turned into just wanting a snack :) Every time I hear 'stroop waffles' my mouth starts to water! Sounds like you and dad had a fun time. Love and miss you both!

  5. I've told a couple of people about the bike trips you guys go on and everyone is very impressed. And I like how snacks are at the center of every Dicou family event. Have fun out there and send us some stroop waffles!

    Love you guys!


  6. so fun! i'm jealous!

    the best part of ANY trip to me is the food. I'm with you 100%. just trying to be honest. :)

  7. You go, girl. And just remember how small this world is. While you're reconnecting w/old friends I'll be hitting the road & going to meet your sis -- & maybe even giving Taylor a call when I'm in Bentonville! Hi to Joy & Mike.

  8. Cool! This will be such a fun ride for you guys! I hope you have fun and I look forward to seeing your updates.