We recently received this story from our friends at Velosmith. Two Seven riders, whose bikes we built just last year, are headed out for a month-long trip round Lake Michigan. See the story below:
Ask Suzie LaBelle about her Seven and she will tell you about its geometry and handling. She understands how the weight of the bike and the material used affects her performance and feel of the ride. And she knows that it feels stable on climbs, descents, and around corners.
Sounds like a hardcore, performance-minded racer, right?
In this case, you’d be incorrect. You won’t find Suzie on the local race circuit. Rather, you’ll find her in the midst of a month-long, fully self-supported, 1,400-mile bike trip around Lake Michigan.
The trip around Lake Michigan began May 17 and will take 30 days in total: 25 days of riding and five rest days. Suzie and her riding partner Will – also a Seven rider – met through the Evanston Bicycle Club, a local group of cyclists who ride together several times a week.
They soon discovered they both had a taste for adventure, and started to plan this tour. It will be self-supported; both Sevens are equipped with racks and they will carry only what they need.
“Will is a stronger rider than I am so he gets to pull in the wind,” she says with a chuckle. In addition to their own personal items, they’ve compromised on who carries what on their bikes. “He gets to carry the tools and I carry the first aid kit.”
Suzie and Will are both in their 60s, but don’t let their age fool you. These are two strong and experienced riders, and preparing for the trip meant many hours in the saddle.
Their typical week consisted of a moderate ride of 40-50 miles on Tuesday, a hard 40 miles on Wednesday, a fast 50 miles on Friday, and about 60 miles on one or both days over the weekend.
“For me this is more than an athletic undertaking. This is a journey – a pilgrimage – and I want time to stop and see the sites around Lake Michigan.”
The Best (and Possible Worst)
Suzie did most of the route planning and is most looking forward to discovering what she calls the “reality under the maps.”
“I love making the routes, visualizing what it will be like. I look forward to being in that environment day after day. And when we get there, discovering hidden meadows, hills, and lakes that maps don’t always show. “
She’s most concerned about the weather, especially as they get up towards the Upper Peninsula – which can still include very cold temps and snow at this time of year.
“Through our club contacts, we’ve been able to line up emergency people along the way in case we encounter extreme weather or a mechanical issue we can’t resolve ourselves.”
For more, follow along on their blog, or read more in the Chicago Tribune.