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Dad's Old Diamondback: PDX - Mexico
This is my first bike tour. I'm heading down the pacific coast on a vintage mountain bike. It's a bucket-list item doubling as my launch into digital nomad life.
When I tell someone about my bike tour, they typically ask, “…why?…”
It’s understandable. Riding along a highway and sleeping outside doesn’t sound like the most comfortable experience 😂
The plan is to ride from my grandparents’ place in Ridgefield, Washington to my best friends’ place in Los Angeles, California. I’ll be seeking out camping along the way, visiting Joshua Tree, and eventually ditching the bike for air travel (thinking Morocco & Portugal).
Well…that’s the idea anyway. To be quite honest, I haven’t done very much planning. Since I don’t have any hard time constraints, I figured I’d wing it.
I’m lucky to have grown up in the Pacific Northwest with cool parents. Outside of our yearly pilgrimage to visit family for the holidays, our vacations mostly consisted of camping on the coast.
A proper backpacking trip has been a bucket list item since I was a young man. But boy does time fly.
In some sense, this bike tour is a last minute effort to get some coastal camping in before embarking on a new chapter in life. It’s not the PCT, but it’s the right flavor.
In fact, I’m glad I procrastinated on this. Over the past few years, bicycles have become a fun little hobby for me. I started with a single-speed, graduated to a fixie, and I’m now expanding my quiver with a bulletproof “touring” bike — my dad’s old Diamondback.
This will be way more fun than backpacking.
The significance of this bike is that I’ve ridden and camped with it before; 29 years ago. My dad, a young man in the early 90’s, strapped me to the back at 11 months old and took me on a family adventure.
Let’s be honest, maybe a little young to be on trails. No amount of styrofoam helmet was going to protect my baby brain from bouncing around in the ol’ skull 😅
My parents were born and raised in California; high school sweethearts who had a happy accident. It’s a tale as old as time.
These photos are from a trip they took to explore the PNW before pulling the trigger on a move to SW Washington.
Flipping through our old photo album, I realized my first bike tour will overlap with my first family trip. That’s fucking cool. It makes my inaugural bike tour all that more important.
It started with the YouTube algorithm distracting me from my day job. I was suggested a video of a man who traveled the world on a single speed.
“I can ride a single speed…color me intrigued.”
So I ended up spending time dreaming up my own world expedition bike. I’m sure many have done the same and reached a similar conclusion; well-built touring bikes are expensive.
That’s when YouTube got me again…
I knew I was going to quit my job after this video. I had a 90’s steel frame mountain bike sitting in storage; hungry for adventure. I did not ask my dad, I told my dad, “this bike is mine now.”
Replaced the front suspension fork with a Surly Ogre
Invested in Surly Moloko handlebars (was waiting for an excuse to snag these)
Added a Blackburn front rack
Swapped knobbies for Schwalbe Marathon Plus tires (suggested in the video)
Made the switch to Shimano SPD Clipless Pedals
Purchased the “best” budget bags & accessories Amazon had to offer
All in all, this build was significantly more affordable than ordering the Surly I was drooling over — which is important. I’m trying to keep my expenses to a minimum. I mean, even the tent I’m *borrowing* from my dad.
I need to nail down actual logistics — where am I going to sleep, and what am I going to eat, and how do I cut down on gear weight — you know, the important stuff.
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