Saturday, June 29, 2013

California Coast Trek-First Day!

At Bay Park next to the Golden Gate Bridge

Today we had a great time learning about bike mechanics and getting to know each other. We had a picnic lunch at Golden Gate park, which is 20% bigger than Central Park at 1,017 acres!  Afterwards,  we explored some of San Fran's finest neighborhoods, and of course got some ice cream (already becoming a favorite afternoon activity).  We're all excited to be heading south tomorrow to officially start the trip.

Everyone is doing very well and are interested in getting to know one another.

That's all for now!

One of the Park's Tea Gardens

Maine Coast Trek - Day 1

By Madelaine Murray, Trekker:

"Of all the anticipation and preparation, the Maine Coast trip finally takes off!

From the early 6AM alarm to the final conversations and laughter at dinner this day was action packed and succeeded my expectations, and cruising though the heart of Boston to pick up the last members of our team!  Given the first day jitters and unfamiliarity of our peers the day was a complete success, honestly I was very nervous to begin the biking trip just because I didn't know what to expect, but after all the get-to-know activities and bicycle safety orientation I felt a lot more confident!

Once we really got to start biking up to Salem, Massachusetts it was so exciting to see the waterfront and the beautiful properties along the shore I forgot I was biking!  I can't believe we did so much activity in one day including hanging out at the beach and celebrating a birthday! 

For all the months of preparation I tried to imagine what this experience would be like but I could never have anticipated clicking so well with my Leaders and becoming instant friends with all of these people from all different backgrounds! I just can not wait for what the future holds in this adventure, with no more expectations and just pure willingness to live out every moment of this opportunity!"

From the Leaders:  "The Group has been meshing extremely well with one another, and instantly became respectful of not only the rules of the road, but towards one another.  The group is biking with the Drop System (physically marking turns and stops for the person behind you) and the Buddy System (pairing weaker and stronger cyclists together).  Together, these methods are working incredibly well!  it has been impressive to see how well everyone is biking, especially for the first day.

The first day was a whirlwind, and the group is already united and having a blast."

Over and out!

Friday, June 28, 2013

Across America Crossing Oregon

The Across America Trekkers have made it to Portland!
As you can see, they are enjoying their hotel's pool!

The group is still getting to know one another, and are full of conversation and curiosity!  Portland is ranked the nation's most bike friendly city, so there will be plenty for them to see and do on two wheels! It is also the only large US city to have achieved the League of American Bicyclists highest ranked Platinum Bicycle Friendly Community (BFC).

Portland is also full of bike friendly streets, like this:

Multnomah County means they have entered Greater Portland!

Over and out from America's bike capital!

California Coast Getting Started With Pre-Night Trekkers!

Trekkers for our California Coast Trek started arriving in San Francisco last night.  After Leaders Rose and Kyle collected the Trekkers, the group took advantage of the good weather and had a picnic lunch while putting their bikes together.  Afterwards, the group headed over to San Fran's bustling China town for dinner and explored the harbor area.
One of China Town's gateways
Everyone is excited for the Trek to begin, and eager to meet the other Trekkers today.  Luckily, the group gets to spend another night at Fisherman's Wharf Youth Hostel, which has amazing views of the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz!  The youth hostel is located within a state park in Fort Mason, a historic set of building that have been converted into funky accommodations.
The view from the hostel.
It's been a great day in San Francisco, and we can't wait to see what California Coast does next!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Accross America Making Their Way to Portland, OR!

Yesterday the Across America Trekkers dipped their wheels in the Pacific, and with wet toes, began to make their way to Portland.  The group spent extra time going over the Drop System and different safe biking tactics before setting off on their hilly route.  After a 65 mile ride, the group relaxed at a campsite in Ranier, Oregon.  Rainier is an little town on the Columbia River, which means that opposite the narrow river is Washington State and Mount Rainier.

Today the group will arrive in Portland, a youthful city famous for laid back people and cyclists.

Rainier looking over to Washington state and Mount Rainier

Dipping those tires.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Accross America Bikes Astoria, Oregon!

And the Trekkers are off!

After meeting with the last Trekker, the group is now all together and gelling nicely.
All together, at last!
Day 1 of Across America focused on bike safety and introductions.  The group did extensive bike checks, and stopped at a bike shop to pick up last minute things like reflectors and lights.  

Everyone also practiced safe riding, and spent the leisurely ride north to Astoria practicing the Drop System of safe riding.  What is the Drop System?  The Drop System includes: announcing turns, bumps, rail road tracks and stops, and physically marking turns for the person behind you.  The group is quickly picking up the Drop system, and should have it perfected in the next day or two.
A beautiful, coastal ride
The group departed Seaside, Oregon and did some light riding up to Astoria, Oregon for the day.  Both of these towns are notable: Seaside is famous as the end of the Lewis and Clark trail, and Astoria set the scene for the movie, The Goonies.  After a nice, downhill ride to Astoria, the Trekkers followed a coastal bike path, had lunch and played games to get to know one another.  After and uphill ride back to Seaside, the group relaxed, ever jubilant and excited to be setting off on their journey.
The statue commemorating The Lewis and Clark Expedition in downtown Seaside, OR
Teen Trekkers or Goonies?
On days two and three, the Trekkers will start moving east to Portland.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Across America North is About to Set Off!

Yesterday the Across America Leaders, Monique and Julian, met most of their Trekkers in Oregon.  The group was in high spirits, and were all happy to meet one another.  Last night the group relaxed, ate dinner and put their bikes together.  Overall, it was a very positive pre-night for everyone!

The pre-night Trekkers!
Today the group will meet up with the final Trekker in Seaside, Oregon, and take time to explore the beautiful coastal town.  

Seaside at dusk

Thursday, June 20, 2013

New Leader, Keaton!

We are pleased to have fun-loving Keaton with us this year!  Here's a bit about him:
Keaton hails from "gorges" Ithaca, New York and is currently studying History at Binghamton University.  He has done a number of bike tours before, with the C&O Canal being a favorite.  Keaton loves the outdoors, and besides camping and hiking around New York State, he also has worked for the New York State Parks Department at Treman Park.  And when he's not outside?  Keaton dabbles in building robots, catches up on classic movies and enjoys fine cheeses.  Full of laughter and jokes, you are sure to have a blast riding the open roads with lighthearted Keaton!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

2013 Leader Training

From June 12-16 all of our Leaders got together for Leadership Training.
Our group's bikes next to Niagara Falls.
The week was spent biking Western New York and Southern Ontario, with the ride set up in Teen Treks style.  Groups cooked from the Teen Treks cookbook, camped in Teen Treks tents and set up each day and ride according to Teen Treks standards.
The whole group after crossing back into Niagara Falls, New York from Canada
Our route carried us to: Buffalo, New York--Cedar Bay, Ontario--Niagara Falls, Ontario---Grand Island, New York---Buffalo, New York.  Our massive loop had us biking 100+ miles, and was a great way to warm up for a season of touring.
Checking out Lake Erie after crossing into Canada
Each day involved riding, bike mechanics intensives and all sorts of training: leadership, group dynamics, travel routes and more.  We got caught in a few rainstorms, but that did not prevent each day from feeling blissfully eternal and exciting.  With days full of laughter, ice cream, picnics, swimming and campfires, our Leaders came together as strangers and left as friends.  
From left-right:  Kate M, Bryan, Rose, Alexa (Program Coordinator) and Luke prepare dinner at Cedar Bay, Ontario.
Bryan and Kate K. during a wheel and tire intensive.
Some have even continued their bike touring:  Luke, Erin and David are spending a week biking from Buffalo-Toronto (about 240 miles round trip).  Rose, Julian and Kyle are biking from Buffalo-Seneca Falls (over 100 miles) to visit another Leader, Bryan.  From there they might continue downstate to New York City!  

It's safe to say that our Leaders will be having a blast spending their summers traveling on two wheels.  Our Leaders are prepared and excited to get out and ride this summer!  Lucky for those on Treks that start next week...
Leaders laughing out loud during a game of  "Ha, Ha, Ha".  From left-right: Monique, Rose, Erin, Luke, David, Kate M, Cecelia, Keaton and Kyle
Leaders will be contacting parents/Trekkers this week to introduce themselves and get to know you and your family.  

We are on the edge of starting the season and could not be more excited!  

Are you ready to explore this summer?  We are!

New 2013 Leader, Kate K!

Here is Kate K, another great Leader for the season!  Here's what she has to say:
"Hello, hello, hello!!

Kate here from Charlton, NY. I could not be more excited to lead for Teen Treks, meet you trekkers, and go on an adventure!!

I graduated from the University or Rochester in 2011 where I studied Brain and Cognitive Science, Linguistics, and American Sign Language. Since then I have been living, working, and biking in Baltimore and this fall I will be starting a new chapter yet again, getting my Ph.D. in speech-language pathology.

What do I like to do? I am a rower and a coach so the closer I am to water the better. I enjoy spending time in local schools and volunteer with a variety of programs designed to promote literacy and improve graduation rates. I bake and knit, read and play games, sing, dance, laugh, and of course bike!  My favorite time of day is sunrise when the world is brand new and one day I hope to have seen one from every state and add to my list of countries (5 and counting!).

Life is about learning new things and we miss so much rushing through.  I cannot wait to learn and grow together with my group while we explore the world in a way like no other.
See you soon!!"

Monday, June 17, 2013

New 2013 Leader, Erin!

We've got Erin leading for us this summer!  Here is what she has to say:
"Hi all!

I am Erin and I'm from Chicago, Illinois.  I love the city and I love biking! :) This is my first year leading with Teen Treks and I'm super excited!

I just graduated from DePaul University with a degree in Environmental Science.  I am interested in environmental education, conservation, and urban farming.  I spend a lot of my free time volunteering at different gardens around the city and tutoring students in after school programs.  

I bike all around Chicago as a way to commute and for fun.  Now I get the chance to use my bike as a way to see different parts of the country!  I think cycling is a great way to easily get around, lessen your carbon footprint, and an awesome way to experience seeing the world.  I also enjoy cooking/baking, knitting, playing with my three dogs, traveling and meeting new people.  

I am looking forward to having a fabulous and fun summer and to meeting the Teen Trekkers!


Accross America North Leader, Julian!

Julian is one of our fearless Across America Leaders!  Here's what he has to say:
 "What's up Trekkers? 
My name is Julian and I'm from the small town of Charlton, NY. I graduated last year with my Masters degree in Urban Planning.  I love taking huge, old, decrepit buildings and dreaming up ways to breathe life back into them. I love cities and buildings, but the outdoors is where I feel most alive. Besides biking, I like playing hockey, running, snowboarding, shredding on my guitar, swimming, hiking, camping, and adventuring. For many years, I was a life guard and swim team coach, so I certainly love working with teens. I've studied abroad in France (twice), and have backpacked throughout Europe, staying in hostels along the way.  My favorite place I've been recently might be Barcelona, but I have a feeling that will change soon..I'm looking forward to meeting all of you cool cats this summer!"
Julian leading the pack

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

New 2013 Leader, Laura

Please welcome Laura to our Leader Team!

"Hello everyone!!

My name is Laura and I’m from Fredonia, NY.  I am currently studying Biomedical Engineering at the University at Buffalo.  School keeps me pretty busy but I always find time to do the things I love: hiking, white water rafting, knitting, rock climbing, cooking, reading, laughing, camping, snacking on cheese, swimming, drinking tea and of course, biking!
I’ve spent the past couple of summers life-guarding and working as a playground counselor for primary through middle school aged kids.  This past year, I was a resident advisor in the dormitories at my school. 

I started biking when I traveled to The Netherlands as a Rotary Youth Exchange Student.  Biking was my main mode of transportation during that year.  Anywhere I needed to go, I could rely on that bicycle to get me there!  During my year in The Netherlands, I also had the opportunity to travel to Germany, the Czech Republic, Austria, Italy, Spain, France, and Poland.  I had some unforgettable experiences skiing in the Alps, watching operas in foreign languages, sand dune mountain biking, and experimenting with European cuisine. 

I’m always up for new experiences and the challenges that may come along, so I hope you are all ready for an exciting summer!"

European Phantom Leader, Kate!

Kate is a Teen Treks veteran, and even completed Across America, so we are beyond excited to have her Leading the next generation of Trekkers!

Here's what she has to say:
Exploring Ecuador
"Hey there Teen Trekkers!
I’m super excited to meet all of you! I’m Kate from the little town of Bow, New Hampshire. When I’m not hanging around NH or cycling, you will most likely find me hiking, reading, playing the violin or piano, skiing, or studying Sociology & Music at Colorado College!

I love any method of travel, but I have to say that biking is my absolute favorite! Cycling is the perfect medium in that you are able to move efficiently but still experience & be a part of the sights around you. I caught the cycling bug when I was in 8th grade. Since then, I did the Across America tour with Teen Treks (highly recommended!!), and toured around the Eastern US, Colorado, & Montreal. Aside from cycling, I’ve been extremely lucky to travel around South Korea, Brazil, and in Portugal & Paraguay. I recently completed a semester long leadership course through Outward Bound. I spent my semester pulling sleds around the Colorado Rockies, rock climbing in Joshua Tree National Park, canyoning in the beautiful canyons of Utah, and climbing snowy volcanoes in Ecuador.

I cannot wait to share with all of you my passion for bicycle travel and the great outdoors! There is no way to really describe the feelings and discoveries one can take away from such an experience..."

Friday, June 7, 2013

New 2013 Leader, Luke!

Pleased to introduce you all to Luke!  Here's more about him:

"Hi ya'll!

My name is Luke and I'm from a small lumberjack town in Northeastern Washington.  After I graduated university, I moved to Patagonia.  When the harsh Patagonian winter let up, I began my first major bike trip from Ushuaia, Argentina and ended in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  There are so many reasons why I like bike touring, but at a deeper level the road is freedom; that paved stretch that you ride on will continue as long as you want it to, and it can take you to new experiences and inner peace.  While at Western Washington University, I raced on the collegiate team and called myself a triathlete.  In recent years I've been both a rock and alpine climber, mixed with ultra-marathons.  When I'm not on cliffs, I like writing and listening to spoken word poetry and talking about social issues and psychological studies. I was a park ranger at Mt. St. Helens and had a blast (pun intended) giving stories about the geology, the ecology, and the history of it - so expect some interesting talks when we go out this summer.  Stoked to get out on the road, fellow cyclists!"

Monday, June 3, 2013

New 2013 Leader, Kristen!

May I introduce Kristen to all of you:
Having some down time on Blackcomb Glacier
"Hello trekkers, my name is Kristen and I'm from Cleveland, Ohio. I am a first grade teacher, and I can't wait to spend my summer break in the saddle with wonderful people in the outdoors! I can't think of  better experience. Words can't describe how I felt after I finished my first trek from Lancaster, PA to Havre de Grace Maryland in one day. I'm excited to accomplish something great with you!
I have traveled to Prague, Berlin and Dublin. One of my favorite parts of these trips were talking with fellow travelers in the hostels. I learned so much from these conversations! One of my favorite cities to travel to is Vancouver, B.C. to visit my twin sister, bike around Stanley park and go snowboarding in Whistler.
I also enjoy competing in triathlons, scuba diving, and currently am trying to improve my volleyball skills. If there is a lake, swimming hole, beach or pool you'll have trouble keeping me out. In the past I developed a curriculum for an outreach program for middle school students in underrepresented schools to teach resiliency, self confidence, goal setting and interpersonal relationships skills.
I can't wait to meet you and make memories that last a life time!"