A look back at my 2022 touring season

The Bantam at Crown Point, during the Midweek Gorge group camping trip, 15 Oct 2022. Camera: Ricohflex Dia Film: Kodak Gold 200

As the first real rains of autumn hit the Northwest, and the chances of getting “one last camping trip in” diminish, now is a good time for me to look back and reflect on what my bike touring looked like in 2022. And despite hoping that 2022 could be ever-so-slightly similar to 2012, when I managed 49 bike overnight nights, that definitely did not pan out. This is what did happen:

Only two of these trips were camping trips in the sense of tent/sleeping on the ground. I for sure thought that there’d be more of that, and perhaps a camping bike tour in addition to the San Juans journey. But that did not happen.

2022 was a lot different than 2012.

This year I travelled a lot, but it wasn’t travel revolving around bikes. (I did bring my bike a lot, though. Bromptons are useful!) There were several trips around a week or so, and once summer hit we were out of town about every two weeks. It was hard to shoehorn in bike camping on top of all that. I thought that I’d have the chance to do an overnight in October, as there was no travel and weather conductive to camping. But it was hard to find a good two day block in between work, my darkroom class, and other obligations. And when I did find that two day block, I was not motivated. After not camping since June, it was hard to find the drive, especially with the shorter days of autumn.

What about 2012? Well, that year I was broke, so bike touring was a cheap way to travel. For most of the year I didn’t have a regular job, just picking up the odd shift or two at the hostel and doing freelance illustration. I had a lot more time. I was still involved with Cycle Wild, so that meant there was a bike camping trip every month.

Of course the idea that 2012 was a decent year has been only formed in retrospect, as back then I was living at a place I didn’t want to, stressing about money and what to do with the rest of my life, and also was in a deteriorating relationship. Going bike camping and touring as much as humanly possible was definitely a coping mechanism. This year my head is in a much better space, and while money is still tight it’s not as bad as it was back then. And my living situation is great and my relationship with Emee is strong.

Can I ever have another 2012 again? Probably not, but I can try to capture the spirit. And I’m going to need to motivate myself to do so. I’m going to make an effort to bike camp/tour in 2023, at least as soon as it’s warm enough to do so. (And in the interim I can cabin-camp.) I will make the effort to have one to three bike tours, anywhere from three days to over a week, and most of those tours will be camping-centric. And I will also motivate myself to camp with other folks. It’s a lot easier to get through a long, dark night outside when you share it with other people.

And I also want to take a stab at a few group bike camping trips. Despite some miscommunications on the way out, the Gorge trip in June was fun. I’d like to do that again and maybe one or two more trips. I miss Cycle Wild, maybe I can jump-start something. And maybe I’ll attempt a three speed campout again. (On that tip, I want to try a camping overnight on the Brompton too.)

So while this year didn’t shape up to be as “epic” as I wanted, it was still good. And I can always look forward to 2023.

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