Nothing is more fun than heart like taking a casual roll out of the city together with some of my most favorite people. This trip was for BIPOC (Black/Indigenous/People of Color and people with an "it's complicated relationship to their race") FTW (femme/trans/women) only. Two people were bike camping for the first time! It was magic.
Everyone took a part in organizing this trip! Ali booked the space and got us hooked up with a route, firewood, and water. We got some SAG (support and gear vehicle) support from our partners. Dinner Crew rocked those burritos and quesadillas! Everyone brought games and love and hilarious stories about our "worst camping experience ever."
The ride was great, the spot was beautiful. Just when I though my heart could not be anymore full, the sky misted us with a light rain and a double rainbow shined over us. We were camping over Pride Weekend, and all agreed we felt seen by colorful sky.
One of my favorite conversations that we had over the campfire was about access to the "outdoors." Some of us grew up with families that encouraged and supported outdoor activities. Families that supported us in backpacking alone in other countries, or took us on trips when we were kids. Other families didn't value "camping" because they came from places where sleeping on the ground wasn't considered a fun activity. Some of us were self-taught and learned how to camp without a family culture around that, and we were so proud that we were able to claim outdoor activities. We were able to claim our bike camping trip from an industry that promotes the image of either a white family in a lot of fancy gear, or the white man on a hunting or fishing trip. We out here. And we're proud of ourselves!
That's just my perspective. Here are some other faces and voices from our trip!
We all just rolled up and made camp like a bunch of pros... fortress secured, we ate a camper's feast (chicharones and avocado, my god!) and held high court like royals. Pro. Royals.
Then, just to make sure that we were of the earthly world and, we shared our worst camping experiences for a go around. They were bad! SO BAD! AND SO GOOD! Almost everyone shared a life full of experience, problem solving, determination, perseverance, and just plain ol "I won't do that again" stories. I was smothered in the wisdom and comradery of some RAD BIWTFPOCs who knew their shit and knew how to get stuff done. Our camp was organized, prepared, and I can't wait to do it again!
I feel like this has been a journey for me, not that I am finished. A while ago I joined a bike ride to Carver state park, but declined to spend the night camping there. Low and Ali were there, setting up their tents and happily answering my questions about their gear. I didn't grow up camping, and so all of it seemed very weird to me, albeit interesting. I didn't own a tent or a sleeping bag, but I did have a bike! Fast forward a few months, I had met more people who liked camping and talked about how great it was, so I figured I should really give it a try. I bought some stuff used, borrowed some other stuff.... Last summer I finally did it- I went on one of the beginner Grease Rag bike camping trips. I shared a tent with a friend, so I didn't have to bring everything. And then this trip! I was sleeping solo and contributing more to the food. (I feel like I only brought snacks to the first bike camp trip.) So I had to pack everything! Well not all the food, it was still communal, but this trip definitely felt more self-sufficient. And I did it! The packing part is harder for me than the biking part, but it felt really great.
Ali was going on the trip, and they sent out helpful weather updates and reminders leading up to our departure. My friend Holly went, she and I chatted while we leisurely biked to the campsite. Low was there and they helped me setup my tent. I really like the feel of these communal trips, where people respect your abilities but are willing to help out if you need it.
For this trip I've gotten some new items, including a camp chair. But it's really not about the gear, especially for a Grease Rag trip, since you can borrow items from others if you need to. It's about spending time together and creating spaces for ourselves. As we shared stories about past camping trips by the campfire, I felt some of my residual camping stress melt away. Grease Rag told me "you can do it, you got this!" Success!
It was a perfect fall like summer night for camping. We had a really nice ride out to the site. Along the way we had an AMAZING garlicky snack at a lakeside break point. ~~mmm garlic~~ I had some encounters with animals as well. I had a deer saunter across my path and got to see the smallest baby ducks I've ever seen waddling through the grass.
From this trip I learned that I have come a long way with my biking. The paths we took I’ve biked before and on this trip I realized that I was no longer afraid of the windy hill I use to dismount and walk.
We were at a campground which we ended up having all to ourselves. I felt this made for some great wilderness time with my fellow bike/camper buddies. Later as we finished setting up camp we had a little bit of rain which left a double rainbow over our awesome riverfront campsite.
We had a seriously yummy camp dinner of fire roasted fajitas. Which was later followed up by the creation of whiskey soaked marshmallows for s'mores. =^.^=
It was a perfect evening. There was just enough of a breeze that the mosquitos were kept from biting and we were able to sit out around the campfire with ease. We played tabletop games and wowed each other with tales of adventure or misadventure. The cherry on top for the night was the sound of the waves on the river as I drifted off to sleep in my tent.
I enjoyed the leisurely pace we took in the morning while breaking camp and eating our breakfast of granola and berries. We also had some warm beverages, which is a must for me while camping. The ride back was nice and leisurely as well. The Frosties and fries we stopped for were a stupendous treat!! I felt like we all came together and accomplished creating a great experience.
The BIPOC WTF bike camping trip was wonderful. To be able to bike with such lovely humans to a beautiful riverside campsite was perfection. The double rainbow which greeted us once we had our tents up was amazing. I enjoyed hearing the stories about our worst camping experiences. I think it said a lot about the people around the table that we all seemed to be able to laugh at them after the fact! I'm so grateful that these humans are in my life and every time I hang out with them, I learn that they are even more badass than I thought before. Nothing can beat a bike camping trip with these #babefriends!
Also, Ali is a genius. Whiskey soaked marshmallows toasted over a campfire is tasty.