Fly Fishing!

Brian’s interest in fly fishing is probably best summed up in his response to a curious coworker  “If there’s one thing social media tells me, biking and fly fishing is v trendy right now.”


Swift Industries is one of the more influential companies for the way we bike, and they are huge supporters of camping/biking/fishing/etc. They recently collaborated with Tenkara, a Japanese company that sells telescoping fly-fishing rods that are ideal for backpacking or biking trips where portability is key. Naturally, Brian The Outdoorsman jumped on the trend, set his ukelele aside, and decided he wanted to be a fly fisherman. I mentioned this at work, and it turns out one of my coworkers is an avid fisherman and offered to lend us a full kit so we can give it a try before investing in a bunch of fishing stuff. His pole wasn’t very space efficient and ended up sticking about 2′ off the back of my bike, but it was free so we definitely aren’t complaining! We took advantage of Washington’s free-fishing weekend (when they don’t require a license) and rode about 12 miles south to the Cedar River Trail.

We knew it was supposed to be partly rainy the whole weekend, but I don’t think either of us expected to be outrunning giant thunderstorms the whole day! The whole ride to the trail, we had one eye to the west on the clouds that were getting darker and darker by the minute. We had a ridiculous headwind too, but I convinced myself that it would be a tailwind on the way home so it was worth it. (spoiler alert, I was sorely disappointed when that turned out to be very wrong) We pulled off the trail into downtown Renton as it started to sprinkle. Mostly to use the bathroom, but the timing was perfect since it started to downpour the minute we walked into the cafe. One surprisingly vegan and unsurprisingly disappointing cupcake later, we were back on our bikes and only a few miles from our fishing spot.

In theory, since the trail ran adjacent to the Cedar River, we could’ve stopped anywhere that looked good, but I did a little googling to find some of the spots that were better for fly fishing. Mostly, I just wanted somewhere that wasn’t popular, had a large clearing (so we wouldn’t hook a tree or anything), and wasn’t private property. Luckily we pulled off at a spot called Belmondo’s Reach which turned out to be like the most perfect spot ever. When we arrived, we were the only ones there at this huge clearing where the river was shallow and ran along a beautiful cliff. Brian immediately dropped his bike, grabbed the pole, and ran to the water.

We messed around and practiced casting for about 30 minutes before two more people showed up and started fishing like 30′ away. We were kind of disappointed at first since it’s way more intimidating trying something for the first time with an audience, but after about 20 minutes, the guy came over and started chatting with us. We explained that we were doing this for the first time and the extent of our experience was 20 minutes of YouTube videos, and he was super nice and even gave us a few pointers! We heated up soup and rice for lunch and took turns eating and “fishing” and being backseat drivers from the sidelines. Part of me definitely thought we’d catch at least a tiny fish, but alas, nothing. Probably a good thing though, since we were mostly focused on casting and probably would’ve yanked the poor fish out of the water and flung its face off before we even noticed it was hooked! It was still a lot of fun though, and so nice to spend the day relaxing outside in the fresh air after being sick for a week.

After a few hours of sun, the sky started getting dark to the west again. Within like 5 minutes, the wind picked up, the drops started falling, and there was a massive crack of thunder! We threw everything into our bags, grabbed our bikes and started sprinting away from the creek trying to get under the nearby bridge before we got soaked. We had a long ride ahead of us, so we decided to just ride it out and see if we could outrun the storm. Sure enough, the sun was out again in 30 minutes and we pulled over to lay in the sun, eat strawberries, and watch a cricket game that we had ridden past earlier.

Our ride back to Seattle was SO WINDY. That tailwind I was hoping for swept around and turned into a headwind the other way too. It was ROUGH.

We made a snap decision to detour to the driving range that we like in Jefferson Park and have a quick snack and rest. We chose to ride the gorgeous but deceivingly hilly Chief Sealth Trail (we call it Chief Keef Trail) and added probably 300′ of unnecessary climbing to our trip. We hit a bucket of balls, ate a bucket of fries, and then ended up waiting an hour for the rain to stop before we headed home.

We caught the break in the rain until we were a mile from home when we got dumped on. We ran into this awesome mom who was riding her daughter home on the back of her bike and they’d gotten caught too. She was wearing a soaked tank top because she’d given her sweatshirt to her daughter, and she was telling us how they were on mile 30 for the day and almost home when they’d gotten dumped on. I love seeing moms (and dads) like that who are absolute work horses and power through for their kids. I mean, this lady was riding uphill in the rain and the cold, with an 8 year old on the back of her bike and wasn’t giving up. She wasn’t even in a bad mood! I love it.

6-10-18 biking PDF

All in all, we rode about 44 miles total with a headwind the whole way, and felt great. Next weekend is supposed to be 80s and sunny…. so we’re probably going fishing again!

If you missed our videos on Instagram, here’s the full story!

“where are the pictures of Veronica fishing?” you might ask. Well, while I was diligently playing the part of devoted Instagram wife… Brian was not. He took 3 photos of me TOTAL and the best one out of the three leaves much to be desired.

On having bikes that work…

Soooo, we bought another bike. Two, actually!

Once we moved to Seattle, it became immediately clear that the bikes we already owned would not work here. The hills are far steeper than we imagined, and on the off chance that we got overly ambitious and tried to go for a bike ride, we ended up walking our single speed bikes up the hills and arrived at the top sweaty and exhausted. We didn’t realize how lucky we were to have lived in one of the flattest cities ever, where a single speed was more than enough for a comfortable ride. Here, the terrain is our #1 barrier against riding, and we were choosing walking over riding for almost every trip.

Tax return season came at just the right time, and Brian decided to make the jump and buy the Surly Long Haul Trucker he’s always wanted. It has a great gear ratio, the best reviews in the industry, and the only hard choice was whether or not to disc brake. (He chose not). I didn’t have a dream bike in mind, so I decided to keep riding my vintage 3-speed until the right bike came along.

As the weather got warmer, I got increasingly bitter anytime we rode our bikes. It’s absolutely miserable when something that’s been a part of your life every single day for the past 4 years becomes so depressingly hard. It would be the same if a runner had to run in two left shoes, or a writer could only write with their left hand. I knew subconsciously that my negative attitude was being caused by the bike, so I told Brian I was done riding until I found a new bike. I walked to work by myself while Brian rode, and started searching Craigslist for a vintage steel bike that I could start building up.

I contacted three different people about bikes on Craigslist, and scheduled a test ride for a 2006 Soma Double Cross not far from our apartment. It wasn’t the vintage lugged steel I was looking for, and instead it was a new-ish cyclocross style steel bike with high quality new parts.  I wasn’t totally sold on the bike until I threw my leg over the bike and it just fit. It was perfect. It fit me better than any bike I’d ever ridden in my entire life, and it didn’t hurt that it shifted and rode like butter too.

We’ve had our new bikes for 2 weeks, and what a glorious 2 weeks they have been. We have been riding everywhere, and it seems like the city has gotten bigger and more exciting overnight. All of the places that used to be too far, too difficult of a ride, or at the top of a too-tall hill are all of a sudden totally accessible to us.

I’ve wanted to write this type of post for awhile, because I know a lot of people in our lives probably don’t totally understand why we ride like we do. We don’t own a car, and honestly don’t really want to. When we lived in Chicago, everything was completely accessible by foot, bike, or public transit. Grocery stores were 1/2 mile away tops, and work was a (flat) 4 mile bike ride each way. We didn’t start biking as a challenge to be carless, or to prove anything, we just enjoy riding our bikes and it also happens to be the best way for us to get around.

Now that we’re in Seattle, we’ve definitely had to make some adjustments to the lifestyle we’d gotten used to, but not as many as we thought. We chose to live in one of the most accessible neighborhoods in the city, along the only light-rail line, near multiple buses and streetcar routes, and only a mile from our offices. We’d like to move to a different neighborhood once our lease is up, but we’ll definitely be keeping in mind the proximity to transit that allows us to live without a car.

To us, owning a car would be a constant pain. Worrying about where to park it, how much we have to pay to park, paying insurance, paying for gas, etc. When we go to leave the house, it’s easier for us to grab our bikes and go than it would be for us to remember where we parked the car, walk to it, drive, and then pay to park on the other end. If we were to walk instead, it would take us about 3 times as long to get to our destination, and we wouldn’t be able to carry as many groceries or bags, though our transportation would be free.

To most of our friends and family, a car is the first choice for transportation, and bikes are more of a chore. To ride a bike in the suburbs for errands would require pulling the bike out of storage, pumping the tires, changing your outfit to be acceptable for biking, riding a long distance to your destination, and (god forbid) having to wear a helmet. Modes of transport are much different depending on where you live, and choosing to live in a less urban area allows for a much more limited means of commute.

We get it, and 100% understand the differences in lifestyles that allow us to all choose our preferred means of transportation. We actively choose to live in a neighborhood that makes riding a bike an easy choice, instead of living in a suburb where our daily destinations would be out of reach by bike. Being able to hop on our bikes whenever we want is a massive luxury for us, and one that we would be hard pressed to give up. I love writing about this, because I truly want people to understand the freedom that we feel when we ride our bikes. There are obviously monetary benefits that go with, and I’ll attempt to write about those in another post because they extend far beyond what most people would assume. For now, we ride because we love it.



backseat rider

My very very very favorite thing to do with Brian is ride our bikes. Lucky for me, we get to ride together almost every day during our ride to work or just to run errands. We joke about how he always likes to ride in front, but seriously he’s literally always in the front and I trail behind. It’s probably best that way though, since sometimes I get distracted by what we’re passing and slow down haha!

As much as I give him crap for it, I love riding behind him. I get to see him in his element, and the view isn’t so bad either 😉

It’s a good thing we’re dating or this would look like a total stalker post….

  1. This morning on Milwaukee on our way to work!
  2. A foggy morning in the loop. I remember this morning was unseasonably warm, and we were loving it!
  3. Somewhere on the Prairie Path, en route to Geneva
  4. Portland! Crossing the Broadway bridge.
  5. The Lakefront Trail, heading home from a great camping trip with some friends. The city was looking extra pretty that day!
  6. Portland again! I took half a million pictures while we were there, and a lot of them look just like this.
  7. Somewhere along the Illinois River between Joliet and Starved Rock. We found this gigantic turtle crossing the path and had to stop!
  8. Not 100% sure about this one…. but I think it was on our way back from Illini State Park after our bikecamping trip
  9. Just outside of Milwaukee, on our way to spend a long weekend exploring