Last week in the Adventure Journal poll, we posed the question of what is hardcore. Stephen Keeping is the embodiment of the two most popular traits, pushing your body to fatigue and staying out in all conditions: The Ottawa bike racer headed south for the winter to train, but instead of driving or flying to Florida, he’s riding.
“I knew that it was going to be challenging to get the miles in, so if I did a trip like this, I’d have nothing else to do but ride,” Keeping told Canadian Cyclist.
The 26-year-old saddled up his cross bike, hitched 80 pounds of BOB trailer, and pedaled south in -13 degree temps one day last week. Since then, he’s been chronicling the highs and all-too-frequent lows with a refreshing candor.
Friday was another bloody cold day that I could have done without. Apart from seeing a bald eagle (I think it was a sign) and a snowmobile race (a strange sight to see while out for a bike ride) it was a shit ride. After thinking I had finally reached my destination, I realized that I had another 10 miles to go. Frozen and pissed off, I rode on. It ended pretty friggen awesome however. I arrived at Chris and Jess’s place who put me up for the night. Before I knew it, I was showered up and drinking beer at a AHL game. Sweet eh? Flyers farm team VS Devils farm team. Very cool. The night ended with some great food and a Bluegrass show. Its funny how things can turn around so quickly.
One day, he noticed the bike felt considerably lighter. He couldn’t tell whether it was because he was eating through his supplies or showering off all the muck and ice made that much of a difference.
Tip o’ the day: Neoprene booties over rain booties, over socks, over another pair of socks over shoes while wearing wool socks.And that’s how you keep your feet warm (for most of the time)!
You can follow Keeping’s progress at Florida or Bust, and if you’re anywhere near the guy’s route, for god’s sake, offer him a place to stay. Just make the bike shower outside.