About Ben Handrich
Where the Obsession Began
I did my first supported tour when I was 19, freshly reacquainted with the United States after having been an elementary school teacher for a year in Jamaica. I was suffering from some major culture shock having come back from a developing country; I remember the shock I felt when I first got off the plane in Miami and looked at the people around me. Were Americans always so absorbed in their computers and ipods? Were Americans always this overweight and generally ugly? Now I can just shrug my shoulders and nod my head, but at the time, I couldn’t quite reconcile losing the communal feel and general beauty I had just left behind.
What I do remember after these initial few days of repatriation hell was that two of my old friends were going on a bike trip and I was signed up to join them. We had signed up for Mennonite Central Committee’s Mount Hood Bike Trip. It was over 300 miles of rather challenging biking, with one century day and one 70+ mile day, two feats I had never come close to accomplishing in my biking career, which up to that point had consisted of doing jumps on a dirt mound at the end of my cul-de-sac as a kid.
Beyond the endorphin high and thrill of pushing my body’s limits, what I found I loved about biking was the intentional space created on the saddle of a bicycle, where my mind could wander through the various experiences I had had over the past year in Jamaica. I was hooked.
Where the Obsession Has Led Me
After college I became an English teacher, and my wife and my first major purchases were road bikes. I got a Felt Z85 and she got a Specialized Dolce Sport.
Both of these bikes have logged well over 2000 miles since we bought them about a year and a half ago (2012), but the itch to go farther and cover more than just the century- rides we had grown accustomed to kept irritating us until the time came to look into touring bikes. As luck would have it, after completing a beautiful century ride in Eugene, Oregon last summer, the Blackberry Bramble, my wife Trish won the grand-prize raffle drawing at the end: a free Co-Motion frame! We decided the best fit for her would be the Co-Motion Cascadia. It wasn’t long ’til we had furnished her bike with the necessary accessories AND bought a bike for me as well: the 2014 Kona Sutra.
Both of us use these bikes to commute to work every day, very worthwhile investments if you ask me.
We have used these bikes for numerous touring adventures: 400 miles in Eastern Oregon, 200 miles in Idaho, I took my bike through the Canadian Rockies with a friend where I logged in about 700 miles, and the list will continue to grow as we find new vacations spots we’d like to explore by bicycle.
Other than that, we own a tandem (1991 Burley Duet), and I own a mountain bike/bikepacking bike (2014 Surly Krampus) and a beater hybrid bike. The obsession is alive and well in our household and doesn’t look to be slowing down any time soon. Both of us are passionate about environmental awareness as well as healthy living, and biking has proven to be a great way for us to stay true to our moral frameworks while also having fun. This blog will be an outlet for me to share about our passions and document our excursions as we travel together and I travel solo over the next number of years.
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