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My mother-in-law is Colleen, aka Super Biker Woman. She tours around the world (her favorite is New Zealand) and ever since my son was born Colleen has been training him to be a cyclist. This weekend she planned a trip for us to Fern Ridge Reservoir, about 17 miles from our house in South Eugene. The plan was to bike out there, camp for a night, and then ride back the next morning. Little Man is too small to bike out there (he’s only 21 months old after all), so my husband Kyle pulled him in a trailer.

Now, this weekend was perhaps not the best choice for several reasons. First off, there was a heat warning in Eugene. Temperatures were expected to get up around 100 degrees and they advised against strenuous outdoor activity… Second, we live in the Willamette Valley, which has the worst pollen count in the entire country (not an exaggeration, Eugene is the top of the list for worst cities at Pollen.com this week), and I can’t take any antihistamines because I’m still nursing Little Man in the mornings and at night.

And third… well let’s just say it’s not the best time of the month for me. To top it all off, I haven’t been on a bike since the summer before I became pregnant. So for all of these reasons this trip was going to be pretty difficult for me, but I was up for the challenge!

Here we are on our way out. Kyle is up front towing Little Man in his trailer. That’s me in the foreground. You might notice I’m not carrying much (it’s hard enough to haul myself 17 miles, let alone camping supplies). Colleen is behind me taking the picture, she’s loaded down with panniers full of gear.


Our route took us through the wetlands in West Eugene. We saw a blue heron hanging out looking for fish. We were trying to spot nutria but they were being particularly evasive.


We stopped a few times along the way in order to stretch our legs (and let the blood back into our rear ends). Little Man is a great traveler, but after awhile he gets bored being cooped up in one spot. We stopped at Orchard Point Park where there was a playset, and we ran around for awhile. Little Man loves to run around underneath the play structure, and thought peering through the holes in the floor at each other was hilarious.

While we were there we had lunch, and then it was just a short 3 miles to the campsite. Of course, between us and the campsite was a really steep hill. At least it was steep to me, the inexperienced cyclist. Even so, I made it to the top without stopping! After that my legs were pretty shot, so I was glad to finally pull into our campsite.

Once we got settled Little Man set about to playing with his toys; happy to be free of the trailer. He brought along a couple of little toy cars made by Hape. These cars are super cool, they are made out of bamboo and have plastic embellishments that make them look like all kinds of vehicles. Little Man brought along the Baja and the Bruiser. We love them because they are compact and easy to pack along on trips. They are also really inexpensive and would make great stocking stuffers. He had a good time driving them all over the picnic table and other locations around the camp.

After we set up camp we decided to head down to the reservoir. Little Man absolutely loves the water. It was difficult to keep him out of it while we were walking to the “beach” section where other people were swimming. The campsites are near the marina, so we had to walk around the reservoir a little ways to get to the day use section. There were people grilling hotdogs, and I was a little jealous. All that bike riding made me hungry!

Kyle is wearing a gray shirt from Trunk Club and orange shorts by Chubbies. Chubbies motto is “skies out, thighs out” and specializes in shorts for men, including swimwear. They recently added women’s clothing too.

We bought those awesome shoes Little Man is wearing in Florence last summer. They were too big for him at the time, but they were so cute we just couldn’t pass them up. They are great for slipping on and off easily, especially when his feet are wet.

In the water! It was a little murky but had a nice sandy bottom. The water was pretty warm too! It felt good standing in cool water on such a hot day.

I’m wearing my favorite t-shirt from Loft and shorts I recently purchased from Trunk Club (this review). This tee was super breezy and great to bike in. Warning: it’s very thin! If you’re going to be biking all morning with the sun to your back, you may burn. Found that one out the hard way!

Little Man made sure to stay hydrated. He had fun drinking out of all of our water containers (except for his own of course). You can also see a close-up picture of those cute shoes! They have little claws on the toes.

Once it finally cooled down a little bit… the mosquitos came out. This chambray shirt from J. Crew Mercantile and Papermoon maxi skirt from Stitch Fix were a perfect way to stay cool and cover up from the little bloodsuckers.

For dinner Colleen made spaghetti with sauteed vegetables on her camp stove. She has this really awesome collapsible pot called the Sea to Summit X-Pot. It’s silicone with a metal bottom, and it collapses down really flat: great for hiking and bike touring! Not only does it flatten to conserve space, but she can also fit a bowl and a cup inside of it.


The next morning she made oatmeal using the same setup. Little Man loved sitting on the table watching all of the action.


Little Man was having a great time running around while we packed up camp. I love this picture, he’s just so cute! In this picture he was eating the last bit of cereal out of his snack cup. This is our favorite one because it has a lid, and has proven to be really durable (he likes to toss things aside once he’s done with them).

All packed up and ready for the return trip. I started out wearing a sweatshirt I received as a “stylist surprise” from Modcloth. That skirt I’m wearing is bike shorts with a faux skirt front (similar). When I bought it a long time ago I felt it was a slightly more stylish alternative to regular shorts.

I wasn’t as sore as I expected to be, but boy did my butt hurt once I sat back on the seat! I was afraid it would be killing me for the entire ride home, but luckily once I warmed up the pain went away.

We rode along the water this time, which allowed us to skirt around that last hill we went up the day before. It was definitely much more pleasant. We did have to bike along a gravel road for a short stretch, which was kind of fun but also a little scary.

We stopped at a little market on the way back to get Little Man some snacks. For the second day I was wearing a Papermoon shirt I just kept from Stitch Fix (this review). It was similarly nice and breezy, and even though it was getting really hot I felt pretty good with the breeze.

In the picture below you can see that the stripes are actually only in the front. The back of the shirt is the same material as the front pocket.

Despite all of the challenges, I actually felt really good about the trip. I didn’t think I could do two days of 17 miles, but it wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. I even made it up a couple of really steep hills without stopping to walk my bike up! I’m not sure if I’m going to become the next Super Biker Woman (Super Biker Girl? Super Biker Woman 2.0?) but I look forward to doing similar trips with my family in the future.

Click here if you want to read my mother-in-law’s blog post about the same trip.


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