Illuminated Days

Words and illustration by Kona Ambassador Gretchen Leggitt. Photos by Wang. Gretchen rides the Kona Sutra LTD.

A few months ago, as a bonus hour of daylight coincided with the trees sprouting their first buds, opportunities for spontaneous, bike-fueled camping adventures blossomed. Although I’d consider myself open to adventure in all conditions, the invitation of longer days and clearer skies beckoned for mini bikepacking getaways.

Lacy Kemp | KONA COG

So often, adventures involve epic planning and packing, followed by days of grueling hardships and suffering. One- or two-night bikepack trips, however, present just the opposite: light hearts, light planning, light hardships and not-so-light bikes. Necessities on these quick getaways are a hammock, sleeping bag and pad, headlamp, Jetboil and coffee. Secondary items include a cribbage board, Jitterbug Perfume, a bocce set, wetsuits, watercolors, shrimp, rigatoni and an assortment of spring squash. While they are not mandatory, they are welcome baggage on my two-wheeled steer named Sutra.

Lacy Kemp | KONA COG

In early March, with the promise of a crisp and clear evening and an additional hour of light, a small group of us kicked off our “midweek bikepacking micro-expedition” season. Leaving at 7 pm on a nondescript Tuesday, we pedaled a handful of miles, just long enough to shake off the workday and feel the sea breeze on our faces. Pushing our bikes across rocky beaches, we slung our cocoons in seaside trees and ate a memorable dinner by bonfire. Waking to the lapping of currents and squawking gulls, we pedaled into work by 9 am the next morning.

Lacy Kemp | KONA COG

As days grow longer, multi-day getaways to the San Juan Islands and regional hills follow. The planning becomes slightly more involved as we add extensive gravel exploration, mid-ride snorkeling and extreme bocce tournaments to the mix, although the logistical simplicity of these carefree, car-free expeditions remains the same.

Lacy Kemp | KONA COG

My Kona Sutra is a faithful reminder that we have a choice to cycle left of the mainstream, mix up our stagnant routines, and recognize that life (and adventures) don’t need to be so serious.

Lacy Kemp | KONA COG