Monthly Archives: May 2016

Practice Trip over Memorial Day Weekend (2)

as journaled by Brittany Koch

Trial Run to Shabbona Woods Day 2 of 2 (27 miles return trip)




Stopped for lunch.  Ambria Wilson is traveling back with us on her own bike.  The Wilsons also grabbed the trailer I had yesterday (totally lifesavers!), so I’m hauling the Burley Mommy had yesterday.  We’re hoping less weight will help her pick up the pace a little.

We’re at a place called Wolf Lake, It has a beautiful view, even if all the bathrooms are closed! We passed through her on Day 1 – the exit gate was closed so we edned up going through a tiny dirt path on one side.  Not fun with the trailers, let me tell you.

It’s open today, though and there are a lot of other people here taking advantage of the space.


An ice cream, water, and bathroom stop at a Burger King has deteriorated into equipment failure. Go figure. Hilariously, it’s due to Daddy’s bike falling over into Mommy’s, causing her gear shifter thingy rotated on it’s axis or something like that.  I can’t be entirely sure.


Rainbow Beach Park is, apparently, home to a fascinating and incredibly hospitable group of men who meet there on certain days to hang out, play handball, and offer food and drink to random families who pull up on their bikes and ask where they could find the bathroom.

Daddy’s been treated to a beer or two and is, as the token extravert of the family, making conversation with our hosts and ferreting out all the best stories. Everyone has been offered hotdogs and the younger boys have also connived some grilled chicken for themselves.

Oh yeah, did I mention these guys a grilling a huge variety of foodstuffs outside? They’re awesome.


Snack break. We’re on the lakefront near Soldier Field – the last leg of our trip home.


Arrived home.  Somewhat exhausted.  But we did it. Spent time debriefing and making notes for our big trip.

Bike Configurations

Jeff – tandem w/ Cora or Elise, trailer bike w/ Caleb, burley

Angela – bike, trailer bike w/ Lydia,

Brittany – bike, burley*

Joshua – bike, seat w/ David, burley

Ambria – bike

Elise/Cora – bike or tandem, switching off

*Angela also rode with the burley for select portions of the day’s trip, but Brittany took the lion’s share of the route.

Practice Trip over Memorial Day Weekend

as journaled by Brittany Koch

Trial Run to Shabbona Woods Day 1 of 2 (27 Miles)

10:20  Departure

Test Trip


About 12 miles and 3 hrs, 22 mins. into our trip we’ve stopped for lunch on the lake front. Casualties so far:  Lydia’s hydration pack, which started to leak around 10 minutes ago; and me, having been the victim of a dramatic wipeout a mile or so out.

Fear not – I’m still alive.  I do, however, have myriad scrapes and a chipped tooth.  It’s not really my fault:  I blame the road at the time, a horrid combination of a downhill slope and potholed concrete, plus the trailer I’m towing, which is forcing me to correct the balance of my bike every few seconds.  With both affecting me, I would’ve been more surprised if I hadn’t fallen.

Our circus train has attracted quite a bit of attention so far, including a photographer from the Hyde Park Herald who took a couple photos for his paper.

Hopefully the rest of the day goes more smoothly than this past sorta-half: I was rather shaky after my fall, and the numerous crowds and other traffic are pretty bad as we move out of the city.  Probably due to us being in the lakefront area on memorial day weekend.


Stopped again.  Daddy’s burley (trailer) lost a nut.  The amount of miscellaneous equipment problems we’ve had so far today is reaching a scary amount.


Daddy’s burley broke.  a screw this time.  All of us except Joshua and Daddy have pulled over into Rainbow Beach Park while the other two go to bring the burley over.  Then Daddy’s going to go to a hardware store to replace the part.

Elise, Cora and Lydia pass around a frisbee while I write — scratch that, they got it stuck in a tree.

Really, guys?


Mommy’s gears screwed up or something when/before we crossed a bridge over a canal, so we’ve been stopped yet again for yet a while.  Mommy, Joshua and David went out for water (because we’re all out) while Daddy tries to fix the bike.  We all (well except the ones who went for water resupply) got to see the bridge rise up to make passage for this huge barge, though, so at least there are a few benefits to this stop.

We’re about an hour away from camp if we could just manage to not stop anymore (UGH).  I’m utterly exhausted.


Arrival at camp after 9hrs 20min travel


Now dinner is on the fire and the tent is set up and being put to order.

There is a family with us that elected to drive rather than bike with us, but they’re currently set up and have saved our butts with water and some food to tide us over. Honestly, I’m so glad they are here.

My siblings are now off playing around or helping set up camp. Some are biking around the parking lot for some reason. You’d think they would have had enough of that by now.

Hopefully tomorrow goes far smoother.

Bike Configurations:

Jeff –  tandem w/ Cora or Elise, trailer bike with Caleb, Burley

Angela – bike, trailer bike w/ Lydia, Burley

Brittany – bike, unstable trailer

Joshua – bike, seat w/ David, Burley

Elise/Cora – switching off between a bike and the tandem

Our Dream Trip

While ministry can at times be as challenging as it is inspiring and rewarding, we are so grateful for the many ways that Cru cares for us.  One such way is that now that we have worked with Cru for so long, every few years we have the option to take a sabbatical and refresh our minds, bodies and souls.

This summer we will do just that!  By combining our month-long sabbatical with some saved up vacation time, we are taking 6 weeks to cycle around Lake Michigan as a family and visit with extended family at reunions along the way.

This has been a dream of ours for several years, but small children and then two summer missions in Ecuador meant delaying our dream.

Our departure date is June 18.  It is our hope that we will be updating daily about our trip. Please feel free to watch our progress through this blog.

We appreciate your prayers for our safety and that our family would grow closer to each other and to our Loving God through this experience.