Beethoven's Hills

Sometimes it rains. Sometimes three troops of Boy Scouts show up. Luckily, there's Beethoven.

Bicycle Adventurers: Rachel and Scott.

When: March 2016

Accommodations: The campground at Missouri’s Pine Ridge Recreation Area.

Distance: We rode 26 miles on our first day and 11 miles on the second.

Bonus tip for this adventure: If you want a quieter time and don't mind gravel, go east past the campground to the next gravel road and turn left, then two right turns. The campground at the Dry Fork Recreation Area also has water, a vault toilet, and few campers.

Day One

I loaded the panniers and pedaled away from it all. Two hours and 18 miles later, I met Scott at the regional airport and once again pedaled away — this time with company. 

The next few miles flew by on a quiet, mostly flat road. Then we hit Meadowmere Drive and some crazy steep hills. Scott hasn't ridden much since his shoulder surgery three months ago and had to walk the hills, cussing, though there's no shame in walking hills. Plus, our timing on this narrow two-lane road with no shoulders and plenty of hills and curves coincided with the day's commuter traffic. 

Finally, we made it to Pine Ridge Campground and just in time too, but not just for the sunset — an hour later, three troops of Boys Scouts showed up, their cars parked all the way back to the highway. 

We watched our little fire and listened to excited boys chatter. 

Day Two

We woke up to rain pattering on the tent and went back to sleep, one of many good things to do when it rains on your tour! Birds chirped and I got up and made coffee for Scott in the cool morning. I don't drink coffee and wished I'd had a warm drink for myself — I made a mental note for my packing list.

Rain. Boy Scouts. Hills. A sore shoulder. We packed up.

“Wait!” I said as we put on our helmets. I found the Bluetooth speakers and hooked it to Scott's handlebar bag. Handing him his phone, I said, “Pick out some music that would be appropriate for the movie, Rocky.” Scott only listens to classical music. It started to rain again. 

Beethoven's Fifth Symphony got us through the rain and up the hills. At each hill, I shifted down, down, down, and the moment I was in my lowest gear and it became hard to pedal, I hopped off my bike and we pushed our bikes up the hill in the rain, together.

Before we knew it, we turned on to the comparatively flat road, the one without much traffic, and the rain let up. 

The airport was just three symphonies away from the campground, Beethoven's Fifth, plus No. 7 and No. 3. Soon, we were home, warm and dry.

Your favorite local bike shop?

Walt's Bicycle, Fitness, & Wilderness 
1217 Rogers St .
Columbia, MO 65201 
(573) 886-9258


Bike overnight tips and tricks?

  • Beethoven.
  • Stuff I didn't need but am glad I brought anyway: bike repair tools, a spare tube, and a FiberFix replacement spoke.
  • Try to avoid Meadowmere Drive during commuter hours.
  • The last time I toured by bike, I forgot spoons and we scooped up our food with crackers. This time, I forgot a dish scrubber, so we cleaned our dishes, not very well, with cold water and numb hands. 

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HOW ABOUT YOU? Inspire others by submitting your bike overnight adventure!

3 responses so far ↓

Folding Bike Reviews & Tips - Jun 20, 2016 at 6:00 AM

Great and hilarious post :) I pretty much experienced the same with having forgotten spoons and the leather man for my cycling trip. But those small details don't stop us from the great joy of the trip

Ryan - Jun 24, 2016 at 9:41 AM

I think I have just discovered a new unit of measurement for distance "oh that's just two symphonies away" thanks.

Marhal @FoldTheBike - Nov 13, 2016 at 4:04 AM

Awesome post. Small detail cant match the big memories. Great write up.

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