Did you know that Lucy Woodward, our surf instructor, has been touring across Europe for the past 6 months with her sister Emma, and best friends Gen and Georgia? They've pedaled across hundreds, actually well over 1000 miles across rugged terrains like the Pyrenees Mountains in Spain and France, to the sweeping coastlines of Greece.
This isn't the first bike tour, Lucy and her sister Emma have accomplished under their young belts. In 2006 when Lucy graduated highschool, they biked across the US, from New York to California. What a power team, those Woodward girls (and recently her mom and dad even joined them in Germany to ride along!!) MSG is proud to have them both at camp this summer. Lucy's back as a lead surf instructor, Emma will be a van driver, and Gen will be helping us with videography.
I've caught up with Lucy here and there on Skype, throughout the past 6 months. Here's an interview I'd love to share with the Maui Surfer Girls…to provide a lil inspiration and show that surfer girls can also be brave and bold bike touring girls too!
1. How long have you been touring across Europe?
I have been touring since Christmas '10 when my friend Georgia and I met my sister and Gen in Rome. Emma and Gen have been traveling since late September.
2. What memories have stood out?
There are so many great memories and moments that picking one is hard. But one that stands out at this moment is when we crossed over the French-Spanish border. The border of France and Spain is designated by the Pyrenees Mountains, a infamously rugged, wild and steep range of mountians. The climb wasnt hard since we crossed over at the Eastern end if the range, but it had been raining all day and it was still chilly (early March). Once up and over we crossed the Spanish border and the rain really started pouring, we could of sworn it was freezing rain pelting our faces as we started our decent, with the light dwindling and tractor trailers whizzing by. We made it to camp and set up in the pouring rain. We all barely slept being kept awake by the lightening storm, which we all individually were in fear of getting struck. We had asked the campground owner about bungalows since but he said we had to earn our ride. Even though these moments might seem scary and in no way would anyone want to do such things it is these types of moments that make you feel accomplished, proud, and stronger as a cyclist and person.
3. What's your favorite country to bike through?
Every country is unique. When we first get to a country we are really excited. But soon we start to want to see another country with another culture. Each country has something different to offer. Some are good and easy for bicycling (France, Holland) and others are good becuase of the people (Spain and Germany). Overall however not one country has stood out. Every country has had moments of extreme natural and historic beauty and each has had gross industrial ports and coastal development. When traveling by bicycle you get to experience the good, the bad, and the ugly. Not just the pretty and scenic.
4. What's your worse day on the trip?
There was a particularly cold day in Italy in Februaury when it was raining and my hands were so cold and we were riding through urban areas. It was Sunday and everything was closed so I couldn't find a place to pee. But that day we met a couple traveling around the world on their bikes and we chatted in the miserable cold rain for an hour and every ounce of agony of that day was lifted with the combined spirit bicycle touring.
5. Do you have quads and abs of steel now? Has it been physically demanding?
I wish! No not really, maybe quads. The thing with bicycle touring is that after you get in shape riding 40 to 50 miles a day — it's what you do everyday so the physical challenge is taken away and it's just like walking up four flights of stairs to get into your apartment. Eventually it becomes routine. Every so often I get motivated and do some core or arm work outs and even though biking all day is a routine we still are a little tired at the end of the day after cooking dinner and setting up our tents we just want to lay down.
6. Any suggestions to the MSGs who want to go on a long bike tour?
Get comfortable riding a bicycle if you aren't all ready. Next get some panniers (bicycle bags) and put some weight in them to get comfortable riding with gear. Start out short in a place you are comfortable. Take a week or weekend to ride to local park or a close by friend or relatives house. Plan out the route carefully to make sure here are safe and legal roads to ride your bicycle on. Local bicycle shops often teach courses on bicycle maintenance, you don't need to be a pro but understanding how your bike works and how to change a flat tire is helpful. Within the USA there is and organization called Adventure Cycling Association, which has many routes all over the United States that are easy to follow with the correct maps. They are also a good organization to look into if you are interested in bicycle touring. They often lead group tours and youth tours all over the country.
7. Did you feel safe as a female biking through all those countries?
I haven't once felt uncomfortable for my safety, however I am a very trusting person. Since we are group of strong, powerful females I felt safety in numbers has worked for us. If I was traveling by myself I might not have felt as safe. I also believe that if you put out an energy that is scared and fearful, then scary things will happen. Walking, surfing, or biking through life with confidence in yourself helps create an energy of power and strength for the world to see. (I can't agree more with ya on that, Lucy!)
Check out these amazing pics from their European cycling tour. And follow their blog link!
THE MSG'S HONOR TEAM WOODWARD FOR AN AMAZING EUROPEAN TOUR!!