Russ Roca and Laura Crawford, are not names you see on the mainstream celebrity pages, but they are very well-known in the bicycling community. These two make up the team that is, The Path Less Pedaled. I have been following their travels on Facebook, and recently I got to meet them in person. It was so nice to learn more about their bike advocacy programs and get some insight into what makes them tick.
Although this long time couple have been cycling for years, they decided to dive in head first back in 2009. Ditching their cars and many material items that had been clogging up their life‘s, they took to the road and made a clean break from the ‘norm’. Recently adding train travel and Brompton folding bikes to the routine, they seem to be flourishing from the changes.
They aren’t on a 365 days-a-year bike trip, but do spend the majority of their time seeing new places and meeting new people from the saddles of their Bromptons. Along the way, they help to bring new friends into the fold of the cycling world. Visiting bike events and hosting talks as they travel brings them immense joy. You can see it in their smiles and hear it in their voices. The fact that they love biking is no secret.
Russ is a photographer and photo journalist. Their website and Facebook page is filled with awesome images and videos. The storylines that accompany them are just as interesting. The fact that they are both writers is easy to see as you explore the pages they create. Laura is also a metal smith and jeweler. She likes to bring her tools and equipment to allow her to fashion custom bike head badges and jewelry while they travel.
Presently, they are in New Zealand, enjoying the country and spreading the message of cycling. I keep seeing posts of the wonderful sights and experiences they are finding. There is a cycling revolution going on there, and the fact they are being a part of it is exciting. Reading and seeing it, even if it is just a virtual thrill, makes me (and many people) feel like we are in on it. I hope you are not missing out.
In October, Russ and Laura made their way into San Diego on the Amtrak. They visited many Southern California areas during this trek. Their two Bromptons were packed with all the essentials as they cycled about. Several communities had the pleasure of hearing them speak of their journeys. We got to meet them at Velo Cult, a cool bike shop in town. Quite a group turned out that evening.
With their two Bromptons in the background, they narrated a photo slide show that helped describe the reasons and ways they bike travel. Covering many subjects, including packing, eating, and camping, they held the crowd’s interest well. In addition to their writing skills, public speaking seemed to come naturally to them. I was especially captured by their words, as I have been dreaming of partaking in a similar feat.
The stories they tell are ones you and I could be living. Who hasn’t thought of leaving it all behind and hitting the road? Whether it be by bike, car, train, or plane, most everyone fancies the idea of local and world travel. Most can only do it on short vacations and extended weekends. Some lucky ones can go even further. But most can’t do it the way Russ and Laura do. They are living the dream and we are the recipients of their journeys.
Plus, as you may know, I am a big fan of Brompton folding bikes. The fact that they recently chose to start riding Bromptons, really got my attention. Their bikes are outfitted well, including front hub generators that power the lights on their bikes. They don’t ride at night that much, but when they do, the path is lit well. They have learned to pack the bikes so they stay stable and everything they bring is protected and accessible. That includes cameras, video gear, and the support electronics.
Their eating routines on the road are interesting and seemed to be a big point of curiosity from the group assembled at the talk. They both have different needs and wants. When camping, they make some great meals, and do eat out occasionally. They sometimes get treated to feasts by volunteer hosts as they travel.
One question that might come to your mind, is how do they afford this lifestyle? They fielded this during the talk and their answer was multi-folded. Although they are living inexpensively and on a budget, they would prefer to support themselves with sales of Laura’s wares and Russ’ photo work. But they do accept donations to further their travels and causes. The message they spread is one so many of us live by and a little help to keep them on the road would be too easy. Please do what you can to make their travels easier and expand their ability to advocate cycling in many ways.
The least you can do is ’like’ their Facebook page and follow along on their website. You can interact with Russ and Laura there. Questions and comments can fill in the details of your questions and help keep them amped-up as they follow their (our?) dreams. They are a great couple with a needed message. I for one, am so glad I got a chance to meet them and will watch for each post they are sharing with us. I hope to meet them both again some day to enjoy their smiles and dreams. Thank you Russ and Laura, Turbo Bob.
“When I go biking, I repeat a mantra of the day’s sensations: bright sun, blue sky, warm breeze, blue jay’s call, ice melting and so on. This helps me transcend the traffic, ignore the clamorings of work, leave all the mind theaters behind and focus on nature instead. I still must abide by the rules of the road, of biking, of gravity. But I am mentally far far away from civilization. The world is breaking someone else’s heart.”—Diane Ackerman.
The Path Less Pedaled