Last year when I passed through Missoula in June to play polo and drink beer at local breweries, I stopped by the Adventure Cycling of America office. While I was standing out front trying to lock up my bike, a guy rode up and invited me to lock my bike in the corral behind the wall, on the side of the building. And then he proceeded to inquire with a rapt curiosity about my bike and my origins – and then invite me inside for ice cream (free for all bike tourists who come through). I had just met Greg Sipple, co-founder of Adventure Cycling America. Sipple’s bike tour from the northern tip of North America to the southern tip of South America with 3 other companions had inspired the establishment of ACA, and since then touring and the people who do it have been Sipple’s life.
ACA was instrumental in establishing the TransAmerica trail, and organizes tours all over North America now. Sipple keeps a Polaroid photo log of everyone that comes through the ACA headquarters, and also captures unique folks and bikes on 35 mm black & white film for his personal archive.
My bike stood out instantly; it was the first polo bike to ever make its’ way to the ACA office. We engaged in a mutual fascination, Sipple and I, as he interviewed me on bike polo and I applied my own inquires about his touring experiences and insights. I was asked to pose for the film archive on my first visit, and during my stay in Missoula I returned to the ACA office almost daily, to tell a little bit more about polo and learn a little bit more about touring (and for more free ice cream).
Later on, I was contacted about being featured in the Open Road Gallery of Adventure Cycling magazine – check out my bike and I on the last page of the August issue. It was awesome being able to set up my polo bike for touring, with a rack and panniers, bottle cage, and a gear/shifter setup. Now it’s all stripped down for polo and running single-speed again. My bike is so awesome.