Ruby and Sarah here! Proud to say that we have officially made it to our third state- Utah! This is the first bike tour either of us have ever done, and we are finally starting to adjust (both bodily and mentally) to this new physical lifestyle.
After leaving the sunny state of California and beautiful, mystical Lake Tahoe, we began our journey across route 50 in Nevada, known as ” The Loneliest Road in America.” Nevada was beautiful in its own way, and very difficult to traverse by bicycle. There are often 60-70 miles between towns, with no services or even places to refill water from one town to the next. Also, the mountain ranges run north to south, so between towns we also had to cross 2-4 mountain ranges a day. The ascents were brutal, steep climbs for 5-15 miles, followed by thrilling and terrifying descents at up to 30 mph, flying down into the basin only to climb up the next range.
In addition to the fact that we were both still green to the physical challenges of bike touring, we both got visited by “Aunt Flo” in Nevada (to use my favorite period euphemism). We mused a lot about the impact of our menstruation on our physical performance, whether it was a hindrance or not, and what the spiritual significance might be of emptying a menstrual cup on the side of the road in a barren desert. I will say that we felt incredibly grateful for menstrual cups, because having to change tampons or pads in this type of environment would have been pretty inconvenient and gross (where would we dispose of them?) not to mention quite uncomfortable for biking such long distances.
While the populations in Nevada were sparse and we had very few interactions with other women, we did have a few impromptu discussions along the way about alternative menstrual products. We visited with a friend in Fallon, NV who is in the US Navy, and we talked about how menstrual cups could be a total game changer for women in the service who are deployed on ships or in other conditions where it is not convenient to carry a load of period supplies or dispose of used ones. We also stumbled upon a big St. Patrick’s Day party in Border, NV where we country-danced with a bunch of real-life cowboys and had some quiet little girl-talk side conversations with some of the women there (most of whom were young mothers) about the harmful chemicals in pads and tampons, and how much money they could save by switching to reusables. We were delighted that they were very curious and open to it!
We finally made it to Salt Lake City yesterday, where we will be taking a few rest days before our BIG EVENT on Saturday! We are thrilled to be collaborating with Giuliana Serena of Moontime Rising, a local menstruation expert and guru, who will be opening the workshop with a talk on the history of menstruation! The SLC Bicycle Collective has also organized an all-women alleycat race during the day to lead in to the event! Tell your Utah friends, this event is going to be our biggest yet!