We Got a Van! (And Other Major Announcements)
We knew we wanted a van for a while now—with my truck and Peter’s Mazda on their last legs, a new vehicle was inevitable, but we just weren’t positive what exactly we needed. But we knew we wanted a van, and after I wrote this article for Bicycling magazine about creating the perfect adventure van, we were obsessed.
Turns out, it’s not easy van shopping when you already live on the road most of the time. Go figure.
Anyway, we finally had 1 day to shop before we left for Europe back in December, and we stumbled across what ended up being just the right van for us, for this moment in time. We went with a Ford Transit Connect XLT with a passenger seat row in the back. It’s still pretty bare-bones and utility style, which suits us perfect: plastic floor means easier to clean up dirt!
We test drove, bought, and then headed off to Belgium for Christmas Week of Cyclocross, came back, and a day later, we drove it 10 hours to Asheville, North Carolina for cyclocross Nationals before I flew to Europe to work the last round of races for the season and Peter drove the 28 hours to Tucson, Arizona to start training. Not a bad maiden voyage!
We opted for the smaller model instead of sizing up to a Sprinter, and a lot of people have asked why. Price was obviously a factor, but it was actually more based on our usage: sure, we do huge drives, like getting out to the West Coast from the East Coast. But we also need the van to do normal life stuff, like visit Peter’s parents or grocery shop (when we need too much to walk to the store) in Ontario, to go shred trails, to just do normal life things that don’t require a bed to be in the back. Since it’s our main vehicle, it needed to double as a compact car. Between the size (I can even parallel park it!), and the gas mileage (27 MPG on the highway), it just seemed like a no-brainer once we got in it to test drive. The roof is almost high enough for me to stand, and I can lay down in the back (it’s a little short for Peter, but we can fix that by making some tweaks to the layout).
Basically, it’s the best of both worlds. And even crammed with five bikes and enough gear to last January through May, it had room to spare!
Now, we’re finally both in California for a couple months of craziness as mountain bike season ramps up and we both start getting more serious about our training (and stay in one time zone for more than 2 weeks at a time!). So hopefully in the upcoming months, we’ll be blogging more about the build-out process as we set the van up to be our ultimate adventure rig (we already have an awesome rack and basket setup from Buzzrack—super reasonable prices for great gear!).
If anyone has any Transit Connect setups they’ve done or have seen, we’re all ears! We want it to be able to carry passengers on occasion, sleep sometimes, but mainly, cart a ton of gear in some semblance of an organized fashion.
And one more thing.
I’ve been accused of burying the lede on this one a few times already, so I’m just drawing it out a bit. But…
Adventures are way more fun when we’re together. And we want to keep it that way.
We’re getting married!!