The Nature Zine, Issue 2


I can’t believe it’s been a year since the first issue of The Nature Zine. Now I have a whole new collection for you to enjoy!


Issue 2 is packed full of intense stories, thoughts, poems, art, photos and an ‘interview’ from multiple contributors. I’m thrilled to share with you this next run of submissions- they are all quite inspiring. People share their fears, passion, and thoughts on exploring, connecting with and studying nature. The beautiful ruffed grouse on the cover was painted by Jay Dowd, owner and tattoo artist at Consolidated Tattoo Parlor and Barber Shop in Flint, Michigan. Jay and I have gone on a LOTS of outdoor adventures together and he spends any moment that he can out in the wilderness, so of course it was a pleasure to include his painting. I really enjoy receiving submissions from all over the states (and Canada!), so please keep them coming.

My friend Matt and I collaborated on a piece together for issue 2- never too late- as we had once discussed writing of our 6 month adventure (much of which has been described here, but we now we were able to reflect on our journey and share new aspects of it all). We essentially interview ourselves- as in we came up with a few questions and then separately wrote our responses. We waited to share them until we both completed our pieces. I then meshed them together, leaving them as they were- not letting our answers influence one another.

If you are interested in a copy, I’ll send you one for free, trade or a $1-$3 donation.  Donations just help to cover the cost of copies and shipping. Plus allow me to keep up with this very enjoyable project. I’m on a student budget so anything helps. Just use the the paypal button below or email me for other options, batsnbikes [at] gmail [dot] com

Donate for a copy of The Nature Zine

Much thanks to everyone who has contributed to this project! I’m keeping Issue One in print as well, so let me know if you are interested. Both a creative outlet and a way to share our thoughts on connecting with nature, The Nature Zine will continue on with more issues.  If you are interested in contributing, please send your stories, thoughts, and art to me or contact me for more information:  batsnbikes [at] gmail [dot] com

p.s. wondering what a zine is? This should help.


You’re in Austin?

If it seems like Matt and I went out to eat a lot….. well we kind of did.  I’m obsessed with scoping out vegan places while in a new city and well, Austin has a LOT of options.  This isn’t to say that we didn’t make lunch and dinner often, because we did that as well.

I originally wanted to put a zine together for my good buddy Christopher and anyone else coming to town for Chaos in Tejas but time fell short and instead I’m making this blog post that will hopefully prove useful to him and others visiting Austin.  It is by no means all inclusive and I’m sure we missed some places.  For more on vegan options in the city, check out VegAustin.

You can get to all of these places by bike, bus, some are walking distance and well, if you have a car, I’m sure that’ll get you there as well.  The bus system is decent here.  It’s affordable, too: $1 per ride or $2 for a 24-hour pass.  Or if you are staying for the week it’s $9 for a seven day pass.  You’ll have to get the 7 day pass at HEB, the chain grocery store here.  But you can purchase the day passes and single trip passes on the bus. Their late night buses aren’t too great so make sure you check into those if you party pretty late.

I’ve focused mainly on vegan food, and threw in a couple of other things to do as well.  I didn’t really touch on bar culture because I have a heavy dislike for bar culture.  There are a decent amount of places that have punk shows here, but I’m sure you can ask plenty of other people about bars.  XXX

That being said….. here’s the list of places that stood out to me- they are all linked to their websites that have the location and other info as well:

Continue reading

State Parks & Libraries

It’s probably due time that I write some sort of summary or collection of thoughts about our much shortened bike “tour”? Do we even get to call it that? From Little Rock, Arkansas to Marshall, Texas… obviously we didn’t take the most direct route, so around 300 miles total before my knee told me that it was going to self destruct if I kept going.

December 15 – December 26.  We took days off in an attempt to let my knee a rest and I managed to catch a lame cold as well during that short time.  I kept trying to convince myself that if I didn’t ride one day that I’d feel better the day after.  It never really worked out that way.

We were lucky enough that it never rained when we rode (I’m also a huge nerd about checking the weather on our solar/crank radio that has the NOAA weather band).  We stayed with various people along the way that were very welcoming and let us use their kitchens as well.  We mostly slept at State Park campgrounds and a couple of times we stayed at cheap motels in small towns when we lacked other options.  Some nights camping it dropped down to the mid 20sF. We stayed warm while we slept but getting out of our sleeping bags was never kind.  We kept our riding clothes inside our bags which helped keep my feet warm and the clothes as well.  Our rides always started off with climbs…. always.  So we’d usually warm up right away.

Lake Catherine State Park just outside of Hot Springs, Arkansas.

At first we attempted to use Google maps bike route option, but quickly scratched that idea.  We soon realized that there was a significant correlation between the number of cars present and the number of loose dogs.  As the number of cars increase on a given path, the number of dogs chasing us on our bikes decreases significantly.  Sorry, I don’t have any specific stats to prove this but I will say that having doggy pepper spray came in handy a couple of times.  Matt also proved to have an effective method of yelling “STAY!!!!”…. a few times we would actually have to jump off of our bikes and start yelling at dogs.  On the rare occasion that we were speeding downhill, we’d smile and laugh as the dogs would quickly give up their chase…. somehow, though, I think our ratio of uphill dog occurrences was greater than downhill dog chases – dogs are smart.

Although dogs, vultures, crows and cows were probably among the most abundant non-human animals that we came across, I’ve decided that the great blue heron best represents our bike trip in a positive way.  We came across them quite often and no matter how much my knee would be torturing me, that brief moment of seeing the heron poised so confidently in a creek or gliding above us always made me forget about my knee and really enjoy being outdoors all day, riding along for hours and hours and miles and miles.  Another joyful site, while camping at Caddo Lake State Park in Texas, we had a winter wren (my favorite) visit us a couple of times.  He’d just hop around on the forest floor tossing around leaf litter, calling out here and there. So tiny, so cute!

Caddo Lake State Park, Texas

Matt and I made it our goal to see an armadillo, aka “little man in armor”, while on this trip that wasn’t “sleeping” on the road.  Matt caught a glimpse of one foraging, perhaps a little too close to the road side.  We jumped off of our bikes and took a few pictures and I made those ridiculous gestures and sounds that I make when I see cute animals (unfortunately for everyone, animals included, I have yet to find a non-human animal that does not fall into this category).

Well my summary quickly turned into an animal sightings briefing…. So there we have it. Bikes, camping, hills, libraries, cold nights, cute animals!

I’m still extremely frustrated with my knee and it’s not getting any better, but I’m happy that we rode, even if a short distance and I look forward to our adventures to come!

For now we hang here in Austin, make some cash, and try to not eat vegan soft serve everyday.

More to come soon…. vegan recipes for camping!

If you’d like to see more photos from our December random travels… click this.

Kneezies: Plural for lame knees

What is adventure without leaving open all possibilities? Many of you have asked us if we mapped out our route for this trip.  What small attempts we made were never for more than a week, and we never followed them for more than two days. We left, and still continue to leave our route open.  However, I am sad to admit that our mode of transportation has changed.

Jump back a few years and you would find me with a busted knee, travel midway between then and now and you would find me recovering from knee surgery. Torn cartilage in my knee had flipped over and was steadily digging a groove in my femur with every movement I made.  Since then running has always been too high impact for my knee, but biking was only bad in the winter.  You add a decent amount of weight to that bike, ride in constant rolling hills and it’s almost instant and incessant pain. At first I tried to ignore the pain.  If you know me, you know that I rarely take any sort of medication. It got to the point that I was taking 2 Aleve every morning and was still in constant pain for the 35-55 miles we were riding a day.  280 miles in Matthew helped me admit that we needed to stop.  It’s difficult for me to think about not doing something that I have been planning for so long, but I am going to try to look past that. No need for the adventures to end!

So on an excellent note, Matt and I have decided to hold up here in the lovely Austin, Texas for a couple of months.  We will find jobs, a place to stay and then depart for Chile.  We still plan to travel South and Central America for a few months, unfortunately our bikes won’t be with us for our travels.  Why Chile first? Well my Papa will be there and I’ve always wanted to have him show me around his home country. A thrill this will be and I look forward to seeing my family and traveling around with Matt.

Oh and I must say that the bike and vegan friendliness of Austin is incredible. Ian has been super helpful and rad to let us crash with him for now and give us ideas of places to check out as well.  I really don’t mind avoiding the Michigan winter either. It feels great to leave our adventure path open.

More to come soon on some details of our really random Little Rock, Arkansas to Marshall, Texas bike tour.

Lots of climbs.