Getting in the Saddle

See related story here.

First, make sure all of your “basics” are up and running. Have your bike tuned (Onion River Sports, Montpelier, 229-9409, is the closest Central Vermont bike shop). Make sure your horse is fit, too: it’s a good idea to have your vet give the OK for the journey.

Make reservations at New Discovery State Park ( or 426-3042). There are seven horse camping sites in the park.

You’ll need all the camping basics, and plan to drop them off at the campground ahead of time: a tent, sleeping bags (rated for 45 degrees should suffice for most of Vermont’s summer), portable stove, ice chest, coins for the shower (if you want hot water) and something to do if it rains (books, games, etc.).

Map out your route in detail. We recommend the DeLorme Earthmate PN-30 (about $300; global positioning system. It comes packed with the most detailed maps, but be warned: the software is challenging, but worth the effort.

Also, don’t forget essentials for along the way: a bicycle repair kit (I stupidly forgot one, and experienced the singular joy of walking my bike nearly 5 miles during a solo ride); a good first aid kit (for you and the horse); potable water; grain and treats for the horse; a hearty lunch.

—DA and PT

Darren Allen and Philene Taormina

Darren Allen, the communications director for Vermont-NEA, and is an avid alpine skier, road cyclist, and runner who has completed three marathons. Philene Taormina is the director of advocacy for AARP-Vermont who, when she is not on her horse, takes yoga and rides her bike; she participated in the 2005 Des Moines Register’s Great Annual Bicycle Ride Across Iowa.