A bicycle built for seeing America

A great cycling story from the AP via CNN.

When you bicycle across the country, people tell you their dreams, because they see you are living yours.”I’ve always wanted to …” they say. “Someday, I’ll …”They speak of physical challenges to conquer or exercises of the mind. Of going places or doing more at home. Some dreams already are in motion; others may never fly.

People are surprised to find themselves talking about whatever mountain it is they want to climb. Something about someone inching from one side of the country to the next brings it out of them.

Read the full story here.

Logistics, equipment and random judgments from 88 days of bicycling to Los Angeles from Washington, D.C.:

  • Bike: 2005 Trek 520
  • Mechanical problems: None
  • Tires changed: one (rear)
  • Flats: three on one tire, from spiky weeds in Kansas
  • Maintenance: Tuneup in Garden City, Kansas
  • Distance: 3,500 miles, approximate
  • Drivers most likely to wave: Kansas
  • Most dangerous traffic: Northern Virginia and Cotopaxi, Colorado, to Salida, Colorado
  • Major annoyance: Kentucky dogs
  • Unexpected courtesies: Kentucky coal truck drivers
  • Most miles in one day: 95, eastern Colorado Typical daily mileage: 50-65
  • Lodging: Two nights motel for every night camping
  • Campground tip: Free camping in some town parks in Kentucky, Missouri, Kansas and Colorado. Check with police first.
  • Trip cost: $4,500 plus $1,200 bicycle
  • Best ways to cut that cost: Rough it by camping off the road. Bring cooking gear.
  • Most overpriced town: Telluride, Colorado
  • Best riding: central Virginia west of the Blue Ridge; Union County, Kentucky; Katy Trail, Missouri; Westcliffe to Cotopaxi, Colorado
  • Rural surprises: Free wireless Internet in many small towns
  • Largest city on route: Flagstaff, Arizona
  • The don’t-leave-home item I left home without: Adventure Cycling route maps
  • Best recovery: Having Adventure Cycling send the maps later Luggage: Rear panniers and rack, handlebar bag
  • Heaviest cargo: Four-pound laptop, three-pound tent
  • Notable weight savings: Synthetic clothes that can be washed and dried nightly
  • Unexpected hazard: Laundromat dryers melting synthetic clothes even on low setting
  • Best convenience store pick-me-up: Sports drink and salted peanuts

Mike Schmidt
Stirling, NJ