For most people, the idea of biking across America would seem like an impossible undertaking. If you were told you would be spending 20,000 minutes on your bike seat to cover a distance of 3,000+ miles, it would seem like lunacy. It appears even more improbable if you include crossing hot deserts, sandstorms, tornados, scary thunderstorms, remote stretches, soul sucking headwinds, flood plains, steep inclines, treacherous declines, trucks blasting by you two feet away at 80+ mph, hunger delirium, costly bike repairs, and mangy stray dogs chasing you down while you bike up a hill. Oh . . . and add in possible nefarious characters you might bump into including biker gangs, the Russian mafia, serial killers, ghosts, and even perhaps, a UFO sighting. The idea of biking across America was so far out of my comfort zone that my imagination ran wild and placed my fear gauge on overdrive. It was all part of trying to achieve the seemingly impossible goal of biking across America self-supported.
In today's workaholic society where busyness, wealth, and status are celebrated, and yet over 70% of workers are unsatisfied, I wanted something different. I wanted a mission that excited and inspired me. I wanted to physically and mentally challenge myself to take on a bold, audacious goal that scared the shit out of me. Biking across America without external support fit the bill. In the following pages, I share my journey of discovery as I first bike down the California coast before heading east from San Diego to Amelia Island, Florida. I share the fears that almost stopped me from starting, the various adverse situations I had to overcome, the many amazing people I met, the epic landscapes I experienced, and the triumph of accomplishing a seemingly impossible dream.
While my main motivation for riding across America was the challenge of biking from the Pacific to the Atlantic ocean, it turned out that the rewards were not simply conquering the physical and mental challenges but more so in overcoming my fear and personal demons, experiencing the power of kindness from strangers, learning lessons including what is humanly possible, and most of all, recognizing what a great country we live in.
In this travel memoir, I put you in my seat, experiencing the day to day grind and mystery that makes this 3,411-mile journey of discovery so rewarding. Enjoy the ride!
Overview Route Map
Chapter 1: My metamorphosis into an adventurous spirit
Chapter 2: Why I Biked Across America
Chapter 3: Gear
Chapter 4: Finishing the Pacific Coast Bicycle Route - Dreams, Big Sur, Beaches
Chapter 5: The Southern Tier Bicycle Route Begins - Challenge, Desert, People Power
Chapter 6: West Texas - Remote, Surprises, Hill Country
Chapter 7: East Texas - Dogs, Thunderstorms, Tornados
Chapter 8: The South (Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama) - More Dogs, Warmshowers, Lovely People
Chapter 9: The Southern Tier Bicycle Route Ride Ends (Florida, Georgia, Florida) - Food, Gratitude, Accomplishment
Chapter 10: Bike Trip Stats
Chapter 11: Cost Breakdown of Bike Trip
Chapter 12: Lessons Learned
Chapter 13: Last Reflections