Oct 20th 2014 by geoffreybeene • 26 Questions • 329 Points
I started bicycling from Bar Harbor, ME on April 23 and just got to San Francisco, CA this last Tuesday. I rode 7600 miles over 24 states, met all sorts of people, learned a ton about life/myself, and had a generally great time.
I started out to see what I was capable of--I had spent the last couple years losing 80lbs, overcoming depression and alcoholism, and generally pulling myself out of a pretty bad place. If I can do it, you can do it.
My Proof: Here's my travel blog, though I'm still working on the last few entries up to and including the "finish line": www.whereswinslow.com
If you're interested in doing something like this yourself, check out:
www.adventurecycling.org -- A great organization that sells amazing maps and route information. The TransAmerica Trail route they have is kind of the Appalachian Trail of cross country bicycling.
www.crazyguyonabike.org -- Tons of travel blogs from people all over the place. Penny farthing rides around the world...Trips that are still going on after 5 years...Or just a nice journal from someone riding in your area. It inspired me every day while I worked a cubicle farm job to save money.
Must've been something like 4 tubes and 3 tires, got a total of 15 or so flats. Patch kits work wonders to keep your tube up and running.
That being said, I have friends who rode these really great tires called Schwalbe Marathons and didn't have a single flat the entire way across the country. I got myself a pair and haven't had an issue since.
Sincere question: were you ever scared?
As a female, I would never, ever do this alone. It wouldn't even cross my mind as a possibility. I'm not complaining; I just think it's interesting when I notice how different the world can look to different people.
You are awesome for such an accomplishment and I'm envious!
I was scared my first few times stealth camping. One night was along the Blue Ridge Parkway in the Appalachians and it was so absolutely silent that night that every leaf falling, twig shifting, or bug hopping made me think a bear was bearing down on me.
As far as being a female goes, I thought the same thing. It seems really dangerous for a woman, but you know what? I met at least 5 women who were doing it solo, and had been doing it solo, with wonderful experiences. If anything, people out there are MORE willing to be kind and supportive of a woman out there on her own. Of course, I'd still keep the mace handy.
Wow. This seems like it would be so much fun to do with a small group of friends. This story is truly intruiging to me and thank you for doing this AmA!!!
My question is: What inspired you to do this journey? Was it something you wanted to do to get more fit and for health reasons, or was it something you've always dreamed of doing and seeked it as a way to help you get out of your depression?
It'd be good to do with one or two friends, but I think it depends what you want out of it! When you're going solo, you talk to way more strangers, get lots of invitations for help and food, and have a much different experience than with a group.
I rode with a few groups along the way, and had a ton of fun but it changes. You lose some freedom when you're making compromises and having to deal with the logistics of feeding an army/finding places to sleep. I'd recommend going alone, personally, but it's nice to be able to high-five someone when you get past a tough part or reach something amazing.
As for my motivations, I kind of talk about them here. I was out of my depression before the trip, at least the worst of it. I think I still have fits of melancholy and certainly did while on this trip, but I've learned that almost everything is temporary. Moods, thoughts, bodily discomfort... you forget about how hard it is to ride up the mountain when you're coasting down the other side.