CYCLING TOURING THE USA

Chatting amongst my friends James and Jason I drunkenly came up with another lunatic adventure. The plan was simple, ride my bicycle around the world. Or at least, see how far I could get. The only problem I could see was the furthest I had rode a bike was about 15 miles, and that nearly killed me.

The more I thought about it, the more it seemed like a plausible idea. In 2010 I had been watching a documentary on the BBC called the Man who Cycled the World, it was magnificent show about Mark Beaumont who broke the record for the fastest unsupported bicycle trip to circumnavigation the world. This planted the seed and got the ball rolling. I set myself a departure date for my adventure – May 2012. First up, I need to save money, buy a bicycle and get fit. However, plans never go according to plan and in February 2011 I was being made redundant. Now, I could’ve found another job to tied me over for another year but I was so eager to get going I brought the departure date forward by a year.

Come February I had packed up what little possessions I hadn’t sold and moved back to my parents house in Essex. In the in the months leading up to the departure I was training hard, and by hard I mean cycling to the pub most nights. I bought a bicycle which I named Battle Cat, and I planned the first part of my route which would see me starts in New York City and cycle across the US before pointing my bicycle south and head to the very tip of South America, then I would conquering Asia if my legs could take it.

May 4, 2011 came by extremely fast and before I knew it I was saying goodbye to my family and friends before boarding my flight to New York. I was spending a few days in Brooklyn catching up with friends before my departure. This was the turning point in my trip and my life as I knew it. Let me explain…

Myself along with some friends were drinking at a bar when I noticed a beautiful young girl across the bar from me. Using my (drunken) Essex charms I got chatting to her and before the night was over we had exchanged Facebook details. One day later I hit the road.

2 months 29 days later I across the USA on a bicycle. Heading down to San Francisco my bicycle broke down and was in the shop for 2 weeks getting repaired. This happened to be perfect timing as I had arranged to meet Julie, the pretty young girl from Brooklyn for a road trip around the National Parks of California. That’s where the bicycle adventure would end for now as two days later we found ourselves getting married in Vegas and having to explain everything to our parents.

Now married, I suggested Julie should buy a bicycle and we should try and cycled back to New York, which would be my new home. And that’s just what we did, we cycled down the Californian coast and through the deserts Arizona and New Mexico until we hit Texas, unfortunately this is where the adventure ended as we had to fly the rest of the way home because I had my Green Card interview a few days later.

Never did I expect this adventure would play out how it did. Now, I’m happy, living in New York City and married to the girl of my dream. I wouldn’t have change a thing.

TOUR STATISTICS

Miles Travelled

Miles in One Day

Calories Burned

Average Speed

States Visted

Feet Climbed

Maximum Speed (Mph)

PACK LIST

This was my first attempt at long distance bicycle touring so choosing a kit was an adventure all in itself. The bike, the bags and most of my camping equipment I wouldn’t change. However, I took too many unsuitable day wear clothes and wish I bought merino wool jerseys and t-shirts for riding in, just to stop the terrible smell I was emitting after a few days on the road.

I also wished I had invested in a down sleeping bag. My synthetic bag couldn’t keep the cold out on sub zero nights in the mountains and the early morning freezing fog on the coastal routes.

Electronic-wise, the Macbook Air 11″ was a perfect traveling companion, it lacked speed for complex video editing, but great for everything else. The Garmin 605 was the most valuable piece of electronics I owned on the trip, with the US maps I could easily find campsites and motels along the route.

BIKE

  • Koga Signature World Traveller: More info here.

BIKE BAGS

  • Ortlieb Back Roller Plus Panniers
  • Ortlieb Front Roller Plus Panniers
  • Ortlieb Handlebar Ultimate 5 Plus – With Map Case
  • Ortlieb Medium Rack-Pack Bag

CAMPING

  • MSR Hubba Hubba HP Tent
  • RAB  Three Season Sleeping Bag
  • RAB Silk Sleeping Bag Liner
  • Therm-a-Rest ProLite

COOKING EQUIPMENT

  • MSR Dragonfly Stove
  • MSR Medium Fuel Bottle
  • MSR Alpine 2 Pot Set
  • MSR Flex Skillet
  • Snowpeak Titanium Mug
  • Light My Fire Titanium Spork
  • Light My Fire Swedish Firelighter
  • 2 X Lighter

BIKE CLOTHES

  • 3 x Lycra Bike Shorts
  • 1 x Endura Thermolite tights
  • 1 x Endura Windchill II Soft Shell Jacket
  • 3 x Endura Hummvee Lite S/S Jersey

DAY WEAR CLOTHES

  • 1 x Pair of Jeans
  • 1 x Peter Storm Hiking Trousers
  • 1 x Endura Hummvee Baggy Shorts inc Liner Shorts
  • 4 x T-Shirts
  • 1 x Short Sleeve Dress Shirt
  • 4 x Uniqlo Quick Dry Boxer Shorts
  • 1 X Uniqlo HEATTECH Extra-Warm Long Jones
  • Carhartt Beanie
  • Carhartt Cap
  • 1 x Salomo XA Pro 3D Ultra GTX trainers

 

WATERPROOF GEAR

  • 1 x MEC Kongur GTX Pro Jacket
  • 1 x Endura Gor-Tex Cycling Trousers
  • 1 x Endura Strike Waterproof Lined Glove

ELECTRONICS

  • 11″ Macbook Air 2010
  • 320GB G-Drive Mobile USB external Hard Disk
  • Panasonic GH2 Micro Four Thirds
  • Panasonic 14mm 2.5 pancake lens
  • Panasonic 20mm 1.7 pancake lens
  • Olympus 14-85mm lens
  • Rodes Video Mic Pro
  • 16GB SD Card
  • Kindle 3rd Generation
  • iPod Nano – 8GB
  • FindmeSpot GPS
  • Garmin Edge 605 GPS
  • Mini Gorilla Battery Pack
  • Samsung GT-B2700 Mobile Phone

BIKE PARTS & TOOLS

  • Leatherman Rebar
  • 15mm Pedal Wrench
  • Crankbrothers Multi Tool
  • Tyre Leavers
  • 2 x Gear Cables for Rolhoff
  • 2 x Brake Cables
  • 8 x Brake Pads
  • 2 x Rolhoff Oil changing kits
  • 4 x Inner Tubes
  • 2 x Park Tyre Boot Kits
  • 4 x Power Links

 

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