On September 1st, my friend Arlo Grossman and I are embarking on a tour across the United States.
On our bicycles.
We are riding to promote cycling popularity, to teach bike maintenance, and to see this country in its purest form. We are going to ride about 3500 miles over a period of three months. We plan to roughly follow several Adventure Cycling routes: the Northern Tier, the Underground Railroad, the Transamerican, and the Western Express. We are 18 and 20.
O U R P U R P O S E
First and foremost, bicycle touring is one of most enjoyable, exciting, and sustainable ways to travel, and this is how we want to see the country. You’re in touch with the landscape, the people around you, and yourself. There is nothing like physically getting yourself to where you want to be, and when you ride, you miss nothing along the way.
We’re also riding to show that we can all live with less, and enjoy living more while we’re at it. The more that people ride bikes, the more people will realize their practicality, and the joy and freedom they provide. We will be an example of blissful self-sufficiency: each of us living entirely out of four panniers and water bottles.
And lastly, we want to spread our knowledge of bicycle maintenance. Since working at the local bike shop, Arlo and I have honed our mechanical skills, and deepened our passion for bicycle education. We love teaching people how to repair and maintain their bikes, and we will make it our mission to do so throughout this tour. Whether it's a seat-height adjustment, a flat tire, or a bottom bracket overhaul, we want to help.
O U R E X P E N S E S
We will be riding a minimum of forty-five miles per day on fully loaded touring bikes, often through treacherous terrain and climates. This is not our first tour, so we have an idea of what to expect. However, this is a trip of much greater magnitude than anything we have done, and through many challenging areas, which we know little about. What we do know for certain is that we will be eating a lot.
A conservative food budget for eighty days at this rate is $10/day each. However, we will probably spend more like $15/day each. Make no mistake, we will rarely "eat out", but we will attempt to eat fresh food when it is available.
We will have an alcohol burning stove for roadside meals like eggs, rice, beans, vegatables, and pasta, and we will eat a lot of nuts, cereal, berries, chocolate, and food from farmstands. I need at least $1200 just to sustain myself during this trip and this is where the bulk of my budget deficit lies--in calories!
I have already spent that much on assembling a touring bike suitable for this tour, by gradually saving up over the past six months. I will need to set aside about $600 to maintain and repair my bike, as well as replace my gear and clothing. That means replacing brake pads, chain, or whatever else that might fail under the stress I’m putting this bike through.
Or new rain pants, if mine get ripped off by a passing cougar. I thrifted most of my clothing for this trip, but that will be a less-than-practical option l when I need to replace something immediately. I’ll probably have to shop new at outdoors stores ($$$).
We will need to pay to enter national parks. We will probably need to supplement our gear if it fails, or for severe weather. We will need to have limbs reattached after we are mauled by wild animals. There are many expenses for a trip like this, and we can’t plan for all of them.
H O W T O H E L P
Any amount you donate will be hugely appreciated. Your donations go a long way to make this adventure a reality. You could pay for a sandwich in Ohio. A set of studded snow tires to get through a blizzard in Colorado. Or simply a cup of coffee at a 7/11 in Utah, if they have 7/11's in Utah. (We'll let you know)
for highlights from the tour!
-Here is a rough outline of our proposed route
photo by Alex Aroyan (Alex.Aroyan@Gmail.com
T H A N K S