AXC - The bike

AXC - The bike

Tuesday, April 1, 2014


Wait, what!? Seriously, you’re riding across the whole country, surely you must be joking?

Yes, I’m serious.
And don't call me Shirley.

Why are you doing this, are you crazy?

I’m doing it because it seems like a neat way to see the country, have a nice break from reality, and get to ride my bike lots over the summer.
As for being crazy, I’m not qualified to answer that. You’ll have to follow my blog and make up your mind for yourself.

How far is the ride?

4300 miles (give or take.) Thus the name of the blog!
But even though it’s easy to remember, you should bookmark it anyway.
Or even better, sign up on the right --> for automatic e-mail updates!

Where are you riding?

We start in Virginia, dipping our rear wheel in the Atlantic and then ride west, finishing in Oregon by dipping our front wheel in the Pacific. Passing through 10 states and 2 mountain ranges along the way.

How long will this take?

3 months.
We start pedaling on May 4th!

Who is this 'we', kimosabe?

I'll be riding in a group, there are 15 of us; me, 13 fellow riders, and a tour guide. It’s an organized tour through Adventure Cycling Association. I do not know any of the other riders, although I expect to know them pretty well by the end!

How far are you riding each day?

We’ll average 55-60 miles a day. On days when we’re crossing mountains, we might do less, and on the flat plains of Kansas we might do more. Although I’ve been warned that there are wicked head winds in Kansas (and maybe tornadoes.)

Are you riding every day?

Most days. There’s a rest day about once every seven days, give or take.
We might stop sooner in order to rest up for a hard day to come, or pedal longer so we can get to a location that’s worth stopping and spending a day at.

Where are you staying along the way?

We will be staying at various camp grounds most nights. Sometimes we’ll stay at a local hostel and occasionally in a hotel (with a real bed!)
Yes, there will be showers.
No, not every day.

How are you carrying your gear?

There is no support van following us. This is called a ‘Self Supported’ tour, meaning we carry all our own gear; tent, sleeping bag, clothes, etc.
I have saddle bags that mount to my bike, called panniers. I have 2 bags on the back, and 2 bags on the front. Plus some gear tied down to the luggage rack on the back. I’ll post pictures of the bike ‘fully loaded’ so you get an idea of all the crap I’m carrying.

What are you doing for food along the way?

The group is carrying camp stoves and cooking gear. We’ll be stopping at grocery stores most nights and will cook dinner and breakfast each day for the group. Plus we’ll bag up a lunch for the day.
Some nights when the weather is too crappy to cook outside, or we’re just too tired, we’ll eat at restaurants.
Part of the cost of the trip goes towards a communal food budget, so I don’t have to pay for food each day.
However, with the massive amount of calories I’ll be burning each day, I assume I’ll be eating second breakfast and second lunch most days, plus pretty much any ice-cream I come across.

It’s a good thing you already own a nice bike, huh?

Sadly, my super fancy racing bike is not suitable for a cross country ride, the same way it’d be more comfortable to drive cross country in a nice sedan versus a two-seater sports car.
I had to buy a new bike for this trip. A sturdy, heavy, steel framed touring bike that is more comfortable, can handle the luggage load, and survive the various road conditions I’ll encounter along the way.

What if your bike breaks down?

Let’s all collectively cross our fingers and hope that doesn’t happen.
Assuming that plan doesn’t work, I have a backup; I’ll be carrying spare tubes and tire, spare spokes, and the tools I’ll need to do simple on the spot repairs. If something is more catastrophic than I can fix on the road, I’ll catch a ride into town and find a bike shop.

How often are you updating this blog?

I intend to post an update a couple times a week. This will not be on a set schedule, but rather when I feel I have something interesting to say, the time and energy to write it, and power and internet to upload it.
You can sign up for e-mail updates on the right side of the blog so you don’t miss any exciting* posts!!

*I make no guarantee that all the posts will be exciting.

How are you getting back?

I’ll fly home from Oregon and ship my bike back. No, I’m not riding home.
I’ll be back August 8th. If anyone wants to throw me a coming home party, I’ll want cake, advil, and a very soft chair.

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