photo by screanzatopo
Doing a trans-continental bike tour has always been something that sounded awesome to me. The feeling of freedom and self-reliance one has while gliding above two wheels is intoxicating, and the sense of accomplishment one must feel at the end of such an epic journey is unimaginable.
But it wasn’t until I met four people, a group of friends from San Francisco who are cycling across the northern tier of the US and recently rolled through Madison, that doing a tour became a lifetime goal for me. After spending an evening talking with these guys, I wrote an article about their endeavor for The Capital Times – here’s an excerpt:
They have traveled over 2,000 miles. They have climbed the monstrous hills of the Cascade mountain range, been caught in a torrential storm that nearly blew their tents away, broken down along an empty stretch in Montana, survived for days on tuna fish sandwiches and spent sleepless nights amid clouds of mosquitoes.
But a 20-year-old who grew up near Madison in Deerfield and three friends he met in San Francisco say the biggest challenge of bicycling on their own across the northern tier of the United States has been dealing with their own emotions. [Read Full]
What I think is absolutely beautiful here is that these people are investing themselves in the journey for its own sake, for the sake of travel and self-exploration. While doing rides for charity is certainly as valuable, embarking on a voyage with the goal of simply going allows the unexpected to unfold in a much deeper way.
It’s inspiring to see people around the world doing similarly amazing stuff on bicycles. Vagablogging wrote about Dominic Gill a while back, a guy who’s riding a tandem from Alaska to Argentina with a vacant seat for anyone to hop on board and help pedal, and also about a group of friends who cycled the Silk road.
The friends from San Francisco got most of their route information from Adventure Cycling, a company that’s been promoting bike culture since 1973. I would definitely recommend checking out their online route maps, and to start dreaming up your own adventure – I know I am.