A Conceit…

One of the small conceits I have as a touring cyclist is the need to name my tours. The 2016 ride from Halifax, Nova Scotia to Key West, Florida was “Beach2Beach,” which was inherited from my aborted ride from Atlantic Beach, Florida to Pacific Beach, Washington. I’ve told the story about how that all happened elsewhere in case you’re interested- here’s a [link]. In 2017 I did “Brook2Bayou”- a ride down the length of the Mississippi River from Lake Itasca, Minnesota to the end of the road in Venice, Louisiana, out on the delta in the Gulf of Mexico. The year 2018 started with the “Banjos2Bayous” ride- round trip from Nashville, Tennessee to Natchez, Mississippi and back on the Natchez Trace Parkway. I couldn’t think of a “B2B” nickname for last fall’s Washington, D.C. to Kansas City, Missouri trip- I considered and rejected “Bureaucracy2Beefsteak” as too cumbersome- so settled on “DC2KC” for that one. And thus here we are.

“Side2Side” refers to the start and endpoint places: Seaside, Oregon and Seaside, New York. The latter Seaside is a suburb of New York City out on the Rockaways. I have a whole list of great names like this- I call them “cognates”- for transcontinental rides: “Port2Port” for Eastport, Maine to Westport, Washington and “Head2Head” for Heceta Head, Oregon to Nags Head, North Carolina are examples. There’s lots of others.

I know, I know. Maybe too cute for some. But I have friends who name their bicycles, so there’s that. I’d never go that far.

“Those are indeed some odd scans…”

Well, I was warned.

I’ve been posting in the various Facebook bicycling groups of which I am a member ongoing information about the somewhat fairly pretty oh well, okay… extremely detailed planning I’ve done in getting ready for Side2Side. The day by day itineraries, the mile by mile route, the address of the nearest Golden Corral when I am in Omaha…

…1511 Gregg Rd, Bellevue, NE 68123…

…those sorts of things. Many folks commented applauding my hard work. Others took issue with having most everything worked out in advance, noting that doing this, at least as far as they were concerned, took a lot of the sense of adventure out of the whole endeavor.

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Nice horsey… now giddyap!

I am a Clydesdale bicycle rider.

There. It’s out on the table. Having said it, I won’t dwell on it in this blog further.

except for this post.

If you are, in today’s parlance, “triggered” by discussions of obesity and fat people, stop here. Some of what follows is not pretty. But, it’s part of who I am as I start out riding across the North American continent, so you might as well know.

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Enough of that other stuff… let’s talk about me

OK, just kidding. Well, kind of. I mean, who’d want to read a blog about a cross the continent bike ride by a tax accountant? Or a quality assurance manager? Or a lawn care products specialist? Not to put down any of those professions- important jobs in today’s society all- but wouldn’t you rather read a travel adventure written by a pirate? Or an astronaut? Yeah, those sorts of folks- that’s who I’m talking about. Well, sorry. I’m just a retired lawyer, urban planner, and military officer. About as close to anything really exciting that I can claim to have done was to have not started World War III while I was a Nike-Hercules Air Defense Artillery officer stationed in Italy on a mountaintop with a tin barn full of nuclear missiles just waiting for me to give the word.

So there’s that. But otherwise, just the usual life full of quiet desperation. Oh, and bike rides.

I grew up in the Chicagoland ‘burbs of Downers Grove and Naperville in the 1950s and 60s. Every kid I knew had a bike from about age 5 on up. I owned for my first “store new” bike a black Schwinn “Tiger” model that I still remember riding today.

For me and my contemporaries, bikes were our “wheels.” They meant freedom from “walking distance” from home. The only reason I’m even a little willing to acknowledge 50 years later how far that meant in actuality for me at the time is that both my parents, bless them, are long dead and are thus unable to ground me permanently, as in forever. And they would have, had they known.

After my first not so successful shot at college I was drafted into the Army. I bought a Peugeot road bike in France while stationed in Germany in the mid-1970s and during the remainder of that decade into the early 80s while I was stationed in bases in Germany and Italy I rode extensively in those countries and neighboring countries in Europe. Memorable trips were from Koblenz to Trier, Germany along the Moselle River, round-trip from Pirmasens, Germany around Lake Constance, and from Montecchia di Crosara, Italy around Lake Garda. Back in civilian life and with law and graduate school now behind me, in the late 1980s I commuted by bike one summer 20 miles/32 km each way from my home in Waddington, New York up on the St. Lawrence River to my workplace as a county land use planner in Canton. In the 90s I rode the length of Baja California from San Diego to Los Cabos, from San Francisco to Seattle along the Pacific Coast, and around the Olympic Peninsula from Seattle. After I married my wife Heather in the mid-90s we bought a Burley Rock’n’Roll tandem and rode in a number of places around the country and in our by then home state of Alaska. I then took a roughly 15 year break from cycling, for reasons I’ll get around to explaining in this blog sooner or later.

In 2016 after buying the Disc Trucker I cycled 3,600 miles/5,800 kilometers down the Atlantic coast from Halifax, Nova Scotia to Key West, Florida.

In 2017 I rode 2,400 miles/3,850 kilometers down the length of the Mississippi River from Lake Itasca, Minnesota to Venice, Louisiana out on the delta in the Gulf of Mexico

and from my home just north of Anchorage to Chena Hot Springs, Alaska northwest of Fairbanks, a trip of just about 400 miles/650 km.

Last year I cycled round trip on the Natchez Trace Parkway from Nashville, Tennessee to Natchez, Mississippi and back in April- a distance of about 950 miles/1500 kilometers-

and from Washington, DC to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania via the C&O Canal towpath and GAP trail then down the Ohio River to Cairo, Illinois, up the Mississippi to St. Louis, Missouri, then across Missouri on the KATY trail wrapping up in Kansas City Missouri.

I also cycled last summer the big road loop in Central Alaska, an 800 mile/1,300 km trip.

But wait, as they say, there’s more! That’s for the next post, though. See you again tomorrow.

It’s just this little chromium switch here…

Hey, hello?

is this on…?

…testing, testing…

Oh, there you are. So let’s get going.

The 103 day Side2Side transcontinental U.S. bicycle ride that I will start off on a week from tomorrow is just under 5,000 miles/8,000 kilometers long.

I will ride an average of just over 56 miles/90 km each day I am on the road, six days out of seven each week. The ride is unsupported and will have me camping 75-80% of the overnights. I’m 66 years old- will turn 67 during the ride- and, at 260 pounds/118 kg, am a Clydesdale rider. My bike, a 2016 Surly Disc Trucker with a Rohloff Speedhub, will weigh in fully loaded at just over 100 pounds/45 kg.

I will be joined somewhere in the Dakotas by a friend, Deano Thiele, who will ride with me from that point most of the rest of the way to the end. He and I will part ways in Albany, New York, as he has plans there. At other points in the ride I hope to be joined by other friends for shorter distances, and if you are reading this and find yourself along the route with time on your hands on the day in question, consider yourself invited to do just that.

In posts over the next several I’ll give you some background information about me, my bike and the gear I’m carrying and will describe the route in detail. Thanks for following along.

It’s June!

Twenty-two days, folks. Twenty-two days.

I’ll be working behind the scenes to get this blog ready. I’m bringing my old iPad Air this year and have every intention of bending WordPress to my will this time around. Call it a test of resolve. I will use this blog as my primary means of reporting on the Side2Side Ride.

See you in a couple of days to talk about the ride itself, and what I’ve been up to as far as getting ready for it goes.

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