When people have asked me why I’m doing this trip, I’ve tended to answer something like “because it’s a beautiful country and the people are friendly”. It’s an honest enough answer, but yet doesn’t seem quite equal to the scale of the task. After all, cycling across America from Maine to Oregon means travelling over 4,500 miles, with only legs for power. It means crossing New England at its widest point; cycling along the entire length of Lake Erie; traversing the Midwest states of Indiana, Illinois, Iowa and Minnesota; tackling the vastness of North Dakota and Montana; crossing the Rockies, the Cascades and the Coastal Range before finally making it to the Pacific Ocean. Go ahead and look at an atlas – it’s HUGE – I’m not kidding!
But even so, I can’t find a more convincing motive. It really is about spending 90 days crossing an amazing country, and the opportunity to meet people along the way. It’s about small town America; about lakes and mountains; about seeing things I’ve never seen before – maybe a moose or a bear? It’s about reducing life to the simple routine of pedalling, eating and sleeping, and the mental shift that occurs when this happens - not to mention taking a break from the domestic stress of work and unfinished DIY projects. And, perhaps most importantly, it’s about the simple pleasure of cycling down the open road.