This is the story. We’re riding our bikes across the country. Who’s “we”? There are three of us. Quinn is a photo editor, Andy is a messenger and bike shop mechanic, and Ken is a web designer & filmmaker. None of us have done anything like this before, but we ride every day of our lives in New York City. We figured that in itself is badass enough for us to assume something like “how hard could it be to ride 3,500+ miles across the Rocky Mountains and Great Plains and stuff?”
Of course, it’s going to be hard. It’s going to be real hard, at points. Particularly the mountains. Going up, at least. And Pennsylvania. Everyone’s been telling us that Pennsylvania sucks more than anything else when you’re riding cross country. “The Endless Mountains” are in Pennsylvania. Sounds pretty, sure – untill you’re riding your bike over endless mountains.
We’re not crazy. Everyone asks us if we’re crazy. Like my Grandma. She told me I should just drive. “That’s not the point, Gram,” I told her. The point isn’t getting to a destination…the point is just how we get there. We’ve got a whole bunch of friends who’ve done this in the past, and all of them have given us helpful advice. Those are the people who haven’t called us crazy. In fact, most of our friends have told us they’re jealous.
Perhaps they’re jealous because we get to take three months off to do something like this instead about worrying about our unemployment for that whole time. I totally wish we could blame this on the economy, but I think that only works in Quinn’s case. (She works for a lot of publications, and a lot of publications are folding these days). Ken has made sure that he only had freelance, contract jobs for the past year, and Andy works in places that give him the freedom of flexible schedules.
Ken started thinking about this sometime last summer, and somewhere along the line, Andy and Quinn said that they’d come. As far as we can tell, we all get along well enough to spend three months in tents or strangers houses together. Ken & Quinn are avid Bike Polo players, and Andy’s an avid… Bike Polo heckler. On the weekend of June 6th, we’ll be in Milwaukee for a Polo tournament sponsored by Cog Magazine and Milwaukee Bikes. Rumor has it that LOS MARCOS POLOS will be showing up.
Our plan is to take a train from New York to Portland. It’s going to take the better part of three days to do that, with a layover in Chicago. None of us have done this before either, and seeing the country by train is probably going to be just as awesome as seeing it slower, by bike. Plus, we like to support the national rail system…unless someone can give us a good reason not to support Amtrak. Like they’re exploiting someone or something. Once in Portland (a wonderful bike city, we’re told), we’re going to hit the shore for a night, then take off due East by Monday morning, the 20th. We’re cutting south to Salt Lake City, where Quinn’s mom is going to put us up in a hotel and feed us steaks. Then we cut Northeast through Wyoming, which might be the most difficult part. Not Wyoming, just getting TO Wyoming. There are some serious mountains in our way. We’re going to hit the awesome looking Crazy Horse Memorial along the way, and eventually meet up with Johnny Hunter from The Underground Food Collective as soon as we cross into Wisconsin. We’re riding with him to his hometown of Madison, then to Milwaukee for the tournament. After that, we’re going through the Midwest to Dayton, where Brett Ohio is getting married. CONGRATS, BRETT. Then it’s through the crappy state of Pennsylvania where Ken’s childhood friend Scott Buhrman is getting married. CONGRATS, SCOTT! Immediately after that, we’re going to Avalon NJ where Quinn’s got a beachouse. It’s all relaxing there – for a few days before we finally make it back to NYC around July 15th.
3500+ miles, 90+ days, 3 people, 200 pounds of stuff (estimated), bears, mountain lions, rednecks, mountains, national parks, great divides, and on and on and on. It’s going to be awesome.