Story #10: My sister and I biked across the USA.
That’s right. We locked up our place in the Lower East Side of Manhattan and biked our asses to Seattle, Washington.
The most commonly asked question we get is: how long did it take you? Our entire trip lasted 2 months. Some “cheating” was involved. Could we have done it faster? Maybe, but it would have been really hard and it would have sucked. Would we have been happy to do it over a longer period of time? Yes. I would recommend 10 weeks to 3 months. Or longer if that’s your style.
This is one of my favorite stories of all time. This is because to this day, it is one of the things I am most proud of. Of course, this story is comprised of a million other stories and I have already mentioned this trip multiple times in my April challenge.
If you are interested in bicycle travel and want to know more about our trip across the country, I recommend checking out our original blog back from 2008. I also wrote a blog for my bicycle trip from Utah to Taos, New Mexico. You can read about that trip here. When my older sister, Maya, and I decided that we would do a long distance bike tour, we did a lot of reading and planning. I think one of the best places you can start learning about travel by bike is the Adventure Cycling Association. You really don’t need anything else, actually. You can learn everything you need to know on that site. However, there are many other fun resources out there.
And, to be completely honest, the most important thing is that you get on your bike and ride. Less is more when you are traveling by bike. And if reading and planning hold you back, all you truly need is the grit to hit the road. I try to convey this to as many people as possible.
People from all walks of life are in awe of this adventure when I share it with them. Many say that it sounds “practically impossible.” If I learned anything from this experience, it is that anything is possible. You just need to stick with it for long enough.
Bicycles are the most efficient form of transportation. They are good for your health and well being. Plus, they are much better for the environment than anything with an engine. You are constantly connected to the environment and your body when you’re riding. You are also much more connected to other living things around you. It’s an exhilarating experience that continuously fuels my love affair with bikes.
The original spark for this trip was my Junior year of high school. A sociology class is responsible for planting the idea of long distance bicycle travel in my mind. We watched a film about troubled girls in a group rehab home. During the summer months, they could opt into a program that would take them on a bicycle trip down the continental divide. It is one of the longest bicycle paths in the world. It spans Canada to Mexico and follows epic terrain. There is one rule for the girls who sign up for the trip: they all finish together or they don’t finish at all. This film changed my life.
Up until 2007 I rode bikes to get around and for fun. I joined advocacy groups and did group rides. It was a great social outlet. But when my time living in NYC came to a close, push came to shove with the bicycle trip idea. I was living with Maya and my boyfriend at the time. Once I knew I was leaving NYC, Maya decided that she was moving too. She was moving back west and she was going by bike.
Well, damnit. If Maya was going to bike across the USA, she sure as hell wasn’t doing it without me. The rest is history.
Our cross country bicycle trip also serves as an important reminder that life is short. You have to prioritize your bucket list adventures. No one is going to force you to accomplish your dreams or even encourage you to do so, necessarily. Chances are you even have a few nay-sayers in your life. So, it’s up to you to do all the crazy shit that makes life sound amazing.
What’s one of your greatest accomplishments? What’s something on your bucket list that you’re totally pumped about but haven’t started planning yet?
I believe in you, you maniac! With love, ❤ LB