The Cyclistand his steed
10 May | Downingtown PA
Latestfrom the saddle
18 June 2021
The folks I meet are a genuine highlight. I much enjoy hearing about their lives, their stories, and most of them have questions. Their first is usually, ‘where ya goin’? When I reply with ‘Seattle’, they sometimes pause and go quiet for a bit, letting it percolate. Some have said, ‘which Seattle’? Some reply, ‘Seattle … Washington’? And some say, ‘oh my god’.
I have met only one other rider going coast-to-coast, and he is a car guy, taking Route 66 from St. Louis to the Santa Monica Pier. He is one of two people I have met twice on the trip. He blew past me in Bowie, MD, riding with minimal gear (near to 14 pounds) on a carbon fiber bike. That said he is also camping, and carries both a GoPro and a drone.
Easily the second most popular question is, ‘what is with the noodle’? I want movement on the back of the bike, to attract attention from passing motorists. I believe no one wants to hit me … it’s too much paperwork … so I aim to be seen. On previous trips I used a kiwi flag, and on others, yellow construction tape tied to the seatpost. In all three cases, those items were found along the highway. The current lime green noodle I found in Philadelphia while delivering flowers. The cycle was bought off craigslist, in Richmond, VA months later, so the color matching with lime green panniers was a happy coincidence. I also wear contrasting colors, white leggings, which block 90% of UVB rays, a hi-vis SPF top, and white MIPS helmet with a DaBrim.
That brim is also a popular topic for questions. The one on my head is the only one I have encountered. It is a modern-day sombrero that attaches to the helmet and saves me a mountain of sunblock. Next to the kevlar belted tires, it is my favorite piece of kit.
I surely do appreciate your feedback on the photos, and I am thrilled to be able to share this amazing journey with you all. Muchas gracias to Pepe for making it possible.
Motivationsfor the long ride
I have never been on a cycle tour, where at the end, I was not keen to continue. Granted, those trips have been 4 days for the Otago Rail Trail, 11 days for the Erie Canal Trail, and 15 days of the GAP/C&O both directions, Pittsburgh-DC-Pittsburgh. So a trek of three months or so will test that premise.
A Missing Mode
Previous trips across the continent have been by car on motorways; by car on secondary roads; by bus on Greyhound; by rail on Amtrak and Canada’s Via; and by air. A transit on two wheels is a glaring omission.
Time Is Short
Turning sixty in a wee while, the ole body is proving true to the advice my elder siblings have long counseled, in that it is showing signs of wear and tear. Carpe diem.
The Time is Now
Perhaps the biggest reason is opportunity. With cruise ships idle again this northern summer, there is no work in Alaska, so the timing is ideal. After the most unsociable year in memory, and with a double jab of Moderna´s finest, it will be a real treat to visit friends and family along the route.
A Long Time Coming
When I was an impressionable young fellow living at our parents farm in rural Pennsylvania, a friend of the family rode his bicycle onto the lawn under the maple trees, having crossed the land, and was nearly back to his home in New Jersey. My Dad retold his story many times, always adding that he ate an astonishing quantity of home cooking at dinner that evening. Our parents were quite fond of serving food to others and his visit was one of many highlights.
To go for a bike ride, and keep going, simply sounds fun.
David Glenn Rehmeyer
10 May 2021