Our final adventure to wrap up our round-the-world trip is finally revealed! Moo and I have decided to try cycling the Southern Tier route, transAmerica, from west to east. How hard can it be?
The first problem?
We don’t have bikes. The second problem closely follows in the same vein, we also don’t have any gear -whatsoever. The third and possibly more alarming is that I’ve never cycled long distance before. Never cycled a weighted bike. And don’t even get me started on what cleats are? Because, and I’m deadly serious, I have no idea what they are and how they work.
Why we’re cycling the Southern Tier?
- We wanted a challenge. We figured we’d finish our round-the-world trip on a high and see the United States at ten miles an hour by bike.
- The Southern Tier Route just so happens to be the shortest TransAmerica route you can do, and low and behold, the preferred start date is March. Exactly our window to cycle. Why not?
- We’ve done a little research (not nearly enough) and this route sounds really safe with plenty of quiet roads.
- Lastly, with all our flying this past year, we figured it might be a nice idea to turn our backs on carbon fuelled modes of transport. By opting for a carbon neutral way of transporting ourselves from west to east, I like to think we’re doing what we do best: travel ethically.
Lastly, if you’re interested in what provoked us from taking on the challenge. It all started on a road trip we took along the Garden Route, South Africa. We were driving along, and turned on a Dirtbag Diaries podcast about a guy named Jerry Holl who cycled from Alaska to Mexico with absolutely no experience. (I read his book, you can see the review here). He had the time of his life. With a lightweight bike, a good attitude and a hefty mental strength he made it all the way… with very little training. And so we thought… Hey! We could do that!
Logistics and the route itself
The cycle for us begins in San Diego, California and given we’re riding west to east, we should end up in St Augustine, Florida, according to the official maps, 4,976km later. We’re planning on setting out mid-March 2020 with the hope to make it to the other side approximately six to seven weeks later. We’ve allowed (what we think is) plenty of time for this adventure and thankfully won’t be in a rush with time restrictions.
The cycle will take us through the southern states of the United States (obviously) including: Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia. Yes, we will be detouring to New Orleans along the way.
What’s more pressing is, we need gear and that’s where we’re going down a different route to “normal” people who decide to embark on these types of challenges.
Gear for the Southern Tier route
First up, we arrive in San Diego mid-March, we plan on sourcing all of our gear within the space of. Wait for it. Four days. Not impossible, but likely the first challenge.
Secondly, we’re aiming on kitting ourselves out with 95% recycled gear, including the bike, not including under garments (that would be weird).
Why are we doing that?
If you’ve been tuning in to my posts throughout the year you’ll have heard me mention a few times how we want to support brands who produce good quality gear, made to last. We want to support the second hand adventure gear industry and prove that well made products really do last the distance.
And I guess, the cynic in both you and I, would agree that second hand gear will inevitably be cheaper. Given we’re on the last legs of our round-the-world trip, our savings have progressively dwindled.
Have you cycled the Southern Tier route? Do you have any advice?
See you next week, as I resume our tales from Panama!
Until then xo
Images via Unsplash. Map via Helder Land