HarrisonFM Hits the Road

Apr 10th, 2017 in Adventure

This Summer, I’m happy to announce that I’ll be embarking on a new adventure. Cycling cross country is my goal this year. It turns out that February’s bicycle trip turned out to be less a one off and more of a prologue! I decided only after doing that trip to take an aggressive gambit on a journey this large.

Why choose a coast to coast bike trip for this year’s adventure? Well, I started a business freelancing for my web development that lets me work anywhere, and have found the opportunity to leave my Queens apartment for Summer. Doing a purely rustic journey like the Pacific Crest Trail, where a few of my fellow Appalachian Trail alumni have embarked, would complicate getting that off the ground (this boy’s still got student loans to pay). This is a good middle ground to satisfy my wild side as well as keep a degree of financial pragmatism and a toe hold in “the real world”.

My route is going to loosely follow trails blazed by the Adventure Cycling Association, a storied nonprofit of touring cyclists who’ve been back and forth across the States and facilitate its navigation for the next generation. I do plan to improvise here and there, but I will likely be on the Transamerica Trail starting in Virginia and concluding in Oregon. Of course, I’m gonna bike there from NYC.

So where things get interesting on my route planning are my stretch goals. As I hope to be working off and on with either my computer or camera, It’s tough to estimate how much travel time that will consume. If my workload is light, or my speed is fast, I’ll be hitting the West Coast in mid-Summer. I assume that I’ll be in high spirits, in an unfamiliar but assumedly beautiful coast, so why not bike down it? So my first stretch goal will be to sojourn down the Pacific Coast, and then save on airfare by riding back home along the Southern Tier as Autumn hits. So yeah, the big idea really is to bike cross country and back!

I’ll be using online hospitality-seeking services like Couchsurfing and Warmshowers whenever possible, but I expect to be camping most nights. I’ll be reusing my shelter system from the AT *! However, I’ll be facing a new challenge with camping on this trip, which will be in finding places to stay. I can’t just camp anywhere, as it could legally fall under trespass. So, I’ll either have to employ stealth or, more my style, mustering the charm and courage to approach local communities for places to stay with a blessing attached.

I send off this post with a practice trip this week to Ithaca to see my trail friend Slim Rims and break in my bicycle (A Surly Flat Bar Cross-Check, for the gear inclined). And yeah, for all those AT people wondering, I’ll definitely be eating more of my ‘Space Food’ on this journey. Another Summer of shipping powdered food general delivery through the USPS awaits!

*Tent: TarpTent ProTrail, Sleeping Bag: REI Flash 2, Sleeping Pad: Therm-a-Rest ProLite Plus