TRANS-AMERICA TRAIL @swallowbicycleworks LOVELAND, OH via SeekandEnjoy
The incentive to undertake a transcontinental bicycle ride is different for all of us. For some, it’s a life goal to experience the country from the seat of a bicycle. Others do it for a taste of adventure; to live a simple life for a while, to spend some time in the great outdoors, to welcome the unknown. Regardless of the calling, the simple act of equipping a bicycle with basic essentials and then pedaling it across a continent is something a lot of people take on. Throughout my years working in bike shops, I have had the pleasure of assisting many individuals on this kind of journey. Inspired by their stories, I imagined myself setting out the same way one day to truly experience this place I call home.
When most people consider doing a trip like this, the challenge is timing. The time it requires to complete the journey can take anywhere from one month to four months, depending on the route and speed of the rider. This certainly was a big factor for Tom and me. To complete a cross-country tour would require us to close our business for a number of months. Another barrier was the prospect of riding a paved road route and sharing roads with large vehicles traveling 55-80 mph. I do not imagine a long, healthy, and enjoyable life cycling on roads where semi trucks are buzzing past me, which is why Tom and I travel on dirt roads. Riding on dirt roads is a lot like riding on a bike path, but with the diversity of hills and curves that back roads often have. Most of the time you have the whole road to yourself allowing you to ride side by side and to actually hold conversations with your partner. Stopping – to take in views, to take pictures, or to picnic – is a carefree, and often car-free experience. So we waited for the right time to one day ride across the country, not by way of highway, but by dirt roads and back roads.
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