I am over halfway! Well over halfway in the number of days given for my ride, just about halfway in terms of miles to Canada.
I know I have a lot of new readers and subscribers so I wanted to answer some common questions I am getting as well as recap my first half with some stats.
Why in the world not?
I think my desire to do this started about 6 years ago when my older sister and her now husband rode the whole West coast. I wasn’t living on the east coast at that point but the idea of bicycle touring was planted in my mind then.
A few years later my sister Ali and her husband David asked if I wanted to ride the East coast with them. At this point I was living in Florida.
I said of course! The dates for this ride changed multiple times over the next couple years. I was set on going after my 3 year mark at work. After 3 years (which was March 2019), I was both vested with Verizon and done with my MBA that they paid for.
This seemed like the perfect time for me.
My sister got prego though so they ended up not being able to do it with me, but that’s okay because I’m having a blast by myself! Not to say I wouldn’t have had an excellent time with them..
I have been biking to breweries for a while now, and I’ve seen more outside of the US than inside, so I figured the best idea would be to bike the East Coast and go brewery to brewery.
My sister said their biggest regret from the West Coast tour was they went too fast. So I figured going to breweries and meeting local people along my route would slow me down, but for good reason.
Al this to say, I’m riding the whole East Coast to see more of the US, drink good beer, and meet lots of awesome people!
Through years of budgeting!
I am a nerd in the fact that I love numbers and budgeting. This has definitely helped me though, as under a year of starting at Verizon Wireless in sales, I was able to pay off over 30k in student debt. After that (and before I was married) I auto deposited 10% of every paycheck into my “fun” account (after I was married this changed to 5%).
So for nearly 3 years I had this “fun” account growing as well as investing that money into stocks so my money could be making money.
That is how I have been able to plan this trip.
However! It has been the kindness of family, friends and total strangers who have supplied me with places to stay, food to eat, beer to drink, and everything else in between that has helped tremendously with my budget.
That is definitely how I have been able to stay in safe places, drink good beer, and not lose too much meat on my bones.
I have never had a road bike before this trip, always a mountain bike or BMX bike back in my youth.
I bought a Surly Long Haul Disc Trucker for this trip and it was a great purchase! It has been fast on the streets, tough off the road, handles great even with 60+ pounds added on with panniers and equipment, and have had no major issues.
I am using the surly front rack with Jaand paniers on the front that carry spare parts and tools, cooking equipment, bike lock, and other miscellaneous items that don’t need to necessarily stay dry.
On the back, I am using the Ibera bike rack with Ortlieb waterproof panniers. Those carry my sleeping stuff, clothes, electronics, journal, brewery coasters and stickers and anything else that needs to stay dry.
I am using the Brooks standard bike seat, and REI Passage 1 tent. I strapped a Camelback on the front rack to carry extra water when I need it, and carries most all of my food.
I’ve been blessed to not have any issues with any of my stuff so far!
The East Coast Greenway!
An awesome organization that has been around since the late 90’s who are trying to complete a consecutive bike path from Key West to Canada.
Their website has it all mapped out with about one-third of it on actual bike paths and the other two-thirds on more bike friendly roads.
This route takes me through Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, DC, Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine.
So it pretty much follows the coast all the way up through Maine and to the border of Canada at Saint Stephen.
I do have to use Google maps quite often too. This directs me to breweries, coffee shops, grocery stores, camping sites, etc.
I have met so many kind, funny, interesting, crazier than me, generous people.
Since I am traveling alone (which I totally recommend everyone does at some point in their life) I am forced to meet other people. I don’t have the crutch of someone I know next to me so I have to go out of my way to meet and talk to others.
It definitely puts me outside my comfort zone as I would say I am not super outgoing. But I love it! So many stories, wisdom, and good conversations come from others I have met along the way.
It also helps you appreciate where other people come from, how they live, what they do for a living and to see people with the eyes of Jesus no matter how different they are from me.
Surprisingly, the riding part hasn’t been the hardest. I want to tap out more often than not due to being mentally tired than physically tired.
The hardest part has been sleeping in my tent with a thin pad in the heat. Really, trying to sleep when it’s so hot out even at night has been the hardest part.
Luckily (and hopefully) it should be getting cooler at night the farther north I go!
Probably not enough! It’s hard to keep up with how many calories I burn during my ride.
Here is a bullet list of stuff I buy at the grocery store:
– instant protein oatmeal
– small flour tortillas
– Luna bars or Cliff bars
– Starkist creation tuna/chicken packets
– bananas and apples
– hikers trail mix
– instant mash potatoes
– canned chili
– canned soup
– instant pasta creations
Outside of making my food, I have eaten lots of Chick-fil-A, subway, and McDonald’s breakfast. Every now and then I will splurge and go to a local sit down restaurant or diner, but typically would rather get something cheap, filling, and without having to tip someone to wait on me.
Unfortunately (or fortunately) most of my budget goes towards the breweries! I get a lot of calories from the beer at least!
I have grown very fond to getting chocolate shakes often too! Sometimes regretting it after when I’m back out in the heat trying to bike another 30 miles.
Coffee, water, beer.
My top 3 favorite styles of beers right now would be Sours, IPAs, and Porter’s, but I will drink anything especially if the bartender recommends it or the brewery is known for it.
Let me know if you have any other questions about my ride!