We’re Biking the Atlantic Coast

What should we do this fall?,” I asked Sarah recently. Our youngest had just left for college. I’m at a break in my career. I was itching to do something big and not squander this unique window of time. But what?

Travel, to put it mildly, is difficult right now. Most of the things we would have done are off the table.

My first idea: Buy an R.V. and explore the United States. Sarah loved this idea. Loved. But apparently so do a lot of other people. In fact, it might be the worst time in history to try to buy an R.V. And to be honest, the thought of sitting for hours everyday on my butt behind a windshield was not that appealing.

My wife, however, was already scouring the Internet for sprinter vans. The image of us sitting on lawn chairs at a Good Sam R.V. park located conveniently along a six lane highway and close to a Cracker Barrel popped into my head.

I needed a plan B, and fast.

The next day, I made my pitch. “God willing,” I offered up tentatively, “we can always drive around in an R.V. when we are older. Maybe we should do something this fall that we may not be able to do in our 60’s or 70’s, like a big biking trip across the country.” That last part hung there, in the air, like a trial balloon.

This won’t be a news flash for many of you, but I love bicycling. When we moved back to Minneapolis four years ago I ditched the car and became a full time bike commuter. And there was something about that experience – being out in nature everyday and in tune with the weather, avoiding traffic, interacting with people, staying fit – that hooked me. And the idea of a long distance trip slowly formed.

And now it hung in the balance.

Sarah laughed and shook her head. “I knew you’d never agree to drive,” she said. And then she added, after another pause, “that sounds pretty interesting.” I’ve said it many times, but I’ll say it again, my wife is amazing.

And we were off – planning routes, buying gear*, doing a six day test ride. Everything checked out. We are nervous, but ready.

Ready to Roll – FYI, George is Not Coming

The Trip

Our plan is to spend the next five weeks riding a big chunk of the U.S. Eastern Seaboard. Thankfully, we will be following an established “Atlantic Coast” route created by the Adventure Cycling Association, a non profit that promotes bike travel and has established a network of routes that criss-cross the country. Their maps are excellent and take a huge amount of the planning and logistics off our backs.

We’ll be joining their Atlantic Coast route in Virginia, heading south. Our ride will be completely self-contained, with our camping gear, clothing, etc., on our bikes. Once we drop off our rental minivan at the airport in Newport News, VA, we are on our own. We plan to camp, stay in hotels and AirBnB’s occasionally, and utilize Warmshowers.org as a way to meet more folks on the ride.

Our Atlantic Coast Route – In Yellow

The Atlantic Coast route ends in Key West, Florida, but we won’t make it that far before our Thanksgiving return. I tend to push the mileage, so having no set end point will help me try to slow down and enjoy everyday instead of pushing a mileage goal.

I plan to post updates along the ride, as time and Internet access allow. I hope you follow along!

*Thanks to Greg at Farmstead Bike Shop for gearing us up and offering fantastic advice! If you are in Minneapolis, I’d highly recommend Farmstead.

8 thoughts on “We’re Biking the Atlantic Coast

  1. We’ve been wondering where you two are and how you’re doing. Keep up the entries…this is better than Schitts Creek!! 🤣🤣

  2. That image was frightening! Even scarier would be sitting inside of that RV watching TV (with the windows closed and the air conditioner on). While it is better to strike while the iron is hot, don’t count yourself out when you reach the ripe old age of (younger than I was when I rode across the continent). I look forward to posts from the road.

  3. I cannot wait to read about your amazing adventures! You guys are such an inspiration – I totally live vicariously through all the things you do 🙂 Be safe. And I hope that Adventure Cycling Association mentions any GRAVEL roads that may be on that route…..so that they can assuredly be avoided!

  4. Can’t wait to hear about the trip when you are back. I think this is so inspiring. Carrie does not agree.

    Safe travels!

    Matt & Carrie

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