Frequently Asked Questions

How many miles did you bike?

5,312

How long did the trip take?

94 days. 78 of them were spent riding on the bikes, and 16 were “rest” days, visiting public lands.

Where did you start and end the trip?

We started our ride in San Francisco, California on September 9th, 2017. We reached the Atlantic Coast near St. Augustine, Florida on December 5th, and ended our ride in Columbia, South Carolina five days later.

How many miles did you bike in a day?

We averaged 67 miles a day overall. But in the beginning of the trip we were doing fewer miles a day, since we were climbing a lot of mountains and visiting a lot of public lands. In the second half of the trip, we did 80, 90, and 100-mile days fairly consistently, when the land was “flat”, and we were in better shape.

How much did you train before the ride?

Not much.

Did you have a support vehicle?

No!

Where did you sleep at night?

We carried all the necessary camping and cooking gear with us on our bikes, so we could sleep in campgrounds, or wherever folks would let us camp. We also stayed with several WarmShowers hosts-WarmShowers is a free worldwide hospitality exchange for touring cyclists.

Did you have any bike breakdowns?

Several: a broken spoke, a broken derailleur, two blown tires, a broken chain, and countless flat tires.

How did you make and choose your route?

Our route is based on a network of cross-country bicycle routes designed by Adventure Cycling Association. Adventure Cycling is a nonprofit based in Missoula, Montana that empowers folks to travel by bicycle.

We designed our route so we would go through as many public lands as possible, as well as some larger cities, so we could meet with organizations based there.

Because of the time of year, our route needed to be a southern one, to avoid snow in the mountains. We also knew we want to end in Colombia, South Carolina so we can see a good friend of ours graduate from college there in mid December!

Which public lands did you visit?

So many! Here are just the federal public lands we visited (as opposed to state lands. But we visited some of those too!):

Golden Gate National Recreation Area, CA
Eldorado National Forest, CA
Great Basin National Park, NV
Dixie National Forest, UT
Zion National Park, UT
Red Cliffs National Conservation Area, UT
Cedar Breaks National Monument, UT
Bryce Canyon National Park, UT
Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument, UT
Capitol Reef National Park, UT
Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, UT
Bears Ears National Monument, UT
Natural Bridges National Monument, UT
Grand Canyon National Park, AZ
Kaibab National Forest, AZ
Coconino National Forest, AZ
Prescott National Forest, AZ
Tonto National Forest, AZ
Tonto National Monument, AZ
Gila National Forest, NM
Big Bend National Park, TX
Amistad National Recreation Area, TX
Sam Houston National Forest, TX
De Soto National Forest, MS
Gulf Islands National Seashore, FL
Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve, FL

What were some of your favorites?

Great Basin National Park in Nevada, Grand Staircase Escalante and Bears Ears National Monuments in Utah, the Eldorado National Forest in California, and Big Bend Ranch State Park in Texas were definitely a few of our collective favorites.

Why by bike?

We realize that a trip like this could have be done just as easily, if not easier, by car. But we went by bicycle to call attention to the importance of reducing our country’s dependence on fossil fuels. Public lands are being sold off to companies that will use them for mining, drilling, housing, or maybe a shopping center; things that would be both energy-intensive and environmentally devastating. By traveling on two wheels rather than four, we hoped to call attention to this relationship between our energy consumption and the earth. 

How did this team come together?

Katie and Hannah met in 1st grade when they were in the same Girl Scouts troop, and have been good friends ever since. In high school, they met Alex while skiing on the Mahtomedi Nordic Ski Team together. The three went their separate ways to college, but remained close friends.

Hannah met Ariana at Macalester College when the two of them played in a string quartet together. Katie met Ariana first, though, when the two of them worked together as outdoor guides in northern Minnesota for YMCA Camp Menogyn.

Peter Kvale, Katie’s finacee, joined WOWFWL as an Honorary Woman for the second half the trip.

How can I help out in protecting public lands?

Check out our How You Can Help page!