How many miles did you bike?
5,312 miles. Give or take a few.
How long did the trip take?
94 days. 78 of them were spent on the bikes, and 16 were “rest” days, visiting public lands.
From where did you start and when?
San Francisco, California on September 9th, 2017.
How did you get there?
We took the Amtrak train from St. Paul, MN! It took three days.
Where and when did you end?
Columbia, South Carolina, on December 10th, 2017. We hit the Atlantic Coast near St. Augustine, Florida, however, on December 5th.
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 lower mileage days, 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.
Did you train?
Where did you sleep on your trip?
We carried all our own camping and cooking gear with us on our bikes, so we could sleep in campgrounds, or in people’s front yards. We’ll made good use of a great network of hosts on WarmShowers, a free worldwide hospitality exchange for touring cyclists.
How did you make and choose your route?
We designed our route based on a network of cross-country bicycle routes designed by Adventure Cycling Association. Adventure Cycling is a nonprofit based in Missoula, Montana that works to empower 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!
What public lands did you visit?
So many! Here are just the federal public lands we visited (as opposed to the state public 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.
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 you all meet?
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 while the two of them were playing in a string quartet together their senior year. Katie also met Ariana last summer when they were both leading wilderness trips in northern Minnesota for YMCA Camp Menogyn.
Peter, who will be cycling and supporting the crew for the second half the trip, has been dating Katie since the two met in college. Lauren, our filmmaker, also went to Mahtomedi High School and was on the Nordic ski team, and has been a good friend of Hannah’s for many years.
How can I help out in protecting public lands?
Check out our How You Can Help page!