We are still enjoying ourselves and our “recovery” here in Maine and are now at the Spruce Point Inn in Boothbay Harbor. This morning was spent kayaking and the afternoon on a whale watch boat trip so we are certainly not stressed! Some questions we’d like to answer about our ride and if you have any of your own, please post them in the “comment” tab and we’ll answer them.
How many miles a day did we ride?
We were on our bikes 71 of the 79 days for a total of 4230 miles which works out to 59.57 miles per day and averaged between 11 and 12 miles per hour. Our longest mileage was the wind-aided day in Montana, 104 miles, and the shortest was probably on July 4th, around 34 miles. There were some 70 and 80 mile days in there as well. We had 8 rest days where we did nothing at all but recharge our engines, laundry, bike repair etc.
Did we have any major bike breakdowns?
None. The Surley Disc Truckers are amazingly sturdy and reliable bikes and Vanessa at Landis Cyclery in Tempe set them up and fitted them perfectly for us. On a side note, our friend Vanessa is moving with her family to California before we get back to Phoenix so we won’t be able to share our road stories with her in person but we’ll stay in touch. We did have 5 flat tubes, one in Montana and 4 in two days of riding on the Interstate in North Dakota. We replaced both front and rear tires on both bikes due to the plain old wear and tear of the road. In Minneapolis we had the bikes checked out, cables and brakes tightened and both chains replaced, again normal wear and tear.
How many hours a day did we ride and where did we spend the nights?
In general, we tried to get on the road by 7 o’clock each day. The early start was to avoid the heat of the day and to get some miles in before the winds picked up. Also on most days we were able to dodge going-to-work traffic. We would pedal for 25 miles or so (about 2 hours) and take a snack break, bananas and protein bars and then resume biking until lunch, usually around 11:30 and then plan on stopping between 1:00 and 2:00. So it wasn’t that we were on the bikes every waking minute but probably 5 to 7 hours daily.
At the beginning we camped a bit but with the noise of the campgrounds and RV parks (dogs, trains, other campers – one woman next to us in Washington was on the phone to her friend at 3:00 am … loudly chattering away) we we weren’t getting enough “good” sleep to help us keep going day after day. We then shipped most of our camping gear back to Phoenix and utilized Warm Showers and hotels after that. We also shipped back our cold weather gear once we crossed the Continental Divide and later shipped some things we didn’t need anymore which emptied out our front panniers that we shipped back, too. So we were definitely lighter by the end of the trip.
What were your favorite and least favorite parts of the ride?
The most beautiful scenery along the route was in the mountains but also the hardest biking. Going through the Cascades and then Glacier NP were, I think, our favorite segments. Every day had its own challenge and beauty so there was never a terrible, horrible day but some of the hardest to get through were the rides into Browning, Montana, because of the endless hills and added mileage; after Wolf Point, Montana, because of the strong headwind; and some of the days in Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine caused by the numerous steep climbs. On the whole, we would both agree that the adventure was fun and enjoyable. We really enjoyed the long rail to trail paths in Minnesota and Wisconsin, the ride in the UP of Michigan, the Erie Canal and many others.
Be sure to post any questions you’d like us to answer. We’ll try to break ourselves away from activities like the below to answer them!!!!