Biking Recap

Ten days ago, I bought a used bike in Baltimore. It was nothing fancy; just a couple of wheels, gears, and a rack. The whole idea was to show (both to myself and anyone else interested) that with very simple tools and very little preparation, biking was a viable semi-long distance transportation option. Five hundred miles later, I'm glad to say that I've presented enough evidence to myself, at least, to fully accept this premise (and therefore never have to prove it again).

As with pretty much all my little hair-brained schemes, if I was to do it again, I would do it slightly differently. For one, I would have spent more time on finding a bike better suited to me. Because of the size of this bike, I didn't get to exercise all the muscles in my legs, but just my quads*. Also, learning over the handlebars as far as I had to left me with a bruised palm and tingly fingers.

I also prolly should have spent a little more time in planning out a route, specifically planning overnight locations. When you are road tripping by car (or scooter, for that matter), you have the luxury of waiting until near dark and then starting to look for the nearest campsite, motel, or dirt service road. While riding, my legs had pretty much given up for the day around 5:30 and I was lucky if I could even find a place to eat dinner (usually a gas station*). This led to some need for creativity regarding sleeping spots, which I will address later.

The other thing that I would do differently is to bring sunscreen. Who would have thought that having the back of your hands facing directly up to the sky for 10-12 hours a day would cause them to get sunburned? Well, it does, and in a big way. By about the 3rd day, I was resorting to smearing mud all over the back of my hands to keep the sun off. It actually worked surprisingly well*.

All these little things aside, I think the whole thing worked out great. I'm extremely proud of myself* and this accomplishment. Biking 500 miles in just over a week is something to be proud of. On my long days (everything after Arlington, VA), I think I averaged 75-80 miles a day. Anyway, for anyone that wants to see a general route (with mileage), click here (please to note: this route mileage is somewhat of an estimate in places because I lost track of all the crazy back roads* I ended up on. Also, mileage is off because I did have to take a bus through a tunnel under a river/bay in Norfolk and I couldn't figure out how to dis-include mileage from the ferries.)

Of course there are all the sights I saw (a surprising amount of wildlife, actually) and interesting characters that I met along the way that made this little trip such a grand adventure, but this post is too long as it is. You'll have to hear about that stuff in real life.
Thursday April 17 2008File under: travel, USA

Toggle Comments (5)comment?
on Thu 17th Apr, 2008 10:43 am PDT Saxtor said:
Regular milk mud = chocolate milk. Got it.

You deserve to be proud. I am pretty excited that you did this, as it sounds like an infinitely fun and rewarding experience, fo sho*. As far as having to muster up creative spots to snooze, I must say, having a hammy really reduces the scale of such a quandary.
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on Thu 17th Apr, 2008 11:48 am PDT Nesbitt said:
I still can't believe Baltimore did not get greater space in the BLOG. Go O's and crabs! Not to mention the old dude you bought the bike from. Give us some love.
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on Thu 17th Apr, 2008 05:41 pm PDT Chris said:
Hey, I've been touting the greatness of the bike for several years, I'm just glad to see you haven't let bad influences like Andrew and Per convince you that cool kids don't wear helmets.
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on Thu 17th Apr, 2008 06:54 pm PDT Sean said:
What advantages does this bike have over say, a train, which I can also afford.
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on Fri 18th Apr, 2008 09:46 am PDT Saxtor said:
The helmet debate is old hat to Per and Andrew. They've now moved on to convincing people that cool kids don't need bike gears.
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