Adventure Complete: Cycling Across the US

On May 1, 2016, Joy and I set out to ride our bicycles across the United States. 5 months and  4,275.7 miles and 172,171 feet of climbing later we completed our adventure!

Our goal was to raise research funds to fight Glioblastoma Multiforme (GBM) in honor of our friend, Warren Thornthwaite, who passed away from this awful disease in May of 2014. We hoped to raise $20,000+ to help fight GBM. To date, we are just shy of $28,000! Thanks so much to all of you who have donated so generously to this fight. For those of you haven’t yet donated, we encourage you to donate now to the National Brain Tumor Society’s DEFEAT GBM research efforts.

Here is a quick summary of our incredible journey across the United States.

Kickoff in San Francisco

We started the day by dipping our rear wheels in the Pacific Ocean at Baker Beach in San Francisco. A group of fellow cyclists (family, ex-colleagues and friends) joined us for a ceremonial kickoff ride across the Golden Gate Bridge (and back). Everyone else joined us at Chrissy Field for a send-off picnic.

The first time Tony and Joy ever rode across the GGB

Splashdown in York, Maine

Thanks to New Hampshire friends Karen and Tom Grimmett, our Splashdown event on the East Coast was a book-end event to our kickoff. Karen and Tom, longtime friends and colleagues of Warren as well as Tony and Joy, organized a surprisingly large group of their cycling friends to join us on a 12 mile ride from Prescott Park in Portsmouth, New Hampshire up the coast to York, Maine. We quickly dipped our front wheels into the Atlantic Ocean, and declared success.

Although the San Francisco kickoff was a spectacular spring day, Splashdown was cold, windy and very rainy. After Splashdown, we rode a few more miles to a restaurant for lobster rolls and beer, where we were joined by Joy’s sister Linda and some long time friends Ann and Tom. Even though we all ended up sopping wet and freezing, the lobster rolls, beer and outdoor heaters we enjoyed at the end helped to make up for it all.

Quick Comments about our Adventure

We took a circuitous route in order to visit National Parks and to learn about and visit our own, wonderful country. We didn’t straight-line the ride across the US, even jumping up into Canada to visit with friends.

Circuitous route across the US
  • Total miles cycled: 4,275.7 miles
  • Total elevation gain: 172,171 feet of climbing  (Everest is 29,029 feet high)
  • Total days cycled: 96
  • Total Trip length: 5 months

For kicks, we generated a map to show what our route would have been if we’d straight-lined it from San Francisco to York, Maine. A freakin’ lot shorter and a LOT less climbing! Only 3,340 miles (900 miles shorter!) and only 66,000 feet of climbing — bypassing Utah and Colorado would have saved over 100,000 feet of climbing!

The road not taken…

What’s Next?

We still have a number posts yet to write about our adventure, so don’t go away. We want to talk about all about the food we experienced, about staying safe, and about internet connectivity. We’re also working on a post of the frequently asked questions about our journey.

In terms of what’s next in our lives, we’ll be heading to Texas, Seattle and San Francisco to visit family and friends for a while before we continue our adventuring in South America for the first few months of 2017, and then Europe for the spring. We will bring our bicycles to Europe, and plan to cycle a lot but not across the continent.

We’ll continue to be itinerant for a while and we’ll continue to share thoughts from the bike lane.

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