ruthnt-1280

10 March – 9 April 2015

Countries USA (total 17)
Distance 2,265.20km (total 27,787.47km)
Climb 13,186m (total 240,157m)
Longest day 132.13km, Choctaw Lake, Tombigbee National Forest to Tupelo, MS, USA (longest so far: 160.11km)
Top speed 56.7kmh (fastest so far: 68.8kmh)
Punctures 4 (total 47; Will leads 31-16)
And while we’re on the subject Our single worst kit-related decision was starting with Continental Travel Contact tyres – partly because they weren’t much cop (sluggish on tarmac, hopeless on dirt, puncture-prone everywhere), partly because it proved far harder than we anticipated to source replacements suitable for our type of touring (mostly paved, but with enough dirt roads to keep us honest). Out of desperation in Mexico when our excellent Schwalbe and good-enough Maxxis tyres burned out, we were forced back to Continentals – different models but just as many flats. Buyer beware
Touring cyclists encountered 3 (total 97)
Best breakfast Hard to look past the diner staples cooked to order at Cincinnati institution Tucker’s, a classic hash house established in 1946
Worst hill Every autumn here in hilly Pittsburgh, a couple of hundred lunatic cyclists tackle the Dirty Dozen, an annual competition that takes in the city’s 13 most ridiculous climbs. The filthiest is Canton Avenue, the steepest road in the US and possibly the world, where the peak 37% gradient is made even worse by the fact that the surface is cobbled. Click here to see the carnage; and no, we didn’t get up it
Most unnecessary purchases When we discuss the contents of our panniers with fellow travellers at May’s Cycle Touring Festival, we may gloss over the fact that Will’s otherwise efficiently pared-back luggage has recently been augmented by five books and, impractically, a mandolin
Briefest state A geographical quirk meant we that we were able to cycle across West Virginia in 40 minutes
Jettisoned en route Nothing
Lost in transit Ditto
Biggest mystery What it’ll be like, in 18 days, to come ‘home’
Biggest surprise We’re nearly there

from Pittsburgh, PA, USA