Jason, Brian & Hagen (USA)
riding from Pittsburgh, PA to Washington, DC
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Our departure from Pittsburgh was delayed by a fearsome rainstorm, but the clouds cleared quickly and the sun was out by the time we connected with the Great Allegheny Passage (GAP) on our way out of town. Within half an hour, we’d caught up with Jason, Brian and Hagen, who’d also been waiting for the skies to clear before beginning their first ever cycle tour. The exuberant trio had driven down the same morning from their hometown of Indianapolis, and had given themselves a leisurely ten days for the 335-mile, traffic-free ride to Washington, DC along the GAP and the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal Towpath. Riding on gleaming new bikes, Jason towing a trailer and the others with shiny panniers (a striking contrast with our ragged rigs), they were the 98th, 99th and 100th cycle tourists we’ve met on this trip.
Boston, PA, USA
10 April 2015

 


 

Bob & Shawn (USA)
riding from Jekyll Island, GA to San Diego, CA
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When Bob, an instantly likeable 68-year-old Oklahoma native now living in Arizona, retired a few years ago, he sketched out a bucket list for his golden years. Golf? Fishing? Perhaps in due course – but first, somewhat inspiringly, Bob decided that he wanted to cycle across the USA. His good friend Shawn, 24 years his junior but also just retired back in Oklahoma, agreed to join him on the trip, which started in March 2015 from the Georgia coast and should end next month in sunny San Diego. Following an adapted version of the ACA’s Southern Tier route, they’re each on good-looking, good-value Novara Randonee lightweight tourers, Novara being the house brand of countrywide outdoor chain REI, and Shawn’s parallel existence as an ultralight hiking enthusiast means they’re not overburdened with baggage: their tent is a featherweight two-man model from ZPacks, and their Arkel Dry-Lite panniers weigh in at a ridiculous 454g for a pair. They’ve each got a blog at Crazy Guy on a Bike: Bob’s is here, while Shawn’s is here. Good luck, fellas!
Poplarville, MS, USA
12 March 2015

 


 

Flynn (USA)
riding around the USA

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It’s fair to say that Flynn Donoho has seen a little trouble in his life. However, after starting to straighten himself out, he’s found a new purpose by cycling around the USA to raise money for the American Cancer Society. In nearly four years on the road with just his dog Diva for company, he’s logged 31,000 miles through all 48 mainland states, including 24 of them twice. His story has appeared in more than 100 newspapers (when we met, he showed us a few battered clippings; Google turns up dozens of others) and more than 50 TV stations. And over the course of his trip, he’s gone through no fewer than nine bicycles. He’s hoping that his tenth, which cost him $96 from Wal-Mart, will carry him on his final 2,000 miles as he heads home to Huntington Beach, California. You can donate to the American Cancer Society through Flynn’s fundraising page by clicking here.
Highway 90, near the Louisiana-Mississippi state border, LA, USA
11 March 2015

 


 

Bethany & Steve (USA)
riding from Daytona Beach, FL to San Diego, CA
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After agonising over maps and websites for 19 months and 24,500km, we decided to take a week off from our route-planning routine by loosely following a section of the Adventure Cycling Association’s coast-to-coast Southern Tier route between Austin, Texas and Mamou, Louisiana. Even in chilly February, it’s a popular route with American tourers – which is how we ran into Bethany and Steve, a pair of itinerant teachers from Seattle (‘Well, it’s where our stuff is’). They’re dashing from Florida to California in two months, travelling light on bicycles built for speed – a pair of classic Bianchi racers, Bethany’s with two panniers (and a 23mm front tyre) and Steve’s with a trailer (and yes, this is the first time we’ve seen a Bianchi towing a Bob). We met them at the Shepherd Sanctuary in rural Texas, an adorable collection of cabins and nouveau shacks that Tori (see below) had recommended to us.
Shepherd, TX, USA
25 February 2015

 


 

Tori (UK)
riding around the world
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‘I’m a total rookie,’ she said with a huge grin. ‘I’ve never even fixed a puncture.’ Naturally, then, for her first ever bicycle tour, the wonderful Tori has taken her little blue bike – also the title of her blog – and decided to cycle around the world. A native of Brighton, she’s started her global adventure by riding the ACA’s gentle Southern Tier route from St Augustine, Florida to San Diego, California; we ran into her a couple of hours outside Austin, Texas, on a distinctly gloomy day. After about 1,500 miles, the only puncture she’s had has been on her body, after a car rammed into her in Louisiana and caused her tent poles to pierce her thigh. Even so, she’s plainly having the time of her life – perpetually on the edge of joyous laughter, Tori’s the sunniest person, cyclist or otherwise, that we’ve met on the road in ages.
Cedar Creek, TX, USA
22 February 2015