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Wheels on the bike go round and round: Introduction
by Mike Jennett
2009-04-26 09:51:54
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I’m going to ride my bicycle across America, from Los Angeles to Boston.


You might ask why. You’d not be alone if you did.

Why would I want to pedal more than 3,400 miles in all winds and weathers, when I could just as easily (a lot more easily, actually) get a plane?

Why would I risk myself on a trek that’s filled with risk of everything from simple injury to death?

Why would I take months from work and pay to cycle from the Pacific to the Atlantic in 7 weeks?

For sponsorship? To prove something? To lose weight or to get fit?


Because I can.

Did you notice that one single word – again? Does that indicate something?

It does. Not content to suffer once, this chap must be stark raving mad enough to do it a second time, perhaps?  Well, no – not a second time. This will be the third. Same bike, same route, same cycle company, different shirt.

After breakfast on Sunday May 10th, over two dozen cyclists wearing yellow shirts proclaiming 'Crossroads', will line up, two by two outside the Courtyard Marriott in El Segundo. We will pedal gently to Manhattan Beach Pier, sit for some photos and then ride across the continent to Revere Beach, Boston. At each end, we will dip a wheel in the ocean.

There, easy. Nothing to it. A day at the seaside, a few pictures and a bit of riding – what could be nicer than that?

Except that some won’t make it, some will suffer nasty injuries and there’s always the risk of death. Statistically, about 25% won’t be there 7 weeks later for the photos in Boston.

But that’s not the end of it.

When the hangovers have faded and other riders go home to brag about their new figures and reunite with lonely spouses, I shall re-mount my bike. Alone, I will head another 2,000 miles south to Fort Myers, then put my bike on the ferry to Key West.

After a week of living like a hippie and, if not dead from truck-squashing, I’ll get back on the bike for a third time and ride the last stretch up the Florida keys, across the Everglades and home to Tampa. (Unless that nice Mr. Obama has fixed things with Cuba, in which case I’ll take a week out and flit over to Havana for a cigar).

By the time the welcoming sign of the local pub comes into view, I expect to have worn out 8 tyres, patched around 50 punctures and burned off as much as 40 lbs. My legs and bum will have climbed more than 150,000 feet and transported my bike, my gear and myself more than 6,000 miles, during which I will have posted about 40 entries to this blog.

A voice recorder and small laptop will travel with my bike and posts will be written as events occur, colored by mental state, heat, exhaustion and isolation, cleaned up later and uploaded when a wi-fi signal is available.

Nothing controls the subject or how I will express it. My comrades on wheels, Crossroads staff, the environment, Americana and culture, personal history – all are blog fodder, should by mind wander in those directions.

I will be sometimes frustrated by the curious and illogical actions of my new friends and I expect to frequently desire the removal from this earth of many a fool who drives as though cyclists are a vermin in need of culling. Such items may be a familiar occurrence here.

This blog is not intended as a travelogue. Amusing tales stem more often from disasters and confrontations with stupidity, not from a smooth, daily journal like a schoolgirl’s diary, so don’t expect much about scenery and blue skies. Perhaps a little – it would be false to write as though there’s nothing of interest in the two deserts and three mountain ranges through which we will pedal.

Americans be warned. If you cringe and insert @#$ to avoid spelling 'butt' or ‘tail’ or substitute false phrases like n-word or find offence in religious, racial or gender slurs, you may want to read with one eye closed. Words are meaningless alone, it is the context that matters and, whilst my vocabulary is not controlled by street slang, it is occasionally appropriate.

Read on; or perhaps that should be, ride on…..

Mike J.


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