Sunday, June 17, 2012

Planning for a BIG Bike Trip

Ever since returning from my two week sojourn around Lake Ontario last summer, I have been contemplating my next journey.  One idea that has fascinated me for almost a year now has been to travel extensively for several weeks (8-10?) in the United States during their upcoming election in the fall of 2012. To start to push this idea further toward reality, I have begun, in the past month or so, to speak about this idea with a few friends. I figure if I talk about it, I'll be opening myself up to the possibility of some peer pressure to actually start pedaling.

The PLAN, at this stage, is for Niagara Falls to be the starting point of a cycling journey that would take me to the gulf coast of Alabama and then across to Florida by election day on November 5, 2012. I would start the weekend of August 25-26 from Toronto, taking the 9AM GO train to Niagara.  I have chosen a route that roughly follows the Adventure Cycling Association Underground Railroad Route. It traces a route from Mobile Alabama all the way to Owen Sound, Ontario. I have a couple of detours planned.  One will take me to Kent, Ohio as I want to visit the site of the May 4th Memorial at Kent State University. I will probably avoid a meandering part of the route and travel more directly between Cincinnati and Louisville.  From there I expect to stick to the prescribed route until I reach Aliceville, Alabama at which point I will pedal across to Selma so I can cycle the Selma to Montgomery Voting Rights National Historic Trail.

Total distance for this epic journey is a little over 3,000 kilometers, or about 1,900 miles.  It would be roughly three times the distance I traveled last summer over a two week period. So long as the legs hold out, I think ten weeks or so should be enough time to allow not only for visiting historic sites, but also to witness first hand the electoral process in the United States. One of my biggest challenges, as a guest, will be to simultaneously keep my ears and eyes open, while keeping my mouth shut.  No small task for someone who likes to talk;)

I love my bicycle, the Surly Long Haul Trucker and I think I have outfitted it with the gear that I need. I have some new Schwalbe Dureme tires on order which should minimize concerns regarding flats.  I'll be hoping to post to my blog as I go, sharing what I can.  I plan to do some camping, staying in motels, & also, when possible make connections with others for accommodation through Warmshowers.

There, not only I have I spoken the words, I have published them on the Internet.  One step closer to reality.  Hopefully this will push me that much closer to pedaling another dream trip.



  1. I think you'll find it totally doable, especially since you've done a longer ride before. I would caution you about riding in Florida. Much of the southeast, and Florida especially, doesn't have the best reputation when it comes to cycling on the roads. And unlike other parts of the country, the laws don't work in your favor there either (also goes for be careful).
    I remember on my first bike tour I was a little anxious about getting tired legs, but you build strength as you go too, so you can do more than you think you'd be able to at the start.

  2. Thanks for your input Alex. Regarding the U.S. I have only traveled in upstate New York on a bike. I'm doing my best to read up & connect with those who have toured into the southern states. Your input is appreciated & I'll keep alert.