No mortgage… no wife… no kids… and now no job… what’s a guy living in South Florida to do? Jump on a bicycle and ride to Alaska of course. When I make it up there the plan is to head down to South America and then wherever the road takes me.
Latest route map: [full size]
My journey has been in the planning stages for about a year now. It wasn’t until mid-2008 that the idea of actually making the journey on a bike started making sense. For me it’s the perfect way to travel. I can experience more than just the fleeting glimpse of scenery as I wiz past it in a car. I can also cover a lot of ground in one day so I won’t get bored (I’m very impatient when I travel). It also gives me a chance to meet and interact with the people living in the areas I’m traveling through. On my very few bicycle trips so far this interaction has been what I’ve remembered the most and what I most look forward to when I do end up leaving.
So once I decided how I was going to travel it was just a matter of figuring out what kind of bike I’d need and how I’d carry everything. Figuring out what I’d need was easy enough. I already had a lot of experience backpacking so hiking/camping gear was a cinch. The biggest problem for me is that I have a photography and computer obsession. Leaving without my Canon DSLR is unheard of. Being without a laptop ditto. How to bring all that along? And power everything? And keep it dry? And keep it from being pilfered? Carrying anything on a bike was a whole new experience for me. I’d never even heard of panniers a year ago. So I started reading… a lot. I finally settled on a great bike and, what I hope will be good bags to carry everything in. Powering and securing everything also took a lot of research but I think what I ended up with should do the trick.
Bicycle touring has it’s own set of complications vs. hiking that I had to consider. When I’m hiking, finding a place to sleep at night is simple. On a bike tour it’s not so easy. Should I bring a tent or a hammock? I love camping in both and on a long distance trip adequate shelter is critical. So I’m bringing both. In six months maybe I’ll find that the tent is fine by itself… or the hammock is. There’s also the matter of cars. I have zero experience riding a fully loaded bike (100 lbs of gear) on a busy road with no bike lane and in inclement weather.
So the trip begins on my birthday, 02/21/2009. I don’t know how long it will last or what I’ll encounter along the way but I can’t wait to start.