Sunday, March 31, 2013

Final Summary (Sun, 31 Mar)

What a fantastic journey and adventure this has been!!!  I’m extremely lucky for the opportunity of pursuing this dream cycling trip.

Thank You!: I’m blessed to have a strong and supporting family.   Thank you to my loving wife for her amazing support of my taking the time to do this ride and also to my two children for their understanding and love.  A huge thank you to my father who has helped me in every step of the trip and nearly every day over the past 1.5 months from planning to watching the weather and helping me determine my routes as well as discussing various issues (bike, route, sites, etc) along the way and helping me resolve them.  A thank you also goes to my friend Craig who picked me up in St Augustine and will get me to the airport in Orlando tomorrow, along with an appropriately sized bike box, which is key!  I also wanted to say thanks here to Steve Garufi ( for his inspiration in cycling cross-country twice (many of the stages I chose in the Western states were based on Steve’s routes).  Finally, thank you to each of you following this blog for all of your interest in the trip and following along with me as I pursued a really unique journey.

For those cyclists out there that find this information helpful and motivating to your future trips, I hope that I’ve helped inspire your trips, as other cyclists had done for me through their journals.  If you have any follow-up questions as you prepare for your trip, please feel free to email me at:

A few summary thoughts and pieces of information on the trip:

Cycling statistics:
1.     Full trip - Totals
a.     Total miles: 2,863 miles
b.     Total time on the bike seat: 200.8 hours
c.      Total # of riding days/stages: 38
d.     Total elevation climbed: 59,045 ft (2x Mt Everest!)
e.     Total pedal strokes: 744,936
f.      Total number of heart beats on the bike: over 1.5 million
g.     Total calories burned: well over 100,000
2.     Full trip - Averages
a.     Avg speed: 14.2 mph
b.     Avg heart rate during the trip: 125 bpm
c.      Avg miles per riding day (taking out touring day miles): 73.6 miles
3.     Single day records:
a.     Total miles: 121 miles (stage 35 – Panama City to Crawfordville, FL)
b.     Highest Avg Speed: 19.8 mph over 64 miles (stage 10 – nice tail wind – Lordsburg to Deming, NM)
c.      Most climbing: 6,030 ft (stage 1 – climb to Julian, CA)
d.     Most descent: 5,000+ ft (stage 14 – descent from Cloudcroft, NM)
e.     Flattest stage: 1.8 ft climb/mile avg (stage 36 – Crawfordville to Perry, FL)
f.      Slowest stage: 8.3 mph (stage 13 – climb to Cloudcroft, NM)

Some other notable statistics:
1.     Number of visits to the blog: well over 4,000 – thanks for everyone’s interest and support!
2.     Total flat tires (not bad given the rough roads of TX and all of the junk along the highways in the Southwest!): 7
3.     Number of rattlesnakes seen (dead or alive): 0 – I never did see one!
4.     Number of states: 8
5.     Amount of time I was rained on: just 1.5 hrs during the whole trip.  Absolutely amazing.  I was incredibly lucky with great weather the whole trip (maybe one day of snow in AZ would be the exception!!).  That is less than 1% of the cycling time in rain – wow!!!!
6.     Amount of road construction I had to ride through: almost none – I estimate about 10 miles out of the total of 2800+ miles – nice!!!
7.     Items I brought with me but never used on the trip: 1) raincoat (great!), 2) mace (I had plenty of dogs chase me, but none too close).  Basically, everything else I brought with me was used at some point in the trip.
8.     Number of motorists that honked at me in a way that suggested they didn’t like my presence on the highway: just 2.  (pretty good – I’d estimate 20k cars/trucks passed me on the trip)
9.     Number of motorists that were helpful (stopping when I had a flat tire or in most cases just moving over a few ft on the road as they passed me) – 100s.
10.  Most useful cycling item that many cyclists may not use today: rear view mirror (if you don’t have one – get one – they’re incredibly helpful).
11.  Highest elevation during the trip: +8,600+ ft (Cloudcroft, NM)
12.  Lowest elevation during the trip: -200 ft (near Brawley, CA)
13.  Number of items I forgot in my hotel room in the nearly 40 checkouts I did: ZERO!  (perhaps the statistic I’m most happy with…).

Awards I’d give to each State (applicable only to my trip/route/timing of the ride):
1.     California: Best breakfast and coolest motel room (Julian B&B – they won by far)
2.     Arizona: Most beautiful landscape (I like desert mountains)
3.     New Mexico: Best mountain climb (up to Cloudcroft)
4.     Texas: Roughest roads (by far – it shook my bike apart in ways that should not happen!...) and most “dead stuff” laying along the road
5.     Louisiana: Best motel location (in New Roads – right over an oxbow lake)
6.     Mississippi: Most logging trucks coupled with no riding lane (cyclist’s nightmare…)
7.     Alabama: Best “water crossing” = the ferry across Mobile Bay was really cool.
8.     Florida: Smoothest highways with most consistent use of bike/breakdown lane (by far over the other states)

For cyclists who may take the type of route that I did:
1.     I’ve included a summary of the stages here.
2.     Back on Day 0 I had also included a list of the equipment I brought with me.

Final thoughts: 

One of the most interesting aspects of the trip that I had not expected is the fantastic ability to see a broad swath of our beautiful country up close and personal.  Seeing it for sure, but also hearing, smelling it (for better or worse), feeling it through the bike every pedal stroke of the way and even tasting it (in the case of air near the TX oil fields).  The transitions in geography, climate, social characteristics, pace of human activity, accents, smells, sounds, humidity, sites, etc are incredibly diverse in the US.  The awesome aspect of seeing these on a bike trip is that you experience them in a continuous spectrum (as opposed to flying in/out of each of these areas) and get a great sense of how the transitions occur across the country.  In many cases these transitions are dramatically quick (e.g. the end of the lower Rocky Mtns in New Mexico, the southern accent appearing almost immediately when you cross the TX/LA state line) and others are more slow but in all cases you get to experience the transition in a very direct way – OUTSTANDING!! 

Keep inspiring and being inspired!  It was fun to have conversations with folks in hotels, restaurants, stores, along the road, and even kids in parking lots about cycling.  Answering their questions, talking about exercising, riding bicycles and hopefully in some ways inspiring each of them to take extra steps to do some new things in their lives, perhaps exercise a bit more as well and find new journeys in their lives to pursue.


  1. You did it! And you did it in 38 days! IMPRESSIVE!!! :)

    I feel honored to be mentioned in your entry. You did a great job. It was fun to track you.

    So how does it feel? Ahhhh, isn't it bittersweet? You were probably ready to be done, but there's sadness too that's it's over.

    Jeff, keep in touch. You have my email. So uh, when do you plan to do it again? :-)

  2. CONGRATULATIONS. Your trip is my dream. I just retired on July 11th from 35 years in the aerospace industry in San Diego, and am anxious to start planning my trip. My husband has offered to sag for me, so hoping I won't have to carry so much.
    Thank you for the amazing details to everyday of your trip...should help me plan.

  3. Thank you for posting your trip from day to day and the route that you have taken. I want to be able to take the trip from San Diego to St Augustine in 2014. I've taken trips of 700 miles and 600 miles in the past so I know a little of what to expect. Even so, it seems like a lot of planning and a major challenge.