Le Tour de America Continues

Reader Contribution by Michael Jack
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Its been a while since my last post, we are now on Day 33 of the Trans American Trail. Since my last post we have cycled approximately 1,500 miles, we have left Oregon and crossed Idaho, Montana, Wyoming and we are now in our 5th state, which is ‘Colourful Colorado’

Whilst in Montana, we dropped in on the headquarters of Adventure Cycling Association (ACA). The ACA is a national cycling association in the United States which provides services for cycle-tourists, publishes maps and campaigns for better cycling facilities. The TransAmerica Bicycle trail was the first route mapped back in 1976. Since then the Adventure Cycling Route Network has blossomed into an awe-inspiring network of 41,420 miles.

In the past couple of weeks we have cycled through what feels like a heatwave which has made life quite tough. In Idaho the temperature was over 100 degrees for 4 days in a row, to combat this we took to leaving at 5:30 am and attempting to finish before noon. If we found ourselves cycling in the afternoon it was like peddling with your face in the oven.

For the past ten days, we have been cycling at an altitude of 5,000 feet plus, this means although still hot through the day it cools down quite dramatically in the evening which is great for sleeping. We have cycled as high as 9,650 feet so we can definitely feel it on the lungs; we continue to go up for the next 4 days culminating in the Hoosier pass which is 11,542 feet….something to look forward too.

As touched upon in my previous post, we have met some fantastic people, the majority of which have been so friendly and went out of their way to speak to us and make us welcome in their country. Below are a couple of examples of this.

We arrived in Darby from Missoula, I was in the supermarket picking up some tins of beans for dinner, daydreaming about whether the campsite would have a shower. I was approached at the checkout by 3 generations of female. This is quite a common occurrence so I wasn’t too surprised, one of the ladies then asked if i would like to stay with them, again i took this in my stride. It turned out the youngest of the three along with her husband was a host on a website called www.warmshowers.org in which generous individuals give up their garden/couch and shower for touring cyclists. I was shocked but very gladly accepted, within 30 minutes we were showered and sitting waiting for a 3 course meal, the hosts made us breakfast too. Very humbling, and yet another example of the generosity which has met us at almost every turn.

The day after the magnificent hospitality shown by our Warm Shower hosts, Tom and I stopped at a MacDonald’s for some free re-fill Coke and Wifi. We were telling some local kids about our trip (which was in defense and explanation as to why we were dressed like a couple of plonkers) when some guy passed us $40 and said ‘welcome to America!’ I am not sure what we said to invoke such generosity, I told him this would be donated to our charity and we were very grateful by his gesture. On the charity front we are attempting to raise 1 pound for every mile cycled in aid of Cancer Research and this week we reached the half-way point which we are delighted about.

More information can be found on this on transamcyclists.blogspot.com.

We read an interesting study distributed by the ACA yesterday which was prepared by a cycling team from the UK who are cycling across the USA. The conclusion was that American motorists were found to be more courteous toward cyclists than their British cousins, allowing more room on the road and resisting crazy overtaking maneuvers. Tom and I discussed this and we wholeheartedly agree. There is obviously the odd exception but so far so good.

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