Trans-America Cycling Tour Begins

Reader Contribution by Michael Jack
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I am writing this on day 7 of what has been an eventful week. My friend Tom and I arrived in the USA on

June 13th ready to start the biggest cycle of our lives. It didn’t start smoothly, first off we were ‘interviewed’ by customs officers coming off the plane which was a nerve racking experience. We assume this was required due to the length of time we are spending in the country, nevertheless customs officers aren’t known for their welcoming demeanour.

We managed to get through successfully and the customs officer was actually very enthusiastic in the end when we told them what we are doing. The second issue was the state of the bikes at baggage collection, the nice people of US Airways must have thought it was a good idea to play throw and catch with the bike boxes.

We undertook the desired repairs and after a couple of nights in Portland and Astoria respectively we commenced our journey.Having breakfast on the morning of day one was a surreal experience, I am not sure either of us quite knew (or know) what we were getting ourselves into.  We are away from home for 3 months, 3 months cycling an envisaged 6 days out of every 7 with an additional c. 70lbs of baggage and 3 months of camping and eating tinned food, none of which we have done before. All these thoughts however were put to the back of our minds the instant we had seen in the local paper that the Goonies movie was filmed in Astoria…..only a 7 mile round trip to see the Goonies House, what is an extra 7 miles when you are cycling 4,234.

Anyway on with the cycling. We were blessed with good weather which made the early days easier than they could have been, we understand that the northwest pacific coast isn’t famed for its predictable weather so we were thankful.

The coastline on the whole other than being beautiful has tarmac roads in good condition and is generally
lined with cycle lanes, cycling these roads was a dream. We were already comparing it to the roads back in the UK and the Oregon roads were coming on top.

The vehicular traffic on the roads seemed on the whole respective of cyclists giving us a wide berth. There is of course the odd idiot who took time out to shout some choice words from their car window, I suspect these people have never been on a bike and are not happy with their lives.

We left the coast after 3 days and started heading East, we are beginning to appreciate how big Oregon is! It’s going to take us nearly two weeks to cross into the next state.

We have met other cyclists on the road, all have been very friendly and also very interested and/or envious of our trip.  It is a shame that there isn’t more cyclists on the road however, RV’s still out number cyclists 100-1, which given the weather and the roads here in Oregon shouldn’t be the case.

I believe Oregon is more cycle friendly than other states and I have learned that there is large organised cycles around Oregon throughout the summer, a great initiative and I can certainly see the appeal.

We have completed 361 miles to date after 7 days of cycling, this is pretty much bang on schedule which is a good position to be in.  We are hoping the miles will become easier as our legs become accustomed to the cycle.

Other than cycling the main activity of the last 7 days has been eating.  People said we would lose weight doing this cycle but I just dont see how, I have never eaten so much in my life. It is realtively guilt free eating though which is a dream scenario for me!

One day of rain and 6 dry days is a good return, I would cash in my chips on this ratio if I could.

We camped tonight in Sisters and within 30 mins of arriving a very kind lady came over with a bag of cookies for us from a cooking course she had just completed. We were then invited for a locally brewed beer and a fire by a couple from Eugene who were on vacation, this has been typical of the friendliness and kindness we have been met with so far.

The remainder of America has a lot to live up too.

Photos by Michael Jack

Read more of Michael’s tour beginnings at