Headed North! Find me on facebook @thisbritishman

Headed North! Find me on facebook @thisbritishman

Gear bought. Bike assembled. Coach booked. Maps prepared. Maps printed. Train Booked. Bike Unassembled. Bike boxed.

It’s 10:40pm and my coach departs at 4:10am so in like 5 and a half hours. The coach takes me to Glasgow in a speedy 14 hours. I then stop over and get on a 7-hour train to Thurso. By then it will be Saturday at around 5:00pm.

From there I will build the bike, ditch the box (responsibly) and cycle the 15 miles to John O’ Groats.

Depending on the time I may even spend my first night under the stars at the top of the country.

I won’t be posting to the website during this trip, I’ll be journaling the old fashioned way in a little notebook with a pencil. When I’m home I’ll tell my tale.

I will however get some wonderous photos god willing and I’ll slap them on Insta. The instagram feed is on the menu on the site.

I don’t know whether to sleep for a few hours or stay up worrying about whether my snipping tool google maps will hold up. Jeeze get me on the bicycle.

Also, I’ve set up a just giving page. I would love to raise £100 for Mind because they won’t give up until everyone experiencing a mental health problem gets both support and respect. If you’ve got a spare quid then chuck it in so we can help people survive and thrive in these invisible storms.

Let’s go let’s go!

Yours in cycling,

Dan

My Advice To Me and You

My Advice To Me and You

Hello you,

What are you doing? How are you feeling?

It’s just three weeks until I set off and the nervous energy is vibrating through my body. My bike is fixed, and I’ve even been doing some cycling in preparation this time around! There are a few bits to sort still but I will be ready to rumble without a doubt.

I’ve been umming and ahhing about north to south or south to north and in the end it was a coin toss….north to south! That means I will need to get myself and my bike up to John O’ Groats which I’m still working on.

I learnt lessons on my America trip and the following are all a part of my advice to myself (you can use it too obvs):

Less is more – Put everything you think you need for the adventure in front of you on the floor. Now pick 10 of those things and forget the rest. The heavier the bike the more frustrating the journey. My first time around I took wayyyyyy too much junk and less than a week in I was binning things at every opportunity.

Don’t bin your roll mat! – One of the things I foolishly decided to fuzz was my roll mat. I didn’t get a new one for a month and in that time each night I would put all of my belongings in a pile in the middle of the tent and would lay on them to keep me off the ground. Laying on the ground takes all of your lovely heat and in return gives you nothing but horrible cold. In one small town up at a decent altitude I even bought a door mat from a shop just to help me get a warmer night sleep, it said “welcome home”.

Pack thermals and gloves – The nights can get cold and on top of that you will likely be getting on the bike early each morning. Those early mornings can be really chilly wherever you are and it’s so shit getting on a bike in the cold.

A waterproof poncho could be your saviour – It’s pretty much undoubtedly going to rain. Rain can put any fire out including the one in your heart. Your legs will go forever in the rain so let them drown, but if you let that rain soak your torso it’s going to make you pull over.

Gut feeling – That feeling is so important on the road. If your gut is giving you a signal about people you encounter, places you sleep, routes you’re headed down, the weather coming in, just trust it and make that decision.

Wear a helmet – There isn’t a person on God’s green earth that doesn’t look like a twat in a helmet, myself included. But you should absolutely wear one because regardless of your prowess on two wheels shit does indeed happen. Wet drains, white lines, potholes, badgers, other road users, they’re all a recipe for accidents and if you are heading off your bike a helmet could be the difference.

Finally, remember that even when you hate it and want to give up it will all be so worth it in the end. I had several occasions where I just stopped cycling, got off and let the bike drop. The main cause of this for me personally was the weather. Headwinds and rain really get on my tits. But I’m so glad that after 10 minutes of walking around effing and jeffing I got back on and carried on with the mission.

Your body will hurt like never before, you won’t sleep like you do at home and you won’t eat like you do at home. You will feel these pains and may just think about calling it a day.

But remember that in these dire times; the pain is temporary. It may last a minute, an hour, a day, or even a couple of months. But eventually it will subside and something else will take its place. If you quit however, it will last forever.

I will no doubt be reading this post in a few weeks as I’m pacing beside my downed bike effing and jeffing to the skies.

Godspeed everyone.

Yours in cycling,

Dan

50 Days Until The Party Starts

50 Days Until The Party Starts

13th July 2019 I’ll be down in Cornwall eating a pasty next to a fully loaded bike. On that Saturday morning rain or shine I will be ready to head north.

Two weeks of my valuable annual leave will be devoted to this. It’s not going to be two weeks on a beach sipping Pina Coladas. It’s going to be two weeks spent on a saddle, two weeks sleeping in a survival bag in the woods and two weeks of unbelievable growth.

I can’t wait for the struggle. A lot of it is going to be Type 2 fun, the type of fun that’s miserable while it’s happening, but unbelievably fun in retrospect. It usually begins with the best intentions, and then things get carried away. It’s riding your bike across a country.

It’s an odd thing this. You may not understand why I love going off on a bike for a solo journey into the unknow, but Les Brown knows, and he explains it so poetically…

“I do not choose to be a common man. It is my right to be uncommon — if I can. I seek opportunity — not security. I do not wish to be a kept citizen, humbled and dulled by having the state look after me. I want to take the calculated risk; to dream and to build, to fail and to succeed. I refuse to barter incentive for a dole. I prefer the challenges of life to the guaranteed existence; the thrill of fulfillment to the stale calm of utopia. I will not trade freedom for beneficence nor my dignity for a handout. I will never cower before any master nor bend to any threat. It is my heritage to stand erect, proud and unafraid; to think and act for myself, enjoy the benefit of my creations, and to face the world boldly and say, this I have done.”

All aboard ladies and gentlemen, the train departs 13th July at 7am and you won’t want to miss this journey!

Yours in cycling,

Dan

The Lighthouse

The Lighthouse

For my sister Charlotte,

You’re probably wondering why I’m going off the topic of cycling. But this is my website and my soapbox for whatever I like.

I finally checked in with my little sister Barley, she’s on her own adventure down under right now. Although this isn’t her first, she’s a seasoned vet of Armenia and also India. Can’t believe she’s my sister to be honest, the most tenacious, brave, caring and supporting person I know. I lucked out in sisters I’m certain of it.

It was the perfect time to catch up with her. Adventures are tough, really tough. Back before I embarked on my Transamerica journey, I found a definition of adventure, it read “adventure is an unusual and exciting or daring experience”, and it’s completely true.

We go for our own reasons, to find something, to escape something, to experience something. But once we get on the adventure, we are alone and time spent alone can be bad if you don’t keep an eye out. Doubts can set in of our abilities to continue, of the reasons we’ve come and even of what’s next once it’s over.

I have a sneaking suspicion that my sister may be in the midst of these feelings so it was such a stroke of fate that we caught up. I was able to relate with her because I’ve been in that exact same boat a few times now. This is her adventure so I’m no person to put my opinion on it, but I was able to reassure her that she is free to do whatever she wants. More importantly I was able to remind her that although the excitement of adventure is incredible, the excitement of returning is also immeasurable. Life can’t be one massive adventure, even soldiers need R&R. We shouldn’t try to stay in the unknown forever, it’s exhausting!

There’s so much to be said for security, stability and support, I never thought these were important. I went from place to place and it’s only since returning to Essex with my tail between my legs that I started to experience the gift of a stable life around friends and support.

Sometimes we get caught out on adventures. I remember one so vividly I’m going to tell you about it.

I was 2 years into my life in the Middle East, from the outside my life was envious. 5-star lifestyle on a tax-free salary, weekends brunching and pool partying but it was all surface happiness. I was struggling deep down and my life was a disaster to be honest.

It came to a point where I just didn’t want to be there anymore. I felt so frustrated that after all this hard work I was still empty. Why me?!

The oncoming storm finally reached me on my little boat in the middle of the ocean. The cold waves crashed over me, the rain poured and the wind howled. I couldn’t see the lighthouse through the dark skies. I sat there on a bench alone on Dubai Marina and in pure despair shouted “Jesus, I thought you would save me!!”. Then Jesus answered me, “I am saving you Dan, I brought you the storm.”.

I still cry thinking about that moment.

I came home that same week.

Yours always,

Dan

Good Evening, Dan Speaking

Good Evening, Dan Speaking

Good evening, Dan speaking.

Where am I? I’m on the sofa at home.

Why haven’t I written a blog entry in a while? Because I’ve been parked.

What do I mean parked? I mean, I’ve been parked. Everyone else has been driving up the road of life and I’ve just been sat here in the layby with the engine off.

It’s what happens when you get slack on your gratitude, you stop exercising, you don’t speak to people on the weekends, you lose sight of your goals and you forget why you’re getting out of bed. Y’know, a real existential funk.

God Dan that sounds like you’re a bit mental! Oh 100% I agree it does; a healthy body, mind and soul all need regular maintenance. Imagine you’re one big garden, yeah you, and all the positive things in your life are the beautiful flowers that fill your garden.

Now to keep those flowers beautiful and alive you must water them and sing to them, there’s maintenance involved. But wait, what if you don’t water them…the flowers start to wilt and new guests turn up in the garden….WEEDS goddamnit! Weeds need nobody to water them, nobody to sing to them and they thrive off neglect!

To cut this horticultural anecdote short I haven’t been watering my garden as much as I should have. Life can get stressful and tough and before you know it, life is living you not the other way round.

But here I am, back on the road of life. A few small tweaks and some good old fashion discipline are back on the menu and I’m back to it.

Forgive yourself if you stumble, life is a wacky ride and its so easy to lose your way sometimes.

Keep doing your best and be kind to everybody, including yourself.

Yours in cycling, and in living,

Dan

The Wolf’s Lair

The Wolf’s Lair

Before we get started, I want to confirm that there are no Adolf Hitlers in my Lair, I just like wolves and lairs okay.

Yesterday I travelled 122 miles to my very own undisclosed lair, it’s undisclosed because there I have many trinkets and treasures, national secrets and technologies unthought of by human civilisations. To be honest it’s the special branch of lairs.

Underneath sheets and cobwebs I saw what I came for, a rusty dusty bicycle. With flat tyres and jammed gears, it wasn’t the bike I remembered. My Dad bought it for me as a gift from a man on site when I said I wanted to go across America, and although it came to the auditions unfortunately I Simon Cowelled it in round 1.

As you can imagine its not the best start to a relationship, but I’m here to try and work it out. He’s definitely on the small side, his suspension is seized, his gears don’t work, and he just genuinely needs some TLC. Luckily for him, I am Mr TLC so he’s in the right place for a resurrection.

I just went online to see what this bike was about and when he was born, turns out he arrived in 2010 at 13.55kg, mother and baby were doing well. Ironically the seventh site on google was for a stolen one, I hope he wasn’t stolen!

This week I will get to work on him, I want a working bike for this upcoming 4 day weekend because I cant sit around in the flat for 96 hours. I’m going to go to Halfords to price up what needs to be done, it will be a real cost analysis because I’m sure there will be working bikes out there for around the same money.

In addition, my dear pal Coxy phoned me earlier today. He was chatting to a bloke who has a bike he wants to sell. I don’t know anything about it, all I know is that it’s a tourer and its cheap.

You are about to witness the fitness on a budget cycle from Land’s End to John o’ Groats, and it’s going to be fantastic!

Yours in cycling,

Dan

The Spanner in the Works

The Spanner in the Works

It’s as the title says; I’ve got a teeny tiny problem.

Being all patriotic I wanted a British bike. Being all flashy I wanted a show stopping bike. But being all realistic there were just two ways I was going to pull it off.

Option 1: The Cycle to Work Scheme through work. It’s a dream come true, you pick the bike, ride off with it same day with up to a 42% discount and pay the remainder over 12 months. Deal.

Option 2: Contact British bike manufacturers on LinkedIn, tell them I’m literally the bollocks at cycling, I’ve breezed across America and I’ve got 7 likes on my Facebook page. In response they recognise a no brainer and give me their top spec bike same day delivery for being such a top-notch influencer. Double Deal.

Reality can be cruel, I received two reality checks this week.

Reality check 1: To qualify for the dreamy Cycle to Work scheme you need to be out of your probation period, I’ve worked there 3 months, my probation is 6 months. Turns out I’m not going to be cycling to work (or from Lands End to John O’ Groats shhhhh) anytime soon.

Reality Check 2: I ain’t shit! What was I thinking contacting them haha. I’m Dan Boyle, the man who cycles once every two years, doesn’t care about the spec of the bike and has 7 likes on his Facebook page.

“You could just buy a bike at RRP like everyone else” I hear you say… Well I’m going to be honest with you, I’m at a period in my life where my outgoings are £5 more then my incomings. In business they call it a temporary cashflow issue. In life they call it being skint.

But alas all is not lost!

In a secret location 112 miles away, I have a bike… he was bought for £40 about 2 years ago and hasn’t seen the light of day since. He’s going to need some work but in the words of Baloo and Mowgli he’s got the, bare necessities, the simple bare necessities, so I won’t have no worries and no strife. Classic.

I’m off to the bunker to pick him up tomorrow and I’ll be taking him to the bike doctors for a check-up/surgery/resurrection.

He’s not British which is heart-breaking, but I’ll tell you what is British…..a stiff upper lip!

Yours in cycling,

Dan

Rule, Brittania!

Rule, Brittania!

Here we go again!

I’ve made a decision, a few days ago I announced a new adventure. Before this summer is over I will be pedalling the whole length of my motherland, Great Britain! The trip will see me set off in Land’s End Cornwall and arrive in John O Groats Scotland, but it’s the bit in the middle that tickles my pickle.

This is a well traversed route on the road but to be honest that’s not where I want to be. The roads in America had massive hard shoulders and I rarely saw traffic, however from my experience on British roads it’s a bit tighter and more congested. As a result, I’m heading off road!

Since I gave away my bike on the West Coast of America in July 2017, I haven’t ridden another. I still think about him before I go to sleep some nights, wondering where life has taken him. Last I heard he was day tripping around Oregon with his new owner. On top of that next to my TV back here in Essex I have the Brooks saddle that took me on the greatest adventure of my life to date, I can literally see it right now.

But enough of the reminiscing of good days gone by. I’m fitter, I’m badder and I’m sure as hell a liar, lol. In keeping with my journey a few years ago I won’t bother with any hectic training or trips to the lab for genetic engineering. I mean, I run once a week and eat all of my greens, so I’ll be in a similar position to last time.

I want to talk and talk and talk about this trip, but attention spans are attention spans, so I’ll leave it there for now.

Stay tuned for bike selection, gps selection, hammock selection, charity selection & date selection.

Yours in cycling once again,

Dan

My Name Is Dan Boyle

My Name Is Dan Boyle

My name is Dan Boyle. I am broadcasting on all AM frequencies. If there’s anybody out there… anybody… please. You are not alone.

Its February 2018 and soon enough Winter’s dark grip on the UK will weaken and Jesus Spring will be our saviour.

I’m not much of a winter man to be honest. I find myself fearing the darkness in the same way Will Smith feared it in I Am Legend. Maybe it’s SAD, maybe I’m sad, or maybe I’m just scared of the dark.

I digress though, there are people out there now, maybe you’re one of them, that are thinking about embarking on an adventure this summer. There isn’t an official motive for the adventure, we are complex beings. But I do know that there can be an irrational urge to drop everything and vanish for a few months, it happened to me last year! Whatever the urge is I just want to reassure you that you can do it.

You know it’s a big adventure when you get sweaty palms thinking about it. You know it’s a big adventure when friends and family are scared for you. You know it’s a big adventure when strangers laugh and tell you can’t do it. These are all perfectly fine responses when you tell everyone what you want to do. Everyone you know has dreamt about an adventure like yours. The only difference is a lot of them have buried their desires because adventure is uncertain. In fact, here are the official top ten questions we ask ourselves before we step out of the line:

  1. What if I leave my job and become unemployable when I return?
  2. What if I don’t like it and miss home?
  3. What if people don’t speak to me?
  4. What if I end up in unsafe places?
  5. What if I regret my decision?
  6. What if I leave my comfort zone and literally poop my pants?
  7. What if I get robbed of everything and have to sell myself for sex?
  8. What if I smoke too much ganja and go all weird in a dangerous bar?
  9. What if I suddenly decide to smuggle that ganja and get banged up abroad?
  10. Butttttt what if I have the time of my life and find myself reminiscing over the experiences I had for the rest of my life?

After question 5 I was just having fun, but jheeze it can be scary. An adventure can be defined as an unusual, exciting and or daring experience, so by desiring an adventure you are by definition unusual, exciting and or daring, send.

This post is a short one partly for you and your adventure, but its also partly for me because I had the time of my life last summer… and maybe I’m day dreaming about another adventure… Let’s all vanish for a few months!

Over the next few months I’m going to offer top tips from my experiences cycling across the States last summer, I’ve got some absolute belters.

My name is Dan Boyle. I am broadcasting on all AM frequencies. If there’s anybody out there… anybody… please. You are not alone.

Yours in cycling, even now,

Dan

Pass it on Dan

Pass it on Dan

Oh today was a good day!

As you’ve seen on this trip I’ve been on the receiving end of unlimited kindness. Places to stay, showers, meals, beer and support have all been given to me every single day and I’m forever grateful that I got to meet everyone I met.

I’m overflowing with kindness and this trip has been a massive eye opener as to the importance of it. Today was the day I could finally pass some of it on.

Yesterday I chatted to a girl working in a bar and she mentioned that she was saving up for a bike of her own, today I gave her my bike.

I have really loved my bike as you could probably tell from my photos where he is in every shot. He was an inanimate object that came to life for me, and I wanted someone else to enjoy him as much as I have. You never know, maybe he will come back to me one day, the universe works like that I think.

I also gave my tent and roll mat to a retired bloke who spoke about going out into nature to do photography, now he can set up camp when he gets there.

Being able to pass kindness on felt amazing, jeeze I’m in love with that feeling!

I want to finish this post with a particular quote I like and have seen in action so much over the past few months.

“Kindness is twice blessed. It blesses the one who gives it with a sense of his or her own capacity to love, and the person who receives it with a sense of the beneficence of the universe”.

Preach.

Yours in cycling,

Dan

Lost Puppy

Lost Puppy

Hello again,

I’ve been relaxing for the past few days, It’s definitely felt weird and I’ve been a bit of a lost puppy.

All of this time I’ve had one goal, get the front wheel in the Pacific Ocean, and now I’ve achieved it I’m like wtf do I do now.

I’ve met more kind people in Florence. It’s another town where people have enough time to talk and also love to talk. Small town America is my favourite for that, because talking is my favourite hobby by far.

I’ve been trying to decide what I will do for the couple of weeks I have left in this country. I wanted to get a motorcycle and drive it back east, however the rational part of my head has said save it for another journey. I don’t want to risk breaking down or struggle selling it on the east coast. The remaining options I fancy are train or plane.

I’m also actively trying to eat less burgers as I’m not cycling everyday. I don’t want to do an Elvis Presley do I.

Yours in cycling,

Dan

Day 68 – Young Man Went West

Day 68 – Young Man Went West

Day 68 (July 7th)

Distance 48.85 miles

I woke up to clouds this morning and it was actually quite chilly. There were only 45 miles between myself and the coast and I was feeling a bit strange.

Long before I even started the journey I had imagined this moment. I had wanted to do this trip since university and one of the points I thought about the most was the part where I smelt the sea in the air and saw a horizon full of blue water.

For 68 days I’ve been on my own mission. Granted I’ve had my fair share of rest days but even on these days I was restless as I knew that I needed to get back on the bike.

Reaching the Pacific coast was like an approaching exam, every day in the run up I felt like I needed to do something to work towards it.

I cycled through a couple of towns and stopped in each one for old time’s sake. Soon enough the “Entering Florence” sign appeared and I knew I was close. I got into town but still needed to get to the ocean. I asked around and found out it was another 4 miles to the beach.

I honestly think my body knew it was the end of the journey as my knee was now killing me. I took my breaking body and my breaking bike to the beach. I made it to a big sand dune which was now the last hurdle between myself and the Pacific Ocean.

I started dragging my bike up there and it was tough, the bike was still heavy and the narrow tyres cut deep into the sand. The bonus this time is that it was the last struggle, the last climb and the last push across the finish line.

I got to the top of the dune and there it was, Ocean as far as the eye could see. No mountains, no forest, no open plains and no high desert, just bright blue sea!

I wheeled my bike down to the ocean after 10 minutes of just being and put the front wheel straight in the water.

There it was, the trip was complete. The back wheel in the Atlantic and the front wheel in the Pacific. I’m so glad I kept a daily journal as the whole middle bit seems a blur right now.

In the days/weeks/months to come I will continue this blog. There is so much to process as up until this point I’ve had back to back adventures everyday.

I’ve got another 20ish days in the states so the adventure continues, this is just one beautiful chapter.

The title of my Day 1 post was “Go West Young Man”, and it gives me great pride to say that young man did go west, and he absolutely loved every moment of it .

Yours in cycling, always,

Dan

Day 67 – Sympathy Votes at the Last Chance Saloon

Day 67 – Sympathy Votes at the Last Chance Saloon

Day 67 (July 6th)

Distance 87.45 miles

Last night I arrived at a campsite that didn’t have a hiker biker rate, so they wanted $18 for no showers no nothing. I said let me go cycle down the road, pitch my tent for free in the woods and then I will have a think about your $18.

As I was cycling down I came across an RV park but it didn’t say if they took tents as well. I popped in and asked and the lady said I could pitch up on the grass for free. Fluke central over here!

Today’s journey was standard to be honest, the closer I get to the finish the longer the cycling takes I think. I made it to a big city called Eugene but went straight through it like a rocket, the more miles I do today the less I have to do on my final day tomorrow.

I continued to pass towns until the sun set, at which point I was ready to pack up shop for the day. I didn’t get to the next town, triangle lake, until 10:30pm and it was now pitch black. Interesting fact, this town was named after its lake, its triangular.

The one shop in town was closed and there was no sign of a campsite. I was like mannnnnnnn the next town is 14 miles away and it could be the same situation there. I started cycling again and kept an eye out for a place to lay my head that didn’t have Blair Witch Project written all over it.

30 minutes later I came across a private campground sign. It didn’t show up on my map but it said “camp” and I was low on options. I walked half a mile down a dark, rocky road and at the end I clocked some white marquees/tents.

I found a bloke sitting outside so asked him if there was an office to check in, he replied telling me that the whole site was rented out by his group for the week.

There was so much space and I could have easily stayed out of their way.

I had no choice but to go on a sympathy offensive as it was 11pm and I was fucked if I was pedalling anymore tonight.

I said “oh that’s a shame, perhaps there is a car park down the road I can sleep in, not to worry I’ll find something”.

I started to pedal off slowly after pissing about with my panniers (stalling activities) and just as I thought I’d have to pedal away from a perfect camp spot the bloke called out to me. “Wait, as we are renting this place we can choose who our guests are, you can stay here”.

I have never used offensive tactics like this to get a place to stay and I would never recommend it, but mate there were only a few tents set up on all of this open space, I had to do what I had to do haha.

Turns out the bloke and his group were a church group on their annual trip, so thank them and thank god for the hospitality, I unrolled my roll mat and fell asleep straight away.

Tomorrow is show time ladies and gents.

Yours in cycling,

Dan

Day 66 – The Last Pass

Day 66 – The Last Pass

Day 66 (July 5th)

Distance 51.35 miles

So today was the day I climbed over the final pass, McKenzie.

It was a hot day and the climb seemed to go on forever, every corner revealed a new part of the endless trail upwards.

In time I reached the summit and the lava fields, i’ve never seen anything like it, black rocks covering the whole landscape it was like another planet.

I took my last “summit photo” and it’s the last time I will be at this altitude on the journey. I took a moment to reflect as I looked over the lava fields, this journey has been incredible honestly. But now is not the time to look back, I’m not at the Pacific coast yet!

I want to set the scene right now as a contrast to how I started this journey.

All of my clothes are beyond filthy, my shoes stink of damp, I have a slow puncture that I’m pumping up a few times a day instead of repairing, my front mud guard snapped off, Im overdue a shower, my brakes are shot to bits so I’m flying down hills and my chain has no oil on it.

But honestly I wouldn’t change a thing, I’m definitely ready to make it to the coast now but what an adventure it’s been!!!

Yours in cycling,

Dan

Day 65 – The Original Brexit

Day 65 – The Original Brexit

Day 65 (July 4th)

Happy Independence Day America, you will always be the one that got away!

I got chatting to a lad called Robby last night and I caught up with him again around lunch time today. He invited me to go shooting and after the amount of fun I had shooting last time I said yes straight away. On Independence Day everyone should shoot guns right!?

Second Amendment and all that.

After loads of fun shooting he showed me around an incredible resort he works at that is for the wealthy. We hit a few balls on the range and that finished a brilliant 4th July for me.

Yours in cycling,

Dan

Day 64 – Entering Sisters

Day 64 – Entering Sisters

Day 64 (July 4th)

Distance 52.1 miles

It’s the day before independence Day here in the States. I always thought they were celebrating the day Will Smith scared off the aliens, but I wasn’t completely accurate. There were aliens involved but they were British, and the 4th July celebrations mark the day when the Americans had their own Brexit and booted us out of the country, so hurtful.

Anyway it’s a party so I’ve no complaints, I was told a town called Sisters was decent around 4th July so that’s my destination today.

I cycled through some areas hit by wildfires today so there was quite a bit of smoke and planes overhead dropping water. The fires were a way away so I wasn’t in any immediate danger though.

Mid afternoon I cycled across a bridge and saw people swimming in the river below, I knew from experience how refreshing these rivers are so I pulled over and walked down.

The people were set up on a small bank so I asked if they would mind me taking a quick dip and they said it was fine, so I just strolled in with everything including my cycling shoes.

We got chatting and they offered me an ice cold beer from their cool box which was a dream. After the refreshing beer and dip I said goodbye and squelched out of the river and hopped back on the bike.

I eventually made it to Sisters and went to get food. If it’s any good in town I may hang about tomorrow for the festivities.

Yours in cycling,

Dan

Day 63 – Bird is the Word

Day 63 – Bird is the Word

Day 63 (July 3rd)

Distance 40 miles

The brewery last night was brilliant, they are just starting up but they showed me around and I had fun!

I left Mitchell at 2pm after a double cheeseburger from the café. Before I went I also got my beard cleaned up by Pat, who is also handy with a blade as well as all his other trades. Anyone praying that I would chop the whole beard off, not today!

Today saw me climb my penultimate pass, Ochoco. It was a decent climb and a warm feeling seeing the sign telling me I made it to the summit.

I set my roll mat next to the lake, I’m not even using the tent anymore. I watched the sun set over the lake and as it did I could see eagles gliding high above me. One actually came down and looked like it was ready to grab dinner, so i got the camera out. As luck would have it as soon as I pressed record he circled around, dive bombed and caught a fish in his talons. It was a real Planet Earth moment and I was laughing about my good fortune. Have a look on my Instagram for the video.

After the sun set the bats replaced the eagles and some frogs also came out. The frogs were making such a racket as I tried to fall asleep so I threw a few rocks into the darkness to try put them off, it didn’t work.

It’s another clear night and the universe looks beautiful.

Yours in cycling,

Dan

Day 62 – When in Rome

Day 62 – When in Rome

Day 62 (July 2nd)

This hostel is incredible, so much so that I’m hanging around for the day. I’ve still got quite a bit to catch up on with the blog, so that’s going to be the task for today.

The café down the road has the best tacos apparently so I will head down there soon, but for now I’m sitting around drinking coffee in the cool.

There’s also a brewery in the town so when in Rome, do as the Romanians amiright!

Yours in cycling,

Dan

Day 61 – First Flatty

Day 61 – First Flatty

Day 61 (July 1st)

Distance 62.5 miles

I woke up with the sun, loaded the bike and as I got on it I noticed something…a flat tyre! Turns out that piece of wood last night did hit the tube haha.

It’s my first flat on the road so I’m actually happy I got it. It’s like a right of passage and I’m sure I would have felt like I missed out on the experience if it didn’t happen. I unloaded the weight off the bike and took the wheel off.

The culprit was the longest thorn I’ve ever seen and it pierced straight through the Kevlar lining in the tyre.

I got the new tube in and started pumping it up, BANG! My new inner tube exploded and it wasn’t even close to the recommended pressure. I was sitting in the sun and once that happened I got real hot so had to walk off into the shade for 5 minutes. Now I had to return and repair the original tube which I did and everything was back to perfect.

It was now 10am and getting hot so I headed for the open road with my two fully inflated tyres.

Btw I’m friends on Instagram with the hostel I’m staying at tonight and they saw my whole puncture saga unfold on my insta profile, so they messaged me to say they would sort me a new inner tube ready for my arrival, how nice is that!?

I spent 3 hours climbing 25 miles today, about 20 minutes from the top a van pulled alongside me. I looked up from my handlebars and the bloke driving said “are you Dan?”. Gasping for air I said “yeah?” In a puzzled way, who is this person and how do they know my name?

Turns out this bloke is Pat who runs the hostel! He wanted to see if I was getting on okay and whether I wanted a lift. That is the first time someone has done that and I was amazed by such a warm welcome to a town. I declined the lift as I only pay the iron price on these hills don’t I.

He told me how to find the hostel then said “See you soon Dan, you’re almost there!”.

Once I made it to the hostel I wheeled my bike in and looked at my bunk, the sign on it said “Dan, The British Man”, I love this place already!

Yours in cycling,

Dan

Day 60 – D’Ya Like Dags?

Day 60 – D’Ya Like Dags?

Day 60 (Jun 30th)

Distance 87.9 miles

There were 3 passes to climb today so I set off early.

I completed all 3 and was treated to an easy coast down into the town I was camping in.

As I waited at some traffic lights a mad max convoy pulled up next to me. These vehicles were insane, they were old, covered in dust, beat up, jacked up on off road tyres and just gave off a post apocalyptic vibe.

Inside it turns out we’re American gypsies travelling to a rainbow gathering nearby. This particular convoy travelled from the east coast and picked up any hippies along the way.

The driver I was speaking to was filthy, dreadlocked and covered in weird face tattoos. His van was filled with people sleeping on each other and dogs sleeping on top. It was amazing to see these people, I would have taken a picture but my gut told me not to.

These people were a part of thousands heading for one national park which was to become their home for the next few months until the eclipse takes place in August. The police are aware of it now but no one knew where it was going to take place.

A scouting party of the “leaders” in the rainbow family chose this place months in advance and it was communicated to the rest of them on the down low.

Now the police have set up a base, a mobile court (with judge) and a prison, crazy right!?

Anyway an hour after I first met the convoy I saw them outside a gas station trying to get free gas (petrol) lolz.

In the final 10 minutes of cycling today I thought I rode over a stone that got caught in my tyre tread, it never fell off so I stopped to flick it off. Turns out I have a bit of wood sticking out of my tyre! It’s not losing air so maybe it missed the inner tube, all I know is that I’m not pulling that piece of wood out haha.

Yours in cycling,

Dan

Day 59 – Eating in the Shade

Day 59 – Eating in the Shade

Day 59 (Jun 29th)

Today I decided to take it easy as my knee was playing up on the way into Baker City yesterday. I’m making sure I listen to my body and it could be said that I’ve taken too many rest days, but with zero illnesses or injuries I’m going to keep doing what I’m doing. Also I love rest days and I’m on holiday right!?

The rest day consisted of typing up a good 10 days worth of blogging and eating too much good food in the cool shade. I chatted with other cyclists who were taking off today and really enjoyed telling them how hot it was and how much I’d hate to be cycling today lol.

I met a pastor who was cycling west to east with his young sons. I’ve been waiting a while to pass my bear spray on and this was the perfect moment. I handed the baton over and wished that it would give him and his sons as much luck as it gave me, no grizzly attacks! Ariel your kind gesture has officially been passed on, thanks for keeping me safe!

I also fixed the brakes on my bike today, as for the past few days I haven’t been able to stop on the downhills. I felt so macho after, so macho in fact that I lit a damn fire to sleep next to that night damnit!

Yours in cycling,

Dan

 

Day 58 – My Patent Pending Hat

Day 58 – My Patent Pending Hat

Day 58 (Jun 28th)

Distance 58.5 miles

Today was another hot day in Hells Canyon. I left around 6:30am and had a pass to get over straight away.

Down the other side I got the nicest huckleberry milkshake and topped up my water bottles as there is no water for the next 50 miles to Baker City boooooo.

I cycled alongside the river so dipped my shirt in there which really helps to stay cool, I also dipped my patent pending Hells Canyon hat.

The hat is essentially a hand towel I borrowed from a hotel which I tuck into the back of an Adidas baseball cap that I lawfully own. Combined these two components shade my face, the top of my head and my neck. Sometimes I amaze myself.

Later down the road I bumped into a fellow cyclist. Guess who it was…Aurel! Haha we cycled together for a bit during the early days but haven’t seen each other in over a month. It was so funny bumping into him again, he’s looking much more homeless these days with a big old beard.

I stopped for lunch and he went ahead to Baker City. On the way into town I well fancied a Chinese and as soon as I pulled in I saw a Chinese restaurant, text book.

Whilst I was eating I got on the wifi to look for the bike hostel I heard about in the town. As I opened up google a bloke walked into the restaurant and walked straight over my way. He asked if I was doing the Transamerica so I said yeah I was. He then gave me a business card for the exact same hostel I was about to search for!

You must think I make this stuff up but the universe is just on my side.

Yours in cycling,

Dan

Day 57 – The Final State, Oregon!

Day 57 – The Final State, Oregon!

Day 57 (Jun 27th)

Distance 103.7 miles

So today was a better day!

I woke up at 4:55am as I slept outside and the light/birds woke me.

I was on the bike by 6am and it was so nice to be alive at that time, it was much cooler and the roads were quiet.

The only interruption in the peace was a logging truck which I could hear approaching from behind for miles on the winding road. Once he made it onto the same straight as me he was on the horn, this is trucker for “I ain’t slowing down and I ain’t going round you” so I promptly made my way off the road. It’s just as well I did as he gave me no space and he was flying.

The rest of the day was calm apart from cycling through a plague of gigantic Mormon Locust. They were covering the road and jumping up when I got near. The whole road was slick from their squashed bodies and guts, vommmmm.

I arrived in my first town of Oregon, Halfway, did I mention that Oregon is my final state of the journey!? I played pool with some locals and found a place to lay my head under a sloped roof of a barn.

Also I don’t know if you noticed my mileage today? 103.7 miles. It’s my second century ride but I’m humble. So what if I’m a hell of a cyclist now? So what if the Tour De France wants me?

Just kidding but boy can I cycle now!

Yours in cycling,

Dan

Day 56 – Those CBAs

Day 56 – Those CBAs

Day 56 (26th Jun)

Distance 30 miles

Just a heads up I’m about to have a moan.

I was going to leave around noon today but Jesus it was too hot and I have a seriously debilitating case of the Can’t Be Arseds (CBAs). I sat in the air con all day and at 4pm finally got back on the bike.

The sun was hot, the wind was hot, the shade was hot, my water was hot and I was hot.

It was a long gradual uphill day as I followed the Salmon river upstream, and soon enough I pulled off at a rest stop for more water.

A bloke pulled over, walked casually over to the river and just got in it. I sat there watching with sweat running down my face and right that second I decided to get in as well. I walked over and got in fully clothed, it was so refreshing! I got out and back on the bike, within 10 minutes I was bone dry again.

The day got better and so did my mood, sometimes you just have to get on with it and stop sulking right. Some days can be tough but the feeling is temporary, tomorrow will be a better day.

Yours in cycling,

Dan

Day 55 – Is that on warranty?

Day 55 – Is that on warranty?

Day 55 (25th Jun)

Distance 43 miles

Another leisurely start this morning after getting bananas and water loaded onto the bike.

Before the main climb of the day I came across a lad pushing a buggy full of gear, he was walking across America for charity!

The funniest part of this is that he bought a new stroller from a shop and it had a warranty, so once he reached a town where his buggy was beat up he exchanged it for a brand new one haha! Logan all the best mate, you clever sod you!

I got the climb out of the way slowly but surely, it’s was another day in the mid 80’s and I can’t hack it. You might be thinking “he was moaning about the rain and the cold last week!?”, but I’m British so it’s my God given right to moan about the weather.

I had a steady stream of sweat flowing down my face and by the end of the day my face was covered in crystallised salt.

Yours in cycling,

Dan

Day 54 – Dan Vs Food

Day 54 – Dan Vs Food

Day 54 (24th Jun)

Distance 41.6 miles

After a strong 10 hour sleep I woke up to clear blue skies. Before I checked out I got on the wifi outside the restaurant and the woman popped out and told me to come in for a drink before I left. I had a Coke and they didn’t charge me which was lovely of them. They even put ice in my water bottles so it was the best campsite I’ve been to in forever.

I left late morning and made it to a town called Kooskia on the Nez Perce Reservation. I had trouble finding the café so asked a lady who was out the front of her house. She came over to the gate and told me how to get there. She was listening to The BBC on her phone so we joked how a British presenter had appeared before her eyes, I knew I had a newsreader accent.

She invited me in for a cold drink which I greatly appreciated as my iced water bottles were already warm. Thank you Beth!

Next stop was the café and for the first time on this trip I over did it on the food. I ordered two burger and chip meals and they were BIG portions. I ate them both and was loving it, my error was getting on the bike immediately after.

Straight away I had a 2,000ft climb in 90 degrees Fahrenheit heat. About halfway up I was in a bad way. Each burp had a rumble of sick in it, I was getting stomach pains and I was so full I couldn’t take deep breaths, like there wasn’t space for air in my body haha. I had $20 of food in my belly so it would have been a real shame to chuck it up.

The feeling lasted for the rest of the climb and across the prairies until I made it to Grangeville Idaho. Once I got into town I got a slush puppy to cool my belly down and it was like medicine.

I learnt a lesson today, no Man Vs Food straight before a hot climb because you will hit a wall.

Jheeze it’s 8pm and I could do with another burger.

Yours in cycling,

Dan

Day 53 – Butterfly Ganglands

Day 53 – Butterfly Ganglands

Day 53 (23rd Jun)

Distance 72.5 miles

Unbeknownst to me I had 70 miles of no services to do today, whaaaaaa I wanted to take it easy!

I got a few more snacks and headed off. It was the most beautiful ride along the Lochsa river and I was surrounded by towering fir trees on all sides.

Along the whole route there were swarms of butterflies and they were fearless honestly. At first I thought it was random but no, these butterflies were going out of their way to crash into my face. I’m ashamed to admit it but one butterfly ran me off the road. I moved my head to avoid his kamikaze attempt and is I did I lost my balance, next thing I knew I was exiting the road off the lip of the hard shoulder.

These butterflies were menacing, they hung about in gangs around pools of water and I even saw them banging in the middle of the road. I was shocked and appalled.

Apart from that I landed in a shit town with one bad restaurant, one bad waitress and no camping. I cycled another further 7 miles and was back in the land of good.

Yours in cycling,

Dan

Day 52 – Bear Fun

Day 52 – Bear Fun

Day 52 (22nd Jun)

Okay I officially left Missoula!

I can safely say it’s another town I’ve left a bit of my heart in, but the mission is the Pacific coast and the show must go on.

I had the maddest headwinds today, they drive me up the wall no matter how hard I try to let them travel through me.

In the Chinese buffet I read a quote… ”In the rain, be in the rain. In the wind, be in the wind”. I thought it would make the perfect Instagram caption, however I disagree with it. It should read “in the rain, get out of the rain. In the wind, get out of the wind”.

After the frustration of the wind I was about to experience even more frustration with a mix of fear. As I cycled around a corner I got my first encounter with a black bear! He came out of the tree line right next to the road about 10 metres in front of me and as he did a motorcycle was coming and he ran from the noise down the verge on the other side of the road.

People here say you should act differently when confronted by black bears compared to grizzly bears. With a grizzly you’re best off playing dead and hoping it gets bored, on the other hand with a black bear you best be ready to fight as those things want to kill you.

As soon as I saw him I shouted “fuck off bear!” In a bid to scare him. Once he ran off I still thought he may turn around to investigate me, I had fresh deli food on my bike and if I was a bear I know I’d want it.

The frustration arose when I went for my bear spray, in Missoula I was like I haven’t seen a bear this whole time I’m packing this away. Sod’s law as soon as I packed it I came across one the same day.

I started tipping out my panniers like a mad man to find the spray and was just waiting to see that bear come back over the verge!

He never did come back so I repacked the contents of my panniers which were now all over the hard shoulder. I cycled another 10 miles to a restaurant where I had a big icy glass of Coke. When I walked in a woman said “wow you cycle fast, we saw you earlier.”. I said “yeah I saw a bear so I sped up.” She then told me that she saw him too and it turns out that she was on the motorbike that scared him off!

It was banter but I can’t believe they didn’t stop to see if I made it through okay!

I made it up Lolo pass, entered Idaho and entered a new time zone. Triple whammy!

Yours in cycling,

Dan

Day 51 – Whoops another rest day!

Day 51 – Whoops another rest day!

Day 51 (21st Jun)

Oh I accidentally stayed another day in Missoula!

It was a great day so no regrets, myself and my new friend Maggie, who was also staying in the hostel decided to get food and visit one of the breweries.

We then went to another cool place and I wanted more food, they served Cajun food so I tried my first ever Gumbo and Jumbolaya which were so nice!

Jeeze even on a Tuesday night the atmosphere was so good, this town is decentttttt!

I promise to get back on the bike tomorrow.

Yours in cycling,

Dan

Day 50 – I did my first desk pop!

Day 50 – I did my first desk pop!

Day 50 (20th Jun)

Shots fired!

True to their words the old bill picked me up and we went to the range.

Chris had the baddest guns I’ve ever seen and they were straight out of call of duty. Have a look on my Instagram page for videos of me “emptying clips”.

I looked a bit out of place in my cycling gear but I did take my helmet off for the occasion.

After an afternoon of being a true American Christ treated me to a Chinese buffet. I had a brilliant day cheers mate, I may carry a piece when I’m back in the uk now lolz.

Another example of my luck in bumping into the nicest people!

Yours in cycling,

Dan

Day 49 – And Breathe…

Day 49 – And Breathe…

Day 49 (19th Jun)

Last night I met two off duty coppers in a bar, it was a hilarious night and they wouldn’t let me pay for a single drink. They offered to take me shooting on Monday and I really hope it happens, shooting guns is so American damnit!

I ate lunch in a Vietnamese restaurant which made me want to visit Vietnam and then I wandered around town.

I heard about a bar that had 50 beers on tap so strolled over there to have a look. I ordered a drink and a bloke heard my accent so came over. I was chatting to him for a while and then I noticed his tattoos…swastikas and general Aryan race themes, oh great in such a nice town I meet the one nazi. He also had a front tooth missing which was kicked out during a fight on a reservation.

I managed to slip away and took a walk down to a place with live music. When I sat down outside the waiter walked over and said that a drink had been bought for me and pointed over to the buyer, it was the bloke that owns the hostel I’m staying in. Cheers Chris mate!

Today was so relaxed and there is something I really love about Missoula, Montana.

Yours in cycling,

Dan

Day 48 – Lucky Launderette

Day 48 – Lucky Launderette

Day 48 (18th June)

Jesus I slept 2 hours last night and woke up wet, cold and stressed.

I went to withdraw cash last night before bed and it turns out that the prepaid card was empty lolz. Then I got locked out of online banking and then I couldn’t phone them as it was out of office hours. It’s all resolved now but I was so aggy as I had about 3 dollars on me.

At 5am I got up and headed back to McDonald’s for a coffee, as I cycled there a sprinkler came up out of the ground and sprayed me with a fresh coating of cold water, I had to laugh because that was just fucking typical haha.

I managed to check into the hostel and went to the launderette to wash my clothes properly for the first time on the trip, before then I was using shampoo in hotel sinks. In the launderette a man came over to chat and it turns out him and his wife are touring as well! They invited me out for dinner and I accepted gratefully. Whilst my gear dried I went for a haircut and got food. The girl working at the launderette helped me and didn’t even charge me, so I bought her some flowers.

I had dinner with with Nolan and Ileana and we shared tales from the road. They actually spent years in the UK through Nolan’s military service, and that’s how they clocked I was British and not Australian back at the launderette. On a side note 95% of people I chat to guess I’m Australian.

The good fortune continues and I’m a firm believer in synchronicity now.

Yours in cycling,

Dan

Day 47 – Towns are like Toilets

Day 47 – Towns are like Toilets

Day 47 (17th June)

Distance 87.68 miles

Average 11.8mph

Total pedal time 7 hrs 22 mins

Being the honest John that I am I went to the camp reception this morning to let them know I pitched up late last night. As as I wasn’t even able to get into the toilets for a Brad Pitt I half expected a reduced rate…she charged me the full $18 for my 10 hours there, haha cheers then!

I wanted to make it to Missoula today which was another 80 miles away, but after a 100 mile day I now looked at 80 as a stroll in the park.

There were 5 towns on the journey which is unheard of as I’m normally in the arse end of nowhere, I ate in each one as it’s just a habit to stop in civilisation now. A town is definitely like a toilet, don’t pass one without using it, you never know when you’re going to come across one again.

One town before Missoula was Lolo and I considered camping here, however I didn’t like the place so around 11pm I headed off on the 7 mile cycle path to Missoula. I planned on finding somewhere hidden to get some sleep and check into the hostel early the next morning.

I wanted a hot drink before bed so went through the McDonald’s drive through. The woman on the speaker asked if I was on a bicycle so I said yeah I was. She said she wasn’t allowed to serve people on foot through the drive through so I assured her I would pedal up to each window, didn’t even chuckle did she.

I found a hidden spot but couldn’t set the tent up there so I used the sheet from my tent as a waterproof blanket, it stopped the rain but I got drenched in condensation anyway. I’m feeling drained right now so I’m calling a break in play and taking a few days in the hostel to recharge. I need to wash my clothes, dry my tent and get out of this constant rain.

Yours in cycling,

Dan

Day 46 – Centurion

Day 46 – Centurion

Day 46 (16th June)

Distance 104.99 miles

Average 9.8 mph

Total pedal time 10 hrs 38 mins

They said man couldn’t run a mile in 4 minutes, but man did it anyway.

They said Dan couldn’t cycle 100 miles in one day, but Dan did it anyway!

Perhaps that’s a bit dramatic but I’m over the moon about getting 100 miles in one day! Jeeze it took me over 10 hours of pedalling and I hit 3 passes during the day, but I was bionic.

After 99.8 miles I made it to a campsite but there was no way I was stopping before 100 miles. I even contemplated doing a few laps of the campsite to push me over the mark but naaaaaaaaaah next campsite let’s go.

I made it to camp at 10pm and the whole place was shut. I set the tent up in the rain and went to sleep wet as the toilet/shower needed a code to access which I didn’t have.

Dillon Montana to Sula Montana, 15th June 2017, this should be a national holiday TBH.

Yours in cycling,

Dan

Day 45 – McLovin’ It

Day 45 – McLovin’ It

Day 45 (15th June)

Distance 37.5 miles

I set off for a day of headwinds today.

The more fellow cyclists I meet the more I’m told that you shouldn’t fight headwinds, you should just go with them. The problem is that they piss me off properly! If you go slow and struggle all day going up a hill at least you get the reward of being at the top of a hill. If you spend all day going slow and struggling against a headwind then there is no tangible reward, you’re being robbed!

Around lunch time I met two 60 year young blokes who were going west to east, 37 years ago they went east to west together, that is friendship levels!

I finished the day early as I just couldn’t be arsed for the two climbs to the next camp.

I sat in McDonalds all evening on $1 coffee and free wifi. A transam racer arrived and sat with me and we chatted, he’s hoping to cycle the whole route in less than 30 days. For me personally the best part of the journey is the bit when I get off the bike, so to do the whole thing strapped to the bike is a bit leave it, but these racers have a different mindset!

Yours in cycling,

Dan

Day 44 – Fanks Sheridan

Day 44 – Fanks Sheridan

Day 44 (14th June)

Day 44 was a hideaway from the storm day as I didn’t want a repeat of yesterday no ma’am.

I woke up and checked out as wanted to camp instead for the night. I went for coffee and wifi and met a couple of people from last night. We ate lunch then a girl called Kimberly organised a trip with her friends to see the views up in the mountains.

When we got back I was ready to set up my tent when Kimberly and her Dad invited me to stay in their camper round the back of their house. I said yes immediately as I fancied an inflatable bed over my roll mat, her Dad Dan even turned on the heating for me!

Two days in Sheridan Montana and everyone I’ve met has been so kind to me, I’m glad the storm turned up yesterday otherwise I would have cycled straight through!

Serendipity at its finest.

Yours in cycling,

Dan

Day 43 – Just Another Manic Monday

Day 43 – Just Another Manic Monday

Day 43 (June 13th)

Distance 32 miles

I slept so well and in the morning drank coffee and chatted with Amalia and her friends.

Amalia was heading out and her passing gift was an actual headlamp! I tried to make her keep it but I’m the end she won and I’m now the owner of a purpose builder head torch. Thank you for everything Amalia!

I set off and climbed the 2,000ft in a few hours, once I made it to the top I took a break to enjoy the views and the satisfying feeling of having pedalled up there.

The journey continued and to my west dark, dark clouds were coming my way.

1 hour later and I’m now in the worst storm I’ve ever been outside in. It started with sideways rain and wind with rumbling thunder. Next was large hail that hurt my face and hands and the cherry on the cake was lighting touching down all around me.

I was around 10 miles away from Sheridan and it was that familiar feeling of panic I had at that mountain pass a few weeks ago.

I had no choice but to keep going forward and the bolts of lighting were flashing up all around me. The thunder was cracking as soon as each bolt touched down, I was just waiting for one to come down through my helmet.

I made it into the town and the roads were flooded. I just needed to get inside so went to the first shop I saw. The staff in there looked at me and started laughing because I was in a right two and eight. They gave me a free coffee and told me about a motel across the road.

I checked in and had a 1 hour sit down shower, it could have been a music video for a sad song I reckon, perhaps Cry Me A River with Timberlake.

After that I slept a few hours (see this ordeal wiped me out!).

I woke up and went down to the restaurant, where I bumped into Tina from the store. She gave me an American flag that had been signed by everyone at the store which was so nice, I think they felt empathy after seeing me roll into town like that. I just continue meeting the best of every town I arrive in, thank you!

I just ordered food and it turns out Tina put money behind the bar to cover it. Tinaaaaaaaa!?

Yours in cycling,

Dan

Day 42 – Nobody Cycles on a Sunday

Day 42 – Nobody Cycles on a Sunday

Day 42 (June 12th)

Today is Sunday and I decided to have a lay in. There was live music in the distillery so I packed my tent up and popped inside to have a look.

The next 10 miles of my journey will see me climb 2,000ft in elevation, so I’m finding it to easy to find excuses not to go climb.

I left the distillery and went into a local bar, I needed to catch up on typing the journal but I also love sitting in small bars.

Soon enough I was in with the group and the beers were flowing! They were a brilliant bunch and even the County Commissioner was present. He offered to give me a lift up the hill but I politely declined.

We popped to the next bar and I got chatting to the girls working there. I intended to cycle up the hill in the cool of the night after sobering up, so a girl called Amalia kindly taped my torch to my helmet.

After my new torch helmet was complete I was ready to go however Amalia warned me about a storm coming in which put me right off as I’ve already experienced first hand what it’s like to be caught in a storm on a bike.

She said I could stay on her sofa to wait out the storm and head off in the morning, thank you Amalia!

Yours in cycling,

Dan

Day 41 – Cheers Jay!

Day 41 – Cheers Jay!

Day 41 (11th June)

Distance 74.1 miles

Last night we were watching the NBA game in a bar and it was pissing it down outside. I was hoping it would stop so I could cycle to the next camp but it continued.

It’s so hard leaving a bar in normal circumstances, it’s even harder when you are leaving a bar to face the rain, the dark and the cold.

I got chatting to a bloke at the bar who earlier had picked up Jess’s bike after it fell outside the bar. Jay and his son were stopping over in west Yellowstone and in keeping with the way the universe works for me, Jay cycled across America back in the 70’s haha.

We all traded stories and it was so good to hear about how the journey changed Jay and what it taught him about himself.

After the game had finished I started revving myself up to go out into the rain. Jess was doing the same but then Jay offered us a place to stay at his condo, God send!!

We took our bikes to his place, I had a hot shower and slept in a warm building whilst the rain turned to hail outside.

Today I made it to a town called Ennis and set my tent up in the garden of a distillery, the Bourbon was decent and warmed me up lovely.

Yours in cycling,

Dan

Day 40 – Synchronicity

Day 40 – Synchronicity

Day 40 (June 10th)

 

By the time I set up camp another cyclist pulled up which was a welcome sight.

Her name was Jess and she was an actual solo female rider going coast to coast, these independent girls!

We chatted all night about our travels and in the background the coyotes were howling.

I went to sleep and didn’t wake up until 8am at which point Jess was already up. I got out of my tent and collected my free coffee from the reception.

Jess is from San Francisco and her NBA team were playing so in an act of madness she decided to cycle back on herself (she’s going west to east, opposite to me) to west Yellowstone to watch the game in a bar. It was a short day of 15 miles to West Yellowstone and the rain was coming in.

Oi btw I I wanted to tell you something I didn’t mention yesterday. My friend Goat told me the funniest story when I bumped into him yesterday.

That muesli he gave me I took to the other side of Togwotee Pass at which point I bumped into a Canadian lad who was travelling on a single speed, bonkers.

I now had a surplus of food so gave this lad some Muesli and he went on his way.

Two days later I bumped into Goat as I said before, and Goat told me he met a Canadian, and that the Canadian offered him food that he got from a British Man……….SAME FUCKING MUESLI! Hahahahahah

The world is the funniest place.

Yours in cycling,

Dan

Day 39 – From Bison to Bye Son – Almost

Day 39 – From Bison to Bye Son – Almost

Day 39 (9th June)

 

Distance 79.1 miles

Top Speed 45.6 mph (I like to go fast – Ricky Bobby)

A lot happened today so be prepared for a big post.

I set off a little late as I wanted more potato salad from the shop. I was on the road by 11:30am and planned to do 50 miles to the next camp.

At 5pm I made it to the site and headed straight for food. I ordered a plate of chips, ate them, ordered another plate of chips, ate them, and ordered a third plate of chips and ate them. The woman at the till was loving it, she even gave me a free ranch dressing.

After I could eat no more chips I went to the camp reception to check in but it turns out the site isn’t open for the season yet, disaster!

They were really helpful however, they phoned the next campsite down the road and confirmed that they were open and that they had room for me. Now I needed to cycle a further through Yellowstone to make it to the camp.

I was advised not to travel at night as that’s when the big animals start wandering about onto the roads. By the time I set off again it was 6pm, sunset is at 9:30pm and I had 30 miles to cover, shitty Norah I don’t like this pressure.

My legs were already losing power and now I had some hefty climbing and a time limit before sundown. I was sweating my box off and got through my water soon enough.

My route went past Old Faithful so I stopped to take a look. It goes off every 90 minutes and I was just in time. Saw that go off up into the air then set off straight away.

Now the sun was setting over the mountains and I made it to a massive open flat land where some cars were pulled over. Cars pulled over typically means an animal sighting so I approached with caution. Once I got there I saw a lone wolf walking across the flat land with the sun setting behind it…unbelievable.

I continued my time trial and it was now dusk, so I put the hi viz on and fired up the back light on my bike.

Soon enough I was at a massive car queue, Christ I’m running out of daylight hours so I headed to the front.

Once at the front I saw what the hold up was, a herd of Bison! I queued for about 30 minutes with a swarm of mosquitos so I was like fuck this. A car window rolled down and the people inside gave me repellent which was so nice.

Three cars off the front another window rolled down. The bloke inside offered to be my car shield to make it through the herd and I agreed, soon enough we were now at the front of the queue.

The Bison were trotting and the ranger truck managed to get all of them on the left hand side of the road so our gap appeared.

We started our advance but at the last minute a large male swung right with some other bison following him. Within seconds I was now smack bang in the middle of the herd. The situation was now out of control and I couldn’t go back as there were Bison behind me, at this point I really regretted trying to get through.

The Bison were now running next to me and I could have reached out and touched one of their massive heads, I’m just waiting to be smashed against the car by one.

A miracle happened and the Bison split so a gap appeared, the bloke shouted to pedal and I shiffffffffffffted to keep up with him and we were through!

We were cheering and he honked his horn, the adrenaline was pumping through me massively. I made it to the camp and although I was relieved I was also annoyed that I put myself in that situation. Even the ranger pulled over at the campsite and told me I was lucky.

Dan don’t be a donkey!

Yours in cycling,

Dan

Day 38 – Goat Encounters

Day 38 – Goat Encounters

Day 38 (8th June)

Distance 26 miles

Due to the distance between open camps I decided to take a shorter day today, I don’t want to be wild camping in the national parks.

I made it to the camp around 1pm and headed for food. At the camp grocery store I found loaded jacket potatoes and potato salad. I ate sooooo much potato.

Next stop was wifi so I went to the restaurant. It was closed but the lobby was open so I looked through the window to see how to get in. I saw a familiar face in there, it was Goat! He hitchhiked a lift and was camping there as well. That’s 3 times in 3 days bumping into this legend!

So far he hasn’t had to use the rape alarm I gave him so that’s good news.

I relaxed for the rest of the day and caught some beautiful scenes in the National Park.

Yours in cycling,

Dan

Day 37 – Breakfast and Rape Alarms

Day 37 – Breakfast and Rape Alarms

Day 37 (7th June)

Distance 49 miles

My new friend Goat already set off by the time I woke up.

The lady working in the church had cooked me breakfast even though I hadn’t yet met her which was kind! The note said “For you, Mr Boyle. Enjoy.” And I did enjoy it!

At 2pm I set off which is later than I probably should have as I needed to climb to 9,658ft from 7,000ft in Grizzly Bear country.

Before the climb I pulled over at the last shop and sat outside the front was my friend Goat! He was waiting for a food package his girlfriend sent to a post office nearby. I sat down and had a late lunch with him and when his care package arrived I started laughing at the quantity of food inside.

He had wayyyyyy too much to carry so gave me some which was decent of him.

I knew his journey on the back country trails would be more dangerous than mine on the roads so I gave him an item that was previously given to me in Guffey, Colorado… a rape alarm haha! I’m not even sure it would scare a bear away but perhaps it would alert others to help. I hope it wouldn’t make them any madder at least.

The climb to the pass was one of the best I’ve had. The adrenaline from my bearophobia and the 5 hour energy shot I had meant I flew up the mountain.

Every couple of minutes I would shout out something in a bid to clear the way of bears, I think it must have worked as I didn’t see a single bear!

I made it down the other side just before nightfall and loaded my scented possessions into the bear box, I tried to fit in it myself however no luck.

I don’t like being in a tent when there are monsters around so I unrolled my roll mat and slept under the stars with full visibility under the bright moon.

Yours in cycling,

Dan

Day 36 – Bear Convos

Day 36 – Bear Convos

Day 36 (6th June)

Distance 77.08 miles

After the best weekend it was already Monday morning so I got back to cycling ready to make some ground.

I made it through the Wind River Indian Reservation today which was a first for me.

Last night I met a native couple and they showed me some videos of traditional celebrations which were incredible, then the bloke showed me a video of a cyclist being chased by a bear. I asked if bear spray would work and he said the only chance I would have is if I put a bullet in the bear’s head. Don’t even think that was banter but sound advice regardless of the fact that I don’t have a gun lol.

I made it to Dubois and to the cowboy café where I ordered 3 plates of food.

After dinner I went to the church dorm which was soooooo nice, there were two others already there, a cyclist and a hiker.

The Hiker was called Goat (his hiking name from enjoying climbing mountains lol) and for the last 1,000 miles had been hiking in the snow. We exchanged bear stories as were both petrified of coming across them in the next part of our journeys.

His final story was about a missing hiker in the area last year. They found his remains after a bear got him and all of the remains fitted into a bucket, the bear ate the rest.

Goat won the bear story competition and I went to bed with the image of the bucket in my head.

Yours in cycling,

Dan

Days 34 / 35 – Lander the Free

Days 34 / 35 – Lander the Free

Days 34 & 35 (4th / 5th June)

So after I wrote up yesterday’s post I bunched into a group of people in the city park.

They were having a party and kindly offered me a drink which was great as I was getting bored laying in the sun.

The afternoon was loads of fun, I got to play an American game called Corn Holes, I got to taste White Claws and finally I got to see a live band play at the local bar.

Lander is one of those places where people visit once then eventually their paths cross again with the town. I can see how it happens, 330 days of sunshine, friendly people and no rat race. Maybe I will be a Lander resident in the future haha!

A girl called Ariel (who is one day older than me?!) even gifted me her bear spray for the next part of my journey, that is love right there!

To top off my weekend in Lander I got an invite back for 4th July which is meant to be unreal in Lander, I just hope it’s not a trick so they can hang a British lad to celebrate America’s independence. Anyway it’s a risk I’m willing to take!

Yours in cycling,

Dan

Day 33 – Pamper Time

Day 33 – Pamper Time

Day 33 (3rd June)

Today was a pamper day for my bike.

There’s a decent bike shop in Lander and my rear tyre was down to the bone. I got a new touring tyre and it turns out the chain was looking too good neither. A new chain was $15 so rather than bolloxing my drive train I splashed out.

After this I sat in a coffee shop for 3 hours getting wifi and charging electronics.

Tomorrow is a 70 mile day through an Indian reservation so for the rest of today I’m laying in the sun.

Yours in cycling,

Dan

Day 32 – Crikey a Rattler!

Day 32 – Crikey a Rattler!

Day 32 (Jun 2nd)

Distance 60.19 miles

Today is the second and final day up in the 130 mile dead zone.

I set off after a double chilli burger at 9am. The locals were up and already boozing, or maybe they just never went to bed.

I got pedalling through the barren landscape and was complaining to myself about the headwinds that had returned.

I was on autopilot daydreaming about having an engine but 1 hour in I was rudely brought back to reality. I heard a loud rattle and I looked down to see what it was, jeepers it was a coiled rattlesnake!! By the time I heard it I was already on top of it and I swerved missing it by much less than a foot!

It’s ironic that after the bloke in Rawlins told me about cyclists swerving into the road I did the exact same thing, luckily there were no trucks to run me over.

Thank god the “rattler” didn’t strike my leg. Those things have the worst venom and I was a whole day away from the next town, I would have definitely been brown bread. Damn I was so close to this snake and I clearly upset him!

I got off the bike and was full of adrenaline, I paced up and down for 5 minutes saying things like “ohhhhh fuck me” and then I got the camera out to document my encounter. The way it moved made me shiver, I guess we are evolved to be petrified of snakes.

For the rest of the day I panicked over any snake shape objects on the hard shoulder. The worst thing was seeing a sand coloured bungee cable as they are the most snake looking things.

After a lunch break I had calmed down but before the sun set I had an identical encounter with an even longer/fatter rattle snake!!

My nerves are now in tatters and I need to find somewhere that doesn’t have snakes. I finally made it to the end of the dead zone and didn’t die, oioi!

I set the tent up and checked three times that the door zip was done up fully, no snake sized gap.

Another day another dollar.

Yours in cycling,

Dan

Day 31 – The Hills Have Eyes

Day 31 – The Hills Have Eyes

Day 31 (June 1st)

Distance 72 miles

I woke up to blue skies and a free coffee from the campsite office.

I told the girl working there where I was headed and she said “ohhhh, you’re going through the dead zone”.

I asked her what she meant and she told me there was just about no civilisation for the next 130 miles. Oh great fanx.

With that in mind I stocked up in Rawlins. The bloke in the petrol station was also a delight to talk to. He informed me that cyclists have died on this stretch of road as they have seen rattle snakes last minute and swerved out into the road to dodge them and have been flattened by the big fuel trucks that hurtle down the road. Oh great fanx.

With all of this fresh on my mind I set off for the apparent gauntlet.

The day was a success, no “rattlers” and I’m alive 70 miles later I made it to an outpost called Jeffrey City.

The “city” used to be booming in the 80’s when they discovered Uranium and began mining. The city never slept as 5,000 miners worked in 3 shifts over a 24 hour period so apparently the 3 bars in town were always buzzing.

Fast forward to today and the town has a population of 41 and there is just one bar open along with a church.

Signs of the past remain with an abandoned ghost town including a grocery store, miners accommodation, and even a bowling alley. Everywhere is boarded up now and the place is so eerie.

Those that remain there struggle with a 120 mile round trip to go food shopping, and every summer there are swarms of mosquitos making it too uncomfortable to be outside.

I stayed in the church which was heaven sent as the Mosquitos were out of control. Luckily there were 4 other cyclists heading east so I had company for the night.

Went for breakfast in the bar and at around 9am the locals were getting back on it, or maybe they never got off it last night?

A uranium mining town that was a mixture of The Hills Have Eyes and I Am Legend (I’m Will Smith obvs).

Yours in cycling,

Dan

Day 30 – Hurdles of life

Day 30 – Hurdles of life

Day 30 (May 31st)

Distance 65.44 miles

I set off around 9:30am this morning. I can now confirm with absolute certainty that I’m solar powered. I cannot physically get out of bed until the sun has heated my tent up. Either that or I’m just cold blooded, depends who you ask lolz.

There were no pesky headwinds today so I was bang bang on the pedals. I could have gone even further but found a decent campsite so pulled over.

The original campsite I checked out wanted $32 plus tax so I was like nah. The woman told me there was another site down the road I was on so I took her word for it. Turns out it was on the next exit of the interstate.

This left me with two options:

1) Go back on myself to get back on the main road and to the next exit.

2) Get myself and my bike over a barbed wire fence and through a field.

I chose option 2, making sure not to catch any hanging fruit as I jumped over.

I kind of think the woman knew she gave me the wrong directions, but no harm as I do hurdles for breakfast.

Yours in cycling,

Dan

Day 29 – all you can eat

Day 29 – all you can eat

Day 29 (May 30th)

I set my tent up beneath a wind chime so woke up in a trance/meditative state.

Today is Memorial Day in the states remembering those who have served the nation I believe. What it also meant was a $5 all you can eat BBQ across the road, OohRah! I lost count of how many hotdogs and burgers I had.

There was also live music and I got to hear Ring of Fire, so in summary it was a very American day!

An early start tomorrow so I’m tucked up in bed. The roll mat is dreamy.

Yours in cycling,

Dan

Day 28 – as luck would have it

Day 28 – as luck would have it

Day 28 (May 29th)

Distance 49.59 miles

Before bed last night I found a Family Dollar store so popped inside. After the ordeal up in the mountains I wanted to treat myself for not dying (such a diva).

I found a doormat in the home section and it looked so comfy so I bought it. I also bought some bin bags to keep my mat dry on the bike.

I made it into Wyoming today and to a town called riverside with a population of 52. I found the best campsite and got chatting to the owner about my brand new purchase. I got the doormat out to show her and it turns out she uses the EXACT same mats in the women’s showers!? Not only that, a camper left a roll mat behind earlier in the week so we made a trade.

My luck will just not stop, after 4 weeks I have a roll mat again!

Perfect negotiation as we both won.

Yours in cycling,

Dan

Day 27 – It was a close shave up the mountain

Day 27 – It was a close shave up the mountain

Day 27 (May 28th)

Distance 63.89 miles

I said some unchristian things in the mountains today.

The day went as follows:

Leave Hot Sulphur Springs, Colorado.

Climb 2,000ft to Willow Creek Pass at 9,683ft.

Come down the other side and set up camp in Walden, Colorado.

To add a bit more detail:

I was battered by hail storms on the way up. I was battered by hail storms at the top. And I was battered by hailstorms on the way down.

In fact, today is the first day I’ve felt in a bit of danger. Once I made it to the top I could see the darkest clouds coming my way so I hastily started my descent. Shortly after that the weather came in as a mixture of snow and hail and it went dark.. The point where I really felt in danger was when my hands weren’t my own any more. I couldn’t feel a thing and eventually had to pull off the road still way up in the mountain. Using my hours of Bear Grylls viewing I took my frozen gloves off and put my hands under my armpits. It was so painful warming them back up, I could feel them throb and ache!

A break in the weather appeared at which point I made it down the mountain like a rocket. I was close to the point of setting up an emergency camp as I had no signal to make an SOS call.

30 miles later I made it to Walden and got a hot drink from the petrol station. The bloke could see how drenched and cold I was so told me I could have it for free. Another kind human encounter.

I survived my moment of panic and can understand how people get caught out up the mountains.

Yours in cycling,

Dan

Day 25 – All you can eat

Day 25 – All you can eat

Day 25 (May 26th)
After yesterday’s climb I took it easy today. It was a relaxed pedal down a bike trail and across a dam into Dillon. I could have been in Center Parcs.

 

I had a couple of hours down on the stony beach of the lake in search of gold. I found a few glittery stones but no nuggets.

 

Next stop was a cheap hotel for all of the comforts like a bed, warmth, hot water and wifi.

 

Today I had an all you can eat Chinese buffet, two bananas, some oats and two jacket potatoes.

 

Yours in cycling,

Dan

Day 24 – Hoosier Daddy!?

Day 24 – Hoosier Daddy!?

Day 24 (May 25th)
Distance 28 miles
It was a big day on the journey, I made it 11,539ft above sea level to Hoosier Pass! It’s also the highest I’ve been on land, apart from that one time at a party, buts that’s another story for another day.
The weather was perfect, blue skies and deep snow. The climbing however was less than perfect, the whole time I was gasping for air and was even pushing the bike at a few points. Nevertheless I made it to the top and it felt great to be up there!
I imagined this moment for so long before now, seeing other cyclists having their photo taken with the sign on their blogs as a badge of honour. I realised the dream!
I stayed up there for an hour enjoying the moment and refuelling then I began the rapid descent down the other side. I came down 2,000ft in 10 miles and didn’t pedal once. It felt like being back on a motorbike, actually, why didn’t I do all of this on a motorbike?
Camping by a river tonight with snow covered mountains as a back drop, this is adventure.
Yours in cycling,
Dan

Days 22 & 23 – IOU

Days 22 & 23 – IOU

Day 22 & 23 (May 23rd and 24th)
I’ve been plodding through the miles and going up in altitude these last couple of days.
Slow riding made worse with constant headwinds bleurghhhhh.
I did however meet great people in Hartsel in a bar and also in FairPlay in a coffee shop. All of these people were so generous and kind.

 

I’m constantly amazed with how people are treating this stranger with a funny accent that cycles through their towns.
I appreciate it everyone, however I feel the need to give back, if anyone clocks me and wants a hand with their garden or something please let me know!
Yours in cycling,
Dan

Day 21 – A Wolf in Wolf’s clothing

Day 21 – A Wolf in Wolf’s clothing

Day 21 (May 22nd)

 
Today is a rest day as my knees were in bits after yesterday.

 
I woke up and Karen gave me a tour of the mountain ranges in the area and then took us down to the same restaurant for breakfast. She introduced us to her friends and we all sat and chatted for an hour.

 

Before I could even get my wallet out Karen had paid and refused my money. I’m still awkward around things like people paying for me but I thanked her for the hot food (hot food is kind of a luxury these days).

 

Karen knew a Wolf sanctuary near hers so got us booked in. We got there and it was only myself and Aurel for the tour. The boss man Mark walked us around these beautiful animals and told us in detail about each one. Man knows his wolves!

 
As we came to the end of the tour Mark said that we would now be going in with all the wolves and I laughed, it turns out he wasn’t joking!

 

Before we entered each area he told us which wolves we could initiate contact with and which ones we weren’t to approach unless they came to us.

 
There was one pure Wolf named Thor that I was told not to approach. He walked over to me, got up on his back legs and put his giant paws on my shoulders and looked down at me, his nose inches from mine. He stared at me, sniffed and then started licking my face.

 
As if this was a sign that Thor had approved of me I was now allowed to stroke him, which was lucky as I was starting to struggle under his weight.
What an incredible experience!

 

I must stress that this wasn’t a zoo, it was a refuge for wolves that humans had naively thought they could domesticate who then in a lot of cases would abuse. Oh humans.

 
On a lighter note I really thought my first experience with wolves would be me running through a foggy, moonlit wood crying with a pack hunting me down. I preferred today.

 
Yours in cycling,
Dan

Day 20 – Deer Town

Day 20 – Deer Town

Day 20 (May 21st)

 
Distance 37.12 miles

 
Climb 3,500 ft

 
So today I woke up and left the Abbey and started the climbing.

 
This is the first day that I’ve considered selling my bike on the side of the road. The climbs were never ending and around every bend you could be sure there was another hill.

 

In total I climbed approx 3,500ft and finished the day at around 9,000ft above sea level. At this height the air is thinner and I’m always short of breath on the bike.

 
I made it to a quirky western town called Guffey, which is ironic as there were such strong winds today. The one man that officially offered accommodation was out of town so we headed to the restaurant to formulate a plan.

 
As soon as we were in the restaurant a lady that worked there called Karen came over to chat to us. It turns out not all heroes wear capes as Karen (who was cape-less) offered us a place to stay at hers. Zingerrrr!

 
She told us to follow her car up a hill through the town and I suddenly had a bit more pedal power in me. By this point it was dusk and the town was now inhabited by loads of deer, it’s also worth noting it was bloody freezing.

 
I made it up the hill, pushing that last 100 metres as my tank ran empty. At the top was an incredible lodge, and as I walked inside I felt the heat of the fire hit me.

 
I got a lovely hot shower, a coffee and a comfy sofa. Karen you darling!

 
Yours in cycling,
Dan

Day 19 – One night in Abbey

Day 19 – One night in Abbey

Day 19 (May 20th)

 
Distance 54 miles

 
The mountains have been good getting closer over the passed few days. I’ve felt like Frodo on his way to Mordor.

 
The climbing has begun today and every foot we get higher the temperature falls. Tonight is rain and near freezing temperatures. That’s a combo that I don’t fancy camping in, especially as I threw my roll mat away on day 3 haha!

 
As luck would have it we found an Abbey that had a dormitory for $15, so no storms for me!

 
Tomorrow is a big climbing day and I’m headed for 2ft of snow. On top of that it’s a long way to the next town so it could be a cold night!

 

Yours in cycling,
Dan

Day 18 – A town called Pueblo

Day 18 – A town called Pueblo

Day 18 (May 19th)

Distance 30 miles

We left Boone around 8am under a misty drizzle, 10 minutes later it was pissing it down.

I was actually laughing throughout the morning as each time a lorry passed a wave of water and wind smashed into me and knocked me off course. It was chaos.

We pulled over at a petrol station where I had a cup of coffee and three hot dogs.

Early afternoon we made it to a town called Pueblo and by this time the rain became hail, so we headed for shelter.

I fell asleep around 6pm and woke up 12 hours later so it was well worth it. There’s nothing like being inside when the weather outside is bad.

Yours in cycling,

Dan

Day 17 – Flying the Flag for the UK and US…

Day 17 – Flying the Flag for the UK and US…

Day 17 (May 18th)

Distance 24 miles

We left Kevin’s house around 11am but not before a cooked breakfast.

We cycled on a straight rode as far as the eye could see and stopped for lunch under one of the only trees we saw. Aurel tried his drone out and I’m telling you he is going to get some unreal shots from that thing.

We made it to a little town called Boone and got set up on the towns park grounds. I was keen to meet some locals and also for a pint so headed to the only bar in the town, the VFW which stood for Veterans of Foreign Wars.

As soon as I got in I was welcomed to take a seat at the bar and the hours flew by. Everyone was so chatty and asked me loads of questions about the UK which made me laugh. Us Brits must look quite weird in their eyes! A lovely couple called Jeff and Diana in particular were brilliant, they must be specialists on the UK.

To top it off the VFW bar gave me a US flag! With that on the back of my bike I’m hoping to get even more space as the trucks pass.

Boone is a cool town!

Yours in cycling,

Dan

Day 14, 15 and 16 – A shower with the old bill

Day 14, 15 and 16 – A shower with the old bill

Days 14, 15, 16 (May 15th, 16th, 17th) (probably)

Distance 25 miles

I don’t even know what day it is.

Myself and my bike made it through the train journeys fine, loads of leg space and brilliant views.

The train stopped off at La Junta, Colorado which is where I got off. I changed into my bib shorts, loaded up on a few gallons of water and headed off.

The day was one long straight road and it’s the first time I’ve experienced it. I even got to watch a storm roll in in front of me which was incredible.

We made it to a RV campsite but no one was in. At that point a bloke pulled up and went into the launderette next door so I asked him if he knew where the camp site owners were. We got chatting about the cycle as he himself is a keen traveler!

He went in to get his clothes but popped out mid way to tell us we could stay at his and use his shower. I’m still amazed at how kind people are, we are two weird Europeans on bicycles but people offer us their homes and hot water. Unreal.

We loaded the bikes onto his truck and got to his, as we pulled up the old bill were parked up outside his house. Turns out he is a deputy in the police so it was his police truck outside lol.

He welcomed us into his house, showed us how the shower worked and told us to help ourselves to anything in the fridge. Then he went out for a meal with his girlfriend, so it was just myself, Aurel and Kevin’s cat in the house haha.

Kevin thank you mate, as soon as you head to the UK let me know, mi casa es su casa my friend!

Yours in cycling,

Dan

 

Day 13 – Dancing in the Dark Park

Day 13 – Dancing in the Dark Park

Day 13 (May 14th)

Last night I pitched up in a wooded area in a park close to the train station.

I was at the park a bit too early so read and ate on a bench. With time on my hands I popped to the petrol station to get a can of ice tea. The bloke working there told me I would get a telling off by the police if I was seen drinking alcohol in public, so he told me to do what everyone else does. He disappeared and came back with a Pepsi cup, told me to put ice in it and fill it up with me ice tea lols. Cheers mate.

Returning outside there was an undesirable person eyeing up my bike. “Yo, you got disc brakes on that, are you staying round here?”. I told him I was in a hotel just over the road and I cycled off as he was still trying to speak with me, that wasn’t a convo I wanted to get bogged down in.

I made it back to the park and there were a bunch of cars pulled up with blaring music and women dancing in the centre. From seeing rap videos this scene looked familiar. I think the women may have been Thots in their natural habitat and I believe everyone could have been drinking Gin and Juice. It was on until around 1am and sounded litttttt, however I refrained from joining in.

I hung around the station and met the man who would be driving my train. He told me to go to the grocery store before I board the train as the food is overpriced. I cycled to the grocery store and locked my bike up outside. I felt a bit uncomfortable in the area so opted for a whistle whilst I shopped (a whistle says I’m content and I’m confident in this shop).

10 seconds into whistling and this zombie of a human walks over to me and tells me if I continued whistling he would chop my toes off with bolt cutters looking me dead in the eyes, then he gave me a fist bump. I stopped whistling, got my bananas and left.

All aboard the train and it’s safety.

Yours in cycling,

Dan

Day 12 – Kindness and colour from a Viet Vet…

Day 12 – Kindness and colour from a Viet Vet…

Day 12 (May 13th)

So the mission today was to make it back to Charlottesville in time for the train tomorrow. The route back was 120 miles over the mountains so we rented a truck and loaded the bikes on the back. I might get me a big truck when I’m back in the UK, they’re fun!

Once in Charlottesville I drove the truck to the rental shop and expected to cycle to the train station after. I was lucky as when I got there the bloke actually dropped me off at the station!

We chatted the whole way back and this old fella was incredible. A Vietnam veteran with some unbelievable stories and a colourful life, really inspiring and I was glad to have met him. I hope my life has even half of that much colour.

As he drove off he put the window down and told me, “you know, it’s legal out there”, what a lad.

Yours in cycling,

Dan

 

D Day

D Day

Days 9, 10 & 11 (May 10th, 11th, 12th)

Decision Time

Hiya everyone, Virginia has seen storms and torrential rain over the past few days so I’ve taken shelter in a Super 8 hotel.

 

It’s been lovely TBH, I’ve had a lot of baths, ate a lot of food and made an offline Spotify playlist so I have something to listen to back on the road.

I’ve also had a chance to look at the bigger picture. I was hoping to average 50-60 miles a day and that would afford me a few rest days. That was a plan formulated on my sofa at home and in reality it’s not working. I’ve made it over a decent wedge of the Appalachian mountains which were always going to slow me down but the past week has given me a taster of unforeseen delays like the weather.

I want the journey to be more than me just being strapped to my bike and moving onwards everyday. So far I haven’t deviated from the route and have missed some places I would liked to have visited.

 

I want to see the sights, meet the people and be able to stop whenever I like and this is more important than churning out the miles everyday.

This means my route is changing a little (Trans America purists look away!). From Radford,  Virginia I’m going to get on a train and take the Cardinal Route to Chicago, from here I will take the Southwest Chief to Lamar, Kansas. Essentially I’m going to bypass 2 states in the middle of the country, cutting miles and giving me more time to see some beautiful places and have a couple of beers along the way.

In the perfect world I would have more than 3 months to cycle but the Visa can’t be extended.

 

For my own ego I’m still going to hit >2,500 miles which as the crow flies is the width of America. So at dinner parties I can still bang that out, haven’t been to a dinner party  yet but anyway.

 

As a perfectionist it pains me massively to break the route up with non bicycle travel, but sometimes that’s the way the cookie crumbles.

 

Yours in cycling,

Dan

Day 8 – Thank the Lord

Day 8 – Thank the Lord

Day 8 May 9th

Cycling time 4:59

Distance 44.0miles

Average Speed 8.6mph

Max Speed 32.1mph

Another good days riding and also a coffee shop visit! I spent about an hour and a half in there getting a few bits done and catching up with people back home.

The coffee shop bloke told us that a weather front was coming in and would be followed by 4 days of rain. As he said that spits of rain hit the window lol.

Leaving the warmth of the coffee to face the rain and cold wasn’t easy, and I almost asked if there were any temp summer jobs in the shop.

The rain came down alllllllll day, I thought I came for a sunshine trip!?

I stopped at a Presbyterian church at the end of the day to ask to sleep on their lawn. No one was in so I couldn’t ask, but the Lord told me Yes, so I pitched up (thank you Lord).

Tomorrow night I’m getting a hotel, a motel or a Holiday Inn. Bun this weather.

 

Yours in cycling,

Dan

Day 7 – I miss my Roll Mat

Day 7 – I miss my Roll Mat

 

Day 7 – May 8th

Cycling time 5:21

Distance 44.67miles

Average Speed 8.3mph

Max Speed 37mph

Jesus I shouldn’t have gotten rid of my roll mat, it’s so cold on the floor!

Today marked the day where I moved from 25c nut bars to actual grown healthy food. I had a good week of eating gas station food but can’t keep it up.

I’m banging through the miles at the moment, no sightseeing but I will have to assess this soon as I need a better balance!

I’m sleeping in my trainers tonight for extra warmth.

Hope you’re all getting on well!

Yours in cycling,

Dan

Day 6 – I miss my Sister (‘s cooking)

Day 6 – I miss my Sister (‘s cooking)

Day 6 – May 7th

Cycling time 4:52

Distance 37.12 miles

Average Speed 7.6mph

Max Speed 33.5mph

I have cold bones!

It rained through the night and this morning was so cold! I packed up my soggy tent and was on the bike by 7:45am in my thermals.

The day consisted of steep climbs and remained cold enough for me to spend 10 minutes digging my gloves out.

It’s going to be in the 30’s tonight in Fahrenheit, per my calculations that’s Antarctica levels correct me if I’m wrong.

Another cold food night I miss my sister’s cooking!

Yours in cycling,

Dan

Day 5 – Not all american dogs want to eat me

Day 5 – Not all american dogs want to eat me

 

Day 5 May 6th

Cycling time 4:14

Distance 28.72 miles

Average Speed 6.7mph

Max Speed 31.6mph

6.7mph Average?!! More rain this morning so we stayed round Helen’s drinking coffee and I played with her 3 little dogs.

Once we set off we climbed the whole day almost! In total we got 2,200ft further into the sky and made it onto the blue ridge parkway.

With nowhere to stay in site we are wild camping off the road and for dinner I’m having tablespoons of Peanut Butter, quantity unknown.

I miss hot food!

Yours in cycling,

Dan

Day 4 – A Tumble and Tinnies with my Name on

Day 4 – A Tumble and Tinnies with my Name on

 

Day 4 May 5th

Cycling time 5:40

Distance 53.96 miles

Average Speed 9.5mph

Max Speed 33.3mph

I waited out a storm before packing up the tent meaning I left around 10:30am but more importantly I left dry.

Nothing to report cycling wise however I had my first tumble! I was about to head over the crest of a hill but wanted an approaching truck to pass  me before I went over it so I slowed down. The truck took longer than expected to a point where I was balancing the bike at a stand still. As a rookie I didn’t unclip and just fell over LOLZ. Luckily I fell to my right down a grass verge, no damage and myself and the driver laughed. What a sausage.

Towards the end of the day I began looking for a place to stay just outside Charlottesville and clocked a bloke cycling a fully loaded touring bike so went over to chat with him.

His name is Aurel from France and he’s cycling to Oregon same as me! I’m telling you the world works in mysterious ways, I really wanted to find people doing the same thing as me and here you go!

We decided to look together and unfortunately were rejected from all the churches lol. As we cycled away from the most recent rejection I saw a fire department truck pull up outside a house. Low on options I went to go and ask the lady getting out.

Long story short this lady phoned a friend, got us a place to stay, gave us a couple ice cold beers and $20 to get dinner at a BBQ place she recommended.

Her name was Emily and her friend was called Helen, and I’m so grateful that we came across them! I hope you both have a glance at this, in which case Thank You!! My first impression of Charlottesville is that I love it and the people are wonderful.

First shower in 4 days and I’m now as clean as a whistle!

Yours in cycling

Dan

 

Day 3 – Ricky Bobby

Day 3 – Ricky Bobby

 

Day 3 May 4th

Cycling time 5:55

Distance 56.65  miles

Average Speed 9.5mph

Max Speed 30.5 mph

Here it is gang, a good day finally! The last two days have been a struggle more mentally than physically. A part of me thought that this journey would be a couple easy hours cycling each day down paraded streets with everyone cheering me on. In reality the days have consisted of sharing roads without hard shoulders with monster trucks billowing black smoke.

I woke up in the bush this morning where I had slipped down the hill. I didn’t set off until gone 9am as I was starting on a busy commuter road.

This morning I made a decision to off load some weight, here’s what I chucked into a skip:

Roll mat

Metal mug & cook tin

2 t shirts

2 vests

1 pair of shorts

The bike is much more manageable now, but my nights may be a bit more uncomfortable lol.

The brooks saddle I bought is doing its job, no sign of farmer Giles if you know what I mean.

I encountered 5 dogs today and outrun 4 of them! In one instance I stopped for water and saw a massive one about 50 metres off the road heading straight for me. Despite the load on the bike I got from 0-20mph quicker than you could say “Ricky Bobby”.

 

I rode through some funny towns including Bumpass but couldn’t find a sign sadly.

When I made it to an old mining town called Mineral I headed for the fire station. I was praying they would let me stay on their lawn and the fireman confirmed my hopes. What a relief! He told me “cyclists normally set up near the outhouse as its close to the washrooms and the power sockets”. After two tough days I could have cried honestly, he probably thought I was mental.

To top it off as I set my tent up an old bloke drove over and we had a chat about where I was headed and where I was from. He told me that he and everyone else in Mineral will pray for me and keep me in their thoughts for a safe journey to Oregon.

As I write this I’m in the Main Street restaurant with a full belly surrounded by people. The storm has stayed outside and I’m warm and dry, today was the best day.

 

Yours in cycling,

Dan

Day 2 – The Missing Campsite

Day 2 – The Missing Campsite

 

Day 2 May 3rd

Cycling time 7:00

Distance 55.97  miles

Average Speed 7.9 mph

Max Speed 24.1 mph

Started off sore today, my right knee was really painful through the pedalling motion so I’ve been worried about it. Today I tried out the clipless pedals and they actually really helped especially up the hills.

It was a decent days ride and I’m shattered now, unfortunately the campsite on my map didn’t exist so I’m sleeping behind a bush round the back of Applebee’s. I’m that tired I could sleep anywhere.

 

I still haven’t come across any other cyclists but I’m hoping to soon. I’m going to call 3 tomorrow to get coverage over here as I’m missing everyone back home. It’s been a hard couple of days!

 

Yours in cycling,

Dan

Day 1 – Go West Young Man

Day 1 – Go West Young Man

 

Day 1 May 2nd

Cycling time 4:06

Distance 34.79 miles

Average Speed 8.4mph

Max Speed 23.7mph

I made it to Yorktown Virginia yesterday evening and spent the night in a motel. It took me a few hours to reassemble the bike as I added clip-less pedals and an odometer. Luckily the bike made the journey unharmed!

This morning I disposed of my bike box and suitcase in a skip outside the motel then went for breakfast. The gang working in the restaurant gave me a free OJ for good luck lol.

I made it down to the waterfront for the traditional dip of the back wheel and met an old bloke called Tom who was kind enough to take my photo whilst his Golden Retriever sat in with me.

After that the day was a blur, getting the bike up hills is so tough but these aren’t even hills really!

It’s welllllll windy tonight and the ground was too hard for pegs, so I’m almost certain that the top layer of my tent is going to blow off this evening. I’ve covered it in rocks and sticks so fingers crossed.

The day is won but this is going to be a tough journey.

Yours in cycling,

Dan

 

Mic Check 1 2. Let’s start this adventure!!

Mic Check 1 2. Let’s start this adventure!!

  • Move out the flat – check
  • Finish job – check
  • Park car up – check
  • Get bike packed up-  check
  • Have witty small talk with check in lady about cycling across America – check
  • Hand over the bike and ask the baggage bloke to please be careful – check

This weekend was lit so rushed I thought I’d have so much more time, but here I am waiting to get on the plane trying not to think about what I may have forgotten.

 

My next communication will be stateside where I finally get to see what all this cycling malarkey is like.

 

I’m checking into a hotel tonight to get everything ready to rumble and also to get some rice for the road.

 

Just about to board, wish me luck!

 

You’re in cycling,

Dan

Hot to Trot

Hot to Trot

 

And there you have it, everything is in place. I am now ready to live on the road!

The bike (cutey in the pic above) presented itself to me, in a quality bike shop in Shenfield, Essex, called Discount Cycles. The boss man Ted was so knowledgeable and really understood why I was doing the cycle. I couldn’t recommend the shop enough so if you’re in the area go have a look!

The bike is beautiful, I won’t go into tech specs but it’s comfy, sturdy and it’s British. It doesn’t have a front wheel in the photo but it was a tight squeeze getting it in my car, rest assured it’s all put back together now.

I’m moving out of the flat this week and my last day at work is this Friday, so everything is hectic right now. But maybe that’s a blessing, as otherwise I would be worrying about all sorts, an idle mind is the Devil’s playground ain’t it.

It’s a surreal feeling and I won’t lie I am nervous, leaving a comfort zone is always a bit nerve racking. But as John A Shedd once said….“A ship is safe in harbour, but that’s not what ships are for”.

6 sleeps until I leave the harbour gang.

Yours in cycling,

Dan

The Wand Chooses The Wizard Mr Potter

The Wand Chooses The Wizard Mr Potter

Make a decision Dan!!

Okay, okay I will.

I’ve been experiencing paralysis by analysis..

I need to make a decision on what bike I’m going to choose and where I’m going to source it from. I want to be pedalling within 24 hours of landing just to iron out any nerves.

I have 3 options:

  1. Buy a bike stateside near the start point.

Buying a bike after I land makes sense. I’ve found bike shops near the airport that also offer a pick up service from the airport, taking you to the starting point in Yorktown, how good is that!

By buying it out there I know the bike will be a bike, but it may not be the bike for me. If I want a brand spanking new bike then I can look online on the sites of local shops, but I can’t easily get hold of a quality used one at such short notice.

Additionally, I don’t know the compatibilities with some equipment I’ve bought already. Even different wheel sizes could make some of the gear I’ve bought unusable.

  1. Buy a bike in the UK and take it with me.

Buying a bike whilst I’m in the UK has its pros. I can take my time picking one (approximately 2 weeks). I can load the bike up and check everything is in order. I can sleep at night knowing there is a bike in place.

The only risk with this option is that the bike will need to make it to America in one piece. It can go on as luggage on the plane, but there are nightmare stories of bikes coming out the other end ruined and even worse not coming out the other end at all!!

  1. Keep an eye out for unlocked bikes at the airport when I land.

Obvs I’m not going to nick one so that’s option 3 out the window. 😊

 

Decision Time:

Okay I’m taking action damn it! I’m buying a bike in the UK and taking it with me!

But I’ve made another decision… it must be a British bike! Okay it turns out the Germans were the creators of the bicycle in 1817 (good work Baron Karl von Drais pal), but us Brits took it and made it our own.

Obvs I don’t want this bike to unsettle Anglo-German relations that’s not what this is about. But I need a bike that shall cycle on the beaches, shall cycle on the landing grounds, shall cycle in the fields and in the streets, shall cycle in the hills; that shall never surrender.

The only bike that’s going to do this will have to have been borne on my native soils of Great Britain.

But after all of this bikes could be just like wands, and we all know that the wand chooses the Wizard.

Yours in cycling,

Dan

A Stranger To Danger

A Stranger To Danger

Blog 3 photo and quote v1

This is a public service announcement, this is not a test.

These are the top 15 dangers of cycle touring from conversations I’ve been having over the past few weeks.

  1. Dogs
  2. Bears
  3. Wolves
  4. Acts of God
  5. Potholes
  6. Trucks
  7. SUVs
  8. Getting lost
  9. Geezas from Horror Films
  10. Strangers
  11. Gluten
  12. The weather
  13. Human predators
  14. Night time
  15. Day time

From reading the blogs of people who have traversed this route, I’m actually rating Dogs at the top of my personal “danger” list.

Long story short, I read a first-hand account of a person being chased down a lane and ripped off his bike by a pack of German Shepherds and mauled (on the same route as the one I’m going on!?). Luckily his friend was there to use his own bicycle as a weapon to battle the dogs. After being dragged around like a carcass this bloke escaped with gaping wounds in his shoulder and thighs and required “911”.

Now that petrified me, so I had to immediately research what to do WHEN I land myself in this situation.

The following list is advice I gathered online, so if you’re in a scary dog related situation remember the following:

Read More Read More

First Confession Already…

First Confession Already…

UK vs USA

Perhaps you noticed around the site where I mentioned a 3,400-mile journey (now updated), well the maps just arrived from the States and the journey is in fact 4,300 miles. I know what you’re thinking and my excuse is that I must have misread it the first time around, but what’s 900 miles between friends?

Interesting Fact:

The longest part of the UK (Land’s End to John O’Groats) is approximately 600 miles. So, distance wise I was out by about 1.5 x the length of the United Kingdom. I’m such a sausage.

Anyway, that’s sorted now, I’m just going to up my daily mileage a little bit to make sure I make it to the Pacific Ocean within my 90-day visa.

On the subject of distance, I came across the image at the beginning of this post and at first sight it put a small brown onion in my cycling shorts…

This is the little baby UK (obvs the Republic of Ireland is missing) inside the gigantic USA. I didn’t really understand the scale of this jolly and from seeing how massive the US is I am honestly a bit nervous. But its just like eating an Elephant ain’t it, one bite at a time.

Next on my agenda is reviewing the maps that came in the post today. These are going to be my most valued possessions over the summer, so I want to spend some time alone with them and make sure I can in fact read a map. I will let you know how I get on!

Yours in cycling,

Dan

T-minus 45 Days

T-minus 45 Days

May 1st, 2017, we have lift off.

So, I bought a plane ticket that leaves the UK, takes me across the pond and drops me in America.

By purchasing the ticket, I have now completely committed to what will definitely be my greatest adventure to date.

As I briefly said in my “About” page I didn’t renew my rented flat and I didn’t renew my contract at work. As a 27 year old it’s probably a bit sad to say but they are my only two commitments in life. Well, they were my only two commitments lol.

I make it 45 days until the flight and as we speak I have nothing in place for the 3 month journey across the states.

The way I see it is I just need a positive mindset and a compass attached to a bicycle, but let’s see how my view develops over the coming weeks.

It still feels so far away that it doesn’t seem real, so at the moment I’m properly blasé about it. When I tell people that I’m going to spend 3 months cycling across America the general response is “Haha Lol…..but you’re not are you”, to which I respond, “Yes, I am mate”. The next question they ask is “So when did you last ride a bike?” to which I respond “I had a nails paper round in 2005”. For them it sounds impossible, but as the Adidas motto goes, impossible is nothing.

I’d love for you to keep me company along the way… so come back already!

Yours in cycling,

Dan