When I first dreamed up cycling across the country, I had no idea how long it would take me. When looking at blogs and websites, it looked like it might take anywhere from 6-12 weeks. For some tourists, riding quickly from sun-up to sun-down is the way to go. Riding upwards of 100 miles a day is just the way they roll.
Others, however, take their time. Cycling 30-40 miles a day means taking it easy and arriving in the next town early enough to see the sites and enjoy their overnight accommodations (camping, B&B or a motel/hotel stay).
I drafted a couple versions, because I honestly had no idea how long to allow for my adventure. I have a version that allows for shorter mileage days and break days about once a week or so. Another version has higher mileage and fewer break days. I know much of my mileage will depend on the weather, temperature, elevation climbs, my body's health, and even how far it is to the nearest campground, in addition to any bicycle issues or other factors beyond my control.
Because I just can't know when I'll arrive on the Oregon coast, I've decided to hold off on buying my return airplane ticket until I'm at least in Colorado. I have hopes of being in Yellowstone National Park by July 4, which means I'll be tracking my distance to see if that's a reasonable expectation. If I find myself in Yellowstone by that time, there's a really good chance that I'll arrive home in the last week of July.
From what I've read, the longer you ride, the more likely you are to cycle 70-80 miles a day (or more) without it being a huge challenge. Then again, my goals for cycling across America include:
So, those are my goals, and I'm sure I will experience way more benefits of this ride than I can even imagine. But what if I'm cycling and I'm not enjoying the slow pace of bicycle touring? What if that sense of adventure becomes a source of fear or anxiety? What if I really don't want to do JUST ONE MORE mile...overnight camping...day of being away from my family...aches and pains?
I don't know exactly how that would unfold, but I am not going to continue something that brings more negative than positive. I am not too proud to say, enough is enough.
Because everything in my life tends to be a birth analogy, I will say this: I have never done any of this before (bicycle touring, camping on the daily, exploring regions of the country in this slow-paced way). I am as prepared as I will be, seeing that the trip is a mere two and a half weeks away. I have done lots of reading, much like when I was anticipating my oldest child's birth, absorbing as much as I could about something that was going to be so life-changing and monumental. I have a sense of hope and faith that I will meet my goals, knowing that I will be attuned to my needs (emotional, physical, mental).
And at the end of it all, I hope that I can look at my accomplishment, whether it be cycling across Virginia or cycling across the country, knowing that I did the best I could with the given circumstances.