One of my best friends, a fellow CBYX 2015-2016 Alumnus and a buddy of his are currently biking up to Niagara Falls. They started out in Washington D.C. and took rail trails up to Pittsburgh, where they stopped to visit for the night. The following interview catalogs their experiences along the trails so far.
Noah: What inspired you to embark upon this journey?
Asa Rogers: When I heard Julio was going to make the journey alone, I thought to myself, 'hey, I bike too'
Julio Gonzalez: That's a difficult question. I really feel like I haven't experienced anything. Like a journey type thing. I don't really know what I'm looking for, but I think I'll know when I find it.
Noah: How long have you been biking seriously?
Julio: I've been biking seriously for about four years now. It's really been a life changing thing for me.
Asa: So it all started with my hooliganism sophomore year when I became ineligible due to two bad teachers, so I decided to do cyclocross with my dad because I wanted to do a sport, and was lucky enough to have a dad who bikes. Then I realized, 'wow, this is really cool'. So I started biking 10 miles each way to school with my best friend Jake.
Noah: What has been the hardest part of the journey so far?
Julio: Being cold, and wet, at the same time. It is not pleasurable. When you're outside, you're out, you don't have anything. Your body heat is the only thing keeping you warm.
Asa: I think the most annoying thing is on those days where we are cold, after we would stop, we couldn't take off with our layers, so the first ten minutes of biking would always be cold.
Noah: What has been the most surprising aspect?
Asa: I was definitely surprised by the views. I hadn't looked up pictures or anything of what we were going to ride through. Just how nice the places are and the views that we ride through. And that I can do it, and make it through the ride each day.
Noah: What's the longest ride you've done so far?
Julio: I did an 127 mile ride a week or two before this trip.
Asa: The longest one that I know for sure would've been 90 miles.
Noah: How do you go about planning what you do each day?
Julio: Well, I started with where I would stay. Looking specifically at camping spots, since that's what we are ready for and where we wanted to stay. Outside of the trails, it becomes trickier when you have to navigate public roadways. Now we're going to be limited by where people have campsites. Then, I used different programs looking at different routes, to connect the dots really.
Noah: How much do your bikes weigh(with everything attached)?
Asa: About 65lbs.
Noah: Have you had any bike trouble so far?
Julio: Asa had some shifting problems, with his front derailleur. Grit and dirt from the trail kicked up and get inside.
Noah: How often do you restock?
Asa: We restock about every three days for food, and every other day for water.
Noah: What has been the most essential piece of gear so far, other than your bike?
Asa: Rain jacket or paniers
Noah: Wow Asa, you have a really nice jersey on! Where'd you get that?
Asa: Oh man! Well thank you! It's actually my dads. One of my favorite pictures of my parents is whenever they went on a bike tour through France, and he had this jersey on in the picture. I just found out I'm a fan of crazy colors.
Noah: Anything else you'd like to share?
Julio & Asa: Bike bikes! That's our motto
The photo is of Asa and Julio before they headed out for another day of riding, after staying over at my house for the night.
UPDATE: I've upgraded from my original design (post below).
I'm now using a NordicTrack Commercial 400 recumbent bike ($499 shipped from Costco.com, also available in most stores for $399). This bike works better for me than my original bike, because the resistance levels go higher. The original bike had a dial-resistance which was not sufficient for me, although overall it was a fine bike, especially considering the low price.
Because the NordicTrack bike couldn't accommodate the original laptop stand, I had to fabricate my own laptop stand, which I made out of aluminum. You can watch a YouTube video of the bike + stand below.
If you're interesting in a stand like this, I might consider fabricating them on a production-level scale, and probably sell them for something like $99 each. I'm already doing way too may things, so to make this worthwhile I'd probably have to get at least 200 orders. If you're interested, please email me with the type of recumbent bike you have, so I can determine the feasibility of creating a stand for your brand of bike.
I'm a bit over dramatic at times. The rain stopped about an hour after my last post, and Paco called me shortly after that. Turns out his parents are actually super nice, and they let me stay the night, wash my clothes, and use their shower. I'm a lucky MF.
For those of you who don't know Paco: he's my MSMS grand-junior and I his grand-senior, meaning I graduated from MSMS the year before he came along. Last night we had some grand-senior-junior bonding time, chillin' on the beach and making friendship bracelets (don't laugh!). We talked about all the shenanigans that go on at math and science school, and man my grand-juniors are a bunch of trouble-getting-inners! Haha.
Right now, I'm in Long Beach using Mickey D's wi-fi, and across the street I can see a perfect gazebo-type-thing to set up my hammock and chill on the beach. I can already feel it; today is gonna be a good day. It's also the last day of my bike trip. Tomorrow I'm stuffing my bike in Kori's car and heading back to Starkville to start my job at the fitness center at Mississippi State University.