Pedal, blog, pedal...across the nation

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A friend recently introduced me to a guy named Brian, who was about to embark on the ultimate road trip. Not only was he traveling from one end of the country to the other, but he was planning to do it all on his bicycle. Carrying all his own stuff. I was dually impressed and humbled--just minutes before, I had been bragging to a different friend about how challenging my hour-long spinning class is.

This morning I decided to check out the blog Brian's been keeping Transam Shazam. As impressed as I was by his endeavor, I can't say I expected much from the blog. I've done a few long bike rides in my time, and honestly? They're a little tedious. Pedal, pedal pedal, change gears, pedal harder to get up a hill, drink some Gatorade, pedal some get the point. So I was happy (and surprised) to find myself not just reading the blog, but actually enjoying it.

For one thing, the writing is often fun, with details about dog chases (apparently a perpetual threat for long-distance cyclists--many even carry dog spray to fend off potential attacks); which states are notorious for drivers who will throw trash out their window at you (sadly, my home state of Missouri comes in second); and geography (my favorite passage: "The only downside of staying in Charlottesville is that the mountains loom around the city. They're like a school-yard taunt that's going unanswered. I'll deal with those bullies tomorrow.")

Also, I love that Brian's blog isn't all about logging miles. Cyclists tend to get obsessed with stats, whizzing past all kinds of interesting things just for the sake of covering more ground. But Brian has no problem stopping to check out a town, go to a farmers market, see a concert, or sit down for one of Skeeter's World Famous Hot Dogs in Wytheville, Va. To my mind, it's proof that he's doing this trip for all the right reasons. You've heard it a million times, but travel really is about the journey, not the destination. I'm guessing Brian would agree wholeheartedly.


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