Riding a pedal assist across the country

Hello again. Claire reporting in. As you may recall I first posted that my husband and I had begun a cycling trip across the country, riding Felt Nine E 20 pedal assist hard tail mountain bikes. I posted a few times and then I petered out after I could not find my postings (I admit I got frustrated!). Hence the lack of photos.

In any event, I obviously found my postings and wanted to update those of you who are interested on our progress.

My husband and I completed our ride from Eugene Oregon to Bar Harbir Maine in 58 days. Our total distance was 4136 miles. We averaged 71 miles a day. We encountered only 3 days of rain, and on each of those days the rain lasted less than 1 hour. We camped 15 nights (mostly in the west) and hoteled for 43. We started on the Trans Am, deviated from the Trans Am to visit family in Indiana, and then picked up the Northern Tier in Muscatine, Ohio. In Bar Harbor we had our bikes packed up by Bar Harbor Bicycle Shop and shipped via BikeFlight. Then we flew home commercially. Our favorite state for riding was Vermont and second favorite was New Hampshire. However when it comes to dramatic scenery you can't beat Idaho and Wyoming.

As one might expect, we spent most of our day riding in rural America. And we got an earful from the locals regarding their woes. Boarded up businesses (hotels, markets, restaurants, marinas, and assorted other stores) are prevalent in rural America, not to mention the factories which have abandoned the towns that so needed them. Folks told me that small business is being taxed out of existence, and that the taxes paid by rural America are going to pay for programs in the big cities, leaving the rural areas with nothing to show for their taxes. And most small towns were inhabited by older folks; the younger generation had left. As one restaurant owner in the Nebraska Sandhill region told me "there are not many of us left in the Sandhills, though the cemeteries are filling up." One farmer told me that farmers sell out to the big corporations because the inheritance tax is so high that the younger generation cannot keep the family farm. Regardless of the reason, I was left with the impression that rural America/small town America, the very heart and soul of our country, has been forgotten, and this impression saddened me.

The bikes performed beautifully. We each had a battery on the bike and a spare battery in a pannier, so we had enough battery power. We started our ride with MTB tires (Schwalbe Rapid Robs) which we switched out after 1000 miles due to wear; the Continental Travel Contact tires we installed were perfect. My husband got 2 flats the entire ride ( with his Rapid Robs); I got 3 flats with the Continentals. Otherwise no issues with the bikes. Never even changed the chains though my husband did clean the chains 5x; completed the ride with an all original drivetrain. Honestly I depended on my bike and it never failed me.

For those who are interested in doing long distance riding with an e-bike, let me tell you that it certainly can be done. I am not a cyclist, and I had no problem completing the journey. There are places everywhere to charge. However, I would not have done this ride without a spare battery.

Would I do it again? Yes, though I would not deviate from the ACA routes. We deviated in order to visit family, riding through Iowa, Illinois, and Indiana on Google Map bicycle routes, and we ended up on roads with heavy semi traffic and little or no shoulders. At one point in Illinois we were almost run off of the road by a semi. Most of the time I just gripped my handlebars, kept my head down, and prayed I would live to see another day (I am not kidding.). Our experiences on ACA routes were much better: though the roads did not always have shoulders and sometimes the routes were difficult to navigate, the traffic tended to be light and the riding was enjoyable (until we got to tourist areas such as Bar Harbor where the traffic was so dense we actually had to walk our bikes.). My husband says he would not repeat the trek -he was really stressed out by the traffic. He would do a long trek again on paths or on lightly traveled roads.

Anyway, thanks for reading my posts. If anyone wants any further info, let me know. Happy biking, and be safe!

Claire
 

Jaladhi

New Member
Inspiring story that captures the spirit of bicycle touring. Would love to do a tour like this someday!