This site remains open for donations, but here is the epilogue to the episodic journal we somehow managed to post every day during our ride. It is now exactly 2 months since we flew to Astoria to commence the journey on the Pacific coast, and one week since we dipped Genevieve’s front wheel in the Atlantic. So here are a few short reflections on two of the more memorable months of my life.

Observation 1: the daily routine was so unrelenting that it is already hard to put events in sequence and/or remember what happened where. But I am sure that over the coming weeks, months and years, I will bore the pants off friends who were not there with seemingly trivial or unremarkable reminiscences. Perhaps the experience has to be consumed in its entirety to be fully appreciated. Note to self: refrain from future dissing of Wagner until I’ve sat through the entire Ring Cycle at least once.     

In that context, the sum of the below Happies and Crappies is in no way representative of the whole, but I am trying to respect the general principle that shorter is better (at least when applied to blog posts if not when applied to tandem rides).

The Crappies

  1. I have no visual record of this experience. This is very much in contrast to most of the formative experiences of my life. Only now that I am to all intents and purposes blind do I appreciate the value of the limited sight I had in my childhood, and even of the residual sight I had until my early fifties. I do not generally dwell on the downsides of sight loss for me personally, not least because in my case they are little more than irritants. But I do feel some regret that on this journey I have missed the full grandeur and variety of the landscape.
  2. The food – say no more.
  3. The roads, the traffic and the drivers – more on this below. 

The Happies

  1. The physical achievements, both as isolated events (passes climbed and centuries ridden), but also the sum of all the parts.
Chris and Al at the top of Teton pass, looking pretty fucked
Our Hardest Climb...

James and Chris are standing in the Atlantic up to their ankles, and raise a water bottle above their heads. Water is falling from the bottle. They look jubilant.
...and The End Of The Journey
  1. A physical and personal journey shared with my pilots (Alastair and James) and shared with a great bunch of co-riders. As many of you know, I have a low tolerance for lightweights, windbags and whiners. But the bullshit quotient on this ride was remarkably low. Everyone had prepared diligently, had a realistic view of their own capabilities and had a strong desire to succeed – as individuals and as a group.
All the riders on day 50 pose in front of a school.
James, Ali and Chris simulating a double wheel dip in the Atlantic/Pacific Ocean
  1. The generosity of many, many donations, the frankly humbling messages of support and the emotional thanks we are starting to receive from the beneficiaries.  

Regarding the roads, the traffic and the drivers, I am left feeling that America has a long way to go before cyclists are anything more than second class citizens. Of the four serious accidents on the ride. 2, and possibly 3, are directly attributable to the roads, the traffic and the drivers. One of the most experienced and careful riders on the tour sustained fundamentally life changing injuries when struck by a vehicle in plain sight while on a wide shoulder. Our thoughts are with him and his wife as they strive for the best possible outcome from his re-hab and in their adjustment to the new realities of life. I hope profoundly that over the coming years, the US administration and all of US society will come to respect cyclists as equal and valued users of their extensive road network, and accommodate them accordingly.

My final observation is that the vast majority of my acquaintances of all ages could undertake the Transamerica ride. Not today, but with appropriate training and determination this is something most of us could do. I was immensely heartened by the fitness and resilience of the several septuagenarian riders in the group. I do not personally expect to undertake a ride of this length again, but I do intend to continue riding for many years to come and I will always aspire to their ongoing youthfulness and simple joie de vivre.