Why ride across America
Who am I? I'm a triathlete who have just this year completed my first Ironman race, with energy in my tank to spare. I didn't feel the elation as many said I would crossing the finishing line of one of the toughest single day races in the world. I realized that I'm made for adventure, and immediately dreamed of the next challenge to undertake.
Then I came up with a crazy idea to cycle across America.
Why America? And why on bike?
I come from a small country - Singapore. It measures 30 x 16 miles. As part of my triathlon training, I cycle around the island state every Saturday, totaling 80 miles. Sometimes my training buddies and I would head over to neighboring Malaysia to ride 120 miles because we would get so tired of repeating the same route over and over in Singapore.
Fun facts: Singapore: 274.1 sq miles (710 km²) California: 163,696 sq miles (423,970 km²) United States: 3.794 million sq miles (9.827 million km²)
Coming to California was a big eye opener. The state of California alone is 600 times the size of Singapore. The entire United States is 14,000 times larger than Singapore. Now you see why I'm so enamored with the idea of riding across America.
I've always had a desire to travel, not via motor-powered vehicles, but powered by human will and strength. Now that I live in the United States, I thought to myself, what better way to see the country than to do so powered by my own legs?
Why Trans America Bike Race?
There are more than one way to ride from coast to coast.
I currently live in the San Francisco Bay Area. A quick search on Google Maps for the shortest possible route from California to New York reveals a distance of 2,916 miles.
Then there is the 3,000-mile Race Across America (RAAM) which is reputed to be the world's toughest bicycle race. It is about 30% longer than the Tour de France, yet its finish time is roughly half the time allowed in the Tour. Solo riders (by invitation only) have a maximum of 12 days to complete the race - they literally ride round the clock, averaging 250-350 miles a day and sleeping on average, a mere 1.5 hours each day. Team racers (open to anyone) have it better - made up of 2, 4, 6 or 8 members, they have up to 9 days to complete the race, averaging 350-500 miles per day. At any one time, at least one team member must be riding, while the rest of the team could rest in a trailing support vehicle.
But this race is too short and over all too quickly.
So although there are shorter routes from coast to coast, I’ve decided to take on the challenge of the Trans America Bike Race which journeys on a much longer route; in fact, over a thousand miles longer than the RAAM. Here’s why:
I’ll have to ride my bike unsupported, which means I have to carry my food supplies and everything else I need with me as I cycle, find a place to sleep by nightfall, and continue on my journey each day in this manner.
So, rolling through towns that provide food and rest for the night, and plenty of opportunities to meet with and interact with the local town folks are vital to my adventure.
The 4,233-mile route from the Pacific Ocean in Oregon to the Atlantic Ocean in Yorktown, Virginia is known for the legendary hospitality of the towns along the route.
First conceived by Greg Siple in California in 1972 and first ridden by just over 2,000 cyclists in 1976, this route has since seen thousands of cyclists traversing its path each year.
What makes this adventure unique?
What I'm about to undertake is nothing new.
But what makes my adventure unique is that along this 4,233-mile ride across 10 states and 116 counties, I will be speaking with inspirational people that I meet along the way and documenting stunning photography of the great American landscape.
In short, this adventure marries my life's three greatest passions: Sports, Stories, Photography.
The adventure doesn’t begin at the start line on June 2014. It starts right now. I don’t want to wait till I toe the start line in Oregon in summer next year to savor the journey. My journey starts right here, right now, as I train for hours on my bike, plan the logistics of this ride, and garner support for this great challenge.
How do we support you?
I invite you to follow my journey as I document each day of training leading up to the completion of the ride by July 2014. In this seven-month journey, you will see regular updates and photos of all the hard (and enjoyable) work that goes into making this dream a reality.
So jump right in for the ride! And you can support what I do simply by sharing my adventure with your friends (use the Share this links below), because the more people hear of this adventure, the more accountable I will be to put myself through the grueling training from now till summer next year, riding thousands of miles across the country and completing it all with a collection of sweat, grit, stories and photography that I will in turn, make available in the form of a published book and documentary by the spring of 2015.
Will you hop onboard and journey with me this summer?