In June of 2002, for some reason, I decided to ride my bicycle across
the country. OK, I cheated. I did it South to North, thereby technically
"across the country" but a mere 1,701 miles instead of, well, lots
more the long way.
See the route I took and read the crazed exhaustion-fueled ramblings
I spewed along the way in the
map and journal
Ever seen touring cyclists with overloaded panniers struggling up
a hill? Way too undignified. I figured - do this as a
"credit card" tour - sleep in cheap motels, eat in local diners. More
expensive, sure, but this way I could take an extreme minimal
amount of equipment.
My entire set of clothes and equipment
fit into a day pack.
The Credit Card Tour
The idea and name came from a magazine back in the 80's, can't
recall the details. The principles:
Since I did not have the equipment to stay on the side of the
road, before leaving I researched a route that would keep no more
than 90 miles between towns with motels, and compiled a list of
all the towns I would pass through. The
- do not use panniers, keeping the bike light and agile
- equipment to fit in a day pack or in a small bag on the
- take no camping gear except for emergency equipment -
stay in cheap roadside motels
- take no cooking equipment or food except for that needed
between towns or meals
- take minimal clothes and wash in the motel room sink
- pay off the sizeable debt after you get back....
I contacted bike shops near the start point (in my case El Paso Texas),
and found one that would let me UPS the bike to them and let me
rebuild the bike in their shop. At the end, I rode to a Wal-Mart
to get a bike box and walked it back to my motel to repack the bike.
- miles between each
- altitude for each so I would know how much climbing I was in for
- alternate routes (seen as "a" or "b" on the list)
- notation for any town with >5 motels - no need to worry about
finding a room
- a separate listing
of all motels in towns with 5 or fewer motels