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  • Writer's pictureJoe Cannon

The Dream Ride...

Updated: May 18, 2022

39 years ago I was living and working in Sacramento, California. I took a late afternoon stop to grab a bite at McDonald's. Outside I saw a well-packed bike. There was just one customer in the McDonald's, a young guy, in his early twenties, about my age. I asked if the bike outside was his, and he said it was. I asked if I could sit down and talk to him. We chatted for a while. He told me the next day he would be finishing his cross-country bike ride, rolling into San Francisco. I recall asking about his training and he told me he never did any long rides before this one started. His first few days were 20-30 miles, but he rode himself into shape. He did the whole ride by himself, meeting interesting people along the way.

I was inspired. Someday, I said to myself, I am going to do that. I am going to ride my bike across the country. This is my dream. And that someday is finally here.

About 9 years ago, I took up cycling more seriously. After a hip replacement, my doctor said I had to give up basketball, which I loved. "no more high impact sports." So I started riding. I met a group of riders, the Poudre Sunrise Cyclists, who taught me how to ride. Thanks to all of them, I gained confidence and learned to ride.

Five years ago I rode my bike from Fort Collins, Colorado (home) to Madison, Wisconsin. About 1000 miles over two weeks. That was my test ride. I survived and made plans for a cross country journey.

Two years ago, in spring 2020, I planned to ride across country. By then, my friend Dave had asked about joining me and I was happy there would be company. Then Covid hit and we delayed. Covid was still around enough in 2021 that we delayed again.

This year, another friend Bruce asked about joining and we decided the more the merrier. As we started planning the details, we realized that we had different visions for the ride. So while we will start the ride together, when those visions conflict, I may choose to ride on my own.

We will start together in San Francisco on May 21. The plan is to ride the Adventure Cycling Association's (ACA) Western Express Route from San Francisco to Pueblo, Colorado. From there, we connect to the ACA's TransAmerica Trail and ride that to Yorktown, Virginia. I anticipate arriving in Yorktown mid-late July. By then, I will have ridden about 3700 miles and climbed about 187,000 feet.

As I told friends and family about my plans, some said they wanted to follow my journey. This blog is my way to share my experiences with interested people and maybe other "dreamers." I got a lot of inspiration from other cross-country riders who blogged their experiences. I hope to post every day or two.

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