Our Cross-Country Adventure Begins - May 11, 1998
Virgina and I purchased our first tandem bicycle (a Burley Bongo) in 1990 at R+E Cycles in Seattle, WA. Up until that year we fought a continuous battle with each other. We both loved to ride our bicycles, but whenever we rode together Mr. Testosterone (that would be me) was always pushing Miss "I'm-a-quality-of-life-cyclist" to go faster, push harder and for Christ's sake....."KEEP UP WITH ME!" As you can imagine, we would generally return from our rides together frustrated and angry because what should have been a lot of fun was turned into a competition by yours truly. I was a jerk!
But that all ended the day we marched into R+E Cycles which was and still is one of the most well-respected manufacturers and sellers of tandem bicycles in America. We saw that Burley Bongo tandem in the shop and we both knew that all of our he-gets-to-the-top-of-the-hill-before-me problems were over. From that day forward, when we go cycling we get everywhere at exactly the same time. Riding a tandem bicycle became one of the greatest joys in our lives. In fact, we love tandem cycling so much that beginning in the early 1990's we began to plan what would be one of our greatest adventures and accomplishments: We decided to ride a tandem across the United States!
After 7 years of planning and training and dreaming and contemplating our little expedition, on May 11, 1998 (it was Mother's Day that year) with peonies blooming, a cool wind blowing and a cloudy sky threatening us, we embarked on a tour that would take us over 4500 miles across the United States on what is known in cycling circles as the Northern Tier Adventure Cycling route. The dark line on the map (above) shows the route we took.
Over the next several months, I'm going to revisit our adventure by going back over our pictures and journals which I'll share here on my blog. After 14 years A LOT OF THINGS HAVE CHANGED in our lives and in the world. I thought it would be interesting and fun to go back and reflect on what was an amazing, and at times an incredibly intense bicycle tour. We had no idea what we were going to encounter which made the whole thing sort of scary. But that's what a good adventure is all about isn't it? I hope you decide to get in the saddle with us as we retrace our ride across this enormous country.