The Prelude

Current Location: Bar Harbor, Maine

Lets forget about the nonsense I have to deal with for a while.  I’m still trying to ride hard each day.

This is certainly a different story than it was when I set off 2 years ago.  I have yet to walk my bike up any hills and I’m hitting my targets of near 100 miles a day, sometimes I get over that mark.  I do have to say that the terrain is fairly tame and I don’t hit anything over 1000ft for a couple more days, so that will be a better test to see how I handle things.

Passing through New Hampshire (the Live Free or Die state) was fairly uneventful, although people were quite proud to point out the motto of the state.  To me it seems more appropriate for Texas than rural New Hampshire, but they like it.

Getting into Maine (I’m not sure of the state motto, I’m guessing the Lobster State or the Tree State) one of the first things I see commonly is signs for Lobsters, I think I even found a chair making shop that sells lobsters.  Who here doesn’t sell lobsters I am not sure.  Another thing I found as I got nearer to Bar Harbor was signs for blueberries, I guess they are in season.  Lo and behold I start seeing blue things in low shrubs on the side of a quiet road.  After dumping the bike I gorged myself on free blueberries for quite a while.

Getting to Bar Harbor was something of a quandary for me, mostly because now that I am here I have to backtrack several days to get where I already was, but I thought it more important to do the whole ride instead of leaving off the tail.  And had I not come here, I wouldn’t have gotten a free meal of blueberries!

I have only run into one cycling tourer so far, he was on his first or second day from Bar Harbor headed to Florida, Chris is his name and I’ve linked his blog.  He is riding for cerebral palsy of which his son suffers from.  We had a nice chat and we went our ways.  A lot of the route so far has been on US1 which isn’t so much fun to ride.  I’m hoping as I get back into New Hampshire and Vermont it’ll be more back roads and rural riding.

Alrighty, enough messing around.  Time to ride over the mountain I just came over. wheeeeee.


Current Location: Boston, Massachusetts

This is too cool not to share.  The reason I made it down to New York City instead of heading straight for the west coast is the event of having the Bride of Rock aka Janice competing in the national Air Guitar Championships.

First I have to say that I think the campaign for this years competition is genius.  It’s simply Believe, think about it a moment…  To top it off Fatima is featured in one of the posters and I believe he was also plastered to the side of a bus at some point.  You can’t tell me that after looking at that image you don’t believe he isn’t a rock star.

On to the Bride.  She took the Los Angeles regional with a stunning performance which Alastair simply summed up with “Blimey, wasn’t expecting that bit at the end!”

At the nationals I got recruited to help her to the stage, she stood on a chair while a couple of us lifted the chair to the stage.  She rocked out to Bulls on Parade and did a great performance.  Unfortunately the judges were pretty cynical and she came in 9th place out of 18 (I think she missed round 2 by just a fraction of a point.)  The plan for round 2, had she made it, would have been pretty amazing as well as it included magic tricks and doppelgangers.

In the end Romeo Dance Cheetah took the night, even though I thought Dreamcatcher was the clear winner.

New York City was crazy as is anything having to do with Fatima and Janice, the food and the people were great.  My first night there I stayed at a hostel near Bed Stuy, a somewhat notorious area which turned out to be perfectly fine.  I do have to thank my NYC hosts for putting me up as well, Dan and Liza were perfectly gracious about letting us take over the apartment.  Now, it’s time to ride.

Tot Ziens

It always seems to happen this way at the end of a chapter, things feel really rushed.  Even though I didn’t get to do much this week with my bike in the shop.  After I don’t know how many miles it was finally time to get things looked at, it turns out that almost everything that has to do with pushing the bike forward needed to be replaced.  I hope this is the only time in the next 4 months that this has to happen.

I guess it has to be said that watching Holland lose the world cup was pretty sobering.  After a very tense game losing in the last minute was pretty devastating, plans to go out and celebrate were quickly scrapped and the promise of seeing grown men cry was fulfilled.  I have to admit it was fun being in a country whose competing for the world cup,  I don’t think it can compare to any sporting event in America, and then on top of that spending it with friends in old and new dutch pubs made it way better.

How do I thank everyone that helped me out in Europe, the list is long and I’m very grateful to each one of them.  Europe turned out a lot better than I anticipated though probably not as long as I thought it would have been.  I’m quite excited to start the ride across America.  I have to confess that my trip through Europe was technically done the easy way with all the river runs I did so America will prove to be a lot more challenging.

I also have to admit there is a certain nervousness about going back to the states, I get it every time I’m headed to a new continent though I didn’t really expect it this time around since I’m sorta headed back home.  I’m sure the feeling will wear off once I get back on the cycle.  For a guy who tries to avoid big cities heading to The Big City is a little out of character but it’s for a good reason.

Hup! Holland Hup!

Current Location: Amsterdam, Holland

It seems I’ve chosen the epicenter of sporting at the moment.  With Holland going to the championships of the world cup and the Tour de France starting in Rotterdam this year.  I managed to get down to the southern part of Holland to catch the peloton fly by.  It was 3 hours of waiting for 10 seconds of sheer madness, totally worth it.  There was a massive amount of people along the whole 200+ km course, and the little town I was in was no exception, I guess any excuse to get out and drink is taken when available.  I must admit that my respect for the tour has grown immensely since I’ve done some of the distances these guys do, just not at the speed they do it at.  I’m not sure how it is possible for them to keep up the cadence they do day after day, to me it seems super-human.  It’s easy to wax poetic on how difficult the race can be as many authors already have and in my mind there is no competition in the world that comes close to the difficulty of the tour, how these guys push themselves to the razors edge of perfection day after day baffles me.

And then along comes the world cup, something I also have to admit not paying much attention to.  Comes with being American I guess.  It’s hard to not get caught up in it over here, wildly evident after crossing the border from Germany into Holland whole towns are festooned in orange banners, almost like Queens day all over again.  I’ve been able to catch the last 2 games, I usually don’t even know what day it is but it’s easy to figure out when the games are.  Just go through a town completely empty and you wonder where everyone is until you get to the pub, park the bike and enter the fray.  Watching the game last night in Amsterdam was pretty crazy and I can imagine things will only get better on Sunday.

I must admit being without a definite direction makes for a little more difficult cycling.  But I’ve managed to keep on the bike every day since leaving Copenhagen.  Choosing to fly out of Holland means my training for going across America I probably could have chosen a more appropriate country like Germany or anywhere else really.  Not many hills here so I’ll have to see how I do with hills in a few weeks.