Welcome friends!

We'll keep you up to date on our crazy tandem adventures... in the hope that you'll help us reach our goal of a dollar raised per kilometer ridden. 100% of donations will go to either Oxfam or Kiva, your choice. (In the case of Kiva your "donation" is actually a loan so you'll get it back!)

Mid-May to mid-August 2010
Yarmouth, Nova Scotia to Bolinas, California

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Pros and Cons of Self-supported Tandem Cycling Honeymoons in the United States

Phew! How come no one told us cycling to California would be HARD?!?! Haha. Honestly, we didn't have a clue what to expect. The past 4 weeks have flown by, and the learning curve has been as steep as some of the hills we've climbed. We thought we'd have time to read novels in the evenings! And write blog posts! You might think we haven't get very far yet - doesn't help that we didn't pick the most direct route - but most of the time lately we've felt that all we do is bike, eat, and sleep. Everything else is getting ready to do one of those 3 things.

We're having fun, but we think we might take it a bit easier from now on (maybe 70 kms/day) because getting 100 km behind us in a day sometimes makes us pretty cranky. That way, if we have to get on a train for the last leg of the journey (to make it to the wedding), at least we won't have been too exhausted to enjoy the terrain we did cycle through.

Today we're taking a much needed rest day at Hyde Park, where Franklin D. Roosevelt lived by the shores of the Hudson River. It is beautiful! Tomorrow we head south along the river straight to the Bronx. Route to be determined. ;-)

Pro #1: Getting to know each other even better.
We share many laughs over silly little things like Eric's fantastic tan lines.
Pro # 2: The opportunity to be spontaneous (and anonymous!).
We planned to go swimming in every state... we've officially managed it in New Hampshire and New York... Maine, Massachusetts and Connecticut have poured enough rain on us that we are counting it as swimming on a bicycle.

Pro # 3: The scenery.



Con #1: Rain several days in a row. It soaks you through. And if you don't find dry places to stay you will be damp for days. Luckily we have found various dry places, such as an RV campground that let us take over the rec hall for the night, and some people who've graciously invited us to stay in their homes. Tonight we've splurged on a motel...
Let's just say that smile isn't always there when we're soaked to the bone...

Sudden thunderstorms hit Boston three times the day we explored it. Luckily we found shelter quickly but witnessed one woman get caught in it, drenched in seconds as the wall of water crashed down the street she was halfway across. No cars stopped and she was almost blown in front of one by a gust of wind. She clung to a pole until a gap in traffic allowed her to sprint across.

Pro # 4: The people we meet!!
Paul and his homemade quadruple bike! Rye, New Hampshire

Phil and Lindsay showing us the sights and delights of Boston, Mass. Also met Phil's great roommates and 2 other friends visiting - it was a full house. Felt a lot like the place Jane lived in on North St. Halifax... but with a decidedly bicycle-inspired atmosphere (see Pro #5)

Bernie (right), who introduced us to pesto and strawberries on pizza, and his parents who made sure we had everything we could possibly want, including a huge bag of homemade cookies to take with us. ;-) - Northborough, Mass.

Ron who found us by a roadside stand eating strawberries and worrying about where we would sleep, and invited us to stay in the apartment above his country decor and furniture store, where we watched the sunset over corn fields in a gorgeous Connecticut valley.

Con #2: Bike repairs... Eric has done several roadside fixes while Jane perfects her "hold the bike" skills. Nothing serious yet, though some unidentifiable noises led us to a little bike shop where bike mechanic Bob spent 2 1/2 hours fixing various squeaks and ticks... a very kind fellow who seemed to thoroughly enjoy the challenge in the end, despite having said at one point in the thick of a tricky repair, "You guys are making my life difficult!"

It's easy to forget that your hands are covered in grease when you go to wipe sweat off your face...

Pro #5: The ideas we're collecting for our future home. Bicycle chandeliers!!

Con #3: The mood swings.
Rain, bike repairs, the stress of not knowing where we'll sleep each night, the necessity to come to agreement on so many minor choices... in a good mood all these things are perfectly manageable. But fatigue, hunger, and inexplicable dips in mood (hormones? too little space and time to ourselves?) have led us to a good few little arguments. We're proud to say, however, that only one argument got bad enough that Jane jumped off the (slowly) moving bicycle and stormed away to cool off... ;-)

Anyone who has seen Eric in a bad mood can imagine his tone of voice when his hard boiled egg took twice as long to peel as mine did: "Some eggs peel, like, amazing. And some eggs peel like shit."

Roadside stands are much easier to stop at on a bicycle than on a car, and a great chance to boost the blood sugar!! This one was an honour system Italian cookies stand. ;-)


  1. Probably a million people have told you this already but: Picture #6 - did you bring Bob along for the ride? :) Good luck with the rest of the biking!

    PS That quadracycle is sweet.

  2. I agree with Stuart, the quadracycle is sweet.

    I'm happy that you are making time for the important things in life, like good beer. At least Eric makes it look good in the picture...

    I'm hoping you have sunnier days ahead. Biking in the rain does not sound fun!

  3. I just made a $50 donation to the Central Asia Institute (ikat.org) partly in your honour. I also just couldn't help it after reading Three Cups of Tea!

    Keep on Trekkin :-)

    Love Jim

  4. Someone looks super excited for cookies!

  5. Totally enjoying reading about your adventures!! Everybody in the office sends their regards!! C. Sayat (ur YarNS 2thdoc)

  6. Thanks for the comments and good wishes everyone, they make us very happy!!

    Thanks Jim for the donation, I'm reading the sequel, Stones into Schools.

    Stuart, do you mean the one where Eric has a grease mustache? ;-)

  7. the bike chandelier is AWESOME! and so are Eric's leg muscles and grease stache. I think the egg quote should be the title of Eric's autobiography: "Some eggs peel, like, amazing. And some eggs peel like shit: The Eric Branton Story". The rain will only make the sunny days even better. Jane, post of picture of your leg muscles.
    p.s. Thanks for the post card! love and miss you guys.

  8. I just want to let you guys know it's fantastic to be able to follow this journey! Great pictures!

  9. 70 sounds like a perfect target, especially when it always seems to take an extra 30kms to actually find that right place to stop!!
    Sounds like you have had some terrific stops and keep on charming terrific people. Must be that pout, Eric, who could resist it?
    Love, Mum