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Shannon and I searched, in vain, for a book to show us it was possible for an over-the-hill couple to bicycle, unsupported, across the continent, a book that would give us: 1) a route with motels on an average of 50 miles apart, 2) a route with a minimum of tough climbs and maximum elevations around 7,000 feet, 3) a route where we would not suffer extreme temperatures. So, we would have to design our own tour, and from this we would write the first book to offer a laid-back tour for cyclists of all ages looking for a fun trip and leisure time to see the Real America.
But why not drive our proposed route, just to be certain the route we had in mind had all the elements we were looking for? We were both retired, so time wasn't an issue, and it was a good insurance policy We left in our van, pad and pencil in hand, and drove the back roads to Bakersfield, California where we took a left and climbed over the Tehachapi Mountains, headed for Barstow. There we joined Route 66 and followed it to Wilmington, 50 miles south of Chicago. We left Route 66 and headed east through northwest Indiana northeast through Michigan to Port Huron and entered Canada Threading our way through farm country, we reached Toronto, then headed north along Lake Ontario. Bordering the St Lawrence River we traveled to Montreal and on to the City of Quebec -- the end of our tour. We had tracked 3800 miles.
We could do that, we discovered. The route encompassed all our requirements. It was a go!
The preparation began when we returned home, putting together daily route instructions from the notes we had taken, figuring out a list of what to carry with us, and conditioning ourselves at a gym during the winter months. We wrote to dozens of tandem couples along our route and received 21 invitations to overnight with them on our tour.
We decided on a spring departure of April 10, weather permitting, which would get us into Quebec around the l0th of July. We couldn't have picked a better window and were only about four days off our original schedule due to storms. We rode up into Quebec City on July 13, relieved it was over but yet sorry because it had been truly the most exciting and memorable three months of our lives!
From our book we hope to lead the way for countless cyclists who feel a long tour like this is too difficult for them. All they may need is proof from an overthe-hill couple like us.
To allow a more diverse range of routes from which to begin and end the tour, we have offered three alternate routes --two from the actual West Coast, San Francisco and Santa Monica, and one leaving the Main Route in Montreal and ending in Boston, Massachusetts on the East Coast.
Lue and Shannon Christian crossed the continent on a tandem when both of them were in their early seventies.
My friend is planning to bike across the U.S. and he loved this book. He said it will be a great guide while planning his route.Published 21 months ago by Judy Roberts
This book was a very well priced book and in great condition! I will continue to purchase thru this site!Published on August 29, 2013 by linda martin
Cycling accross country is something I plan on doing some day. This book gives you a detailed route on where to go. Read morePublished on September 19, 2005 by Jesionowski