I Dream On Two Wheels

So this is it! I woke at 7am for my last day on tour. Despite being my last day, I was determined to make this feel like any other morning. I briefly began to recall all the mornings that I have woken, got ready and set off. That was the routine for the last 10 weeks and today would be no different. Even though this was my last day, I was determined that I couldn’t relax just yet, there would be no emotional thoughts, no reminiscing just yet, I still had 75 miles to cycle today. I dumped any extra equipment and food that I still had that were simply unnecessary luxuries for a one day cycle. I packed my bags, put on the shorts and shoes that I have worn every day so far and wheeled my old friend out for one last time.

The day started like many other, with me immediately getting completely lost. I began to think back to how lost I got on my first day in Vancouver, knowing that a repeat would mean that this may not be my last day. It couldn’t have gotten much worse, but I do confidently feel that my sense of direction and ability to follow a map have slightly improved throughout the trip, as a result, I was soon back on track and headed for the coast.

I knew that today had to be predominantly downhill, any metre I have risen throughout the whole trip has to be lost today, but that didn’t mean that it was all downhill. While yesterday’s hill was possibly the steepest I have ever seen, today’s version was definitely the steepest hill I have ever seen, and there was two of them. Hills aside, I was making good progress, counting down the miles one by one. I even came up with an ingenious (actually pretty simply, but it took me 10 weeks to think of it) method of navigation. I turned the gps on my phone on, put in the directions and then put in my earphone and listened to the directions. One problem was that because I wanted to avoid the interstates, I had to use walking directions. As I was going faster than walking speed, the directions would often be given to me at the very last second. Not such a problem though, especially now that I can signal with either hand. Another problem was that on long stretches of the same road, the gps would not give any directions, this in addition to my earphones being really comfortable meant that on occasions I would forget that I had the gps in my ear, I would however be abruptly reminded when the posh British voice did decide offer some directional advice.

I have rarely felt better on a bicycle, I planned at the start of the day to have lunch in Middleton, and without breaking sweat, I was already almost there. Still, I decided that no period of reflection would take place until after lunch, I didn’t want my brain to arrive at the coast before I did. I treated myself to probably my poshest lunch yet, setting me up well for the remaining 25 miles. Middleton is situated almost exactly north of Boston, but my destination was further east, the stunning destination of Good Harbor Beach. From Middleton, I would head south east until I reached the water and then follow the ocean north until reaching my finishing point.

After lunch, I went outside and got back on the bike for the last time. The next stretch of road was relatively busy, ensuring my mind had no time to wander. The miles were passing really quickly, I maintain that I was feeling so good today that I could have ridden twice the distance. I passed through Danvers and then Beverly and then as I came round the corner, there it was, the glorious Atlantic Ocean, the first time I have seen the Ocean in 10 weeks. It was a really great moment, for the first time, I really began to get excited about finishing.

First sight of the big blue

With a beaming smile across my face, I set off for the final 15 miles up the coast to Good Harbor Beach, where I’ll meet my family; Errol, Marlene and Micaela. I began to think back about my trip, all the amazing people I have met and the places I have been, but again the roads were quite busy, ensuring that switching off completely was not an option. The miles counted down, arriving at the coast 15 miles before I finished meant that my mental focus was gone and for the first time in the day I started to tire. As I got into single figures, I repeatedly reminded myself that I have just cycled 3.800 miles, im sure the last 8 or 9 aren’t going to kill you. Sure enough, as they have done all trip, the legs kept spinning and soon I was into the beautiful town of Gloucester, less than 2 miles from the beach. By now the tiredness had completely gone and once again I felt like I could cycle 75 more miles. Not necessary though because I was there, round the corner and there it was, the sign read ‘Welcome to Good Harbor Beach’.

I wheeled the bike down the path onto the beach and stared out across the great expanse of the Atlantic ocean. In all honesty, there was no real feeling of achievement, no great feelings of joy, it felt very much like the end of just another day. The only explanation I can think of is that for the last few weeks, the thought of me finishing has been become so inevitable that perhaps in my mind I have forgotten how big a challenge this trip really was. Perhaps only when I have more time to reflect on the trip, will I be able to appreciate the magnitude of it.

I was immediately met by Errol, Marlene and Micaela. They had suggested this perfect finishing location and having family there to meet me at the end was incredibly special. I wheeled the bike down towards the ocean and on the 17th of October 2012, at around 4pm, I dipped my front tyre into the Atlantic Ocean, officially ending my 3,800 mile cycle across the USA.



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15 responses to “I Dream On Two Wheels

  1. Amy Brenkel

    I’m so proud of you x

  2. Anne

    We are so proud of you too! And so happy you flew back across this huge expanse of land to be with the all of us! Way to go Sam!

  3. Way to go Sam. We have been thinking about you and are glad you made it safely and before the hurricane. We are thrilled for you for your amazing accomplishment and thank you for sharing a bit of your life and trip with us.
    May you have much success in your future for you certainly have the drive and good looking legs. On your job interviews be sure to wear your shorts, – the repaired ones! You have an open invitation including your parents to visit and spend some time with us. Today we have Scottish weather with snow storm. Thinking of you, take care. Jerry & Vicki

  4. Sarah

    So proud, well done you x

  5. The Granny

    Yep! That last blog did it! I can’t see to type for tears! So proud of you. Xxxx.

  6. Don. Morrison

    Ya Beauty !!!!!!!!

  7. Well done Sam, glad the Blog had the same ending as reality – in a couple of years you might even fancy cycling again – for now enjoy the pleasure of motorised transport!

  8. Awesome achievement Sam. Reminds me of my last day of Kite Buggy Adventure. We were warned by many more experienced adventurers that most accidents that occur on an expedition happen on the last day when people relax and switch off. Half way through reading the above blog I’d crossed my fingers in the hope you hadn’t come off! Unfortunately that warning didn’t stop me flying my kite into a power line on our last day; plunging many towns and villages into darkness, and setting fire to donkey poo! It’s a brilliant achievement, and even if it seemed a slight anti-climax at the end, you’ll find ourself day-dreaming for years to come of experiences you’ve had in the last 10 weeks. Congrats mate, well done.

  9. Angus

    Hey Sam – good to see the photographic evidence that you really did reach the Atlantic coast! Absolutely brilliant effort – well done, mate! 3,800 miles on two wheels is amazing…and you’ve already got your moustache for Movember! Looking forward to raising a glass or two with you to celebrate this achievement (the cycling, not the beardy stuff!!).

  10. Kathleen

    Congratulations on your amazing accomplishment!
    I am so happy for you!


    Well done Sam. The Granny is right very emotional reading. Well done Sam. What an achievement We all very proud of what you have done and glad it worked out so worked out so well in the end with family being there to greet you.

    I am sure you will have great memories of the trip especially all those nice folk that you met on the way. I thank them all for looking after you and taking care of you and hope we can repay some
    of them some day


  12. I am so proud of you. When you first announced that you intended to cycle across America having not been on a bike since you were ten years old{and not liking it then) , I thought you were joking. Watching you wobble up the garden and then nearly dying on “the training hill” I was sure that you were joking. Seeing you, after several attempts, managing to let go with one hand for a nano second before veering wildly into the ditch, I prayed that you were joking. And now look. You have cycled 3,800 miles on your own across America! You have met fantastic people , survived the mountains and the loneliness of North Dakota and arrived exactly when you said you would.
    You can achieve anything my boy. You have drive, determination and the ability to make great friends where ever you are.
    Well Done, xxxx

  13. Heather

    Well done Sam! What a fantastic achievement! We have really enjoyed following your progress in your blog and won’t moan about cycling up hills ever again. All the best. Ian and Heather

  14. Liz Robinson

    Congratulations Sam, what an amazing achievment, we’ll miss your blogs Mum and Dad you must be so relived and so very proud of him!
    Liz & Chris Robinson

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