by Sara Dykman and Tommy Viducich
In the tradition of the President’s first 100 days speech, we proudly present to you bike49’s first 100 days:
Fellow Americans (and our friends in Canada),
When we left Arcata 100 days ago, we didn’t know what to expect. We knew the road would be rough, the challenges mighty, and the adventures ever present. We speak to you today to review our 100 days of progress and make goals for the coming miles.
We pledged to bike through 49 states. It will take many weeks to accomplish this undertaking, but with your continued encouragement and unwavering support we will bike the 49! We are pleased to tell you that we have completed 10 states, and will continue to honor our promise by biking east. The next stage of our journey will take us over the Missouri River, through Iowa, Minnesota, and east via the Upper Peninsula.
We promised you that we would bike 250 miles a week. To date we have set an average of 294 miles a week. We didn’t promise triple digit days like some other bike tourists. No, our values lie in the slow and steady. We did not set out to rush through the country, ticking off states. Instead we set realistic numbers and our sticking with them.
We honor our commitments to the children by presenting at 13 schools. We have spoken to over 800 students, grades 2nd thru 8th. Our presentation has morphed as we learn what works and what doesn’t. Asking questions to the students and showing photos of animals, works. Sing-alongs, on the other hand, do not work at present time. We will continue to speak at schools, learning as we teach at each presentation.
Leaving Arcata we set out to eat pizza in 49 states. Not only have we eaten pizza in each and every state thus far, we have enjoyed our obligation, and have even surpassed our goals by eating pizza on more than one occasion in several states. This, as you might imagine, has not been our most periling obstacle.
The road has not been easy, but we knew that going in. The Pacific Coast (states 1,2,and 3) was wet and dreary, but your support andour fresh legs were key to weathering the storm. The wet weather brought an uncharacteristic southernly wind, and thus a tail wind pushed us up the coast. Alaska (state 4) and Canada (country 2) had their ups and downs. The ups were slow and the downs were fast. We learned to convert miles to kilometers, pay for our food with loonies and twoonies, and learn a few French food words. Montana (state 5) welcomed us back to the United States. We feasted on cheep cheese, ice cream, and beer while hiking the stunning mountains of Glacier National Park. Montana proved to be a huge state, one we ended up entering and exiting four times. Idaho (state 6) took us through sagebrush country and a few pavement pounding thunderstorms. Wyoming (state 7) stands out with its long high passes, including our highest yet at 9,022 ft. The Dakotas (states 8 and 9) were full of wonderful hospitality. When we were not camping in a city park we were camped at a house of a generous local. Now in Nebraska (state 10) the future looks grand.
Your support has been instrumental in these first 100 days. We have received donations online and through roadside encounters throughout the trip. We have received warm places to stay, really hot showers, washers and dryers, buffet-like refrigerators, cable tv, access to the world wide web, and the opportunity to make friends along the way. Thank you to everyone who has taken a chance and invited us in.
Another thanks to our much used gear and food donated by our sponsors. Probar, your bars in every flavor are delicious. For breakfast, for lunch, or for that thousand foot climb, I’d take any excuse to eat another. Field Roast, your grain meat is in a league of its own. Keen, your shoes have kept our feet from falling off. Planet Bike, thanks for putting up with all our on the road orders. From lights to fenders you guys produce. Surly, your racks let us carry around everything from extras socks to a guitar. Showers Pass, your jackets keep us dry and we dig the colors. Primus, we use your stoves and pots every day, thanks for all the home cooking. Swift Industries, your panniers help organize while lookin’ good. We have used these products for 100 days. Thank you America.
We set out on this journey to achieve an uncommon goal: to bike through 49 states, speak to students, explore the country, have some fun, and eat 49 pizzas. May these first 100 days set the tone and pace to the next 300 days of our lives.