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Introduction and FAQ

Welcome to this newly resurrected blog! I’m Ben and below is the FAQ I originally wrote 3 years ago when I biked across the US. Now, as I prepare to bike from Massachusetts to Nova Scotia, you can find more current news about my plans here.

Yup, that’s me there! Last year one of my mini-adventures was biking a full circuit of Martha’s Vineyard. You can look up Aquinnah if you’ve never heard of it.

And here’s the bike I’ll be using on the ride, conveniently positioned in front of a brewery where I went at the end of one of my training rides.

Lacking anything better to write at this point, here’s a FAQ about me, my ride, and anything else I see fit to put in it:

Q. Why are you biking cross-country?
A. I’ve been into long-distance cycling since I was a teenager. For most of that time, I’ve had in the back of my head to do a cross-country ride, and I finally decided if I ever wanted to do it, now was the time.

Q. Is this a charity ride?
A. No, I just wanted to do this for me. I’m funding the thing myself and I don’t want to feel obligated to anyone else.

Q. Who are you riding with?
A. No one. It’s very unlikely I could’ve found people who’d want to do the same route as me and would keep the same pace. In my experience, all the “serious” riders bike faster than me and all the “casual” riders bike slower than me, so if I’m setting my own pace other people probably wouldn’t like it.

Q. You mentioned a route. What’s your route?
A. Well, overall it’s Seattle to Boston. The basic idea is east from Seattle to Fargo but trying to avoid I-90 and I-94; southeast from Fargo to Milwaukee; either go across or around Lake Michigan into southern Michigan; cross southern Ontario; follow the Erie Canal from Buffalo to Albany; and then straight across Massachusetts.

Q. Why aren’t you doing a more standard route?
A. Most standard routes assume DC as the east coast endpoint, but I live in the Boston area so it would be silly for me not to either start or finish there. I’m taking a more northerly route in general to take advantage of longer days, lower passes over the Rockies, and hopefully cooler weather.

Q. If you live near Boston, why not just start at home and keep biking west?
A. I’ll admit it, I’m lazy. If I start in Seattle I can get the mountains done with early in the ride, and hopefully there will be some prevailing tailwinds across the Great Plains.

Q. How old are you?
A. 41. Gotta do this before I discover the meaning of life, the universe, and everything.

Q. You alluded to beer and breweries a few times. What gives?
A. I was hoping you’d ask! I’ve been very into the craft beer scene for a number of years now, and I was in fact the first person to complete the Massachusetts Beer Passport after they released it in electronic form 2 years ago. As part of this ride, my goal is to visit breweries in the towns I pass through and include my thoughts about them in this blog. For another take on my adventures in beer and cycling, you can also check out this post, which I helped write.

Q. When are you starting the ride?
A. My plan is to leave Seattle early on June 29. I’m hoping to make it to Boston the first week of August.

Q. What sort of pace are you planning?
A. Tentatively about 80-100 miles/day. (Or 130-160 km/day when I’m biking across Ontario, but only on the days when I’m biking across Ontario.) I’ve found that with solid pedaling and appropriate breaks on a heavily laden bike, I’ll average about 14.5 mph in saddle or 10-11 mph including breaks. So this comes out to 5.5-7 hours of pedaling or 7-10 hours from start to finish, which assuming I get started around 6am gives me plenty of time in the late afternoon to take a shower, chill, and have a nice dinner. And some beer— did I mention the beer?

Q. How did you train for the ride?
A. Most of it was regular 30-40 mile rides in the greater Boston area. I did bike out to Mount Wachusett one day to see what 80 miles feels like when there’s a mountain in the middle. I also did this gem of a ride to see what 110 miles in a day feels like.

Q. Do you listen to music when you ride?
A. No, actually. I’m more visually oriented to begin with, so I usually feel like I have enough sensory input to keep me from getting bored. Also, in Massachusetts (and probably other states) it’s illegal to ride on a public way with earbuds in both ears, because then you can’t hear approaching traffic. If I really need music, I usually wind up singing to myself. Silly, I know.

Q. So are you camping or what?
A. No, I’m doing what’s known in cyclist lingo as “credit card camping”. But seriously, I anticipate that for roughly half the nights I’ll be getting free lodging either through friends and family or via warmshowers and other similar sites. That should free up enough budget to spend $60-70/night on motels the other half of the nights.

Q. Anything else you want us to know?
A. This blog will be for telling the story of the ride, with a few photos interspersed each day. If you want to see all the photos, I’ll be using Instagram for a photo dump.

Join the Conversation


  1. Very cool thing you are doing. We must be distant cousins, but not sure how we’re connected. Doesn’t sound like your heading into California but if find yourself in the Bay Area let me know.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! And yes, we’re related. You can ask your dad about it— he and I have corresponded over the years (in part because every so often I get misdirected emails intended for him).


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