Summer seems to time when average cyclists crank it up a notch and seek out longer, involved bike travel, often known as bike touring.
In 2009, three friends of mine (Ken Stanek, Quinn and Andy) headed from Portland, Oregon across the country back to NYC. (the blog of their trip twoarmparty.com)
Last year, Brett Cleaver & Edie Perkins, a couple of racers from NYC, decide to do the same thing for their honeymoon. (their trip blog: Kissingwithhelmets.com)
This summer, I heard about Fletcher Moore, the co-founder of the poetry experiment website, Quickmuse.com who is taking a 2,000 mile journey along the Mississippi River.
Inspired by the free wheelin writer Mark Twain, he’s calling this trip: Bike Twain.
He’s got 30 days to complete his journey (left 7/1/11) Here is more about it from Quickmuse editor, Ken Gordon:
“Starting the other day, Fletcher Moore–the guy who co-founded QuickMuse with me–is going on an adventure that is (a) literary; (b) historical; (c) ecological; and (d) bicyclogical. OK, I made up the last term, but Fletch’s project is indeed a bike-based trip into bookish America’s natural past. He calls it The BikeTwain Project. Here’s Fletch’s description:
“2,320 miles to cover in a month, powered solely by an unremarkable pair of legs. This is a long-standing dream of mine, but I suppose it might sound like some folks’ idea of a nightmare. Would you like to come along?
The BikeTwain Project aims to complete a greenlined bicycle trip down the Mississippi River, from Lake Itasca, MN to New Orleans, LA. What’s ‘greenlined?’ Well, greenlining is the art of staying connected as sustainably as possible. I’ll be stocking this site with as much video, audio, photos, and text as I can squeeze out, given the power limitations of the sun and a bike-mounted generator, which I believe aren’t limitations at all. And I intend to prove it.
BikeTwain derives its name, of course, from that most clever of machines, conceived in the 19th century, powered by spaghetti and beer, and much overshadowed in the years since by the equally hoary but very problematic automobile. That and the great American writer and spokesman for the Mississippi, Mr. Mark Twain â€” also conceived in the 19th century (though whether he was powered by spaghetti and beer is a matter for conjecture only). Though he did in fact learn to ride a bike during his life, Twain did most of his river traveling by steamboat. That’s still possible today, but here’s a dose of serendipity for you: the average speed of a steamboat is about twelve miles an hour. The average speed of a touring cyclist? Yep.
So I expect to see the Mississippi that Twain saw, more or less. And for my purposes here, I’ll look to his Life on the Mississippi as a guide. No doubt a lot has changed in the hundred and thirty years since this classic travelogue was published, but therein lies the margin into which my own observations might fall.”
Even better than this lively description is this AWESOME video.
And what with the Mississippi flooding like it’s the End of Days… this story is now extremely topical.”
Oh BTW, Mark Twain had an amazing experience riding a big high wheeler back in a the day, he wrote an unpublished essay about it, which you can read here.