It feels undeniably naive to describe the average day on the road while I sit at computer desk in Philadelphia un-tan lined and recently showered. But, so many people have bubbled with curiosity about what a day on an 8000 mile bike ride actually entails, so I decided to describe an anticipated one.
We rise early. Just before sunrise (well, not in the arctic circle because the sun doesn't set in the summer—crazy huh?), we'll pack up our tents, mush around some dehydrated food with water, load up our panniers, and hop on our bicycles. On days that we're lucky enough to have hosts, we'll substitute our dehydrated meals for cereal, clean up our sleeping space, write a thank you note, and bid goodbye to our lovely hosts.
Then, we ride. The early start gives us leeway with our pace, with our flat tire changing, and with our ability to get distracted by fun trees to climb, dogs to pet and people to meet.
We're averaging around 60 miles a day. This is fairly ambitious mileage for a self supported tour (the weight of carrying all of our earthly belongings does slow us down), but below the averages that we maintained on Bike and Build. Plus, our plans are flexible. If we're tired, we'll stop and set up camp. If we're amped, we ride on.
While riding, sometimes we chat. Sometimes we play games and tell riddles and recap the storylines of our favorite books and movies. Sometimes Eric will tell giraffe facts and Blythe will recap trailer-living struggles and Rachel will emphasize her fear of bears.
Or, we are silent. We think. We think and think and think. We grieve. We giggle.
Mid-afternoon, we arrive to our camp sites or host sites. If there's water, we shower. Or, we just sit contentedly in our own filth (I'm seriously considering a buzz cut to reduce need for hair washing... we'll see) and concoct food to eat and explore the area around us.
And then the very best part: spending time with the people we meet. Community fuels this trip, and we are tremendously looking forward to conversations with hosts and friends and strangers at gas stations.
Then, sleep. We'll roll out our sleeping pads and sleeping pads and fall into the deep slumber that is only ever reached after a long day of riding.
Our first 2000 miles present the most significant logistical challenge. Since Alaska and Northern Canada are so damn remote, there are not places to acquire water or food. So, we'll carry it. We anticipate a bit of hitchhiking and a bit of hunger, but nothing insurmountable. Hundreds of people have biked this route before us (including our amazing mentors from Keys to Freeze! www.keystofreeze.com), so we'll be hydrated and we'll be safe. We'll also likely eat 3000 calories in a single sitting when we visit you.