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Cycle USA

Idency proudly sponsoring Cycle USA for Teenage Cancer Trust

Ready to go in custom Idency cycling gear!

As part of our support of community involvement and sponsorship, we are sponsoring our friends George & Christian, who are on an Epic Adventure cycling across the USA in July / August 2018 to raise at least £5k for Teenage Cancer Trust. We have helped them with kit and with the publicity for their journey – they’ll have flyers to hand out to people they meet as they go, to raise awareness and hopefully funds for their worthy cause. Fortunately, they won’t have to carry the thousands of flyers we printed – George’s dad, Brian, will be driving a support car along the route!

 

Stage updates

Watch this space and their Facebook and Instagram feeds for more details…

Please donate if you can to George and Christian’s JustGiving page and help them exceed their £5k target! All funds will go to the Teenage Cancer Trust.

 


Made it to the Pacific! … – Friday August 10, 2018

Day 35: Boulevard to San Diego!

 

Boulevard to San Diego – 70 miles
Cheesecake
Cheesecake
Cheesecake
Cheesecake
Chocolate cheesecake
Cheesecake
Victory photo
Get these bloody things in the sea
San Diego beach!
San Diego beach!

SitRep: The day of climbing in the mountains on Day 34 meant that most of the hard work was done already as our Hairy Bikers started their descent to glory. The finish line of the Pacific beach in San Diego beckoning, they could enjoy the beautiful scenery, the downhill mountain roads and the feel of the wind blowing through their hirsute visages.

Ah, the thrill of success was palpable as they cruised through the sunny city of San Diego. And then they were there.

In just over a month since leaving Jacksonville Beach in Florida, George and CJ have pedalled, fallen, splashed, explored, repaired and eaten their way across the continent of North America from the Atlantic to the Pacific, seeing the sights of the southern states of the USA; flirting with Mexico and the delights of their cuisine (and the results the subsequent morning); and they have emerged in California, weary, a little older, a touch wiser and, most importantly, now known as Jorge y Cee-J.

As the flood of congratulations on social media and donations on their JustGiving page are testament to, this is a great achievement of grit and determination. The road was long, with many a winding turn, but our Asphalt Avengers (and their faithful Supportmobile sidekicks Brian and Andre) have done themselves proud, and I can now reveal that they are attempting a new challenge: to beat the Americans at eating cheesecake.

The Americans.

I fear that this time, they may have bitten off more than they can chew …

Dont forget: please donate if you can to George and Christian’s JustGiving page and help them exceed their £5k target by even more (standing at well over £6k at time of writing)! All funds will go to the brilliant Teenage Cancer Trust.

 


When the going gets tough … – Friday August 10, 2018

Day 34: Yuma to Boulevard

 

Yuma to Boulevard – 80 miles
Cycling selfie
Sharks!
More mountains
Earthquakes!
Big hills!
Ok, mountains!
Mountains
Big hills!

SitRep: The attraction of California and the delight at reaching the final state wore off quickly on Day 34, as our trusty Tarmac Troublers were reminded that the state lies along a tectonic fault. And that means … anyone? No, not earthquakes. I think we’d have heard about an earthquake in California. Oh, wouldn’t we? Anyway, not earthquakes. That’s right: mountains!

Mountains. Lots of them.

So on the second to last day of their velo-voyage, Cee-J and Jorge (as we will refer to them until those moustaches are gone) spent most of the day climbing in searing heat, with the mercury rising to 45C in the middle of the day, finishing with a remarkable 80 miles clocked up at 5pm in Boulevard, CA.

Next stop: San Diego and the Pacific Coast!

 

 


Less than 310 to Yuma – Thursday August 9, 2018

Day 33: Mohawk to Yuma

 

Mohawk to Yuma – 81 miles
George in Interstate 8
George heading for the Pacific
George and Drifting Sand
Drifting Sands
The guys at the California sign
Made it to California!
Brian looking like a true Brit
Brian looking like a true Brit

  SitRep: A solid 130km clocked up on Day 33 saw the two-wheeled tourers make another milestone, cruising down Interstate 8 again and over to the final state of the journey, California! A major achievement and a huge psychological boost, the Pacific Ocean is beckoning the guys, just a couple of days away …

 

 


Gila Bend to, ahem, S-Bend – Wednesday August 8, 2018

Day 32: Gila Bend to Mohawk

 

Gila Bend to Mohawk – 59 miles

SitRep: All the Mexican food finally took its toll on George’s sensitive British bowels, and Day 32 was stymied somewhat by a sustained bout of the trots. This delayed the day’s start (and possibly exacerbated the saddle soreness …), so our lycra-clad heroes powered down Interstate 8 to make some progress, ending the day at 59 miles in Mohawk, just shy of the border with California. The quest is almost at its end!

 

 


Casa Grande to Gila Bend – Tuesday August 7, 2018

Day 31: Casa Grande to Gila Bend

 

Casa Grande to Gila Bend – 62 miles

SitRep: Another early start saw our heroic sprocketsmiths on the road by 7am to go for the full month in the saddle. 100km later (after witnessing a pretty full-on police incident by the side of the road) they arrived in Gila Bend, less than 300 miles from San Diego, their final goal on the Pacific coast of the USA.

Speaking of final goals, George and CJ’s JustGiving fundraising page has now received over £5,000 in donations for Teenage Cancer Trust, meaning they’ve busted through their target! Hearty congratulations to George and Christian from us all at Idency, and thank you to everyone who has donated to help them pass yet another milestone on their epic quest.

Teenage Cancer Trust logoIf you haven’t yet donated and would like to help them exceed their target by even more, just head to the JustGiving page and give what you can to this important charity. To find out more about the Teenage Cancer Trust and the work they do to help and support young people with cancer, visit the Teenage Cancer Trust website.

 

 


Tucson to Casa Grande – Monday August 6, 2018

Day 30: Tucson to Casa Grande

 

Tucson to Casa Grande – 62 miles

SitRep: After an early arrival in Tucson, there was time in the schedule to rest up and still hit the road early. Just as well, as the temperatue at 06:30 as our heroic riders got started was already 30C. Another two punctures hindered progress, but then the day wouldn’t have felt complete without one or two flats, would it? Once again, with temperatures soaring to 40C by noon, the guys got their miles in in the morning, ending Day 30 in Casa Grande, just outside Phoenix.

Snake in the road
Danger lurks
George cycling on desert road
Rise and fall of desert roads

Oh, and the critters were out in force again too, with more snakes and tarantulas spotted as the guys wended their way across the harsh wilderness …

 

 


Benson to Tucson – Sunday August 5, 2018

Day 29: Bowie to Benson

 

Benson to Tucson – 56 miles

SitRep: Days of cycling across New Mexiaco and Arizona from small town to small town came to an end on Day 29, as our two-wheeled crusaders approached the Arizona city of Tucson. Another 2 flat tyres slowed progress, and at the start of the ride, George and CJ had a few climbs to contend with – pretty punishing in the heat of the desert, but after a while it plateaued into the usual arid scenery. What goes up must come down, and the morning’s effort paid off, as the last 16 miles or so into the city were an easy, breezy downhill trundle.

 

 


Bowie to Benson – Saturday August 4, 2018

Day 28: Hachita to Bowie

 

Bowie to Benson – 50 miles

SitRep: There’s a reason why most of Arizona is a desert, with an incredibly dry, dusty environment. It’s hot. In the words of Robin Williams in Good Morning Vietnam, ‘Were you born on the sun?‘ In fact, most people believe that the name comes from the Spanish Árida Zona, meaning ‘Arid Zone’. It’s an appropriate name – but wrong, apparently.

Cycling in the heat of the Arizona desert
Arizona hot.

CJ describes the temperatures as they approached Phoenix, AZ as ‘silly hot’. When the midday temperatures are hitting 40C, you have to start being a bit pragmatic with your aims, so CJ and George took the decision again to adjust their hours again and get as far as possible starting early in the morning to be finished before the heat was too unbearable. A relatively quick trip of 50 miles saw them move between small settlements and then out of the sun as it reached its zenith. Straight along the Interstate road, for once they had no flat tyres to contend with …

The legendary town of Tucson beckons on Day 29.

 

 


Hachita to Bowie – Friday August 3, 2018

Day 27: Hachita to Bowie

 

Hachita to Bowie – 62 miles

SitRep: Early morning on Day 27 and it was back in the saddles and business as usual for our venerable pan-continental cyclists. Business as usual, of course, meant punctures – two of them – and a bit more creativity with their route as Google Maps once again attempted to take them into Mexico. Other than that, it was a pretty uneventful day, with more miles eaten up as they began to near the ultimate goal of San Diego. I can almost hear the Pacific …

 

 


Columbus to Hachita – Thursday August 2, 2018

Day 26: Columbus to Hachita

 

Columbus to Hachita – 68 miles

SitRep: Continuing along the Mexican border, the guys made their way on Day 26 into the Middle Of Nowhere, NM. There be critters in the Middle Of Nowhere, and in typical form for critters, the harsher the environment they live in, the more dangerous the critters become. Out on the road in skin-tight lycra, the environment is not for the faint of heart. Snakes were becoming commonplace, and hefty tarantulas were scuttling about. High above, the vultures were circling, waiting for the killers to do their work, like on the old westerns filmed out in the New Mexico desert …

Brian at Hachita Rest Area
Chance to catch up with Farnham news
CJ at Hachita Rest Area
CJ taking a Load off

Yeah ok, a touch melodramatic. In fact, Day 26 was a fairly uneventful day, the highlight of the journey a random toilet placed as a ‘Rest Area’ by the side of the road. Seemed rude not to. Brian even had his copy of the Farnham Herald as a toilet read.

 

 


El Paso to Columbus – Wednesday August 1, 2018

Day 25: El Paso to Columbus

 

El Paso to Columbus – 58 miles

SitRep: After a hard day’s cycling in desert heat, into a headwind, along 58 miles of the same road running along the US/Mexico border, the guys arrived in Columbus, a small town with only two hotels. Keen to show our boys around, the owner of their hotel took them for a trip just over the border for an authentic Mexican dinner.

Yet another thorn in the tyre
Unashamed thorn
Speed Limit sign with bullet holes
Here’s what I think of your speed limit
Road to vanishing point
Vanishing point
Turning to Mexico
Mexico this way

The only-to-be-expected puncture in George’s tyre, courtesy of yet another thorn on the road, was not the most disconcerting hole they encountered on Day 25. Turns out 35mph is not a popular speed limit around Columbus – the locals have riddled the road sign with bullet holes…

 

 


Rest day in El Paso – Tuesday July 31, 2018

Day 24: Rest day in El Paso

 

Rest Day in El Paso – 0 miles

SitRep: Andre’s 6am flight meant an early start, despite Day 24 being a Rest Day for CJ and George. Brian was due to arrive 12 hours later, so they decided to explore El Paso and sample as many tacos as possible. They also took the opportunity to drive into those afore-mentioned mountains and they took CJ’s drone with them. When they have had a chance to download the drone footage, we’ll post some sweeping shots of the landscape here!

 

 


Buen camino por El Paso – Monday July 30, 2018

Day 23: Across El Paso

 

Across El Paso – 25 miles

SitRep: El Paso was the destination for a bit of logistics for the team, with Supportmobile driver Andre (CJ’s dad) flying out from El Paso at 6am on Day 24, tag-teaming with a returning Brian. This meant arriving in good time, which they did with a relatively short ride across the city to get the airport locality.

Relaxing in El Paso George's Marvellous MoustacheEl Paso is a border town with Mexico, and as such is a real taste of Mexico in the US. Passing endless Mexican restaurants, the roads were super-smooth, and they made great time, which gave them a good chance to relax at the airport hotel. The guys have been nurturing moustaches en route, hoping to blend in seamlessly with the locals …

 

 


Mountain folk – Monday July 30, 2018

Day 22: Kent to El Paso

 

Kent to El Paso – 94 miles

SitRep: It is a truth universally acknowledged that on a day of cycling in the US, you will have at least one puncture. The guys are now like Grand Prix pit teams at tyre repairs with all the practice they’ve had, and Day 22 between Kent and El Paso stayed true to form, gracing them with 2 punctures on which to hone their skills.

Mountains looming in the Mountin Time Zone
Biggest Mountain in the World™
Long road ahead
Are we nearly there yet?

Everything’s bigger in Texas, as anyone from Texas will tell you. A lot. So when George and CJ approached the Mountain Time Zone, gaining them an extra hour in their day, the thought of facing some Really Big Mountains added to the trepidation of the day. Luckily, the mountains are few and far between, so they’re ones you can cycle around rather than over.

 

 


Thorny issues – Sunday July 29, 2018

Day 21: Fort Stockton to Kent

 

Fort Stockton to Kent – 75 miles

SitRep: Google Maps’ suggested route wasn’t helpful again as it wouldn’t have taken our peddlers of pedalling past any hotels for nearly 200 miles. Instead, they went down the service road along the interstate 10 – not the most scenic route compared the the spectacular scenery of the previous days, but pretty quick albeit not the smoothest road.

Even the support car got a puncture
Supportmobile down
Thorn through a bike tyre
Not helpful

Old habits die hard, and 3 punctures later they had completed 62 miles. This time, however, it was nature subverting their progress, with thorns through both bikes tyres – and one for the Supportmobile!

 

 


The Early Bird – Saturday July 28, 2018

Day 20: Iraan to Fort Stockton

 

Iraan to Fort Stockton – 75 miles

SitRep:
Sunrise in IraanThe cool of the early morning rewarded the guys with some amazing scenery at sun rise. In typical style, Google Maps conspired to be overhelpful by taking them down some interesting off road routes – not ideal on their spindly road bikes.

After a few detours to get back on their intended route they hadn’t got as far as they intended and ended up calling it a day at 120km with … a flat tyre.

 

 


Fearsome bedfellows – Friday July 27, 2018

Day 19: Sonora to Iraan

 

Sonora to Iraan – 106 miles

SitRep: Another 106 miles completed on the trip between Sonora and Iraan, with some more spectacular scenery gracing our intrepid veloteers as they conquered some steep, long hills. This left them shattered and in need of a nice restful sleep at the next stop in Iraan, TX. This was when things got interesting, however. Upon entering their accommodation, they found it was already occupied.

By a tooled-up assassin.

Google search for scorpion venom research
Google, will this thing kill me?
Scorpion in the bathroom
Yeah, shower’s free, go for it …
Spectacular Texan scenery
Spectacular Texan scenery

Armed with a hard outer shell, pincers, eight legs and a sting in the tail, the scorpion joined CJ on his pillow, prompting a quick search as to the potency of its venom. Pretty potent, as it turns out. The rule of thumb is that if your scorpion has large pincers and a small tail, its main weapons are the pincers and not the tail. This guy’s pincers were pretty puny …

Spoiler: They survived the night.

 

 


Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water – Thursday July 26, 2018

Day 18: Fredericksburg to Sonora

 

Fredericksburg to Sonora – 109 miles, 1152ft elevation

SitRep: Looks like Mellow Johnny’s magic was continuing to benefit the guys as they remained puncture-free for the whole of Day 18. As they pushed on into Western Texas, they found themselves in open landscapes with stunning scenery, and those big empty roads you see in films, as cars are far more scarce. The feeling of being in a film was heightened by the sight of cowboys and huge herds of wild deer.

Pushing bikes across a ford
Was that a fin?
CJ off his bike in water
Water: CJ’s nemesis

The mixed terrain was the day’s challenge, however – some rough ground and sun-baked roads provided some unsteady going, but the thing that proved CJ’s nemesis was water. The road dropped to a ford and the pair decided to try and ride through it. The lesson learned as CJ ended up face-down in the water: don’t try and cycle through a river …

 

 


Zen and the Art of Bicycle Repair – Wednesday July 25, 2018

Day 17: Austin to Fredericksburg

 

Austin to Fredericksburg – 87 miles, 1788ft elevation

SitRep: After a great day of rest in Austin, it was back on the road, fresh as daisies again and raring to eat up the miles as they … caught three flats in the first 30 minutes. Fortunately, they hadn’t even made it out of Austin by this stage, so they made a detour to the local bike shop, Mellow Johnny’s. They deserve a mention and a big thumbs up, as the guy in the store gave both bikes a service and found the source of their recurring puncture nightmare. Turned out the tape on the inner rims of both bikes was very worn and this would have been taking its toll on the inner tubes, especially with the miles the guys have been clocking up each day. Even more worthy of a mention was that the guy in the store helped them out … gratis. Very Zen. Thanks, Mellow Johnny.

Back on the road, George and Christian changed the planned route to San Antonio and headed instead for Fredericksburg, an old German cowboy town surrounded by vineyards, just over 80 miles away. Ultimately a successful day, but not without its challenges!

 

 


Rest day in Austin, TX – Tuesday July 24, 2018

Day 16: Rest day in Austin, TX

 

REST DAY in Austin – 0 miles, 0ft elevation

SitRep: Arriving on schedule in Austin allowed a day off cycling and a chance to look around what turned out to be an incredible city. CJ’s phone needed some TLC so they went to get it sorted and had a chance to look around and take in the sights. Sights we can’t show you many of owing to the phone being out of action … You’ll just have to imagine what an amazing city it is.

 

 


Overheating Austin – Monday July 23, 2018

Day 15: Carmine to Austin

 

Carmine to Austin – 79 miles, 1152ft elevation (planned)

SitRep: Things got a bit silly with the weather as they approached Austin, with them pedalling a bit more than the planned 79 miles (owing to Day 14’s inner tube shenanigans) on the third-hottest day ever in Austin, TX – 43C (113F). They made it, albeit in a longer time than planned owing to the (very) regular stops for water. Rest day in Austin on Day 16!

 

 


Down the tubes – Sunday July 22, 2018

Day 14: Houston to Carmine

 

Houston to Carmine – 98 miles, 1198ft elevation (planned)

SitRep: Quite a hilly 98 miles planned for the day, so another early start with the new Supporting Dad was on the cards. 7am saw the pair in the saddle and well on their way. The air temp was climbing above body temperature again as they got to 80 miles and it was CJ’s turn to catch a flat. At this point, they realised they’d stocked up on the wrong inner tubes at the last cycle shop, dagnammit. Postponing the afternoon’s leg of the journey, they trudged off to the nearest cycle shop to buy more inner tubes, sorting the situation in time to allow them a final 20 miles at 6pm. By which time the temperature was a fresh 40.5C (105F).

 

 


Houston, we have a problem – Saturday July 21, 2018

Day 13: Liberty to Houston

 

Liberty to Houston – 43 miles, 95ft elevation (planned)

SitRep: Day 13 was slightly longer than planned due to location problems, so our indomitable riders ended up doing 53 miles rather than the planned 43. In accordance with the new regime, they started in the cool of the morning, and ‘smashed out’ the miles (CJ’s words) to get to Houston and a semi-rest day for the Supporting Dad swap. They bade a grateful farewell to Brian, George’s dad, and welcomed CJ’s dad, Andre, who at least has had a chance to acclimatise at home in the prolonged heatwave in the UK to prepare him for the Texan heat…

As they approached Houston, another problem reared its head again – CJ’s phone started playing up again. The next rest day is in Austin in a couple of days, so they’ll be spending it in another Apple Store by the sound of it!

 

 


Racing the sun – Friday July 20, 2018

Day 12: Deweyville to Liberty

 

Deweyville to Liberty – 91 miles, 171ft elevation (planned)
Even the roadkill is bigger in Texas
Even the roadkill is bigger in Texas

Texas State Sign Welcome to Texas State Sign

Snaps from Texas
Snap from Texas. (Not even sorry)

SitRep: With the early starts (and early finishes) in the plan to avoid the hottest parts of the day, the duo set off with the first flatulence of the proverbial sparrow. Not sure sparrows are the most relevant avian species for the region, but you get the idea. A quick 20 miles at breakfast time got them on the way – and got them to Texas, which was a milestone. Everything’s bigger in Texas, as we know, and the roadkill duly escalated to a boar as they crossed the state line. I should point out at this juncture that our Cycle USA riders are the observers of the roadkill, and not the cause. However tempting a hog roast might be, the schedule is tight.

The rest of Day 12 went well, staying ahead of the 38C max temperature, until yet another puncture for George which took them out of the running for 40 minutes. This meant finishing a little later than planned, but they’re still on track to rest and be up with that sparrow again on Day 13.

 

 


Hot. Real hot. – Thursday July 19, 2018

Route map - Eunice to Deweyville

 

Eunice to Deweyville – 91 miles, 171ft elevation (planned)

SitRep: Great day for progress – George and CJ got 94 miles clocked up, but the heat is starting to be a factor in their planning for each day. The temperatures as they approach Texas ramp up quickly in the afternoons, so it’s going to be a key strategy to start as early in the morning as possible and get the miles in before the heat of the day becomes too much.

The guys have a hard schedule to stick to now, as they have to make it to Houston for Saturday, when their support driver will change from George’s dad to CJ’s dad, with the former flying out as the latter arrives!

 

 


Unusual roadkill – Wednesday July 18, 2018

Day 10: Baton Rouge to Eunice

 

Baton Rouge to Eunice – 83 miles, 66ft elevation (planned)

SitRep: Making an early start on Day 10 to regain the advantage on the itinerary, Fate yet again presented himself as a sharp-fingered demon and the guys were scuppered by a puncture on the way over the bridge into Baton Rouge. This held them up for another 2 hours…

A quick trip by Brian in the support car to fetch more inner tubes, and they were back on the road. Cruising for a blissfully puncture-free 59 miles, George and CJ were certain of making up for lost time. Then Lady Luck weighed in on the puncture action, proving herself not really on their side, and the guys called it a day there.

Armadillo accident
Hard on the outside, soft on the inside
Alligator roadkill
Gator grave

Thus far en route, objects by the side of the road have been something of interest to two Brits, who are used to the odd bit of fly-tipping and unlucky badgers or foxes. Roadkill is a little different in the southern states of the USA, with unfortunate ‘gators and armadilloes among those spotted.

 

 


Back in the Saddle – Tuesday July 17, 2018

Day 9: New Orleans to Baton Rouge

 

New Orleans to Baton Rouge – 96 miles, 108ft elevation
Another flat tyre!!
Yet another flat tyre!!

SitRep: 7 days of 6-8 hours cycling have been quite mentally draining, says CJ, moreso than the physical effects on their bodies. Taking Day 8 to kick back and relax and do different stuff (even if it’s standing around in an Apple Store) has meant both brains and legs have been able to get the rest they need.

Recharged and revived, they got back on the road for Day 9, heading from New Orleans to Baton Rouge. Plagued by another string of punctures, they forged ahead, arriving just short, one more puncture being the final straw preventing them from crossing the bridge into the town proper. They’ll be picking up another bunch of inner tubes shortly …

 

 


Rest, Relaxing and iPhone Repair in New Orleans – Monday July 16, 2018

Day 8: Rest Day in New Orleans

 

Rest Day in New Orleans – 0 miles, 0ft elevation!

A post shared by Cycle America (@cycleamerica) on

George and CJ, exhausted
And I’m spent …

SitRep: Sufficient miles in the bag and on-track with the itinerary, George and CJ could enjoy the sights and sounds of New Orleans for a full day, giving themselves a chance to recharge before resuming the trip.

I had always thought that all the films you see featuring New Orleans overblew the frequency with which you might chance upon people singing and dancing in the street, but there they were!

The break also gave them a chance to find an Apple Store to try and get their malfunctioning iPhones fixed. It seems they’ve been worked hard as well …

 

 


The amazing New Orleans beckons – Sunday July 15, 2018

Day 7 - Biloxi to New Orleans

Strava Day 7

Biloxi to New Orleans – 87 miles, 900ft elevation.
Louisiana State sign
Into Louisiana

SitRep: Through the swamp lands of the Deep South (and into the land of Live and Let Die), the guys crossed another state line to make it to Louisiana and into the crazy, music-filled world of New Orleans. After 7 days in the saddle, Day 8 will be a a well-deserved rest and a chance to take in the sights and sounds of this utterly unique American city!

 

 


Smooth runnings from Alabama into Mississippi – Saturday July 14, 2018

Day 6 - Mobile to Biloxi

Day 6 - Mobile to Biloxi

Mobile to Biloxi – 80 miles, 900ft elevation.

SitRep: Following days of challenges posed by terrain, inclement weather and other road-users, Day 6 was welcome as an uneventful ride from Mobile to Biloxi, crossing from Alabama into Mississippi!

 

 


The heavens open in God’s Country – Friday July 13, 2018

Day 5 - Pensacola to Mobile

Strava Day 5

Pensacola to Mobile – 81 miles, 161ft elevation (planned).

SitRep: A threatening sky welcomed the guys on Day 5 as they set off for Alabama. They managed about 44 miles before the the rain started, and when it arrived, it was a deluge. After 2 hours sheltering under a tree, the downpour abated and George and CJ were able to get going again. 37 miles later, they finished the day just shy of Mobile, AL.

 

 


Roadworks and roadhogs … and a break on the beach! – Thursday July 12, 2018

Day 4: Panama City to Pensacola

Day 4 Strava summary

Panama City to Pensacola – 106 miles, 161ft elevation (planned).

SitRep: You have to take the rough with the smooth, and Day 4 was a rough one. Roadworks for most of the planned route meant there was no hard shoulder, and thus no cycle lane. The road was pitted and lumpy, which is far from ideal for road bikes with wheels you can slice ham with, designed for moving quickly on smooth tarmac. Reduced lane capacity means more vehicles in a tighter space and not everyone is as generous with cyclists as they should be. George had an altercation with an SUV at one point, but fortunately it was a near miss and all was ok.

Progress was a bit slower and more difficult, so the guys called it a day at just shy of 78 miles. They have some rest days built into the schedule, but they have decided to adapt these to be 50km days, which will be a way of keeping on track whatever the trip throws at them.

Perfect for a well-earned dip in the Caribbean ...Cooling offGeorge, Christian, and George's dad Brian, catching some raysOne bonus of cycling along the Caribbean coast of Florida at the height of summer, is that there is the occasional opportunity to stop and take in the view. And the sea. The pair discovered an amazing beach, and decided it was the perfect spot to cool off with a dip in a (very warm) sea and then a cool shower. You don’t get that doing Lands End to John O’Groats…

 

 


The Big Catch Up – Wednesday July 11, 2018

Day 3: Tallahassee to Panama City

Day 3 Strava screenshot

Tallahassee to Panama City – 94 miles, 1240ft elevation (planned).

SitRep: Had Day 2 gone according to plan, Day 3 would have been a nice, comfortable 94-mile ride. But Day 2 was problematic and they guys ended up quite far short of their planned destination. This meant that Day 3 was all about playing catch up.

After 8 hours on the road (and a quick stop to be disappointed by England’s World Cup Semi-Final loss to Croatia over lunch), they arrived in Panama City, exhausted, ready for every athlete’s staple diet of massive pizza, and keen to rest some weary legs …

Another 106 miles due for Day 4, so we’re hoping the pizza does the trick.

 

 


Plagued by punctures – Tuesday July 10, 2018

Day 2 Route: Lake City to Tallahassee

Between flat tyres, the going is good
Between flat tyres, the going is good
Lake City to Tallahassee – 109 miles, 1240ft elevation.

SitRep: Day 2 had a 109-mile route on offer. Things didn’t go quite to plan, with the guys scuppered by a recurring flat tyre on Christian’s bike. It’s not the roads – they’re excellent, we’re told – so more likely a fault with the tyre. As a result, the final destination for Day 2 has been changed to just short of Tallahassee, Florida, with a respectable (but ultimately frustrating) 73 miles clocked up for the day.

Such trials were inevitable on a journey like this, so with bike repair underway, George and Christian will be looking to make up the shortfall with a mere 160 miles on Day 3.

The big question, of course: will they be able to find an opportunity to watch England going for a place in the World Cup Final?

 

 


They’re off! Monday July 9, 2018

Cycle America route Day 1: Jacksonville Beach to Lake City

Setting off on the CycleUsa adventure

Jacksonville Beach to Lake City – 80 miles, 358ft elevation.

So, this is it: after months of training and preparation, George and Christian are getting ready to go. After some quick photos on the beach in Florida, they’re hitting the tarmac on the first leg of their route across the USA.

Good luck G&C!

Day 1 edit: they’ve made it to Lake City – ‘Awesome day, 138.5km covered and only 1 fall.’

Day 2 will be more of a challenge with 109 miles and over 1200ft elevation on their way to Tallahassee. Keep it coming, y’all.


 

A bit of background from George

George and Christian doing a bit of tourism before the odyssey begins
Christian and George doing a bit of tourism before the odyssey begins

From a young age, both of us have been particularly interested in sports: football, cricket, rugby etc. For me personally, I find human physical performance fascinating. At University, I completed a Sports Science degree and whilst studying also decided to participate in something that was much more physically demanding than what’s mentioned above, Natural bodybuilding: to date the hardest thing I have ever done.

Whilst fulfilling, only I was gaining from the challenge. I felt like I needed a change. In 2015, I cycled from London to Brighton, raising money for the British Heart Foundation. Already this sense of accomplishment was much greater than what I had previously got out of bodybuilding, because others were benefiting from my efforts, not just me. Whilst this was challenging, I felt that I could do more, both with the fundraising and testing my physical capabilities.

In January 2016, I mentioned to Christian that I wanted to cycle the length of Britain, from John O’Groats to Lands End. I’m very fortunate in that whatever I have said I wanted to do or achieve, Christian has always supported me. His answer was simple: “If it’s important to you, I’ll do it!”

And we did it. We completed the 1,000-mile cycle ride in 10 days, despite encountering some of the worst weather conditions I have seen! We were able to raise money for the school I work at and the Phyllis Tuckwell Hospice in Farnham raising over £3,000 in total!

Even after achieving this, I felt that we could do more.

I spoke with Christian in November 2017. I told him that I wanted to cycle the width of America during my summer holidays. He said there was no way he would be able to get the time off work and it just wouldn’t be possible. But one week later, he came back with the same message as he did in 2016: “If it’s important to you, I’ll do it!”

We will be arriving in the USA on the 6th of July 2018 and driving to Jacksonville, from where we will embark on our journey. If all goes to plan and the weather is kind, we will finish in San Diego on the 16th of August – maybe even earlier if we are really lucky!