Earlier today, at a store, I was adjusting my panniers when I heard, from someone approaching behind me, “How far are you going?”

“Portland, Maine to Portland, Oregon,” I said, as I turned to see who was asking. An older, stocky man stepped up on the sidewalk and leaned in to see what I was doing.

“Oh, I did the same thing!” he replied.

“West to east, or east to west?”

“We left from Cleveland,” he said. “I met my friends in Michigan, then we took a boat across to Minnesota. But from there I had to take the train back to Ohio because I had to work.”

“So did your friends cycle to Portland then, from Minnesota?” I wondered, trying to salvage his claim of having done the same thing as cycling across country.

“Oh, no… no, they went back to Canada.”