Favorite camping equipment/non-bike gear? 

  • Nate: Helinox Cot Lite. It was a bit bulkier than a sleeping pad, but allowed me to be completely off the ground and unencumbered by variable ground surfaces.
  • Michael: Sea to Summit mattress. It was super easy to inflate, deflate, and roll; compact and light; and helped me sleep comfortably every night.

Favorite bike-tech/gear? 

  • Nate: Garmin Varia Radar. I always knew when cars were approaching behind me, the pace that they were approaching at, and if I needed to bail off the side of the road. Paired with my rearview mirror, it saved me from countless close calls.
  • Michael: Garmin Edge 1000. I had some issues early on adjusting to the upgraded platform from an older Garmin Edge 520, but was ultimately glad I could track all of the trip data on one device. (The paired Garmin Connect app and syncing process were unfortunately sub-par.)

Place you’d most likely go back to?

  • Nate: Boise, ID. I didn’t know what to expect from this city, but after spending a few hours downtown, I found it extremely bike friendly, had amazing facilities/ shops/ restaurants, and was all around very clean. I could definitely see myself visiting again.
  • Michael: Jackson, WY. I immediately fell in love with the town and surrounding area.

Most memorable/favorite state?

  • Nate: Iowa was all-around my favorite state between the people we met there, places we camped, and overall quality of the roads (despite the rolling hills). However, Illinois gets a very close second place as we did not have to be on roads for nearly the entirety of the state.
  • Michael: Iowa stood out as the most cycling-friendly state, by far.

Something unexpected?

  • Nate: Whatever you think you’re going to spend on a bike trip across the country–if it’s your first time riding this distance–double that amount. The cost of campsites and the sheer number of calories that you burn while riding is unimaginable. It was not uncommon to be hungry only five miles after eating an entire meal.
  • Michael: The landscape of central Idaho was entirely surprising. I never knew it is a vast, unpopulated desert–even having traveled elsewhere in the state many times.

One thing you carried coast to coast that you never used?

  • Nate:My solar panel. It would have been a great thing to have if we were riding far out of civilization, but my backup batteries lasted me for several days off the grid, and we always found a place to recharge them when we needed to.
  • Michael: Solar-charging panels. As Nate said, to our surprise, we didn’t need them.

Would you do it again?

  • Nate: Absolutely, but give me a few years. Next time, I’d like to go west to east along a pre-mapped route (likely the northern tier), and try to get from coast to coast in less than 50 days. In the meantime, I’ll be planning smaller tours (a few days to a week), that I can easily do without interfering with my job.
  • Michael: I might do a ride from Austin, TX to Anchorage, AK next, but have no plan to repeat this route, or ride across the U.S. any time.