Bicycling Cross-Country, Portland to Portland in 2017.

the cyclists.

“Natebot” (Nate)
Nate recently graduated from Clarkson University with a degree in Global Supply Chain Management (a statement which hopefully holds true if you’re reading this after May 13, 2017). He didn’t have Internet access growing up and had to bike to a public library to get online. Such was his introduction to the bicycling world. While attending Cushing Academy, Dr. G.—Nate’s Honors Chemistry teacher—convinced him to take cycling more seriously, and introduced him to mountain biking. Nate learned the hard way (as most cyclists do) that dismounting from clipless pedals takes practice, and isn’t helped by onlookers’ laughing. After a few years mountain biking, having collided with countless trees, Nate realized that there was a better way to ride: Road cycling. With his new passion, Nate rebooted a road cycling club at Clarkson, and raced for a few years. One day, Twitter’s spam filter mistook Nate for an automated bot and blocked him from sending bike specs to Michael; “Natebot” was born. In 2014, Michael and Nate half-jokingly discussed cycling across the U.S. in 2017. They proceeded to tell more and more friends and family—and strangers—about the hypothetical trip, progressively upping the commitment ante. Off the bike, Nate can be found riding his Boosted Board around Boston while brainstorming income-earning app ideas to buy a Tesla Model 3.

See Nate’s bike. >

“Ely with Machine” (Michael)
A creative director and brand strategy advisor in the Internet-tech industry, Michael wants to own a bike shop in Austin, TX when he grows up. He’s been riding bikes since his sister Amy was told to share her Schwinn—complete with its eponymous “banana seat” and sparkly handlebar tassels. (The frame might have been metallic purple.) In Junior High, he joined the Track team, running the 400m and 4x400m relay. A teammate introduced him to road cycling and nicknamed him “Ely” in reference to his last name; And Ely went everywhere “with his machine,” a red Bridgestone 10-speed. Pierre, a former Tour de France and French National Team domestique, owned the local bike shop and had offered to coach Michael in exchange for the bike. So, for the next year, Michael spent much of his after-school and weekend time learning bike mechanics and training to land a spot on USCF Bridgestone (later Bianchi) Bicycle’s U.S. development/ continental team. He raced for 9 years (7½ as a Cat 1) before abruptly deciding to give distance running a go. Thirty-eight marathons, a few ultras, triathlons, and countless 10Ks, 10-milers, 5Ks, and other races later he—like Forrest Gump—simply stopped running. In 2014, he started cycling again with the goal of being ready to ride across the U.S. in 2017. Most days, he rides a Litespeed Archon C1. Off the bike, Michael loves to drive his Jeep and fly just about anywhere in Delta Airlines’ fleet of modern jet airplanes. He looks forward to seeing Earth from a Tesla Intergalactic flight on his 100th birthday.

See Michael’s bike. >