About My Trip

July 22nd 2010

I first thought about taking to the road and biking across America about five years ago in my freshman year of collage.   It all started on Google Earth in the wee hours of the night drawing various routes through America, traversing distances visible from space.  The idea of a nomadic existence on a bicycle remained in my head, but only as a wild fantasy, something that I could think about while getting through the doldrums of academia.  Eventually though, people started asking me what I planned on doing after I graduate.  Having no other plans, I started telling people "I'm thinking about biking around America for a while".  And I was, I was thinking about it a lot, but more of a day dream rather than an actual plan.  Naturally, many people would ask questions like, "How long will that take?  Where are you going to sleep? Have you ever done any thing like that before?  Who are you going with?"  Initially the only question I could answer was the third one, and the answer was no; but after being forced to come up with answers I now feel like I have thunk the whole thing out.  Additionally, nothing has changed in my life that has steered me away from this, somewhat radical, direction.  So now I find myself graduated, with a few dollars saved up, and less than a month from living my (day) dream.

Now that I’m completely committed to at least starting this adventure I can better clarify what, exactly, I plan on doing and why.  The “Why?” is certainly the most complicated question, so I’ll save it for last, first here is the plan:

I plan on leaving Montréal on my 1983 Schwin Voyager, with my BOB trailer in tow, and make my way south east to the coast of Maine.  From there I plan on going south along the coast all the way to the Florida Keys, and then around the Gulf to New Orleans, and from there to Austin Texas, and from there, well I don’t really know, but probably in the northwest direction.  I’ll be biking most of the day on most days, but cranking out huge distances everyday is not really the goal of the trip.  I want to collect as many experiences as I can, on and off the bike.  I’ll be bringing my hiking backpack in my trailer, so at anytime I can leave my bike somewhere and live on foot, experiencing places that are inaccessible to road bikes, and at a slower pace which allows for the absorption of finer details.

I’m setting off on this trip alone, but I hope that as much as possible I will be spending time with people.  Anyone (yes, you) is welcome to ride with me for a few hours, days, or months.  I have room for three in my tent, and all the supplies needed.  I plan on camping out many nights, but I also plan on staying in Hostels and Couchsurfing (couchsurfing profile: http://www.couchsurfing.org/people/jamesonabike/) to meet people. 

I do not have a time limit or expected date when my trip will “stop”.  I don’t have any major commitments for the future, and so I am very lucky to be able to avoid so called “real life” indefinitely.  I know that I don’t plan on rushing my trip, and I do plan on spending time living in certain places for a semi-extended period of time, especially if I can find some temporary work.  I have been saving up money for three years by working as a free-lance mover with my van (which I am selling by the way).  I should have enough money to be able to live frugally for a while.  Perhaps my trip will end when I am staying somewhere and decide that this place is where I want to live permanently.  Or perhaps will just decide to change course and start a new adventure.

Why am I doing this?  I think I’ll like it.  I like adventure.  I like a challenge.  I like to test myself.  I like biking.  I also like the simplicity of having a very straightforward goal, with a simple daily routine: wake up, bike, sleep.  I like traveling, but I hate highways.  When you travel in a car, or bus your journey is a strait line bordered with a thin strip of trees, or cement walls, separating you from the area you are passing through.  Only the destination is important when traveling in a car, and certainly in a plane.  On a bike the journey is not just a list of discrete destinations, but rather a continuous path, with the destination being an arbitrary goal for psychological purposes.  By traveling on back roads you can get a chance to experience the people and places that make up an area.  With greater speed you arrive at your destination faster, but you experience less along the way.  The speed of a touring bike is fast enough to cover large distances, but slow enough to actually see the places you are traveling through.

I decided against doing this trip with a mission to raise money for a charity, or for any other cause.  I feel that doing so implies that I am enduring some kind of pain for the benefit of others.  This trip is a completely selfish endeavour; I’m doing it because I WANT to do it.  That being said, I do plan on volunteering with organizations such as habitat for humanity while on my trip.  I also encourage anyone who feels inclined to give money (or your old bike) so that other people can enjoy the benefits of traveling by bike to donate to this fine organization: http://bikesfortheworld.org/index.php


  1. Thats awesome man... are there any supplies you still need? Like bandaids, wetnaps, shampoo... i mean, i guess you can buy most of that wherever you go though haha

  2. you are an inspiration: strength, determination, goal setter, freedom seeker. Enjoy the rewards of your hard work in the special moments along your journey that we so often pass by....I thought of you while driving along the highway....behind the trees and the cement that separates us highway speeders from the real life of small towns...Soak it in! Be safe! Share your location and your stories! Love your mom!!!

  3. Jamie: You say you aren't much of a journal keeper but what you wrote here is better than so much of what I read on a daily basis, and I'm not saying that just because I'm a jaded college professor :) You are sure to have stories that will inspire and amuse those of us who are currently landlocked. I look forward to them! And if you want places to stay in Maine and Texas, I have 'em.

    Hugs, Karyn

  4. Jamie, we are entirely captivated by your words and your ambitions...so well laid out in your blog...oh, the places you'll be taking us! Ride on and we'll look forward to hearing from you all along the way.

    The Peleggis

  5. Jamie,

    It is on edeavours such as this one that you will truly find an inner peace.
    Best of luck and keep the MOC members posted!



  6. Hey James, I'm a friend of Dicky's and you're welcome to crash with us in Austin if our schedules align. Best wishes!!!

  7. Hi Jaime,

    Hope Boston's awesome.
    You are my hero.
    Be smart, safe and nurture "skills of luck and good fortune" with good people a resource, second only to yourself ...you already have a lock on being a "down to earth cool dude!:)

    Love and admiration,
    Uncle Dicky

  8. James!!

    I'm so glad to have met you! Thank you for surfing my couch, I had a such great time with you! I look forward to keeping up with your blog and meeting up with you in the future, expect a call from me in the Spring!! Have fun and take care.


  9. Hi Jaime:
    I am kind of your uncle Tony... the 6th Stram, so to speak.
    Spoke with Dicky today and he told me what you are doing. Great... but watch your back! The world isn't quite as friendly as we would all like to believe. That being said... Have a great time and you have a room in Laguna, California whenever you get here!
    xoxo to all the Strams!
    Tony B

  10. Hi James
    If you make it to Northern California, specifically San Francisco, you are more than welcome to stay with us and/or explore this amazing part of the US.
    I moved here after college and never left.
    You can get our tel # info from your parents and/or uncles/aunts.
    Diana Schoenberg(mike and mary's daughter)