My name is Edward Pickup, and I am 19 years old. On the first of April 2010 I will be setting off on a 4300 mile cycle across the USA, from Yorktown, VA and the Atlantic to Astoria, OR and the pacific.
Why cycle across America?
I had never really panned on taking a gap year between finishing school and starting university, but the sudden death of my father from cancer in March 2009 made me reconsider – simply I was not in the frame of mind to start University, I needed the time off to re-evaluate.
Upon deciding to take a year off I started to think about how I would use the time – I had several ideas and talked them over with my friends / family etc. I eventually decided to go off with a friend to travel through south America for six months leaving in January.
Fast forward to November 2009 just two months before we were set to leave. With no warning the charity component of our trip – namely working in a school in Ecuador – fell through, ultimately causing the whole trip to brake down. Understandably this left me reeling – within 24 hours my plans for the rest of the year had fallen apart. I spent the following day doing a bit of broad googling – I decided that I would love to go off and do some kind of expedition (this came as little shock to those who know my family and in particular my Dad – who had often taken the whole family on various wild trips. Eg. When I was 7 we spent a while in the Malaysian rain forest!). I started looking at various well documented cycle routes such as the North Sea route and the Pacific Coast route but settled on the TransAmerica Trail as it had the most varied terrain and the most positive blogs (I found this blog by Andy particularly helpful). That evening I talked it through with my family and within 48 hours of my origional plans falling through I had booked my tickets to America!
I am of course doing this in aid of a charity. I am going to try and raise some money for the SBSA – the military charity that made life immeasurably better for my family following the death of my father. They describe themselves on their ‘just giving’ page as:
“A Military Charity; whose aim is to relieve members or their dependants who are in need by virtue of financial hardship or sickness. To Perpetuate the memory of those members who have died in the service of their country. To foster esprit de corps, comradeship and welfare”
The more support I can generate for this cause, the greater a success this trip will have been.
I shall endeavor to keep this blog going as I inch my way across a continent and hope that my adventure will prove as suitably entertaining as some of the blogs I read before deciding to embark on this epic journey.
The route I will be taking follows the Transamerica Trail a route established in 1976 by the Adventure Cycling Association to celebrate America’s bicentennial. The trail reaches from Yorktown, VA in the East to Astoria, OR in the West. It is over 4,000 miles long and crosses 10 states in the process. When the route was devised, it was set up to take in the best historical, geographic, and cultural landmarks that the US has to offer. Grand parks along the TransAm include Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks: among the best in the United States.
As the above map shows the terrain is varied. Surprisingly the most climbing occurs in Virginia, where I will tackle the Appalachians. The highest point is Hoosier pass in Colorado. The terrain is fairly flat as I travel across the Great Plains and Kansas – although I hear that the winds can be a real nightmare to contend with.