Patrick Colleran
Hometown: Boise, Idaho
Bike: A 1976 Sam Braxton (#23) refurbished for it's second cross country trip
Favorite piece of gear: B17 brooks saddle
Go-to road food:Corndogs
Best touring specific trick: Poppin curbs and riding wheelies
Last employment: Field leader for citizen science backpacking trips for wilderness character monitoring in the HPBH WSA just north of Yellowstone
Most anticipated destination: Austin, Texas
Best bike related experience: Touring the San Juan Islands with Alison E. Riley

Max Horrowitz-Burdick
Hometown: Longmont, CO.
Salsa Vaya
Favorite piece of gear:
Go-to road food:
Best touring specific trick:
on bike sunscreen application
Last employment:
Denali National Park trail crew
Most anticipated destination:
middle of nowhere mississippi
Best bike experience:
first wheely

Vince Roubitchek
Hometown: Mt. Prospect, Illinois
Bike: Surly Long Haul Trucker (Fatties Fit Fine)
Favorite piece of gear: Bear Spray
Go-to road food: Jalapeno Cheddar Cheetos
Best touring specific trick: Limbo under gates of closed campsites....while riding
Last employment: Raft/Backpack Guide in West Glacier, Montana
Most anticipated destination: Beers on the beach in MIAMI!
Best bike experience: Cruisin' Avenue of the Giants in Nor Cal

Kyle Lehman
Hometown: Corbett, Oregon
Bike: Surly Cross Check with a dented rear wheel and noisy brakes.
Favorite piece of gear: Michael Jordan tank top
Go-to road food: Corn doggies
Best touring specific trick: No handed jacket removal
Last employment: Wildland Firefighter for the State of Montana
Most anticipated destination: New Orleans
Best bike experience: Crashing so hard while dirt jumping that I shit my pants.

Danny Thuerer
Hometown: Boise, Idaho
Bike: Surly Long haul Trucker
Favorite piece of gear: GoLite nickers
Go-to road food: Milky way
Best touring specific trick: Riding forward
Last employment: Helena National forest
Most anticipated destination: The South
Best bike experience: Riding down hill

Saturday, December 24, 2011

That about sums it up...

Bumpy Road

After a failed attempt to treat ourselves to a final continental breakfast as a foursome, we departed Gainesville, Fl following a twenty mile bike trail through some of the hilliest and windiest terrain we had seen in the past thousand miles. The bike trail allowed us to ride side by side and added some needed variability from the weeks of straight, flat, road riding that had been accompanied by a persistent east wind.

After the trail, we spotted our first gators in a roadside swamp. I led the draft line for the next forty miles and received my first flat tire since Silver City, NM. Despite a calloused ass, and an increased level of fitness the rusty staple that punctured my tire and the prevailing headwind reminded me that the many new found perquisites of traveling by bike don’t come without a toll. I signaled to Kyle that I could use someone’s wheel to pull me through the current. Kyle led us through the last twenty miles and I could sense his anticipation through his cadence. I have ridden hundreds of miles inches behind Kyle’s rear wheel and we all have grown accustomed to his predictable trajectory and strong steady pace. This day, however, for these last twenty miles before completing a coast to coast to coast bike ride, Kyle’s tempo surged intermittently while his bike swayed fifteen degrees to the left and right of vertical as he pulled on the opposite side of each downward pedal stroke.

Upon arrival of St. Augustine Beach Kyle led a screaming charge, champagne bottle in hand, past bewildered bystanders straight into the Atlantic. We all high fived as many times as we dove back into the ocean as if the first four wouldn’t count. The champagne coming through my nose after celebratory swigs in between the dousing of my friends almost went unnoticed amongst the jubilee. After a half hour of body surfing in the turbulent atlantic on this blustery day, we were given a chance to reflect on our journey and accomplishment while poaching the hot tub of an adjacent beachfront hotel. The celebration continued into the night until we crept into the shadows of the Castillo de San Marcos, adding a National Historic Monument to our list of weird places slept at.

The following day I couldn’t help but reminisce on the early events of the trip while riding solo into Jacksonville, Fl. Our goodbye had consisted of overindulgent group hugs and high fives and we had avoided the emotional confessions of disbanding through jokes and sarcasm. I took the “don’t leave us Patrick” and fake sobs with multiple people clinging to my extremities as sincere goodbyes. I knew that I wanted to candidly discuss every incredible attribute of each individual and how each of them made the trip so memorable. I knew I wanted to confess that I couldn’t ask for a more amazing group of guys to spend ten weeks with while touring the country. I knew that I had had the experience of a lifetime because of these guys and I wanted to thank them. I also knew that they were thinking similar things but partaking in that kind of bromance just wasn’t our style. Instead, I laughed and said, “Have fun in Miami guys, see you in Missoula” then rode away.

While I was packing my bike up in Jacksonville, I couldn’t believe it was over. A dream of mine had become reality and a strong sense of accomplishment came over me. I remembered the first talk I had with Kyle about the trip almost a year before while in Missoula, Mt. The initial plan was to finish our seasonal summer jobs and ride across the country. This is an easy claim to make while jobless and drinking a beer in the dark depths of Charlie B’s on a cold winter night but as the months went on I always knew Kyle was definitely in. Three other people expressed interest 6 months before the trip but I wasn’t convinced that there would be more than two of us until Max and Vince both blew their first summer paychecks on new touring bikes. The new plan was more detailed, we would all finish our summer jobs, go to Kyle’s house in early October, ride the pacific coast and take a left to Florida and the Atlantic coast. There was virtually no correspondence between us while we all worked our sumer jobs but it only took a bike and one “I’m in” from each person to seal a commitment to this adventure. Everyone knew that jobs, money, girlfriends or other commitments couldn’t supersede that verbal agreement. As friends we simply wouldn’t let each other back out if one chose to try. As I traveled bike less through Jacksonville I was so happy I and everyone else had done what we had set out to do months before.

That afternoon I experienced one of the most radical changes of emotion I have and most likely will ever feel. I felt like I was standing on top of the world, beneath me were mountains of accomplishments and memories, laughter and stories, and an experience that could never be recreated. The two sentences, “Kyle got hit. It doesn’t look good.” blurred my vision and stole my breath as the world crashed down leaving me trembling and completely lost. After several hours of feeling entirely helpless while anxiously awaiting phone calls, Kyle’s situation remained very scary but showed signs of improvement. From what I understand, Kyle received a serious head trauma and a bruised lung. Surprisingly, no broken bones resulted from Kyle getting hit from behind by a fast moving van. The swelling in Kyle’s head remained low and manageable during the critical first 72 hours succeeding a head injury. Although heavily sedated and unconscious, Kyle’s vitals have stayed strong. The doctors at Halifax hospital in Daytona, Fl are planning on keeping Kyle under at least through Christmas weekend. The hope is that by keeping him sedated, his brain will remain inactive and have a chance to heal. The extent of Kyle’s brain damage is yet to be determined until the doctors start trying to wake him up.

After our first week of the trip and five hundred miles under our belts, we pulled out the maps for the rest of the Pacific coast and the Southern tier of the United States. The remaining states, miles and passes ahead of us were too overwhelming to see, it seemed to far and too difficult when looked at all at once. From then on, we would only look at one map or a few days in advance at the most. By making small goals and achieving them, collectively our ultimate goal became more attainable. It is too early to tell how long Kyle’s road to recovery will be but I am confident that his predictable trajectory and strong steady pace will get him to his ultimate goal, even if he has to tackle one mountain pass or map at a time. Along Kyle’s road to recovery it is likely that he will need someone’s wheel to pull him through the current and Max, Vince and I are committed to helping him and his family through whatever obstacles come his way just as he allowed us to draft behind him through difficult times while riding across the country.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Food porn

Coffee and beignets, southern cookin', muffaletta and the don Juan breakfast in order of appearance.

Where are we?

We have covered a lot of miles since our last post. The weather was supposed to be warm in this part of the country but has yet to heat up. These pictures may allude to our location.

Gator Country

Donald Cravins, Mayor of Opelousas, LA, insisted we sleep in the chapel...He's the boss!
N'awlins...Thanks for the brewskis, Pete and Chad

State #7
Mississippi has beautiful beaches?

Same day....8th state

Thanks for the hospitality, Gabe...gotta put those breakfast burritos on the menu!!

They don't accept snickers as payment.

The bikes enjoyed the break too.

The 9th and final state.

...not bad

deep down in the bottom of that third coast.

From the moment we entered the acadian country of Louisiana, (areas influenced by french colonial settlers) to the moment we left the gastronomy of our trip and maybe even our lives changed forever. Our first full dinner in Louisiana took place at Greens, Beans, and Cornbread an establishment in the town of DeRidder. We had this place recommended to us by some fellow bike tourist who we met in the middle of Texas. The recommendation however did not include the name or location, only the promise of "best yams of my life". So after investigating other uninspired looking dinners and looking rather lost and hungry we were pointed in the right direction by a local. Upon entry we were asked if we wanted fast food or food food. Food food seemed the obvious choice and the very kind proprietor insisted we would be taken care of. When the cafeteria plates arrived brimming with collard greens, mac and cheese, candied yams, cornbread, and hamburger steaks swimming in gravy eyes grew wide, focused silent indulgence began, and satisfaction which could only be gained from food that full of soul reined supreme. A few individual serving sweet potato pies were the perfect conclusion of a perfect down home meal. Our obvious joy even earned us some to go pies.
While at the DeRidder public library I was flipping through a local publication which in this particular issue was rating Acadian country's best meals and in particular Boudin, (a rice, pork, and liver filled sausage). The next day and 70 miles later I recognized a name that I had seen in the magazine; the rather unforgettable T-boys slaughter house. A dollar and change was all it took to get our hands on the savoury links. Like true Yankees we enjoyed them whole on day old white bread in the parking lot. We later learned you don't eat the casing and instead pull the filling out and eat it with crackers or all on its own. Pulling out of T-boys refueled by the boudin we rode through the rice fields till sundown arriving in the town of Opelousas. In search of a grocery store we came across a Christmas light celebration in the town park. The town welcoming committee invited us to indulge in the free red beans and rice and hot coco and we did so with vigor. After this we met with the mayor and he set us up with a place to stay in a historic chapel.
Two days and around 180 miles later found us in New Orleans. Three things happened in the big easy I will never forget; beignets, muffaleta, and mud bugs. Cafe Du Monde has been pumping out little powdered sugar coated doughnuts 24 hours a day for over a century and there's a reason. Go there. The central grocery down the block invented a sandwich called the muffaleta over a century ago and has had a line every day since. Go there. Big Fishermens on magazine street provides whole sale and individual orders of local sea food. Crayfish is the only hot food they serve. Go there. Louisiana and New Orleans is a whole sub culture of food, people, and music unlike any other. Imagine the best of Paris right on one of the most productive coasts in the world and trapped in a swamp for a few hundred years. Go there.


Thursday, December 1, 2011

Messin' With Texas

We just wrapped up fifteen days in a state that I personally thought never warranted much more than an airport layover. But the state has proven it deserves much more than that, and from our first night in an old El Paso brothel to our last in a funeral home in Kountze, we have all relished the experience. One of our first suprises came in the small town of Marathon, where we ran into a group of Texas Democrats who found kindred spirits in our group of bearded bicyclists and invited us over to imbibe in several bottles of tequila and a crock pot bubbling with velvety green mole lengua. The next morning I found perhaps one true mark of a Texas Democrat: They only have two guns in thier guest room closet.

From Marathon we burned east through rolling Texas desert in a blind push for Austin. With no big climbs to separate the group we generally stuck together in one raggedy, foul smelling pelaton. There are times when we've been riding for hours over mellow terrain that it feels like all of our minds are caught in the same groove, like separate needles finding the same track on a record. When you're drafting behind someone mere inches separate your wheels, and we're all tied together by the slipstream thats cut open by the lead bike and breaks around each of us like a rolling wave. When you're in that pocket of air its easy to think of us all as just parts of one vehicle: Some eight wheeled, mutant caterpillar of rubber and steel slinking its way east towards the Atlantic Ocean, leaving behind a trail of beer cans and greasy fast food wrappers.

Beyond showing us our longest ride yet, Texas also marked the first time on the trip we have paid for camping. This occurred near the Amistad Reservoir when a trio of Park Rangers, likely attracted by the smell of our recently barbequed venison cutlets, trundeled into the closed campsite we were poaching and ordered us to pay up. The only part harder then finally shelling out money for a place to sleep was finding close to eight dollars in change and fitting it into the drop-box slot.

With this travesty still fresh in our minds, the posse rolled into San Antonio on Thanksgiving evening and sniffed out a small bar for burgers and beer. Then it was time for a little stickin' it to the man at the Occupy movement's San Antonio camp out. The occupiers were stationed in a park downtown and happy to accomidate a few more folks if we didn't mind a little drum practice they had planned for later. We chose to occupy a small tree on the far side of the park and drifted off to sleep while some moron beat out the bass line to various Metalica tracks on what sounded like the underside of a plastic bucket. Those fat cats on Wall Street had better be shaking in thier penny loafers.

After the bright lights of San Antonio we cut north to Austin, which we had all been looking forward to since the beginning of our trip. As a heavy rain fell in the state capitol, we cruised some bars on sixth street and found ourselves denied entry for a host of reasons (baggy pants, flip-flops, general drunkeness). Despite these setbacks we found our way into several bars and even wrangled a living room floor to crash on from a warm hearted bike mechanic named Sterling. Some highlights from our remaining rest days in Austin were lounging at the downtown Marriot's pool, catching the premier of Empire BMX's "Bad Idea" video, and the minting of an ass tattoo on one member of the crew.

Thats all for now, check back as we dive into the deep south on the final leg of our journey.

It's pronounced TAY-HOSS!

An all too familiar view
Thanks, friend...had a blast.
we may look like bums...but we don't have to eat like em'
That was a very funny joke!
Straws please.
They start em young in Austin.
The hot tub's too hot!!
Rooftop VIP

Adios TEY-HOSS!!!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

night ride

We packed up our roadside spaghetti dinner as the last of the sun's red glow faded into night and started our ride toward a picnic area near the McDonald observatory outside Fort Davis, TX.  Low clouds covered the stars and moon.  The topography hid the horizon.  No homes or traffic lights to give scale to the blackened space.  All I can see is the 100ft or so of head lamp illuminated two lane road in front of me.  The ambient eerie noise of Animal Collective adds the perfect soundtrack to our ride through ephemeral emptiness.  The headlamps behind cast giant shadows of the riders in front.  Their unzipped jackets blowing behind them give the shadow riders chaotic black wings.  An hour passes.  It's difficult to gage how far we've travelled or how much farther we have to go.  The riding starts to become more difficult.  Suddenly I'm in my lowest gear having to stand and pump to climb a hill I couldn't see so didn't know existed until it stole all my momentum.  We continue to climb.  The fatigue from the miles begins to take its toll physically and mentally.  That bizarre numbness of body and mind that can only be experienced from exhaustion takes over. A horizon and a few stars appear in the distance then disappearr as we fly downhill and into the empty picnic area.  I roll into what will be camp for the night as depleted as my flat rear tire.  140 miles is a long way.  

Monday, November 21, 2011


Machaca is a traditional meal originating in the northern region of Mexico. It consists of a dried, shredded, and rehydrated beef that is seasoned with green or poblamo chilis. We tried this meal at Lucy's in El Paso, a small diner with about ten barstools and one incredible cook. She prepared our food on a two by two griddle that had been seasoned for probably thirty years. After hand shredding the machaca, eggs, peppers, and onions were combined into the hash like pile. Fresh flour tortillas from an inconspicuous supermarket grocery sack were heated alongside the heap of hispanic spice. Hashbrowns and refried beans accompanied the plate before a blend of chilis and queso smothered the machaca. A thank you is in order to some of El Paso's core bike community members Garcia, Farsh, and Elias for recommending this breakfast to us. I had no idea what was ordering when I asked for machaca but this dish set new standards for both the authentic Mexican and breakfast categories.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

SOD (song of the day)

We had a blast watching Finger Folk play in Santa Barbara during our Halloween festivities. Here is a clip of them warming up before their big show.

Finger Folk from Patrick Colleran on Vimeo.

Piss Bag Symbolism

We must have been some 20 miles east of Pheonix when I saw it. Languishing there on the shoulder of highway 60 under a growing desert sun, a weathered, putrid yellow Ziploc bag full of piss. After the initial panic of avoiding the thing had worn off, I couldn't help but chuckle. After all, how frantic must one be to relive themselves into a device normally reserved for turkey sandwiches and seedless grapes? Now, over six hundred miles into the Southern Tier, I am no closer to finding an answer. Perhaps it's the relative lack of rest areas on these hard-baked desert highways that's forcing over hydrated tourists to such desperate ends, but so far I've spied enough of these improvised urinals to fill a wading pool.

It could be the automobile itself that's to blame, when you can go a mile a minute its hard to justify taking a few off for a trivial matter such as taking a leak. Better off just throwing an empty Pepsi bottle into the back seat and hoping your kids got good enough aim to keep it off the interior. When progress is defined strictly in terms of mileage, the journey takes a back seat to the destination. Gas stations and fast food joints are constructed with this in mind; bland road trip pit stops pumping enough nacho cheese and unleaded gasoline onboard to get travelers on their way in the least possible time.

Our journey so far has run in direct opposition of this mindset. On a bicycle there is more of an interaction with the scenery. With no air conditioning to tame the dry desert air or radio to drown out the bleak stretches of nothingness, there is little choice but to let the landscape in. We have slept amid a crumbling desert foundation, in front of a church and behind a bar; out of the way places chosen as our energy and the day's light fades. When miles are not measured in minutes there is time to scamper across sand dunes, jump in rivers and hunt for scorpions. Should the need to relive oneself arise we merely drift over to the ditch and deliver some hydration to the parched land, all the while hoping the cars and RV's lurching by on the freeway get to their destination on time.
Mission Trails State Park just east of San Diego

Desert shadows

I have no idea where this picture was the middle of the desert somewhere in AZ

A perfect storm

top of the hill

New Mexico chillin'

Photo Shoot

All downhill from here!
At times, besides the persistent roadside litter, there wasn't much to look at on the San Carlos Apache Indian Reservation. Then the Sun set in Bylas, Arizona.

This is our first true desert camp. There were no towns for thirty miles in any direction but we stocked up on rations and avoided any reptile encounters.

After eating four doughnuts Max confidently exlaimed, "I'm still starving, I could eat all the glazed doughnuts left in that case." So naturally, we put him up to the challenge. He only ate four.

The Algones dunes in Eastern California. Max got a flat so I walked out into the dunes where some dune buggies stopped to see if I was okay. Turns out, I was just eating some yogurt while exploring the endless sand.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Introducing for your blog viewing pleasure

Danny Thuerer a good friend of mine from Boise Idaho met us in San Diego to join in on the funemployment. Danny worked all summer on the Helena hotshots and decided to come ride the southern tier with us. The crew feels pretty big now that there are five of us.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Sittin' On Top of the World

We left Santa Barbara after an awesome Halloween rest day and headed south to Santa Monica. right on the beach, Santa Monica was a bit more like a concrete jungle than expected. Luckily, Pat chatted it up with John, a UCLA biology professor, who graciously offered his garage for us to safely store our bikes while we went out on the town and met up with MP buddies Charlie Houle and Justin was great seein you guys and thanks for the beers! Not only did John hook it up with bike storage, he let use his patio to crash; and if that wasn't enough the next morning we woke up to an awesome home-cooked breakfast of eggs, veggies, beans, OJ, and coffee! We can't thank you enough, and I hope one day I can pay that favor forward.

From Santa Monica we pretty much followed the beautiful SoCal coast all the way to Dana Point, California. Lukcy for us, Pat's family friend and surfing sensei, Chicago Steve, was in town and took us out for a massive feast at a local burger joint. Steve treated us to burgers, fries, 6 appetizers, beers and great company. Since Steve couldn't join us for breakfast, he took it upod himself to give us a little something so that we could buy some breakfast burritos in the morning...turns out it was enough for some more beers AND burritos in the am...Thanks, Steve, you don't know how much we appreciate it.

From Dana Point it was only a short 60 miles until our final destination on the west coast, San Diego. The sun was shining way too bright and hot for us to just ride the stretch straight through. Just outside of Carlsbad, a beautiful white sand beach with some tasty swells was calling our name. We parked our rigs next to some Cali surfer dudes that happend to have a few extra stand-up paddle boards and some time to show us the ropes. After some epic body surfing and catchin waves on paddle boards (or tried to), we couldn't leave them empty handed so we helped em out with some dollar fish tacos at their local fish taco spot. Thanks, guys. Needless to say we rolled into San Diego a bit later than expected. Thant didnb't matter though, we had a 30 ft. sailboat to sleep on and Pat's high school buddy Danny Thuerer flew down to chill on the boat and join us for the southern tier of our journey(his bio will come soon).

The next three days on the boat in San Diego proved to be exactly what we needed. We were in super Cali chill mode with some Simpler Times(terrible beer), whiskey gingers, hot tubs and sun (with a bit of rain). Pat's Dad, Steve(owner of the Wild Rose...the boat) even drove over from Tucsan, AZ to take us out on the high seas of the Pacific Ocean. Everyone was a sailor this time, and we even got a show from a pod of dolphins. 2 awesome dinners (one at the hotel where the Green Bay Packers were staying to get ready for the big game against the Chargers), breakfast, boat to chill on with a ride included...Thanks, Steve, for hookin it up with an awesome 3 days in San Diego. I even got to meet up with a Cali cousin, Rachael, who I haven't seen in like 7 years. Thanks for an awesome dinner and drinks, Rachael; and thanks, Mitch, for that comfy couch and the good company!...and the JD.