When I decided to do this trip I possessed neither especial knowledge of bikes, nor a modicum of coordination atop one.
Wondering how I did it?
Five years [i.e., backstory]:
- Busting my balls to develop my career as a freelance model, working throughout the US, Canada, and Australia and developing a sufficient reputation to afford clients’ faith that I’m worth hiring even while on such an unconventional modeling trip
- Recovering from a sedentary adolescence during which I was focused on academics and computers by cultivating interests in outdoor activities for the first time and pursuing all opportunities to go climbing, skiing, yoga, backpacking, scuba diving, whitewater rafting...
One year [i.e., when I decided to do this trip]:
- Saving up money, most of which has been sucked up by initial overhead: finding an affordable but reliable touring bike and requisite gear, repair tools, etc.
- Countless hours on the Internet spent researching my route in exhaustive detail, planning, finding hosts, investigating camping, and scheduling bookings. Reading books and cycling blogs
- Countless trips to sporting goods stores, bike shops, and REI stores, asking squillions of questions and doing a million test runs of gear
- Lather, rinse, repeat
One and a half months [i.e., crunch time]:
- Obsessive devotion to training [if I could have afforded to, I would’ve spent three to four months training], mostly in the form of bike rides [with emphasis on climbing] supplemented with cross-training [indoor climbing, yoga, and at-home workouts]
- Short overnight trips for practice
- Hands-on learning of bicycle repair and maintenance
- Adventure Cycling Association was my starting point.
- East Coast Greenway is "a developing trail system, linking many of the major cities of the Eastern Seaboard between Canada and Key West," i.e., exactly my route! As of now, they're 30% complete and offer free cue sheets.
REI's multi-day bike touring pack list is the one I've found most helpful in my planning [though there are others I consulted, as well, such as the one on ACA].
The Complete Book of Long-Distance Cycling by Edmund R. Burke and Ed Pavelka. I’m not quite in their target audience [i.e., professionals with busy lives and fat wallets who are training for races and events], but this book still contained a lot of helpful information about training, ergonomics, equipment, troubleshooting, and a bit of advice specific to touring.
Strava GPS Cycling and Running App for planning and recording rides, and monitoring my progress.
iFixit App for DIY repair guides
- Finding the Open Road by Mike Marriner, Brian McCallister & Nathan Gebhard
- Vagabonding by Rolf Potts
- A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson
Read during this trip
- Wild by Cheryl Strayed
- The Witch of Portobello by Paulo Coelho
- The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran [for the millionth time]
- Lots and lots of Rumi and Alan Watts
Furthermore: Planning this trip would have been a lot more daunting, time-consuming, and complicated if not for the continual support and advice of my partner [former BMXer and all-around gung-ho and uber-competent superhero and good influence] and my father [an avid recreational cyclist who kicks my ass on a bike]. They have been more crucial resources, and more effective sources of inspiration, than anything else on this list.