Sponsors confirmed for The Atlantic Coast Challenge plus win an official cycling jersey

Official Cycling Jersey for The Atlantic Coast Challenge

I am delighted to announce that Fundamental Group, Q5 Partners and Kay & Burton will be supporting the ride. Through their generosity the fund raising goal has received a $10,000 boost. In addition Fundamental is underwriting the branded cycling jerseys for the ride . I am incredibly grateful to these three fantastic companies for their support. Thank you Angus, Ross, Olly and teams. It is the support of companies like theirs in addition to the generous individual donations that drives me to take on this challenge and most importantly will make a massive contribution to Alister’s battle with MS.

I do have one more spot on the jersey for a corporate sponsor so if your company would like to come onboard please contact me directly ASAP.

It’s all about the stash (as we all know) so I am delighted that we’ll be putting all those who have donated so far and anyone who donates before July 30th into a hat (or cycling helmet) and drawing 5 names to win an Atlantic Coast Challenge official cycling jersey. So please donate now to be in for a chance to win. It’s not the yellow jersey I know but this jersey will be more famous in my house at the very least!

Off for a training ride this afternoon. See you all on the other side.

Daily schedule published. Come and say hello.

I knew Bar Harbor to Key West was a long way, The Adventure Cycling Association (ACA) has the route at 2,655.4 miles to be exact. That assumes I don’t take a wrong turn, that I can find somewhere to sleep without going off route and I don’t add on any of the spurs/additions that take me into Boston, New York, Philadelphia or the Outer Banks. I think we can assume it’s going longer than 2,655.4 miles.

It didn’t really hit home just how far it is until I sat down and started trying to map out the daily milage. I’m trying to balance a couple of factors in this equation. The need to cycle far enough each day that ensures I get to Key West before Christmas, that I need to stop somewhere where there’s accommodation (ideally a couple of options) and finally there’s only so far I can cycle, fully loaded with kit in a day. Couple that with the uncertainty of the weather and any unforeseen mechanical issues the “planning” portion of this ride is a logistical nightmare. Don’t book accommodation ahead of time then I may have nowhere to rest my weary bones, book too many days ahead and I may not make it to the accommodation in time and a domino effect of non refundable cancelations blows my accommodation budget out of the water.

At this point I should reiterate this ride is just me, no other riders, no organizers, no support vehicles, no nothing. Me, my bike with some panniers on the back, my cell phone and a credit card. I’ve called the ride The Atlantic Coast Challenge which has conjured up an air of formality, established and organization – this is not the case. Whilst the route has been mapped out by the ACA I will be relying on good luck and a bit of self determination for everything else.

That said if anyone would care to join for a leg or two of cycling I published my draft itinerary below. You never know I could be swinging by your town! I would certainly welcome any company along the way and if cycling isn’t your thing perhaps you’d like to join me for a 6,000 calorie, carb ladened, dinner and a glass of wine! Other options include a spot of lunch or just come out for a picnic with the family and cheer me on.

So here it is. I’ve moved up the start date to August 27th and will address my promise not to miss Josie’s birthday by meeting Jules and the kids in Washington for a birthday weekend in the nations capital roughly halfway through the ride.

Milage is shorter at the beginning. I want to give my body time to adjust and test out the gear not to mention I can’t get to Washington any earlier. There are also more hills in the first half. By the end of the trip I plan to be notching up regular 100 mile days giving me 35 days of cycling with 8 rest days (including an epic 11 year olds birthday extravaganza).

I hope to see some of you out there.

Fundraising update – we are half way to the goal of $10,000 so if you do have a few spare pennies please help support here. If not, don’t worry, I know it’s tough out there for many so just sharing this as far and wide as possible and following the novice cyclist instagram account (found on this page) would be very much appreciated and please, enjoy the ride!

The Novice Cyclist takes on The Atlantic Challenge 2021

The Atlantic Coast Challenge Bike Ride

The beautiful and unpredictable nature of life has put me in a pretty unique and exciting position. After 11 years working for The Wall Street Journal I will be leaving the company at the end of July. With my recent move back to the US after 6 years in Hong Kong I have to wait a little while as my Green Card is processed and I am unable to travel outside the USA during that time. I have time and opportunity!

Firstly I am going to have a fantastic summer with my family. Sam is now 13 and Josie 10. I was apart from them for 6 months of 2020 as I tackled various quarantine restrictions in the US, UK and Hong Kong and attempted to balance our relocation to the US with my job based in Asia – all with the back drop of the global pandemic. Over the last 6 years I’ve missed a number of birthdays due to work commitments and I have promised the kids I won’t miss another one and so after Josie turns 11 on Sep 17th and the kids are back to school I’m taking on my toughest ride yet…. The Atlantic Coast Challenge.

The route starts in Bar Harbor, Maine and concludes in Key West, Florida covering the majority of the USA’s Atlantic coast. It looks to be an incredible ride with some highlights including coastal towns of Maine, New England villages, crossing the Mason Dixon Line, a plethora of Civil War historical sites, Washington DC, the outer banks (where the Wright Brothers bike shop tools are on display – I may need to borrow them), Charleston, Savanah, Florida and the Keys.

My favorite section from the Adventure Cycling Association website when describing the route is

“Leaving Florida City on U.S. 1, you begin a 20-mile ride with no services, potentially heavy traffic and abundant crocodile sightings. If you see what appears to be a green couch along the road, it’s probably not! Always give crocs a wide berth, and be ready to sprint if necessary. Crocodiles can reach speeds of 30 miles per hour for very short distances.” ACA Website

The Atlantic Coast Challenge Route

The numbers: The ride will take me 2,529 miles (4,070km), through 16 States with a total ascent of 74,265ft (thats 2.5 times Everest). I am aiming to complete the challenge in 30 days. It will be an unsupported ride and so I will carry everything I need in panniers and will be sourcing food, accommodation, repairs etc as I go.

From my experience cycling from London to Monte Carlo in 2013 and 2014 this should be the perfect trip to give me some headspace as I map out what’s next. But in addition to some selfish “me time” I want to use this challenge to raise some money for a great cause. I will be paying for every expense of the ride myself so every single penny raised will go to support Alister Bailey as he battles Multiple Sclerosis. Please support Alister and his family on my GofundMe page. I hope you’ll also follow along with my adventures here and on the Novice Cyclist instagram feed.

I would also like to thank Fundamental Group and Kay & Burton for their support. There are still a couple of corporate logo spots on my cycling jersey with every penny going to the fundraising goal so do get in touch if your company would like to support.

As always none of my harebrained ideas would ever get off the ground without the support of my wife Jules. I am, as always, eternally grateful to her above everything.

Maps arrived from the Adventure Cycling Association – Preparations begin!!