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 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.
Let me know when you expect to be biking through Jacksonville, FL. If I am there i can help with food, etc. Joe
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