USA - Ride The East - 2018

It is now over two years since I completed my cycle ride across America and there is seldom a day that passes that I do not think about the adventure and the wonderful friendships that were forged.  In March 2018, several of us managed to get together for a reunion on the island of Majorca and it was great to be able to ride together again and we spent many hours reminising about our journey together in 2016.
 
In April 2018, Sarah and I took a short vacation to the USA west coast, flying into Seattle and then driving the Pacific Highway from Astoria OR to Crescent City CA before turning inland to Grants Pass and back to Seattle via Interstate 5.   The Oregon coast is one of our favourite places to visit and the Pacific Highway Cycle Trail signs that were often evident reminded me that one day I would like to cycle this route from Canada to Mexico.  
 
Returning to the UK, I started to research the Pacific Highway route to see if I could find a supported ride and whilst I was able to find a couple of companies, neither of them were offering a ride in 2018.   In my search however, I came across America By Bicycle who were organising a supported ‘Ride the East’ adventure in August.  The ride started from Portmouth NH and finished in Jacksonville FL, a total distance of just over 1,700 miles.  With no other siginificant rides plannned for 2018 the rest, as they say is history and within a couple of weeks I had sent my deposit to America By Bicycle for their 2018 ‘Ride the East’ adventure.
 
With the poor spring weather in the UK I had ridden less than 500 miles for the year so training had to begin immediately.   I started to follow the training plan that was provided for our 2016 cross country ride and soon the hours and miles in the saddle began to look more acceptable and the prospect of completing a long distance ride again seemed realsitic and achievable.
 
Unlike my previous ride I decided that riding for charity was not going to be feasible giving the relative lateness of my deciding to join the ride but I would nevertheless write another blog of this new adventure.   I had received a lot of positive feedback from family and friends following the blog I had written whilst riding across the US in 2016 and I am therefore hoping to provide daily updates of this ride.  I will also endeavour to update the Maps and Stats page so that you are able to keep track of my progress.
 
I have over the years been very fortunate to enjoy good health and I have several friends who are in a less fortunate position as myself and whom are currently undergoing medical treatment.   I also have an extremely supportive wife and son, without whom, adventures such as this would not be possible.
 
I fly to Boston in the next few days and ‘Ride the East’ starts on Sunday 12th August from Portsmouth NH and finishes on Wednesday 5th September in Jacksonville FL.  I hope, like last time, you will come on this adventure with me and I hope that you will find the time to read my blog and maybe add a few words of encouragement – that way at least I will know it is being read!   If you enjoy the blog and feel able then I am sure my two favourite charities, Dorothy House and Naomi House and Jacks Place would be only too pleased to receive a small donation.
 
I am really looking forward to the challenge ahead and riding in the USA once again.

The Route

Current Location – JACKSONVILLE, FL

Distance Cycled since Portsmouth – 1,709 miles

Gross elevation gain since Portsmouth – 52,230 ft

Distance Remaining to Jacksonville, Florida – 0 miles

The Story

2018 Ride the East – London to Portsmouth NH

Welcome to my 2018 ‘Ride the East’ blog and thank you for taking the time to read it and joining me on this journey. Today was the first day of my new adventure. Having stayed at The Thistle hotel at London Heathrow last night with Sarah we arrived at Terminal 3

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2018 Ride The East – Portsmouth NH

I woke early this morning but managed to resist getting up until about 06:30 – I guess it’s going to take a couple of days to get onto eastern time zone.  Breakfast was ok but will probably need to supplement it when we set out on our ride on Sunday. Decided to

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2018 Ride The East – Orientation

Breakfast by 07:00 and gradually riders began to appear and we made our introductions. No doubt there will be something more formal at the orientation meeting this afternoon.  At 08:30 met the America By Bicycle staff, signed on for the ride, collected paperwork, riding jersey and arm warmers and had my

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2018 Ride The East – Portsmouth to Worcester

Mileage 94.5 miles Seemed to wake every half hour during the night so not a good start, probably a little bit of both excitement and apprehension.  Breakfast was at 06:00 with a choice of either staying at the hotel or going to the Roundsbout diner again – I chose to

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2018 Ride The East – Worcester to Windsor Locks

64.5 Miles After yesterdays tough day I decided that I was going to ride my own pace today regardless of what anyone else was doing. I felt more confident negotiating using my sat nav which had been preloaded with the routes at orientation. Started off from the hotel shortly after 07:30

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2018 Ride The East – Windsor Locks to Poughkeepsie

Mileage 90.5 miles Looking at the daily itinerary for the tour I guess today was the day that I was most concerned about – a 90 mile ride with 5,200′ of climbing.  As it turned out it wasn’t too bad and there was an exciting ending to the day. We loaded

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2018 Ride The East – Poughkeepsie to Matamoras

Mileage – 70 Miles We started today’s ride by retracing our steps for yesterday’s arrival into Poughkeepsie.  After just under 1 mile we entered a Walkway which took us directly over the Hudson River.  This was quite a spectacular walkway, newly build I think, and was well laid out for

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2018 Ride The East – Matamoras to Easton

Mileage – 75.9 miles Day 5 of tour and now feel I have once again adjusted to the daily routine.  The start times in the mornings are always either 07:30 or if we are lucky 08:00 and I always aim to be out of bed 90 minutes before we are

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2018 Ride The East – Easton to Pottstown

Mileage – 71.0 This is day 6 of tour and my body is telling me I have done some serious exercise since we set out from Portsmouth NH last Sunday.  My butt is also beginning to complain a little but nowhere as near as bad as it did when I

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2018 Ride The East – Pottstown to Lancaster

Mileage – 61.9 miles After last nights big storm we were hoping that it might have been less humid this morning but sadly this was not the case.  The bonus though was that we had an 08:00 van load which effectively meant an extra half an hour in bed this

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2018 Ride The East – Lancaster to Hunt Valley

Mileage – 62.4 miles I didn’t sleep well last night, it was noisy in the corridor outside my room and couldn’t seem to be able to get the  right temperature.  However, breakfast this morning was the best so far on tour, real knives and forks and proper English sausages – it was a

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2018 Ride The East – Rest Day (Washington DC)

There is nothing like waking up on tour and knowing that today is rest day and you don’t have to get on your bike. Having done all my laundry late last night I treated myself to a little well deserved lie in this morning before getting up and trying to

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2018 Ride The East – Washington to Fredericksburg

Mileage – 92.9 miles. Riding after a rest day is strange – you’d think everything is refreshed and raring to go again but it doesn’t always work like that.  Sometimes you think it would be better not to have rest days and just keep going day after day. I felt

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2018 Ride The East – Mechanicsville to Emporia

Mileage – 91.4 miles. Today was going to be a long day, but with the hills now behind us I was confident that is was also going to be a good riding day and I wasn’t disappointed. We loaded at 07:30 as usual in cool but sunny conditions and set

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2018 Ride The East – Emporia to Battleboro

Mileage – 60.3 miles An 08:00 load this morning which meant an extra 30 minutes in bed although was still up shortly after 06:00. Today was going to be a relatively short day with just over 1,000′ of climbing so we had the opportunity to ride steadily. Having left Emporia I

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2018 Ride The East – Battleboro to Warsaw

Mileage – 100.8 miles. I didn’t sleep well last night, not the most comfy of beds and people wandering around outside the motel till late at night setting car alarms and banging doors so when the alarm went off at 06:00 I wished I could have turned over and grabbed

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2018 Ride The East – Warsaw to Whiteville

Mileage – 72.9 miles After yesterday’s century ride I guess I was hoping for a slightly easier day today but sadly it wasn’t to be. In fact for me, I think today was probably one of the hardest days of the tour. Most of us were in the hotel lobby shortly

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2018 Ride The East – Georgetown to Santee

Total Mileage – 95.9 miles After yesterday’s tough day, today was going to be no different with the mileage only 1 mile shorter. I decided overnight that I would plan to ride an even pace today, setting a target of 25 miles every 2 hours which in theory would get

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2018 Ride The East – Santee to Walterboro

Mileage – 67 miles I must have been tired last night because I had to rely upon the alarm to wake me up at 05:30 this morning, very unusual as I’m normally awake and waiting for the alarm to go off.  After two long days in the saddle today was

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2018 Ride The East – Walterboro to Savannah

Total mileage – 74.1 miles With just 3 riding days left of this tour, today we were heading the 74 miles to Savannah in Georgia (another State grave for me) and our final rest day. The route seemed pretty straightforward as we would be spending the majority of the day on

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2018 Ride The East – Rest Day (Savannah)

I did not wake up until nearly 08:30 this morning and missed two phone calls and a knock on the door from Dan and John wanting me to join them for breakfast at 07:30. I showered and did a general tidy of my room before heading out to explore the township

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2018 Ride The East – Savannah to Brunswick

Total Mileage – 81.3 miles This was our penultimate day of riding and after a pleasant day off yesterday in Savannah it was good to get back on the road again. We left the hotel at 07:30 this morning and Dan and I agreed to ride together during the day.

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2018 Ride The East – Brunswick to Jacksonville

Total Mileage – 74.2 miles I guess that there were mixed feelings amongst the riders this morning as this was our final day together on our Ride The East tour with America By Bicycle. We had travelled over 1,700 miles together over the past three and half weeks and now we

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2018 Ride The East – Final Thoughts

I write this post sat in my hotel room at the Comfort Inn & Suites in Jacksonville, Florida waiting for the 12:00 shuttle to take me to the airport for my flight home to the UK via Atlanta, Georgia. My bags are packed and my bike carefully boxed, it’s very quiet and strange

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