I've started following NYT writer/cyclist Bruce Weber in print and online. The story is nicely documented with photos, the author's words and responses of so many readers, as he rides across our huge swath of a country. In his recent post, "The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Rider" you learn that after only 500 miles he's feeling pretty spent.
The idea of riding across the country is very intriguing to me, and perhaps one day I will get the chance to do this. But what's it really like? The Urban Adventure League seems to be making a good time of it as they move through Saskatchewan this week. What a huge territory to traverse! I've never even done a century, let alone 3-4 thousand miles. Day after day on the saddle could get quite lonely, painful and exhausting. But there's also visiting towns and meeting people along the way and seeing amazing things. And at the end of it all, you approach the ocean (the Pacific, from my perspective): first smelling it, then hearing and seeing it, and then riding your bike right up to it, realizing you did an incredible thing. The effort and result would represent the zenith of the agency that bikes give their riders.