Answers to common questions

As I talk with folks about the trip, some of the same questions keep coming up:

Let me know of other questions that should be on this list!

Are you raising money for some cause?

No. The ride is not sponsored by anyone and I am not riding to raise $$ for a cause. This is my vacation.

Why are you starting in Alaska and going west to east?

The prevailing winds are from the west. While I expect to get my share of headwinds this summer, I also want to maximize my chances of getting some really nice tailwinds blowing me across the Canadian prairies.

A secondary reason is that it will be difficult for me to predict exactly how long it will take me to get to the Atlantic Ocean. Ending in the Maritime provinces allows a lot of flexibility between ending at Bay of Fundy or going on to St. John's.

How do you get three months off from work?

I am fortunate and grateful to work for an employer (HP) where we've been able to work this out (if you are a software person interested in compilers, HP is hiring by the way :-)). I also put in my original vacation request in a long time ago, so we've worked to schedule work plans around this trip.

Why are you going alone? Wouldn't it be better to go with someone else?

Cycling with someone else has its pluses and minuses. You may be a little better off if something happens (though probabilities are also almost twice as big that something will happen :-)). You've also got the companionship of the other person. However, on the minus side, you need to work harder to synchronize riding styles, schedules, etc. You may be a little more isolated from folks you meet, since they might more easily strike up a conversation with a single lone cyclist. Also, since you'll be in close proximity all day long for 90 days straight, depending on the individuals this could either work very well or very poorly. On the whole, I am comfortable cycling alone and hadn't put much effort into finding others who could match exactly the same schedules.

Why Canada?

There are a multitude of different reasons that converged to have me select Canada as a cycle destination. Bicycling the Alaska Highway has been on my "list" for a while. Canada is sufficiently large that one can bicycle for three months and still not run out of country. Canada is also mostly an english-speaking country. This helps because I expect to have to interact frequently with locals.

Note that I've already bicycled across the U.S. before (1992) and also up the Atlantic coast (1995), so this feels like a more natural follow up trip to those earlier rides.

Where are you finishing the trip?

I don't know for certain yet. I would like to make my way to the Atlantic Ocean and thus it is likely I'll finish somewhere in the Atlantic Provinces of Canada. However, the exact endpoint will be more determined by the calendar than anything else.

Update: at the end of June I had made enough progress that I've modified the goal to the easternmost city in Canada: St. John's Newfoundland. I still have the choice of taking either short or long ways across Newfoundland.

Why bicycle touring?

Touring is an excellent form of adventure! It provides a chance to live day to day, taking each hill or each challenge as it comes. Each day is a new place to explore. While touring, you get an excellent feel for the country, the terrain as well as having a chance to meet some locals. It provides a nice compromise of distance vs. depth of experience between walking on the one hand and driving on the other. With some effort, you can move your way across a continent fifty or a hundred miles at a time. Touring is outdoors, healthy and non-polluting.