More than a handful of months ago, somewhere in western Kansas, I started THIS blog post. FREQUENTLY. ASKED. QUESTIONS. More or less all about the Bike Beyond life. At the time, and in the midst of my lack of blog posting from the summer, I had decided it would be good to at least share a FAQ post in regards to ALL THE THINGS people were asking my family. So cute that people thought I was actually finding the time to keep in touch with them! 😉
I’m leaving you with the half-started post from below (mostly because I think it’s kinda funny), but answers to each question are written in the now… so… just roll with it.
FROM SOMEWHERE DURING BIKE BEYOND:
Hey team — back for a hot sec because everyone wants to know the same things. Everyone I meet, everyone my mom knows and the few people that text me. And now that we’re HALFWAY done, seems like a good time to share. Also, its weird to send people to a blog you don’t post on, and I’ve talked to my parents like twice on this whole trip, so it seems like I should just give you all the random answers you’re looking for.
Like, what about work? Where do you do laundry? And, WHAT IF YOU HAVE TO GO TO THE BATHROOM AND YOU’RE IN THE MIDDLE OF A KANSAS HIGHWAY? All good questions.
Informative post about the Bike Beyond life, commence.
WHAT ABOUT WORK?
Personally, I’m really lucky to work for a kick-ass agency. Periscope has been extremely supportive of this adventure and I was able to stay on as an employee, using a combination of PTO and unpaid-leave to cover the days I’m gone. A 3-month sabbatical of sorts. I got to keep all health benefits and I came back to a job in August. Yay full paychecks again!
For the rest of the team, it varied. Some people quit their jobs, others had also taken a leave of absence, and many on the team are students or recent grads (aka: summer off).
WHERE/WHEN DO YOU DO LAUNDRY // HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN WEARING THOSE SHORTS?
Most of our host sites had the option of laundry. Laundry was usually available at least every 2-3 days, which meant you always had clean shorts/jerseys to wear. I had 4 different pairs of shorts with me, so I was pretty good to go. I would definitely recommend against wearing the same pair of shorts for more than one day…
WHAT/WHERE DO YOU EAT?
Most dinners were provided by our host for that evening. PROPS TO ALL OF OUR AMAZING HOSTS FOR FEEDING US! Sometimes breakfast was provided as well. These dinners/breakfasts ran the gamut — pasta, salad, pizza, grilled chicken, McDonalds (true story), breakfast sandwiches and burritos, bagels, pancakes, etc. — think anything you might provide easily to a large group of athletes (#tbt to all swim team pasta dinners…).
For breakfast and lunch when we were on our own, we ate a lot of Know Foods, also one of our 4 national sponsors. Know Foods provided bread-products (bread slices, wraps, donuts, waffles, etc) that are extremely low on the glycemic index and made with Super Foods. These ended up being brilliant because they would allow us to eat the needed calories without an immediate blood sugar spike in the morning. Throw a little peanut butter on anything and I’m good to go. We made a lot of wraps, sandwiches and tried to get some veggies on the go as well (not always easy). Oh and don’t get me wrong, plenty of lunches included Jimmy Johns, Subway, Chick Filet, Pop-eyes, etc. It’s quick and tastes amazing and when you’re riding 75+ miles a day part of your brain is like WECANEATWHATWEWANT.
One of our favorite treats was when the water van would pick up some bottled iced coffee — you know the kind you can get at the grocery store — and show up at the first water stop with a little caffeine boost! We didn’t always have coffee from hosts in the morning, so when available, this was much appreciated liquid gold.
HOW FAR DO YOU RIDE EVERYDAY?
Mileage ranged from 35–110 miles. Averaged out at about 75 miles per day.
HOW OFTEN DO YOU STOP BECAUSE OF A LOW?
Hard to say. In the beginning, a lot more. We were working on figuring out how to eat and ride a million miles a day while also managing blood sugars in a situation none of us had ever been in before. Couple that with different sleeping arrangements every night, different food, different mileage, different terrain, etc. (ALL things that affect your blood sugar) and our BGs were a litttttle crazy.
Eventually we got this more under control and also started group BG checks. When one person stopped for a low, everyone checked. We also all openly shared numbers so everyone in your ride group knew how your BG day was going. Team troubleshooting!
WHAT IF YOU HAVE TO PEE AND THERE IS NO BATHROOM?
Umm… nature’s bathroom?
WHERE DO YOU STAY EACH NIGHT?
Family host stays, backyards, community centers, churches, high schools, colleges, camping, etc.
Since this was a fundraising ride, we did what we could to find provided host stays. We reached out to communities we would be riding through before the ride started to connect with hosts.
The incredible outpouring of support from both the Type 1 and cycling communities willing to host us was INCREDIBLE. We really couldn’t have done this ride without all of these hosts — THANK YOU! We especially enjoyed when they were striving to be the ‘best place we would stay!” 😉
WHAT SURPRISED YOU THE MOST ON THE TRIP?
Okay we’ll go with 2 things here — one T1D-related and one cycling-related…
1. The high blood-sugars.
I expected lows. A lot of lows. When you’re cycling so much each day, I thought for sure my BGs would just continually be on the low end. Umm… no. The amount of food you want to eat because you’re starving and have to eat from an energy standpoint is high. At the beginning of the ride, there was definitely a learning curve on how to handle the calorie intake and insulin intake to avoid a BG spike but also consume enough calories for the day ahead. Many of us found that we were actually increasing our insulin intake as opposed to decreasing, despite the added exercise.
2. How much I LOVED this ride.
And that I would do it again. Before this ride, the extent I rode a bike was enough to get me through the Tour de Cure (45-100 miles) every spring. Then my bike would hang out for the rest of the year, aside from the occasional group ride or bike-brewery tour.
Of course, I was excited for Bike Beyond and the cross-country ride, but saw it as a one-and-done thing. I couldn’t understand how my teammate Walt had already completed 2 cross-country rides and this would be his third. Well… NOW I GET IT. Somewhere in the middle of this country I started to say… yeah okay, I could see why you would do this again. I seriously fell in love with riding a bike on this ride. And, while I don’t know if I’ll do another cross-country ride (everyone asks me this), I’m definitely open to more bike-trips.
WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE PART // BEST DAY?
Vail Pass and Glenwood Canyon in CO. If you own a bike, you can and should do these rides.
We did both in one day and, aside from the a short moment in between when some freshly discarded chewing gum was ridden over and wound itself around the wheels and gears of two of our ride group that day… IT WAS AMAZING.
Okay, also the OTHER BEST DAY was obvi crossing the GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE to a crowd of cheering, amazing family and friends waiting for us on the beach in San Francisco.
WHAT’S THE TEAM LIKE?
Um.. amazing. duh.
Actually though, this team IS amazing. It is full of talented, smart, funny, creative, loving, wild, weird and brilliant individuals. I wouldn’t change this team for the world. Everyone brought something unique to the table and I am continually impressed with them all day after day as I follow their life adventures post bike-beyond — just as I was day after day, watching them conquer this ride and facing challenges alongside them.
I could never have imagined how close this team would get and how much I love everyone that was a part of this team. We say it loud and we say it often, but it’s OH SO TRUE: one team, one family.
WHAT IS THE ROUTE?
New York to San Francisco. 4205 miles. No, we didn’t go through Minnesota.
You can view the whole route on beyondtype1.org here.
WHY ARE YOU GOING EAST TO WEST? // DON’T YOU KNOW YOU’RE RIDING INTO THE WIND? // YOU SHOULD BE GOING WEST TO EAST.
Yes. Well aware.
But, c’mon, riding into the wind builds character, right? We DID have one tail-wind day and it was EPIC. And SO FAST.
Finish point was selected because Beyond Type 1 is headquartered in San Francisco. Our starting point and many of our stopping points were based on opportunities for fundraisers and chances to connect with Beyond Type 1 and Bike Beyond supporters.
Honestly, into to the wind or not, I’m glad ALL THE MOUNTAINS and ALL THE CLIMBING were in the back half of the country…
It doesn’t really matter what way you ride. You learn very quickly that actually, quite a few people ride cross-country each year and a lot of them go East to West. Just depends what kind of ride you want.
HOW MANY FLATS DID YOU GET?
As a team? 75+
WHAT ABOUT WEATHER? // DID YOU HAVE TO RIDE IN THE RAIN??
YES. But actually the weather we pretty decent most of the time. At least in terms of rain/no rain. We ran into our first solid storm riding into Pittsburgh. Our second big rain day was leaving Cincinnati. This day resulted highways being washed out, and our trailer-van nearly getting stuck. Perri picked up some trailer-driving skills on her first driving day, real quick.
WHERE IS EVERYONE FROM?
Minnesota (!) (duh.) | California | Georgia | Louisiana | Connecticut | New Mexico | Pennsylvania | Ohio | Texas | North Carolina | Idaho
Calgary | Edmonton | Toronto
UNITED KINGDOM —
New Zealand —