The hardest thing about deciding to bike across America was that I knew I couldn't safely (nor would I want to) do it alone and it was really hard to get others to commit to participate. Once my parents decided that they were serious about the journey too, everything changed and the ride's potential became real. Here is who all will be joining the adventure.
My mom will be the only other person along for 100 percent of the ride. But she will be driving some and won't ride the entire way. Her goal is to ride an average of 30 miles per day. She will drive a portion and will also need to work remotely, part-time during the trip. She is incredibly organized and is the master of finding friends (strangers) in new cities, campsites to stay at, and restaurants to try. She might share my fear of bears but she is pretty badass for putting so much time into this trip, leading up to and during it.
My dad will be along for all but one week of the trip. He is being inducted as the board chair of our church this summer so he has to dip out for a week at the beginning of the ride but, otherwise, he's with us for the long haul. If you want a real sense of what a wonderful weirdo my dad is, read this post. I believe that I get my relentless drive for sweaty adventures from him. He pushes hard, he's in good shape, and he wants to ride as much as possible during the journey.
Joyce is my best friend from college, with whom I first had the dream of biking across America. Though it didn't become a reality until my parents caught wind of the idea, we were able to convince Joyce to ride with us for the first 3-4 weeks. Joyce is funny. When we first met, I thought she was a super girly girl and she thought I was ridiculously preppy. We were strangers and roommates. Within a week, I kid you not, we realized that we share everything from our sense of humor, our thirst for adventure, and our love of food. We were joined at the hip for years and I am beyond excited to spend so much time together after a year and a half apart.
My boyfriend and roommate who you hear about often. Josh loves to play sports but he is not a biker. The idea of 7 days x 70 miles on a bike seat scares him a lot. But he loves to travel and is especially excited to see new parts of the world now that he's got an aspiration for photography. He quickly jumped on the idea of meeting us for part(s) of the ride so that we could see each other some over the summer and so that he could explore. He is curious about the riding but also glad that there will be a car along so he can spend some hours of his day focused on taking pictures of the landscape and wildlife. He will be joining us for 10 days from eastern Washington to mid-Montana and again for seven days on Ragbrai.
Ben is my friend from high school who I wasn't actually good friends with in high school. Josh and I have become friends with him since we moved to DC after college and he joined my parents, Joyce, and I for Ragbrai in 2010. He is very fun and is excited to take an adventure but he is also cautious which is a valuable trait to have on a week-long bike trip, especially when paired with crazy risk-takers like my dad and I! Ben will be joining for Ragbrai in Iowa.
I also went to high school with Nathaniel but didn't really know him until after we all graduated and moved to DC. He is a fun guy and a good person to talk to. He is smart and curious and this will be my first time seeing him out of his element on vacation and sleeping in tents. He is also developing a web app with his friends that I may be a test for this summer. More on that to come. Nathaniel will be joining for Ragbrai with Josh and Ben.
I am very excited that so many people have ebraced this opportunity and are excited to join a part or all of our ride. It will be fun to see familiar faces and I think Ragbrai will be wonderful with such great company (though I wish Joyce could stay on through then!). But I am very much looking forward to so many weeks with my parents. Many people are surprised when I tell them I'm doing this and they say, "Aren't you worried about traveling with your parents for nine weeks?!" But you know, I'm not worried at all. Maybe we'll get on each other's nerves but probably no more than any other normal people would when they're tired and in close quarters. And I deeply appreciate that we are all are healthy, happy, and can spend this time biking together. We are very lucky and I can't imagine anything better!