I meet a ton of people and get a lot of emails. I get a lot of questions. A lot of the same questions. In fact, you probably couldn't ask a question I haven't heard. Here some answers:
Why are you doing this?
-It's complicated, but basically I had trouble finding reliable work NYC, I was somewhat miserable, I needed a change, I wanted to see the country and I had nothing else going on.
Do you get tired?
-Yes. When I do, I take a break.
How far do you ride a day?
-It depends on where I'm going. Somewhere between 60-120 miles. Any less, and it's probably because I'm going to see something. I started out low, not more than 50-60 miles a day for the first month or so. The physical strain is over, but the mental challenge never ends.
Does your butt get sore?
-No, not really. If you have a good saddle and your bike is fit right to you and you wear bike shorts and you know how to sit on a bike, you should be fine. Too many people "sit" on their saddle. The saddle is more of a balancing mechanism, not a seat. Your weight should be on you handlebars and pedals more. If your butt hurts, adjust your weight or switch into a higher gear (it will make your legs work more, pick your butt up and straighten your back). I have big legs and a pretty slim upper body, so I'm kind of ideally built for bikes.
What do you do when it rains?
-Ride through it. Unless it's really cold. Or lightning, in the plains I was kinda the tallest thing out there (plus I'm on a steel bike)...not a good idea
Do you get bored?
-Yes. I'm usually on my bike for 8-12 hours when I'm riding. I don't listen to music/audio books when I ride because I want to listen to my bike/for cars. I talk to myself a bit. Make up dumb songs. Invent/Play games. Count things. A few times a day, I play the count-1000-pedal-strokes game. That takes up a little time. I keep a sharpie with me and if I see something or have an idea for a drawing, I jot a note on my arm and will work on it later. I have to keep my head in a good place (or a preoccupied, at least). If I let bad thoughts get in my head, my whole day/drive will be ruined.
How do you pay for this?
-No trust funds, no sugar mamas, no corporate sponsors. This is a totally independent project paid for by real people who get real art from me. If someone sends me $5, I'll mail them a postcard of some of my art from the road. I sell some t-shirts, too. I pick up some freelance illustration where/when I can, as well. I've also used the website Kickstarter.com for some fundraising. My costs are minimal, just food, bike parts and my phone bill. Send me some love! There's a link to the right of this post!
-I have a top 3 list. I don't know if these are the best cities in America, but I enjoyed them thoroughly. I've had a lot of fun in other places, but mostly because of the people.
*Asheville, NC- cool small arts town, downtown has very strong and local businesses
*New Orleans, LA- this city has character and a lot of pride, it's have some rebuilding pains, but is fun. Good art, good food, good people (they like to drink there a bit, too).
*Albuquerque-Flat city in the desert next to a giant mountain. Art, bikes and local brews. Close to Santa Fe, but a little slower/more laid back.
*Denver- Bikes, art, mountains, easy to get around.
*Eugene,OR- i don't know if Eugene was a favorite place, but I snapped my framed just outside of town and some generous folks really helped me out and got me back on the road. i had a good time there :)
i think that's more than 3. whatever.
-Yeah, I've met people and rode with them for half a day or an hour or so. It's nice to have someone to talk to, but going alone makes certain things easier. When I get lost, I can only blame myself. If I call myself a moron, it's a lot easier to forgive myself. But if anyone wants to come with, come on, just keep up!
You're a pro, right?
-No, I'm still an amateur. This is my first bike tour (never even took a week trip before). I was a pretty serious commuter for years, I started bike commuting in first grade. When I moved to NYC and the subway fares went up, so I started riding pretty much everywhere between my 3-4 jobs and would put in about 30-40 miles a day. But I'm bad a sports. I don't even watch them, really. I'm not very competitive and I hate exercising. This isn't exercising, this is travelling. I have real goals at the end of my ride, like food, water and shelter (if i'm lucky).
Where do you sleep?
-Outside. I camp usually, unless I'm in a city, then I stay with friends, family or blog followers. Or I see if I can find a host on Couchsurfing.org or warmshowers.org.
What about all the thieves, psychos, rapists, murderers, pirates, ninjas, killer clowns, bad drivers, gypsies, mexican gangs, meth addicts, wild animals, crazy rednecks out there? Are ya packin' heat?
-No, no heat. I have a pocketknife the size of a nail file. I've yet to run into dangerous characters. I'm a white male, so statistically it's safer for me, but common sense/street smarts go a long way, too. I think the media hypes up violence too much. As for wild animals, I pee around my campsite to mark my territory (nothing has gotten into my granola yet).
What's the craziest thing you've ever seen?
A bicycle gang in Tennessee. I only tell that story in person. For now, it's too good to write down.
Do you get lonely?
-Yes. I meet people almost everyday, but I end up having the same conversations with them. This exact conversation. I'm thinking of making a pamphlet to hand out to people, but then again, that might be rude. I have a few friends I talk to on the phone/online, and I get to see familiar folks along the way.
You don't post that much to this blog. What's up?
-The blogging app on my phone isn't the best. I post more to http://facebook.com/drawingamericabybike. It's easier and faster. You don't have to be a member of facebook to check out the page. You can also follow me at http://twitter.com/drawingbiking
-I don't know. Going back to NYC for a while maybe. I want to do a comic book/graphic novel about life on a bike across America. Know a publisher? Know anyone hiring? Tell them to email me. I have various skills. If I don't have something figured out soon, I guess I'm staying on my bike.