Saturday, May 31, 2008

Final Pre Ride Report

May 31, 2008
No miles
Burlingame, CA

Dear All,

Today we met our fellow “travelers”. They come from as far away as Australia, Ireland, Great Britain and The Netherlands and as close as right around here in CA and a lot of places in between. They seem like a very nice bunch who we will come to know quite well over the coming weeks.

Our bikes made it in reasonably good shape. John's front wheel was out of true, but the Performance bike shop here in SF was very helpful in fixing that. John's barrel adjuster for his front dérailleur is busted as a result of the transport, but the local bike shop in Burlingham fixed that. Other than that, both bikes seem “seaworthy”. The types of bicycles being used are really interesting. Most of the riders will be riding road bikes (for those of you who don't ride often that means narrow tires and dropped handlebars) but we did see a couple of “fat tire” bikes. We'll see how those folks do, but both of us are wondering how you could ride 80 to 100 miles a day on those.

The group that's handling the ride has four staff members including Gerard, a bike mechanic, who appears to be really good. At least he is good enough to spot the fact that John didn't properly set the headset on both bikes.

Tomorrow we begin. We received the “route sheet” and surprisingly it shows a bunch of pretty steep climbs. The weather forecast is pretty good. Chilly in the morning but warming up to the mid 50's by afternoon. It doesn't appear likely to rain (our fingers are crossed)

It'll be a long day on the bike but we'll try to give you a synopsis tomorrow night.

Send good vibes.
Amy and John

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Pre Ride (3 days to the "Start")

Dear Friends and Family,

As we were about to jump on the plane to San Francisco for our adventure we thought it would be appropriate to thank those who have been so supportive. First, there are those of you who have been so kind as to contribute to Child and Family Services and Nardin Academy. Your generosity means a great deal to us.

We also want to thank those at our places of work who have been so much help.
When Amy interviewed for her new position at the James H. Cummings Foundation, she told Bill Joyce, the Executive Director, of her plans for the bike trip. Bill was wonderful. He offered Amy the position as his Executive Assistant knowing that after only four months on the job, Amy would be gone for almost two months. He has been encouraging and excited for Amy and has made all the difference to her. He will never know how much his support and encouragement means to her.

John wants to particularly thank Sharon Wick who kept encouraging him to take this trip of a lifetime. She did this knowing that her workload would exponentially increase during John's absence from the office. For years she has been telling John to just go and do it. She will never know how grateful John is for her support. The rest of the Department has been wonderful as well. Holly, David, Fran, Kathy, Kim, Michele and Leanne have all put up with John's chatter about the trip and been willing to take on extra responsibilities. Finally, but certainly not lastly, Phillips Lytle, the Firm, has been terrific. Morgan Graham, the Managing Partner when John suggested the idea, Dave McNamara, the current Managing Partner, the Governing Committee and any number of John's partners, associates and staff have all been encouraging and excited for John.

Finally, we need to thank our daughter, Meg, and our son, Ed, and his family, Meredith, our wonderful daughter-in-law, and their three great kids. Meg has undertaken to watch over the house like a mother hen, pay our bills, take out our garbage and whatever comes up during our absence. Ed and Mere have been encouraging and supportive and most importantly excited for us, which makes all the difference.

And so, friends and family off we go. Who knows how we'll do. All we can do is try. We'll be thinking of you.
Amy and John

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Pre Ride Report #2

May 11, 2008

Dear Friends and Family,

We thought we'd send an update.

The fund raising is going very well. We have pledges of more than $11,000 to be divided between Nardin and Child and Family Services. We are humbled by your generosity. On those tough days and there will be many, we will do our very best to keep moving the peddles round and round.

The training is progressing since the weather has improved. John is able to get out some mornings when the temperature is above 40 degrees at 5:45 for a 21 mile ride that gets him back to the house by 7:00 or so in order that he can get to the office by 7:45 or so. Amy tries to get out a couple of times a week and gets about 20 miles in during the early afternoon. In the evening if John get home in time and if the weather cooperates, we try to ride various routes together averaging about 23 or 25 miles. Then on Saturday and Sunday we try for a 50 to 75 mile ride if the weather and time permit. Even with this effort (which we recognize isn't anywhere near enough) we know that the first week or so of the trip is going to be tough with daily miles in the 75 to 95 mile range. We'll hopefully have enough miles in our legs that after a week or so we'll be in less discomfort. We're also hoping that seeing the country and meeting the people along the way will make the miles seem just a bit of a bother.

Packing for the trip has been interesting. We're only allowed one suitcase each and most of it will be filled with riding clothing and bicycle stuff (spare tires, tubes, inflators, tools etc). As a result it's getting a bit difficult to figure out what we can take for the few hours a day we're off the bikes. Once we figure it out we find that there simply isn't enough room so we recalculate. Eventually we'll get it straight but we figure that by the time the ride is over we'll never want to see the same T shirts and shorts again.

That's it for now. We'll try and keep you posted.

As Amy says, keep the good vibes coming.
Amy and John

Bike pre Trip 2

Click on the Photo and then either double click on each photo to see it more clearly or click on the "slide show. To get back to the blog you have to hit the back arrow until you return to this page.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Pre Ride Report

Dear Friends and Family,

Ride across the country? “You gotta be nuts” is the response Amy and I heard when we told everyone what we were planning for this summer.

Are we nuts? We don't think so. We love our bicycles and the time we get to spend together when we ride. That's the real joy. Riding mile after mile side by side enjoying each other's company and the sights, sounds (other than the 18 wheelers) and smells that one experiences on a bicycle. It's that joy that caused us to think that a ride across the country would be the best of all times.

We'll be riding from San Francisco, CA to Portsmouth, NH with about 30 other riders. For those of you who would like to see the route by looking at where we spend each night, we will post that information in a later note.

After we made the decision to ride we wondered if maybe our friends and family would like to help us out by contributing to two local charities as part of our ride. Our theory is that on those days when we are tired, sore, wet or discouraged, the thought that we are riding not only for ourselves but for two wonderful organization, Nardin Academy and Child and Family Services of Buffalo, Inc, would keep us turning the wheels. If anyone reading our journal would like to help us out, just email Michele at and she will let you know how you can help. Thanks to all of you who have already been so very generous.

Getting ready for the ride has been interesting and fun. We both have nice bikes but they really needed to be “bulletproofed” in order to avoid breakdowns on the road. Tom at Tom's Pro Bike ( been a great deal of help in getting our bikes set up to take a beating. Anyone interested in biking around Buffalo really needs to chat with Tom. In addition, Patrick Hall, a personal trainer at Personal Best (, has been terrific helping Amy build strength for the ride. If you want a personal trainer you couldn’t do better than Patrick.

Now comes the training. That's not as easy as one might think up here in the frozen north. While we are both incredibly enthusiastic about cycling, it's a bit difficult when the snow is a foot deep and the temperature is in the 20's. So, we pedal indoors as much as we can, but it's not the same. Since the first week of April we've been getting out most days trying for 30 to 50 miles but unfortunately due to the weather it's been a bit of hit and miss. We suspect that the first week or more on the trip will be just a tad painful.

So, we're getting ready to go. As Amy says, we'll probably forget a bunch of things that we should be doing but, like getting lost on a bicycle tour, that's half the fun.

Once we are on the road, it is our hope that we will be able to keep those of you interested up to date on the trip. It will depend on the availability of WiFi, but assuming we're not too exhausted each day, we'll give you a paragraph or two on each day's ride with a picture or two.

As Amy says, “send good vibes”. Thanks for checking in.
John and Amy
Bike pre Trip