Friday, 15 October 2010

Ode to A Honey Badger

Sometimes it’s not easy

Without making you all feel queasy

To tell you how wonderful the Honey Badger is

Riding along on Trusty in front

Of the rain, wind and hail he took the brunt

Pelted daily with flies and bugs

Even then, he was free with the hugs

From time to time there were broken spokes

But the Badger would just laugh and tell some jokes

When his hernia arrived and caused him so much pain

He simply dug in his heels and upped his game

Yes, the Honey Badger is a treasure and a half

With the unique ability to make us all laugh

So thank you, AHB, for being like that

You’re loved by us all, but especially by Kat.

Thanks sweetheart, I couldn’t have done this trip without you. You’re amazing.

Kat x

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Dedicated to my cycling partner

For the past year we have been writing blogs for your and our entertainment. We were careful not to give too much away concerning who had written each blog, but we know a few of you could tell anyway!

No more guessing required for this blog! Its me Anthony ‘the badger’ Carey, and I write this brief eulogy in recognition of Kat ‘baby face’ Allison and her amazing efforts, contributions and support during our Epic Journey. There are far too many examples of her utter brilliance to write about, but I feel compelled to remind you of one such occasion when she fainted and then fell off her bike through sheer heat exhaustion, yet still got one her trusty steed without complaint and pedaled in agony for another 20 miles …awesome!

Kat you are great and thank you for helping me along this trip.

Anthony x

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

There & Back Again

Wow …what an adventure! We’re back in the United Kingdom, sipping wine and sharing stories with our friends and family. The trials and tribulations of snow in New Mexico, extreme heat in North Dakota and tropical storms in North Carolina are but a distant memory.

Leaving New York City is always an emotional and difficult thing to do, and waking up at 5am this morning made everything that little bit more difficult. So it was at 6:30am we were looking back over our shoulders in the back of an iconic NY cab as it emerged from the Queens Midtown Tunnel, gazing mournfully one last time upon the pulsating NYC skyline, patting ourselves on the back (aka snogging like juveniles) and shedding more tears.

The journey to NY JFK Terminal 7 was a blissful one. As soon as we arrived in the terminal building carrying our Panniers and Pan B’s we were greeted by the ever professional British Airways Ground Crew who treated us like Kings and Queens (Anthony hates it when he’s treated like a Queen) and showed an authentic interest in our journey. We have to give a big THANKS,HUG, KISS and WE LOVE YOU to the lady who changed our seats …you know who you are …you really made our day.

As we boarded the 747 the King & Queen treatment continued. We feel it’s unfair to single out individual members of the cabin crew, but unfortunately we didn’t write down everyone’s name. So we would like to thank Amita and Carola and all the cabin crew on the 08:40 BA0178 flight from NY JFK to LHR …WE LOVE YOU TOO. For those readers who haven’t traveled British Airways …three words …Just Do It!

Landing at Heathrow reminded us of how important family is. At the arrivals gate were David, Sheila, Susie and Leo who had driven over 3 hours to be there for their daughter/sister/aunt and James and Lyn who had the easier but no less important task of driving the 1 hour for their son …thanks Mum and Dad (and sister and nephew) for being so totally awesome … we’re loving you more.

Back in Olde Blighty now and enjoying the moment, but missing our American and BA friends …don’t forget to visit us in sunny London!

Us x

Monday, 11 October 2010

The Fat Lady Sings

It’s been a few days now since we finished our incredible journey. At times, it seems hard for us to remember what we have just done. But then when we look at our photos, it transports us right back there. Yesterday, we took Trusty & Steed up to Toga Bikes, where we bought them from a year ago, and had them packed up for shipping. It was an emotional time, and seeing them today all broken up, but fitting snugly into the boxes, it was hard not to shed a tear. However, hopefully, they will soon be back with us in the UK and ready to explore some of that fine land.

After some consideration, we decided to bring our flights forward, and will be flying back to London first thing tomorrow (Tuesday), arriving Tuesday evening London time. We’re looking forward to seeing our amazing families at the airport, and stepping back onto UK soil. Though we will miss the US desperately, and are sorry that we did not get time to see all the people whom we would have liked to have seen in New York.

We have many people to whom we want to say Thank You.

~ To those who have performed great acts of kindness when we have needed it most on our journey ~

Bob & Susie (Pinos Altos, NM); Jim & Susan (Fort Bragg, CA); Debbie (Fort Bragg, CA); John (Santa Cruz, CA); Oscar & Elizabeth (Petrolia, CA); Tracey & Jonathan (San Francisco, CA); Alfonzo (Glamis, CA); Jane (Prescott, Ontario); Jordan & Carrie (Orange County, CA); Garrett (Baton Rouge, LA); Marilyn & Bernard (Round Top, TX); Nick & Rachel (Detroit Lakes, MN); JB Royer (Round Top, TX); Farren (Newport, WA); Bob & Kris (Sagola, MI); Holly and Matt (Hayward, WI); Jim & Edie (Bodega Bay, CA); Lu & Jerry (Geneva-on-the-Lake, OH); Kevin & Sonja (Glendive, MT); The guys at the Dude Rancher Lodge (Billings, MT); David & Ramona (Ann Arbor, MI); Heather & Matt (Escanaba, MI); The Staff at Rockwoods (Otsego, MN); Anthony & Alexandra (Westport, NY); Kevin, Scott & Zac (Auburn, ME Fire Department); Dave & Kelly (Sunset Beach, NC); Meg & Dan (Twisp, WA); John (Georgia) and his granddaughter (Sarasota, FL); Catherine (Petoskey, MI); Pat & Chava (Los Angeles, CA); Bob & Janet (San Diego, CA); Valerie & Paul (Portland, OR).

~ To those who have done our laundry for us (a matter close to our hearts), or allowed us to use their machines ~

Cindy (Titusville, FL); Tony & Lisa (Wolf Lake, MI); the staff at the Holiday Inn Express (Cleveland, OH); Abigail (Branford, CT); Sonia (Winthrop, WA); Evelyn (Glendive, MT); Jeremy & Erin (Stillwater, MN); Brenda & Bruce (Middlebury VT); Jami (Bisbee, AZ); Chris & Deborah (Safford, AZ).

~ To those who bought us drinks, food etc ~

Bobby (Blanco, TX); Rebecca (Ridgefield, CT); Molly (Portsmouth, NH); Margaret (Harrellsville, NC); Anil & Gita (Derby, CT); Louis & Al (Middleboro, MA); Heather & Dave from Ocean Spray (Middelboro, MA); Keith (Naples, ME); Hayley, Steve, Dawn & Matt (Huron, OH); the staff at Chipotle (Bowling Green, OH); Laura (Minneapolis, MN); the guys & girls from the Thunderbird Camp (near Lake Bemidji, MN); Maddie (Wauconda Café, Store & Saloon, WA).

~ Each and every one of you that has donated to MS ~

~ Continuing support from Multiple Sclerosis Charities~

Laura (MS Trust UK)

~ Our followers, and especially all those who have commented on the blog ~

~ Our friends and family at home, who have been a constant support ~

~ Special mention for consistent commentators on the blog ~


~ The owners and staff at many of the bike shops that we have visited during our trip ~

Toga Bikes (NYC); Bath Bike & Ski (Woolwich, ME); Freewheel Bikes (Minneapolis, MN); Missoula Bicycle Works (Missoula, MT); Adams Cycles (San Diego, CA); Performance Bike (Tucson, AZ); Clearwater Cycles (Clearwater, FL); Bay Cycle & Fitness (Panama City, FL); High Peaks (Lake Placid, NY); City Bike Shop (Traverse City, MI); No Boundaries (Boyne City, MI).

~ Interesting cyclists whom we have met on our way around the US ~

The Rolling Rev (MI), Dave (TX), Wolfram (TX), Brian (TX), Russ & Laura (TX), Matt & Page (NM), Brian & Paul (CA), Eric (OR), Pete & Jenny (WA), John (WA), Paul (WA), Alan & Chris (MT), Dick & Arlette (MI); Mike (IN).

Finally, thanks to those who have made recent donations: SB, The Groveenders, Sue V, Ashvin, and Laurel & Terry.

It’s been an incredible adventure.

Us x

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Cycle Facts

States = 33

Distance = 13,261 miles

Ave Distance = 59.37 miles per day

Duration = 347

Cycling Days = 236

Time in the Saddle = 1,057 hours : 28 minutes

Total Elevation Gain = 444,316 ft

Total Calories = 964,014 C

Max Speed = 50 mph

Ave Speed = 12.5 mph

Ave Bike Cadence = 62 rpm

Us x

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Mission Accomplished!

Looks like we made it

Look how far we've come my baby

We mighta took the long way

We knew we'd get there someday

They said, "I bet they'll never make it"

But just look at us holding on

We're still together still going strong

We guess that you probably would not have expected Shania Twain to be our choice of lyrics for our blog today… perhaps Jay-Z “99 Problems but the bikes aren’t one”! But, we’re truly overjoyed to be back here in Manhattan, 13,250 miles after we started.

We have a LOT more we want to say, but we need to go out and get a few things done…oh, and do a little bit of celebrating too. So, for now, we’ll just say thanks for all the comments on yesterday’s blog, and thanks to Lucy, Sue, Bob & Janet and Julie & Paul for your generous donations.

More tomorrow…

Us x

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

There and back Again

What can we say? We’re in Nyack just 27 miles away from NYC. A place we used to frequent on our other bikes, TC and Canny, when we lived in Manhattan. For those who don’t know, TC and Canny are thoroughbred versions of Trusty and Steed: taught, light and very fast racing machines.

So it was, after a short 26-mile ride from West Point, we arrived via an off-road trail along the Hudson River, with which Trusty & Steed coped admirably, at the Runcible Spoon in Nyack to reminisce and have our picture taken by Sierra.

After some great coffees, cupcakes and scones we cycled the remaining mile to our hotel, cleaned the bikes (it was raining again all day) and chilled for a while before setting out to the Thai House for our final Thai meal of the trip. Needless to say, it was the best Thai food we had had.

We can’t believe tomorrow will be our last day! Just one day left for the rest of you to follow Lisa, John & Sofia’s example and donate to MS – thanks guys.

Us x

Monday, 4 October 2010

No Sleep Till Brooklyn

So, it appears that the weather and cycling gods are both going to keep testing us until the very end. Today, the rain started literally as we stepped out of the front door of our hotel in Ridgefield, CT. Initially, it was a light drizzle and we had notions of it remaining that way. But it was not to be.

We cycled out of Connecticut, crossing the New York State border only a few miles into today’s ride: the last State border of our journey… another significant milestone. It was a fairly straightforward trip, and there was limited opportunity to stop for a break. But when we climbed a long steep hill and passed a scenic overlook in the Hudson valley, just before Bear Mountain Bridge, it was too tempting to pass by without a brief stop. Pulling over to look at the misty view and take a breather, all of a sudden the heavens opened. There was no shelter to be had, and so we simply stood and got very wet indeed as we stuffed a couple of energy bars into our mouths, and kept hoping for the rain to stop and the clouds to lift, so we could take a couple of snaps. Alas, no mercy.

As we reluctantly set off again to descend the hill in the pouring rain, freezing through to our core, out of nowhere Trusty had managed to get a puncture in his rear tyre. So, back it was to the scenic overlook to execute the repair, oh, and get a bit more drenched, and a lot colder! Heaven knows how Anthony managed to get the tyre back on, but he did, and it was plain sailing after that to cross the Bear Mountain Bridge and cycle to our hotel in West Point, NY.

It’s a historic place right on the gate of West Point military base, and has been offering hospitality to military men and women for many years, as well as the odd president from time to time! Despite this grandeur, it’s actually quite a down to earth and reasonable place to stay, and best of all it has its own restaurant, so we didn’t have to set foot outside again tonight…

It’s a short ride tomorrow to Nyack, a town that has a special place in our hearts since it was the turnaround point for our favourite ride out of NYC when we lived there, and also has one of the best coffee shops/bakeries around (which we hope will be open).

More rain tomorrow! Kat's Dad, David, will no doubt sympathise with us as he tackles a sponsored walk of 54 miles along the Weaver's Way in Norfolk over the next few days. We wish him luck and hope that the weather is kinder to him than it is being to us.

Finally, a huge thanks to Squid for your generous donation.

Us x

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Hanging on by a thread!

We posted a holding Blog yesterday because we were very tired last night, after a torque busting day of cycling followed by a late night of enjoyable eating and drinking.

With just 4 days of cycling left, we woke up yesterday morning in Branford to a welcome break from the rain and wind. However, despite the weather being perfectly set to blues skies, bright sun and mid a 60’s temperature, everything else was on its final legs. Steed (Kat’s bike) was making all sorts of noises from every single moving part and Trusty’s nuts (and bolts) were shearing and literally hanging on by their final threads. Even our clothes are looking threadbare and rather unsightly. We were feeling a little worse for wear ourselves. But, motivated by the short 46-mile ride into the very chic (if slightly snooty) town of Ridgefield, we set off with a slow and relaxed pace, which was fortunate. Although short, the ride was not what we would describe as flat. With over 4,000ft of climbing and an average speed of under 10mph (only ever done 4 other times) yesterday was one of the most mentally and physically demanding days of our cycling career.

We took a break halfway through at a Subway in Derby, run by Anil and Gita, who were very kind, giving us some food and drink gratis …thank you guys. The remainder of the day was just Hell! Climbing hills so steep we couldn’t help pulling wheelies and found it difficult to control the bikes at times. Our hellish day ended (not soon enough) as we arrived at the Elms Inn and then went for dinner at the Elms Restaurant next door where we met Mark, Deb, Jon and Rebecca (thanks guys for today’s comment).

… we slept in this morning, took a walk around town, had lunch outside watching an organised parade of dogs and their owners pass by on some kind of sponsored walk, then came back to the hotel to chill some more and watch Rocky IV on TV. We’re not sure where to eat tonight, but it will be a bit more subdued than last night’s outing, as we’re back on the road tomorrow.

And thank you Bill C for the US donation, we really appreciate your generosity.

Us x

Saturday, 2 October 2010

Holding Blog

We had a really tough day today and are very tired. However after meeting Monica, the manageress of our hotel and then late night drinks in the restaurant next door with the wonderful Rebecca, Mark, Deb and Jon we're feeling great again ...more tomorrow!

Us x

Friday, 1 October 2010

Catch a Falling Leaf and Save it for…Today

It’s Fall in Connecticut, and it’s beautiful. We know that if we were here just a couple of weeks later, the colours would be even more vivid, but the leaves they are a changing, the squirrels are scurrying around with huge excitement at the abundance of acorns, oh, and did we mention that the weather is closing in!

When we woke this morning, a flood watch and wind advisory were in effect for our area and we were seriously thinking about the option of staying a further day with our friends at The Whaler’s Inn in Mystic, and condensing a couple of our remaining days into one. We were seeing pictures of torrential rain, and hearing about winds gusting up to 60 mph. It was not pretty. But, strangely, outside our window, the roads were dry. There was wind, and not just from the pork and veal we consumed last night, but it really wasn’t that bad. So, why not stop making excuses and just do it?! As Jim and Edie say, it’s all about extreme perseverance!!

Well, less than a mile into the ride, the rain started, and we pulled into the side of the road under a tree to do the necessary with the rain gear. Good job. Seconds later, the heavens opened and within minutes rapids of water several inches deep were gushing down the street. We decided to set off again anyway (trees aren’t that much use with that amount of rain), and immediately found ourselves dodging hazardous flotsam that had been ripped off the trees and were now being carried along with ease by the torrent of water that covered the area that had just a few minutes ago been a bike path/shoulder. Cresting the hill, and riding our brakes down the other side, we were closing our eyes tight as the wind blew the rain directly into our faces and, well, pretty much everywhere….

Eventually, the rain slowed down and, although we were only 16 miles into our journey, we decided that we had earned a stop at the “Dunkin Dog-nuts” in Niantic: apparently America runs on it, so we thought that we would try cycling on it today. We chatted with the two lovely ladies who served our coffees and jelly donuts, one of whom has a sister who was recently diagnosed with MS. We wish them all the best, and will be thinking of them.

A few miles further on, after a bit of rain jacket hokey cokey, the rain finally stopped. Yay. And after 55 miles of riding, we were pleased to arrive at By The Sea Inn & Spa in Branford, CT while it was still light. The lovely Abigail, Abby, Abi (it depends on her mood as to how she spells it) not only showed us around, but also did our laundry for us, and then drove us to our restaurant for dinner (it was raining again by then). Abby – we love you!!

Dinner was a wonderful affair. We had read online about Le Petit Café, and saw that it had good reviews, but really it was stunning. It’s a tiny unassuming place that is a little piece of France in the middle of Branford, CT. Having gorged ourselves on all manner of rich food and wine, we were set to leave when Roy Ip, the chef, came out from the kitchen for a chat. He’s originally from Hong Kong and trained in French cuisine at the French Culinary Institute in Manhattan. We couldn’t believe that such authentically French food could possibly have been born as a result of Roy’s single year of training, but whatever the explanation, he’s certainly a man of great talent, and grace.

We’re now chilling out on the comfortable bed in our room listening to some chill-out Jazz….”Jaaaaaz” as John Thompson would say. On the road again tomorrow, and hoping for the sunshine that is forecast. Our friend, the Rolling Rev, will be glad to hear that we’re heading inland away from US1 (we agree with the comments, though it was actually great today), and that we have a tried and tested route down the Hudson Valley to get us back to NY in a few days time.

Us x