In the summer of 2012 S2Cycle completed a long-time dream of cycling across America. You can use this link to read everything from the beginning, or you can view by week starting with Week 1 and browse through all 9 weeks of our adventure, or just read the first entry of each week to get a sense of the trip. The map above is the one provided by the tour company and shows the 9 week segments. The map below is a Google Map with pins for each day’s post. Below the maps on this page you can get an overview of the tour by reading the FAQ. And there’s a slideshow and other useful links in the sidebar.

Frequently Asked Questions

We hope this section will answer your questions and guide you to the relevant sections of our site. If you have questions not answered here, please leave a comment and we’ll do our best to respond. Click on the plus symbol to see each response.

Did you do this on your own? Did you bike back home?
We considered doing a self-supported tour but decided it would be an all-around better experience for us to do it supported. After a lot of research we settled on Cycle America as our tour provider. And NO! We did not cycle back home…we flew!
About Cycle America
Cycle America has been running bicycling tours for 25 years and has been run by Greg Walsh the current owner for 17 years. They offer the Coast to Coast tour on even years and in the odd years offer week-long National Parks tours. We highly recommend them. They are well organized and supported. The routes are well planned and well marked. We have a post about how they’re setup. Just scroll down past to the op ed piece to read all about it.
What are the specifics stats for the Coast to Coast tour?
You can see a quick snapshot of the number of days, miles, states, etc on our homepage sidebar. We logged 4,291.5 miles and 150,836′ of climbing. We figured it was 298 hours (12.5 full days) of actual riding time in the saddle! We rode for nine weeks, 6 days a week with one rest day. We camped (sometimes indoors in school gyms and sometimes outside in a tent) 5 nights a week and stayed in a motel for our rest day. We brought 5 matching jerseys and did laundry only once a week on our rest day. This link will take you to a PDF of the entire itinerary.
How many people were on the tour?
There were 37 folks who were signed up for the full cross country tour. Only 30 finished. Each week others joined us for segments, anywhere from 15-40 extra riders per week plus the 14 volunteer staff. You can read more about the demographics on this post but we ranged in age from 17 to 75 and came from all over the world.

What was your favorite week? Favorite Day?
That’s almost impossible to answer. We loved almost everything. Standout days were the Tetons, Badlands, Needles Highway and four mountain passes: Stevens, Thompson, Togwotee, and Powder River.
What was the hardest week? Hardest Day?
The first week was the hardest because despite our training efforts, four century rides and two mountain passes in 7 days of riding (one extra) is still quite challenging. Add cold and wet weather at the start to seal the deal. There were many hard days for different reasons. The day we called our hardest day when we did it was 6 miles of climbing at 10-12%, in the heat. Powder River Pass was officially the biggest challenge of the entire 9-week tour as well as our 13 year tandem career. It was a 90 mile 7000′ gain day with the absolute highest elevation (9,666′) we reached this summer. But the ten miles of gravel was hard. Thirty miles of new chip seal was hard. Winds of 50 mph forced us to sag in Montana. Headwinds with temperatures in the hundreds was hard. And the endless flats of the Plains were also very hard.
What did you like least?
That’s easy…the Great Plains and the day we rode on 30 miles of new chip seal in 100+ temperatures with headwinds!
What wildlife did you see?
We had close encounters with moose twice, a big horn sheep, lots of small animals like fox, beavers, raccoons. We saw raptors galore, hawks, eagles, wild turkey and perhaps even a falcon. We saw buzzards on a nearby fence and circling over a deer carcass. We saw antelope singlularly and in little herds. We missed out on bison. We also were mesmerized by thousands of grasshoppers in South Dakota. Surprisingly, we suffered relatively little from insect bites. Hooray!
Would you do this again?
Absolutely. We loved touring and didn’t find ourselves eager for it to end. So we would definitely consider long touring again. And we would certainly recommend Cycle America. But we would not repeat this or any tour a second time when there are so many new places to explore.
What would you do differently next time?
Overall we were very pleased with our training and with our packing decisions. This is a link to a page that goes over the details of our packing and electronics. There are a few minor things we might’ve done differently such as:

  • Despite CA’s admonishment against bringing chairs, we most missed the ability to sit around and visit. We would bring some kind of small folding seat that fit inside our luggage so we could sit more comfortably.
  • We had good intentions to stretch and did a little in the beginning but it fell away. I would bring a yoga mat and clothes and really DO yoga every day. That may be my biggest regret of the summer.
  • Pack a microfiber hand towel for wiping down the bike when wet.
  • Not buy a battery backup for electronics as we never used it.
  • Probably only needed one pair of cycling shoes instead of two each.
How did you train?
The information Cycle America provided about training was, in our opinion, inadequate. Fortunately we had a lot of experience training for STP (Seattle to Portland in one day) and RAMROD (Ride Around Mt. Rainier in one day). We used those schedules to flesh out something that made sense with our schedule. From the time we signed up in January, we took spinning classes during the week and every weekend we rode both days with increasing saddle time. Both distance and climbing increased over time. We did back to back 80+ mile days to Mt. Vernon, a trip up Snoqualmie Pass where we hit snow and had to back track and another up Mt. St. Helens where we also turned around for snow. Two weeks before the tour started we rode 120 miles from Westport, WA on the Pacific to Seattle. We also trained for attitude. So whenever we hit challenges during training we said, this too is training. It will rain. It will be windy. Our butts will hurt. No whining!
You sure have a lot of jerseys! How many and why do they always match?
We started the tour with 7 different jerseys but sent home the 2 that had sleeves by the end of the third week. We like to wear sleeveless in the summer. It’s cooler, easier to get air through and doesn’t make a “farmer’s tan” line on our arms. We enjoy wearing matching jerseys because we’re a TEAM! It’s reinforces that feeling of being a team which we like. It’s also easier to find each other in a crowd.
What's next for S2Cycle?
As Spencer moves to half time at work, we hope to be able to spend more time cycling in sunny places during Seattle’s winters. Time will tell if we manage a few weeks in Tucson this coming year. And we’re waiting to see what Cycle America is offering next year. We’re thinking of doing the Banff-Jasper route which could include Glacier. It depends on timing as we do not want to miss our annual meditation retreat again.
About S2Cycle
Please visit our About S2Cycle page to read about Spencer & Sheila.
About tandeming
Please visit our About tandeming FAQ.
An adventure we cannot fail