Cycling 4000 miles in 39 days

Angie Tan Cycling Across AmericaIn July 2014, Angie Tan became the first Southeast Asian female to cycle 4,000 miles across America in 39 days.  We found this story so amazing, that we had to have her on the show to talk more about this cycling adventure.

Angie is an extremely motivated and fascinating person and in this podcast, she explains the highs and lows of riding across the United States in 39 epic days.

Tune in to find out:

  • Training tips for long distance cycling
  • How Angie made it through the low spots of her journey
  • Advice for women doing long distance cycling
  • The cost of cycling across the United States
  • Where to sleep, what to eat, how to survive a long distance ride
  • The planning and research needed to ride across the United States
  • Additional advice from Angie about cycling and touring

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  1. @40 minutes Angie Tan said something that resonated with me about her transition back home after this tour:
    “Life is too comfortable and it was wrong.”

    It reminds me of the Metallica lyric: “feel no pain, but my life ain’t easy” from their song Escape. Americans and other Westerners can have almost constant climate control, avoid most strenuous physical effort and exertion, but generally most of us are still miserable. I think in large part it is because of this lack of effort, exertion robs them of the ability to be challenged, to overcome, and to feel accomplishment. I know on the days when I do nothing but mope around and watch tv and stare on the computer all day, I am absolutely miserable. But if I pedaled hard, sure I be would cursing on steep climbs and maybe longing for the couch mid-effort, but after pushing yourself on a bicycle you feel like I did something worthwhile at the end of the day. My family was all born in a poor rural Greek village and I remember visiting our maternal village even in the early 1990’s and my grandmother having to fetch well-water. I also remember growing up in the 1980’s that my family looked down on the type of nascent foodie that Angie described herself as — the type of people that actually bragged for eating out almost every meal of everyday. They felt sorry for people who didn’t have the time, discipline or family members that loved them enough to prepare meals. As Ivan Illich pointed out in “Tools for Conviviality” modern man is deprived of the ability and sense of accomplishment of struggling with simple tools, their own muscle power and wit to make their way in the world. For centuries if my family wanted water, they couldn’t have taken it for granted that it would be piped from a tap, they had to fetch it themselves before they needed it. Thanks to all the modern luxuries most people lack discipline, fortitude and the ability to stick difficult hardships through, and I really believe it makes us all lesser people for it.

    I cannot believe though this podcast episode didn’t deal with the topic of routes and the perceived safety of touring. I have no car, and use a bicycle to get almost everywhere, but one of the reasons I would never want to cross-country tour is because at some point I would likely have to take a lane on a formidable highway or be inches or just a foot or so away from fast moving motorized vehicles weighing an average of 4,000 pounds blasting by at 70+ mph. The feeling of seeing and hearing a car, SUV, or truck abreast or behind you when you cycle is like a mild form of terror as your central nervous system knows what is threatening and not, so that you can never really be comfortable with such massive vehicles whizzing around you at such speeds. Not to mention I could never get the time off to both visit my family in Greece and tour and I am not willing to choose it over my family. Plus I am also vegan and I cannot imagine how hard it would be to find suitable food in the epicenters of heart-attack USA — the South and Midwest.

    I really love your podcast, and unlike some detractors, I am glad you decided to have Angie on for an inspirational, but non-technical “breather” episode. I vicariously almost felt like I did something just by listening!

    — Nicholas V.

  2. Pleasure chatting with you two fabulous dudes! Thanks for the laughs, tips, information exchanged and values shared. 😉 Darryl and Victor – we’re cycling across America the southern route next year, are we not?? 😉

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