Some people describe it as a calling. That pull from some other place that reaches out to you. It's hard to describe what it is exactly, but when it happens you know what it is and it's hard to ignore. When we plan our cross-country Search Brigade routes, a lot of the time we go off of feel. And sometimes, a calling. This year we answered a call and we're going straight through the heart of the country.
The Road is speaking to us, and we want to talk back. We've made this journey several times now. We have taken the high roads and we've taken the low roads. This year? We take the backroads. That's right: our plan is to venture off the beaten path in search of a glimpse of America. We'll put this thing onto the dirt, through the dust, and forgo some of the traditional sights and tourist traps in search of something far more authentic. We're going out and chasing down America, one back road at a time.
We'll forge a path out of New York and across the hardworking towns of Pennsylvania and West Virginia. We'll rub elbows with the bourbon makers of Kentucky, follow the footsteps of Lewis and Clark across Missouri, and grind along the limestone paths of Kansas. We're riding straight into the Heart of America...The back way. And, that's just the half of it. Rolling out of Kansas we'll ride up and over the mountain passes of Colorado and then drop into Utah in the name of the early pioneers and speculators kicking up our own dust across the desert until we see the promise of the Pacific Ocean and the coast of California. What will be behind us at that point is a 3,000 mile voyage of discovery.
This year the Search Brigade will find out what it means to be Made in America as we cross the United States by bicycle. Will you join us?
We leave New York City on June 1st and all you have to do is show up.
Sign up for our email list below to stay up to date on the group's progress. If you plan on joining us, or have any questions, send an email to the Search Brigade.
Route & Key Dates
Week 1 - New York, Pennsylvania, West Virginia - 6/1 to 6/7
Week 2 - West Virginia, Kentucky, Missouri - 6/8 to 6/14
Week 3 - Missouri, Kansas - 6/15 to 6/21
Week 4 - Kansas, Colorado - 6/22 to 6/28
Week 5 - Colorado, Utah, Nevada - 6/29 to 7/6
Week 6 - Nevada, California - 7/7 to 7/10
Ride Leaders: Joe Cruz, Devin O’Brien, Daniel Golden, Eric Brunt
This tour was planned with the cross-country riders in mind, but it's open to anyone, on any bike, for any amount of time. Join us for a day when we pass through your city or join us for the entire summer. We're providing some logistical support (a group to ride with and a route to follow) to give you the opportunity to ride cross-country that you've been waiting for.
Our hope is that some of you will travel to New York and ride the entire 3,000 mile route with us. You're free to make this trip your own but there are a few things you need to do if you'd like to stay with the group: ride 90 miles (give or take) each day and find your way to the designated camp site each night. The Search Brigade will wake up every morning, as planned, and keep moving forward. We sincerely hope that you'll join us.
The planned route is just that, a plan. Inevitably things will get off course occasionally and slightly off schedule. We'll do our best to adjust and get back to the plan but participants will have to be flexible. If you plan on joining mid-ride as we pass through your town, please consult the Search Brigade tracker to find our exact location.
Bicycle touring is serious, and potentially dangerous, business. You must come prepared and ready to ride 75-125 miles a day with your own plan for food, water, camping equipment, emergencies, and a way to get home or be rescued should the need arise. We have no help, support vehicle, equipment, food, water, shelter, or advice for you. Packing, equipment, bike selection, and all the other decisions that need to be made are highly personal and there are many resourses and experts out there to help you decide.
We are helping coordinate logistics for the group. Support is limited. By participating in the Search Brigade you acknowledge that you're ultimately on your own out there. We cannot help you. You act of your own free will, remaining completely autonomous and responsible for yourself. The Search Brigade will not wait, change course, change your flats, and will not be supporting you. When the leader rolls out each morning they will provide the location of the next evening's camp site. You can leave when you want, arrive when you want, and travel how you want. The only stipulation if you wish to remain with the group is being packed and ready to roll each morning.
Notes on the route and camping locations: while we have some of the best and most experienced touring cyclists participating as coordinators for the ride we make no promises that every mile of the route will be the most scenic nor will every campsite something special. There are many challenges when assembling a tour of this magnitude and it's not all going to go perfectly. There will be some untraditional camp sites. There will be busy roads. There will be rough roads. There will be frightening storms, oppressive heat, and freezing cold. And a whole lot of other surprises we can't begin to imagine but, after all, that's the whole point.
Please research the potential dangers and hazards of a trip like this and prepare accordingly. A great place to start is Adventure Cycling
Travels with Charley, John Steinbeck
Slouching Towards Bethlehem, Joan Didion
Cross County: Fifteen Years and 90,000 Miles on the Roads and Interstates of America with Lewis and Clark, Robert Sullivan
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, Robert M. Pirsig
The Electric Kool Aid Acid Test, Tom Wolfe
Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas, Hunter S. Thompson.
The Cruise of Rolling Junk, F. Scott Fitzgerald
Contact & Registration
For additional information or questions about how to ride with us email firstname.lastname@example.org