36 Busted Spokes Later is a memory project, my recollections of a 13,000 mile bicycle tour of the United States made from October 5, 1980, to August 20, 1981. I had companions for this journey. My brother, Chris, and two of our cousins, Scott and Don (also cousins to each other, not brothers) began the trip with me. Along the way we were joined by a cyclist from England riding a classic three-speed for about 3500 miles, while for the final 6,000 miles of the ride our company had dwindled to three.
What has prompted this web site is that I recently began to transcribe my journal from the trip — three volumes in scrawled pencil. Frankly, I’m embarrassed by the primary materials I’m working with. I was not the most observant person in my mid-20s. But I have lots of memories of the trip that never seemed to make it into the pages of my journal, which I am including in these entries. I am also supplementing descriptions of our adventures with research — not extensive — about some of the more interesting places we visited along the way. So what will appear on this web site is more than just the transcription of a diary.
The form of this story will be blog entries in chronologic order, illustrated with photos I took along the way. The entries will not be static; I’ll add details as I recall them or realize that some additional information will make them more interesting.
It is probably unnecessary for me to say that this was one of the great experiences of my life. There may not be a day that goes by when I don’t think about some moment from the bike trip — actually, to those of us who made it, it will always be THE Bike Trip. There was excitement and wonder. There was a sense of adventure. But mixed in was also tension we felt among ourselves, as well as comfortable routine, and even tedium at times — which I suppose the title of this site implies. All of these feelings and emotions combined to form the spicy slumgullion that is my memory of those 320-odd days.
I hope reading this blog gives you at least a little of the pleasure that I’ve gotten from reliving those days. Thanks for checking in.