An Epic Ride

Biking across America


What: Travelogue with Patrick McGinty

Where: Whatcom Museum's Old City Hall, 121 Prospect St.


WHEN: 7pm Thurs., Jan. 16 (additional Travelogues take place Feb. 6, Feb. 20, March 5, and April 2)

Cost: Suggested donation is $5

Info: http://www.cob.org

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

The sketchiest part of Patrick McGinty’s bicycle trip across America last spring took place between New Mexico and Texas when, after making it 120 miles through three sandstorms and reaching speeds up to 50 miles per hour on his fully loaded touring bike, he was blown off his trusty two-wheeler by a strong crosswind gust.

This will likely be one of the many tales McGinty will share during the City of Bellingham’s first Travelogue presentation of the year Thurs., Jan. 16 at Whatcom Museum’s Old City Hall. But those who show up for “A Bike Trip Across America: A 3,411 Mile Journey of Discovery” will also find out about the myriad joys McGinty experienced during his epic ride, which started in Salinas, California on March 25 and ended on Amelia Beach, Florida, on May 8.

“I actually relished every day because I never knew what I was going to see and experience, who I was going to meet, and what challenge I was going to need to overcome,” McGinty says. “Once I committed to biking across America, the only way I wasn’t going to finish—barring a significant injury—was if highway patrol had to scrape my carcass off the road.”

McGinty says he’ll break down the statistics of his self-powered sojourn during his discussion, but shared a few in advance. He averaged 80 miles a day, experienced zero flats but spent $243 on other bike repairs, was chased by 27 dogs in four states, made one pair of duct-taped shoes last for all 3,411 miles, ate at McDonalds 50 times, lost 18 pounds, and spent a total of $3,200 from start to finish—including lodging, laundry, food and transportation back to Bellingham.

By breaking big goals into small goals, realizing that adversity was inevitable, and discovering other people were key to his success, McGinty, 53, made the most of his bucket-list adventure, which took him through the southern part of the country. He now believes anyone with the interest, drive and resources can make a similar journey.

McGinty was already in shape from his active lifestyle, but what was challenging at the beginning was a breeze by time he came to the end of the road.

“My last day, I biked 125 miles to the beach,” he says. “My best friend from graduate school biked the last leg with me. Once I got to Amelia Island, I was tired, dehydrated, hungry and perhaps a bit delirious, but excited to finish.

“It seemed unbelievable to see the Atlantic Ocean. After eating a meal at a restaurant on the beach and biking back to my friend’s car, I felt like I could have biked another 125 miles. I could have kept biking around the world. I was in super shape and it felt great.”

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