We take shelter from the afternoon's short sharp storm (photo by Kip Pierson)
We take shelter from the afternoon's short sharp storm (photo by Kip Pierson)

I’ve had better starts to a day – although I suppose I’ve had worse ones too. At least today I didn’t find that I was unexpectedly 15 miles further away from my destination, as sometimes happened on the ocean.

The rain had been unrelenting last night, and I woke up this morning to find that my sleeping bag was sopping wet. I thought I had been so clever to put today’s clothes down my sleeping bag so they wouldn’t be chilly this morning, but instead of being nicely warm they were nicely soaked. Wet biking shorts – mmm, hmmm! There’s a sensation to warm the cockles of your heart – not! But I was at least relieved to find out that my muscles weren’t too sore after yesterday’s exertions.

After my spirits had been somewhat restored by an excellent breakfast, we hit the road again. Today’s target was 66 miles. The rain continued throughout the morning as we pedaled through New Hope (gorgeous, artsy town with a steam train, countless galleries, and allegedly the third largest gay community on the East Coast) and Doylestown, where we stopped for our lunchbreak. I’m really enjoying getting to see parts of the East Coast I’ve never seen before, even though I’ve traveled these states extensively by plane, train and automobile. Bike-touring takes you through places at the perfect pace for taking it all in – as well as having less emissions and less environmental impact.

I was taken to lunch by Brandon, a fan of the podcast who I had never met before, but had come to Doylestown specially to meet me. Thanks, Brandon, for lunch – and also for the best compliment that anybody can ever pay me, which is that as a result of my blog/podcast/presentation they have now consciously chosen to live a greener life. This really makes me feel that I must be doing something right!

In the afternoon the rain gradually relented – although it couldn’t resist a final hurrah with a sudden and dramatic downpour late afternoon, just as we’d all taken off our waterproofs – and by the time I rather wearily reached the campsite at the YMCA in Valley Forge the evening sun had broken through. I pitched my tent and hung out my sleeping bag to dry.

Tonight we’re listening to a series of speakers – David Kroodsma who rode from San Francisco to the southern tip of South America, Markus talking about a green Germany, and now Alison – an extreme skier who has campaigned on climate change for the last 20 years. Outdoorsy people might have seen her in Warren Miller’s extreme skiing movies. Her presentation is excellent – full of practical tips on how to reduce your carbon footprint based on her own experiences. She very much walks the talk – she lives in an energy-efficient straw bale house she built herself, has quit heli-skiing because of its high CO2 impact, and uses her bicycle to tour between far-flung speaking engagements.

Someone who does extreme sports for the environment – sound familiar?!

Other Stuff:

Thanks for all the great comments in response to my question about reality vs perception of spreading environmental awareness. I’ve only had time to skim read them (sorry, been busy cycling!) but will take a closer look when I have more time to spend online. I really appreciate all the feedback – all helpful input for my trip to Copenhagen. Thank you!!

Today’s stats: 66 miles, 1965 calories, tons of inspiration!


  • I have been a lurker for years. I have been following you since you left San Francisco. You are a real inspiration.

    I am glad you enjoyed my old stomping grounds. I went to college in Doylestown, PA and my parents still live near by.

    Good luck on your trip.

  • Your welcome for the lunch, like i said it was the least I could do. I wanted to do SOMETHING to let you know you really have been an inspiration to many of us out there, and I am sure you will be pleasantly surprised at how many there are. I’m not all that great at expressing what is in my head, might be why I am not a writer, so I hope the conversation from my end wasn’t dull or convoluted. Safe Travels and maybe i will see you at your book signing in DC next month. 🙂

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