Monthly Archives: June 2009


Made it into New Orleans yesterday after another 100 mile day. I’m hoping to get some blogging done while we stay here and build for the week. Stay tuned!


“Official” SUS09 Blog

Every day a different rider is responsible for writing a short journal entry for the day.  It’s a great way to get a peak at what we do on the road and those entries might end up being more consistent than mine.  I found our first entry, written by Josh, to be really well written.  Check it out, link is below.  We also post pictures collected from all riders on the Bike and Build Website which can be found via the same link.  To get at the journal click the pencil icon on the right side if the screen, to get at the pictures click the camera icon.

Check out the official Southern US Route blog at the Bike and Build website:

To You From Marianna, FL

I apologize for the lack of updates on this first week of the trip. Things have been a little hectic as we learn how things work on a Bike and Build trip. As the only route with no alumni in the leadership team or rider group we’ve kinda got to feel this whole thing out for ourselves. Also, we haven’t had reliable internet access until today.

So here I am in the local library cranking out some cue sheets for the rides I’m responsible to cue for and updating to the iPhone 3,0 software (finally, copy and paste!). I thought that I would write y’all a little post and share some pictures only to realize that I’ve lost/forgotten my camera cord somewhere. Arg. I’ll do my best to summarize sans pictures.

June 13: Atlantic Beach, FL to Gold Head Branch State Park, FL ~75 miles

The trip officially began last Saturday, June 10th. We rolled out of Atlantic Beach, FL around 9:00am after a plethora of pictures on the beach, dipping our wheels in the Atlantic. Coincidentally a patrolman, Gus, stopped by the beach about 10 minutes before we were all ready to shove off and agreed to escort us straight down Atlantic Blvd, the busiest street in the entire town. It was pretty cool. To start the trip as a 32 bike long tail to a patrol car with lights and sirens blasting was awesome. Lots of strange looks from the drivers of the Saturday morning drivers.

The day began wonderfully; the weather was outstanding and everyone was excited. Unfortunately we had massive storms roll over the route around 40 miles into the day. Most of us took cover in a gas station but several riders ended up huddled in an abandoned building in some random field. Two or three hours later when the storms finally receded we all set out again only to make it another 30 or so miles before needing to seek shelter again. This time the group I was with pulled into a road side peanut/jerky stand and took cover under a logging truck with a bag full of Cajun flavored boiled peanuts and some gator jerky. Good stuff all around. The guys selling the food were hilarious and coined the first saying of the trip, “Helllllllllllllllllllll Yeah.” Yeah, it doesn’t translate into type very well. Meeting local people, like these guys at the peanut stand, is turning into some of the most awesome parts of the trip.

Anyway, another 45 minutes or so and we were back on the bikes, 12 miles to go until the campsite. Longest 12 miles of my life. We rolled into the camp grounds around 8:00 only to get lost with no idea where the other 26 riders were. By 9:00 we were at the campsite, by 10:30 I think I finally ate. I’ll skip the details but there was lots of confusion, miscommunication, and leader frustrations. Not the ideal first night. At least after that night we had nowhere to go but up.

June 14: Gold Head Branch State Park, FL to White Springs, FL ~75 miles

I drove this day (one of my responsibilities as a leader is to drive the support vehicle every 4th day).  I don’t have any fun riding stories to write.  Driving the van can be kinda boring.  In the morning after leaving the camp site and before setting up the lunch stop I had to run to Walmart to pick up a some supplies.  Our riders did a good job of soliciting donations form Walmart that day.  We ended up with nearly $25 worth of “Moon Pies.” Interesting things, from now on donated gift cards go to the leaders before being spent…

I set up lunch in the parking lot of one of Florida’s many “Fire Towers.”  Apparently these towers are used to spot wild fires.  No one was around when I initially pulled up to the station so I decided to just set up lunch and await the riders.  An hour or two later the firemen came back, greeted us enthusiastically, provided ice for the water coolers, allowed us up onto the fire tower, and even donated 32 Smokey the Bear bandannas.  Weird, but cool.  I’ve already put my bandanna to use keeping the sun off my neck when I ride.

The campsite the second night was much better than the night before.  We all arrived at the campsite much earlier, got the tents set up, got dinner started, and had a general good time.

June 15: White Springs, FL to Monticello, FL ~75 miles

Oh a real host to arrive at!  I can’t remember much from the ride itself.  I was sore from sitting the entire previous day in the van.  I think I ended up riding with Jesse, Josh, and Travis at an average speed of around 18 mph.  We were the fast group that day; passing people up only to pull off and check out something cool on the route and be passed by other B&B’ers again.  I really can’t remember much from this day, I need to buy a small notebook to take notes in, my memory is horrible.

I do remember the host.  It was the first time that we didn’t need to set up tents, cook dinner, and fend off mosquitoes.  We arrived at the church, went and showered, and napped.  AWESOME.  Nothing beats a nap.  We ate somewhere around 6:00, a delicious meal of pasta, salad, garlic bread, and Sweet Tea.  Lots of Sweet Tea down here in the South, it’s amazing.  For some reason I remember the smell of the food really well.  When we arrived at the host around 3:00 I could already smell the garlic bread, it’s making me hungry now.

After dinner that night a handful of us headed over a few doors to a cool little local pizza joint and had a few beers.  Good times were had by all.

I’ve got to get back to the host here in Marianna.  I’ll finish off the rest of these post entires and do my best to get back online soon!  Keep an eye out for some pictures soo too.

A Picture For Now

Not much time to write. I was van driver yesterday, camping last night and the night before. Real entry when I have real Internet.

First picture is us taking my bike to the USPS (they denied me), second is a typical lunch spot. More cool pictures on my actual camera soon.

The Group Email Bump

Thanks to all who responded to my giant group email with a donation, you all sent more than $250 in less than 12 hours.  It is very appreciated.  The traffic volume the email generated to the blog also increased the site’s lifetime traffic by nearly 20%.  Maybe I’ll have to send another… 🙂

The riders all arrived this afternoon around 1:00.  By 5:00 they were all checked in, bikes were (mostly) assembled, and it was ice breaker time.  Before my time here at Bike and Build I thought that ice breakers were lame games made to make lame situations even lamer.  My time at the B&B Leader Orientation showed me what a good quality silly game can do to loosen up a group of anxious 20 somethings; we used the same icebreakers with our riders as we did at our own orientation and they worked great.  Common Ground will forever be my fall back tension breaking exercise. I thought the group really had a great beginning today, lots of new friendships.

I got some cool pictures from the day and will upload them in the coming days.

Thanks again to Beaches Habitat for providing some delicious Bono’s BBQ for dinner tonight.  It was a huge hit with all the riders.  Beaches has been a FANTASTIC organization to work with.


I’ve been down here in Jacksonville since Sunday afternoon along with the other 3 trip leaders (Jane, Nate, and Kerri) and our Program Director (Kristian).  We made our way over to the church we are staying at and began the preparations.  There have been many discussions, demonstrations, meals, drinks, rides, and laughs the past few days as we’ve finalized the Rider Orientation Schedule, begun Cue Sheeting all the routes, and attempted to prepare ourselves for the summer.  The names for our chore groups are so sweet (I’ll share them after the riders have learned them).

The riders will begin to arrive around 1:00 tomorrow afternoon.  Can’t wait, this summer is going to rock.

More to come after the circus begins!


Konrad drove out to Crystal Lake yesterday and we did quite the ride.  76 miles or so with a heavy wind out of the NE.

060309I had no idea that we went up and then down that much.  Interesting.


Also to note, I headed over to Wheel Werks in Crystal Lake today for my bike fitting.  I figured that since I was going to be riding 3,500+ miles over the next two months and that I was the one that originally assembled, and therefore fit, my bike, it was time to let a professional take a stab.  Bob Olsen owns the shop and does the fittings.  Great guy, really nice, and he sells Orbeas which are my dream bikes.  To top the whole thing off he gave me a 25% discount on account of me donating my summer to ride for charity.  So thats great.  I highly recommend Wheel Werks if you are looking around for a new bike.  He’s got everything from cruisers to high end road and tri bikes in there, I even spotted a fixie………  I was also able to buy a couple spare spokes from him