Biking and Blogging Across America
By: Brent Runyon, May 7, 2012
MATT GOOD - Leland Taylor of Mashpee gets into 'a Georgia state of mind' on April 23. He and his cousin, Falmouth photographer/barista/bike crank Matt Good are cycling across the country in an attempt to prove that not everyone under 25 is a Facebook-and-video-games addicted cynic. Oh, wait...
Matt Good of North Falmouth and Leland Taylor of Mashpee are riding bicycles across the country, and although they are over 1,500 miles away, they are still in close contact with their friends back home.
Good, 22, and Taylor, 21, started their trip by heading south on April 1, and have already visited 13 states from Massachusetts to Alabama, riding an average of 70 miles a day. Last Friday, they turned west with the goal of making it to Albuquerque, New Mexico, before May 26. There they will take a train from Los Angeles to meet another friend and bike up the coast to San Francisco, returning home by plane in mid-June.
Throughout the entire journey, Good and Taylor have uploaded pictures and videos on their blog, a chronicle of their trip showing exactly where they went, the people they met, what they ate and drank, and where they slept.
Just before they went to sleep last Sunday at 11:31 PM, they uploaded a picture of their motel room for the night. Both men set up their tents on the motel room beds to keep bedbugs away and because the motel was “sketchy” and the site of a recent murder.
They post to the website as often as six times a day, documenting what it looks like to ride a bicycle across the country without the aches and pains. They have taken pictures in front of a sign of every state they entered, and also photographed each other with oddities like stray dogs and Confederate flags.
They even respond to questions from friends. On Sunday at 10:35 PM, a friend asked, “What are you guys missing most about home?”
Taylor responded that he did not miss much, because they were only going to be gone for two and a half months. Good was feeling more homesick. “All my friends, my girlfriend, my room, making money as opposed to spending it, Wild Harbor, and easy bike riding,” he wrote.
In a phone interview on Friday, Good said keeping in touch with their friends back home gives them extra motivation.
“It definitely helps. It allows us to get ribbed from our friends at home. It especially helps us when we are feeling a little unmotivated,” he said.
Good works at Coffee Obsession at the Queens Buyway in Falmouth, where his co-workers have put up a map of the United States showing the route he and Taylor have taken to this point. The bikers' progress is also being charted by Jay Hauptmann’s 4th grade class at the East Falmouth Elementary School.
The hardest day of riding so far was the second day of traveling through Connecticut, Good said. The pair rode 90 miles through relatively hilly terrain and at the end of the day, they uploaded a photo of Taylor icing his knees with a bottle of Advil in one hand and a beer in the other.
Since that day the riding has been easier, Good said. “Once you get into the rhythm of the thing, it isn’t all that bad,” he said.
Going forward, Good said his biggest concern is being caught in a tornado in the Midwest. “As long as we don’t run into any tornadoes, everything will be fine,” he said. Taylor said he is worried that his legs will give out.
One of the most surprising things about the trip so far has been the Southern hospitality. Neither man had been to the South before and were surprised that people were so nice. “One guy gave us $40, just because we were eating lunch at his restaurant,” Good said.
Another surprising incident was in Georgia when a police officer drove up to their campsite one night. Good and Taylor expected to be told they had to pack up their things and get out of town. Instead the officer said he had heard they were riding across the country and just stopped by to wish them luck.
Riding across America was a dream for both men, who are cousins. “It was kind of like a pipe dream for us,” Good said. “I wanted to take advantage of being responsibility-free. We don’t really have too many constraints right now.”
The trip has already taught them some important life lessons. “Always be respectful when people help you out,” Good said.
“Mind over matter,” Taylor said.