Dave’s 5,000 mile adventure

Planning – spring, 2016

Hi, you’ve reached the site of Dave Galvin’s blog for his bike trip across the U.S.  I live in Seattle, Washington, USA, on a houseboat on Lake Union, with my supportive spouse, Mary Sue, and two aging cats; our two wonderful kids, Nicholas and Veronica, are in their late 20s, launched and doing well as young adults. My address is galvind53@gmail.com .

2013-08 Dave & Mary Sue on RAW  bike trip Lake Chelan

[Here I am with Mary Sue on a Cascade RAW trip, Lake Chelan, WA in the background, 2013.]

I will retire after more than 40 years of nonstop work in late April, 2016. My plan right out of the gate is to bicycle across the country, west-to-east, over the summer of 2016. Such a cross-country trip has been on my bucket list for a while, and I’m retiring at age 63 precisely in order to do crazy things like this while my body is still able. We’ll see how the legs and butt do over the coming adventure.

I am a life-long cyclist and have commuted to work here in Seattle for 30+ years, rain or shine, all year round. I’ve done week-long, 500-mile, supported trips courtesy of Cascade Bicycle Club (the Ride Around Washington or “RAW”) and Cycle Oregon.  I’ve never done longer journeys on my wheels. I’m a life-long backpacker, have done 300-miles over 4 weeks on the Appalachian Trail in Maine many years ago, and have been on the summit of Mt. Rainier 5 times. So I figure I can do this.

My friend, Neil Wechsler, owner of Montlake Bike Shop in Seattle, and, primarily, his store manager, Gary Tegantvoort, helped me to assemble a touring bike up for the challenge. I’ll give you all the specs in a separate post. My bike is solid, heavy… and I love it.  I’ve already got well over 1,000 miles on it, and it cruises. I haven’t named it yet — maybe that will come during this time that we spend together.

I’m testing this blog space, and hope to add photos, maps and a link to my Garmin data so that we all can track where I am and how I’ve done day by day. I plan to post approximately weekly so you won’t get exhausted reading about what I get exhausted doing each day.

Right now, snow in the passes permitting, I plan to leave the extreme Northwest corner of the lower 48 at Neah Bay, Washington, in mid May and ride the “Northern Tier” route as mapped by the Adventure Cycling Association (www.adventurecycling.org ), arriving at the extreme Northeast corner of the 48 states in Eastport, Maine by late August.  I’ve got a wedding to get back to in Washington in early September!

Thanks for connecting with me. Give me a shout so I know who is reading and so I can answer any-and-all questions about this crazy trip.  — Dave


14 thoughts on “Dave’s 5,000 mile adventure

  1. Dave, I heard about your trip and recall you from my time living and working in Seattle in the 90s. Best of luck on this trip adventure. You are definitely up to it, and I have no doubt it will be memorable and fun. Your rig seems quite carefully assembled.
    One minor point, your calculation of gear inches formula should be based on the circumference of the back wheel with tire, not the diameter. Imagine it as how many inches you travel forward for one revolution of the pedals, in a certain gear.
    WIth a narrow ten speed chain, I will be interested in how well that holds up for touring. I might have gone more retro to an 8 or 9 speed chain, but I see you went with a wide gear range down to 11 tooth which is more common on the newest cogsets.
    Have fun! Looking forward to your posts from the ride. I’m in Ohio now, about 100 miles south of your path through that state. It looks like the northern tier path through here will be very easy and flat, and coming from the west you may have a tailwind on many days. That should make for easy spinning.

    – Dave H


    1. Dave H. — Thanks for your comments and encouragement. Per your note about “gear inches” calculations, my understanding is that it is a convoluted formular that simulates what one turn of the pedals would be if you were on a penny-farthing of a certain sized wheel. So today’s calculation is actually based on the diameter of the current wheel,but it is supposed to calculate how far a penny-farthing wheel of that circumference would travel. It sounds weird, but if you look up how to calculate “gear inches” you will see that it is based on diameter of our current wheels, not circumference.
      I hope that your prediction for tail winds will cover my entire trip, not just the Ohio portion.
      Thanks again for your interest. Keep in touch. — Dave G.


  2. Finally signed up as a follower. The bike looks solid and the light system looks incredible. That adjusting headlight based on speed concept has me boggled. Does the beam angle change? Does it narrow? Brighten?

    Anyhow, just over a week to go. Can’t wait to see your reports coming in. Hoping for tailwinds the whole way.


    1. Great to have you as a “follower,” Dave W. The Luxos U notes bike speed via the Dynamo and provides brightness immediately in front of the bike (“panorama light”) at speeds less than 15 km/hr and a broader, longer-range brightness at greater speeds. Two extra LEDs in the “forehead” of the lamp shine onto the road immediately in front of the bike and more to the sides at low speeds. The slower one rides, the brighter these lights get! It also has a high beam (“floodlight”) option for really dark situations or to flash at jerks. An exraordinary bike light, indeed. Leave it to the Germans to set the new standard. I have tested this light on Interlaken Blvd. in Seattle (just up the hill from the houseboat), which is sans streetlights. It is quite amazing in the pitch dark. You gotta get one of these babies! — Dave G.


  3. Dave,
    What a great adventure to start off your retirement! Very inspiring!
    Can’t wait to read about your experiences along the way.
    Thank you so much for sharing. I wish you good luck, good weather, good health and so much more for this trip.


  4. Dave-

    Really excited for the opportunity to follow your trek!

    Only 19 months ’til MY retirement; you’ve kinda set the bar pretty high as far as post-retirement expectations go. Guess I better plan more than “Ah, sleeping in!”

    Best of luck. When your blog posts come in I plan to get a cup of coffee and enjoy a break.


  5. Met you at the Idaho-Montana border a few weeks ago on my motorcycle. Great to see you’re making good progress!


  6. Yep, just rode the Lake Wobegone Trail yesterday and today. Lovely section of old RR grade, nice countryside, Lutheran churches at every turn, definitely “above average.”

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s