The Path Less Pedaled
It’s not everyone who can sell all their belongings and set out on a cycling adventure around the country, but that is just what Russ Roca and Laura Crawford did in 2009. After completing a 15-month journey taking them from San Diego to Boston and a wet winter in Portland, the duo behind the Path Less Pedaled have just set out again for another tour of the country, this time exploring multi-modal transportation options for touring cyclists and the cycling tourism industry.
Roca and Crawford took off from Portland on June 15, 2011 on a pair of Brompton folding bicycles to discover how to travel around the country using a combination of rail, buses and other regional transportation options.
“Not everyone has the time to cross the United States by bicycle,” Roca said. But people who want to start touring by bicycle can cover more miles and see more places by combining biking with other modes of transportation.
Using different forms of transportation also prompted the pair to go with the Brompton folding cycles, manufactured in England, as opposed to full touring cycles. On their first trek through the country, Roca and Crawford encountered the most difficulty when trying to utilize other forms of transportation where accommodating bicycles and the gear that comes with them always seemed like an afterthought.
There were the steep steps on a bus in San Francisco, resulting in cuts for Crawford and a sprained finger for Roca. And there was the train in Baltimore with conductors sending the pair first to the back of the train, then to the front and then to the back again.
In addition to exploring and advocating for different forms of transit, Roca said a second goal for this trip is to highlight the affects of bike tourism on local economies. In fact, one reason the two love biking through Oregon is the number of small communities actively trying to reach out to cycling tourists.
“We’ve seen that all through Oregon. In Eastern Oregon, we found some cool bike-y things,” Roca said. For example, there is Joseph’s Hardware in the eastern town of Joseph that expanded its lone shelf of bike goods to an entire room and sent three employees to the United Bicycle Institute in Ashland. They also found cyclist-friendly camping in Mitchell and a bike hostel in Tillamook.
Roca and Crawford chronicle their adventures and their “bike-y” finds on their website, http://pathlesspedaled.com, which includes a blog and numerous videos of their various adventures around the country, including several videos about their Oregon travels. You can also see a map of their first cross-country trip and see the stops they make along this excursion. They also have a YouTube channel.