-----Original Message-----
From: Erika Rottenberg [mailto:erika@----------.net]
Sent: Monday, February 25, 2002 8:51 AM
To: erika@----------.net
Subject: cycling trip?

Dear Cycling Friends (and cycling compassionate friends),

Although all the details have yet to be worked out, I wanted to let you know that I'm planning on riding across the country this summer, and, I want to invite you along -- for a week, or two, or... nine?! Cycling across the country has been a dream; and, this summer, I hope to make it come true.

This summer's trip holds even more meaning to me than the meaning inherent in experiencing 4200 miles of our country from the seat of a bicyle as I will be doing it in honor of one of the most important people in my life, and am creating an opportunity to help a cause that has significantly impacted my life. While I will fund the trip myself, I plan to fundraise, in earnest, for breast cancer (specific details to come). I am setting my ambitions high -- I hope to raise $50K to 100K. I will be riding in honor of my mom, who was diagnosed with breast cancer when I was in 8th grade and died of it, almost 20 years ago, in the fall of 1983, when I was a senior in college. As you can imagine, growing up with a mom battling breast cancer, and ultimately losing the battle to it, had significant (what an understatement)impact. Although times, research, treatment, support and results are drastically different today, the fact remains that too many women continue to be diagnosed with this disease, and the cure continues to evade us. To the extent I can be a catalyst in changing this, no matter how small, I endeavor to do so.

So, why this email? Several reasons. First, as a rider, I want to get your mind cranking, as spring is about to be sprung, and encourage you to seriously consider joining me for at least a segment of the ride. I've chosen Cycle America (see link below) because it appears to sport the most interesting route (though not the shortest) across the country. In short, the ride is 4200 miles, runs from mid June through mid August, and is broken into 9 different week long segments. (See below.) Second, I'm looking for training partners. Folks to ride short rides, folks to ride long rides, folks to ride with on those Tuesday 6:30am rides, folks to ride with on centuries, and, in sum, folks to share the cycling passion (and help re-ignite it!). And, lastly, if your names on this list and you haven't been on a bike in years (and have no intent to get on your bike), you live in one of the states through which I'm passing and I know it'd be fun to hook up! (Or, maybe, I just wanted you to know about this crazy endeavor.)

Yes, I know, 4200 miles is a lot; but, what the heck -- remember, it's not about the destination (which is really, what I understand, motivates people on the 'short' cross country rides that go thru the flatlands and headwinds of Kansas), but it's about the journey. It's about seeing and experiencing small town USA, national parks, small cafes, little stops, ice cream stops, meeting people, and seeing our country -- not on a whirlwind through the window of a car, but mile by mile, from the seat of a bicycle, and by staying in approximately 60 different towns. It's a celebration of what makes our country tick, the blessings we've been given; and, a celebration of life, while, hopefully, making a difference, in a small way!! I've had the chance to see a lot of the world, but not much of our country, and really look forward to seeing a heck of a lot of it this summer, and would love to do so with friends.

Here's the week by week breakdown:

  • 6/15-6/22 Washington/Idaho/Montana (Cascades and wine country, ending at hot springs)
  • 6/23-6/30 Montana/Wyoming (Yellowstone, Tetons, and Jackson, incl a visit to patagonia's outlet store)
  • 7/01-7/07 Wyoming (Tetons and Devils Tower)
  • 7/08-7/14 Wyoming/South Dakota (Black Hills -- was the song Rocky Racoon?/Mt Rushmore)
  • 7/15-7/21 South Dakota/Minnesota (praries, Land of the 10,000 lakes, agriculture and rolling hills)
  • 7/22-7/27 Wisconsin (farms, barns, and dairy (ice cream!!))
  • 7/29-8/04 Michigan/Ontario (Canada, Lake Erie, Niagra Falls)
  • 8/05-8/11 New York (upstate NY is beautiful, and where I went to undergrad. Rolling hills, wine country and Lake Placid) I plan to modify this segment's trip a bit to try and stay in my college town of Geneseo
  • 8/12-8/18 Vermont/New Hampshire/Maine/Massachusetts (Green Mountains, White Mountains, coastline)
While not a motel trip like a number of other organized rides (where one sleeps 3 to a room, and eats in sizzlers/Denny's - - aka riding across the country via truckstops, as I like to say), Cycle America tends to stay in the middle of small towns; and, thus, in campgrounds, or more frequently, schools. I also hope to stay in at least 1 nice B & B or hotel a week. :) Doesn't this sound like fun? Hmmm, shall we aim for finding the best ice cream stop along each segment?!

Nothing would make me more excited, and the trip even more meaningful, then if you came along. (In addition, I turn 40 this summer (oh my gosh, I'm actually admitting this), and thought that one of the best presents I could give myself would be celebrating my 40th in the middle of a cross country bike ride -- and getting to celebrate it all summer long with friends!)

So,let's start spinning!

Let me know--