by Dwayne Phillips
The first question people ask me when I tell them that I am walking from here to there is, “but how do you do that? Do you sleep on the side of the road? Do you …”
Here is the method I have used for the past two weeks (Chattanooga to Tuscaloosa). I am alone for this stretch. I have a van and a bicycle. I use a method that I learned years ago when reading A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson.
- Put the bicycle at Point A
- Drive down the road to Point B
- Walk from Point B to Point A
- Ride the bicycle from Point A to Point B
I use a variation of this scheme.
- Park the van at Point B
- Ride the bicycle back up the road to Point A
- Walk from Point A past the van to Point C
- Ride the bicycle back from Point C to the van at Point B
- Move on and repeat
The key here is in step 3. I walk with the bicycle, i.e. I push it along while I walk.
Given all of this, I usually traverse a piece of road three times. That sounds boring, but it would surprise you how you notice something different each time.
This all allows me to sleep in a motel each night. I am not “roughing it” on this walk.
Some people have told me that walking while pushing a bicycle is a terribly hard thing to do. It doesn’t bother me much. I am becoming quite skilled at it. If ever there was an Olympic event concerning walking and pushing a bicycle, I would be in the medal running. Maybe we could have a professional league of bicycle pushers who earn millions of dollars. Maybe not.
Walking while pushing a bicycle is a pain at times in traffic. This usually happens early in the morning when people are driving to work. It also happens in cities in shopping areas.
Another part of this scheme is the actual bicycle riding. When I walk 18 miles in a day, I also ride a bike 18 miles. An 18-mile bike ride is not a major bike ride in itself. I know bicyclists who do 100-mile rides each day. Combine that 18-mile ride with an 18-mile walk and you have a lot of exercise in a day.
Here is a photo of my bike. I bought then some dozen years ago. I guess it is a trail bike or something. It seems to work well enough. I have had three flat tires in two weeks.