The Route So Far - Google Maps

View X-America by Bicycle in a larger map


We are doing this ride to raise money for Research Autism. We are aiming to raise £20,000.
We are supporting Research Autism because my cousin Jamie is severely affected by the disease, and I have seen its effects not only on him but on the whole family." He is 13yrs old, but cannot yet talk.
Just take a moment to imagine not being able to talk.
Imagine understanding everything going on around you, but not being able to comment.
Imagine having to be dressed every morning in clothes you don't choose, and then hurting your parents as you try to tell them you wanted the blue shirt today.
Imagine being swamped by having to hear everything that everyone is saying around you, and not being able to listen to just one thing at once. Jamie loves being in a swimming pool, just floating, legs held motionless by the weight of the water, while he keeps his ears underwater to just relax, hearing nothing.
He understands everything - he appears to have a photographic memory - but can’t get his thoughts out.
Frustration leads to despair, and anger, which is just one of the many things that his family has to deal with.
He has extremely specific eating requirements and requires round the clock supervision. Jamie is at the severe end of the autistic spectrum, but given that one in 100 people suffer from the disease (with varying severity), and that everyone has some autistic traits, it is shocking that so little is known about it'.
Click here to support our cause and donate to Research Autism.
Read the "Meet Jamie" post - the only post in February, for more information about Jamie, and a poem - painstakingly slow for Jamie to type, but ultimately incredible.

Photo Video - New York to St Louis

May 8, 2010

Rest Day, Knoxville, TN

Rest day's should be restful, but there is always so much to do - we spent 3 hours fixing our bikes in West Bicycles, Thank you very much to Kelly for all your help. We now have bikes that are fully serviceable - no wobbly back wheel due to missing spokes, and a new set of brake pads on each of our back wheels. It is amazing how finished our brake pads are - and in only one month since getting the bikes!

After an energizing pizza we went back to Ben's house - yet another couchsurfing success story, where we relaxed all afternoon. We did a bit of oiling and cleaning on our bikes, and some admin. Since then we have plotted a route for the next 180 miles (2.5 days) - still using our envelope technique - see earlier posts if you missed out on how exactly we know where to go (involves writing down a long list of each new road on the back of whatever paper is available - I don't advise the free paper pad from motels, it is too thin.)

We will be going through Kentucky, leaving Tennessee on Sunday. From the maps it seems that the towns are spreading out - we will have to be a bit more careful about water provision and wifi access. Just a little sidenote about spreading out: Knoxville is a city, but not densely populated as it is spread over more than 25 miles. This means that the only way to get around is by car - bicycles are extremely foreign and walking is unheard of. This means that crossing roads is a mission - akin to walking across a motorway - there are no spots for pedestrians. It also means that the BMI of Knoxville residents is generally extremely large - especially when combined with the multitude of cheap fast food; why spend more/take longer to cook a meal when you can get a double cheeseburger for $1.19 in less than a minute?

We have also found out that while our bikes are heavy, we are unable to do a MacDonalds drive-thru on them - the voice that takes your order is activated by a weight sensor that needs much more than just a tent and some bikes and a couple of guys.

We are now headed Northwest to St Louis, MO - just under 500miles, to be done in the next 8 days. We plan to take 7 days riding and stop in Evansville, KT for a rest day. This means an average of just over 70 miles per day, which means bed time, Now. - PS sherlock holmes is a good movie... definitely worth the $2 we paid - cinema tickets are exceptionally cheap!

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