About the trip

Hi there! My name is Ruthie, and this summer I will be riding my bicycle from Boston to San Francisco. Along the way, I’ll be talking with tech folks in towns big and small, brainstorming ideas for how, via the web, we can make life better for people across America.


Questions & Answers

As I've been talking with folks about my trip, a number of questions have come up time and again, so I figured I'd write up my answers here. If you have a question that isn't answered below, please ask!

Why by bicycle? There’s this thing called a car.

Riding a bicycle is a fantastic way to travel. You’re not cut off from your surroundings like you are in a car or bus; instead, you’re fully immersed in the environment. You move fast enough to cover a good distance every day, yet slow enough to not miss the countryside you’re passing through. Plus, a bicycle is a great conversation-starter—and I hope to have many conversations this summer.

Oh, one additional benefit of traveling by bike: I’ll have legs of steel by September.

Why across the country?

I’ve lived on both coasts of the United States, but there’s a whole continent in between that I’ve always wanted to explore. I am looking forward to meeting people outside my bubble and getting a better sense of who my fellow Americans are.

How can I help?

So glad you asked.

One way you can help is by looking at my route map and thinking about whom you know along my route. Though I’ll be bringing a tent and am excited to spend many nights this summer camping, I would be very grateful for offers of lodging, laundry, showers, and/or directions to the best bar in town. If you know someone in a certain town, you can use the contact form on the route page, or email me at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Another way you can help also involves thinking about whom you know along my route — specifically, whom do you know who works in technology? I would love to interview them. I’m especially interested in meeting people working in government technology. Again, if you know someone — or know someone who might know someone — please put me in touch! My email is .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Here’s another way you can support me on this adventure: buy me a sandwich!  My average daily food expense will be around $15, and if you let me know which days or weeks you’d like to cover, I will list you on the Support page under “Donors to the Feed-A-Hungry-Cyclist Project”. I’ll have a PayPal link set up shortly, so check back soon.

One final way to support me: tell your friends about my trip! Send them a link to http://cyclingcoder.com/, and thank you for helping me get the word out.

How many miles will you ride each day?

Though many long-distance cyclists average 60-70 miles per riding day, I plan to ride a more sedate average of 50 miles per day on riding days.

I’ll be taking a zero day—that is, a rest day off the bicycle where I cover zero distance—every three to six days, depending on my energy level, whether I’m interviewing people, and whether I’d like to take a side trip to see local sights.

Are you biking by yourself?

I don’t have a riding partner for the entire journey (though I’m open to one!). Right now, the plan is to ride with cool people for shorter legs of the trip. So far, my friend Josh has signed up to ride with me from Reno to San Francisco, and my friend Mallory Hellman will be joining me for parts of Iowa. I’m working on persuading people near Chicago to join me for my ride in or out of the city, my dad might drive a SAG wagon for me in Colorado, and a few people have expressed interest in riding with me from Boston to Albany.

If you’re reading this, you are clearly awesome, and I would love it if you could join me on the road. Does the idea of riding along with me for a day or week sound appealing? If so, please get in touch!

About Ruthie

Ruthie BenDor

Almost seven years in Boston, but still a Californian at heart. In a perfect world, I'd spend my days wrangling pixels and code, my evenings learning to not set fire to my kitchen, and my weekends far, far away from a computer screen.

Professionally speaking, I'm a web geek for nonprofits, for-profits, and wish-we-were-making-profits. I'm also involved in the hacker … scene? (is that a thing?) in Boston: I run the BostonEErs, a user group for ExpressionEngine CMS developers. I'm lucky to be passionate about what I do, and I'm excited to see where my work takes me.

Find me elsewhere: I'm on LinkedIn, About.Me, RuthieBenDor.com, Unruthless.com, and Twitter as @unruthless.


Gear

Hello fellow gearheads! Here is the full list of stuff I'm bringing with me; I lovingly refer to this list as my Spreadsheet of DoomTM. Note that this list is incomplete for now, but I'll be sure to blog about any additions.

Bicycle

Item Name
Frame / fork Surly Cross Check, Wicked Black, 50"
Seatpost clamp Surly stainless, silver
Seatpost Kalloy SP-342, 27.2 x 300mm, black
Saddle Selle An-Atomica Titanico LD, white leather, copper rivets
Shift levers Shimano Bar-end SL-BS77 9-speed
Rear derailleur Shimano XT RD-M761 SGS long cage
Front derailleur Shimano Tiagra, FD-4403 triple
Crankset Andel, forged arms, silver, aluminum rings, 110mm BCD, 48-36-26t
Bottom bracket Shimano BB-UN54, 68x113mm
Cassette Shimano Deore, CS-HG53, 9-speed, 11-13-15-17-20-23-26-30-34t
Chain SRAM, PC971 9-speed
Headset Ritchey Logic Comp, 1-1/8" threadless, 30mm spacers, black
Pedals Shimano A530 SPD dual platform pedals
Stem Kalloy AS-008, 1-1/8" threadless, forged, black
Handlebars Salsa Moto Ace Bell-lap, 26.0mm clamp diameter, black
Handlebar wrap Planet Bike Comfort Gel, gray
Brake levers Tektro RL341 Small Hand levers
Brakes Tektro cantilever #992A, black
Cable hanger, front Tektro #1271A with noodle, black
Cable hanger, rear Surly stainless, with adjuster, silver
Brake pads TBD
Cables Stock
Hubs Shimano Deore HB/FH590, 32 hole, black
Spokes DT Swiss, stainless steel, 14g/2.0mm, with 12mm silver brass nipples
Rims Alex DA16, 32h x 700c, black
Tires Schwalbe Marathon Plus, 700 x 28c
Tubes Stock

Touring Kit

Item Name
Saddlebag Ortlieb Plus Saddle Bag, L
Trailer B.O.B. Yak
Trailer bag B.O.B. Trailer Waterproof DrySAK
Trailer cargo net Sunlite Bicycle Bungie Cargo Net
Trailer wheel Schwalbe Big Apple Kevlar Tire, 16" x 2"
Handlebar bag Ortlieb Ultimate5 Plus, M
Bottle cages Planet Bike 6.2mm Aluminum bottle cages
Tail light Planet Bike Blinky Superflash Tail Light
Bottles (4) Polar insulated bottles, 24 oz. each

Tools & Spares

Item Name
Spare brake pads (4) Kool Stop
Spare tubes 2 generic 700 x 28c tubes for bicycle wheels, 1 generic 16" by 1.75" tube for trailer wheel
Spare spoke Fiberfix spoke kit
Derailleur hanger Gimp Emergency Derailleur Hanger
Zip ties Lots and lots of zip ties
Frame pump Topeak Road Morph G Bike Pump with Gauge
Chain lubricant Teflon Plus Finish Line dry lube, 2oz.
Patch kit Generic patch kit from REI
Tire levers (2) Park Tool tire levers, yellow
Cleaning rag Sea to Summit DryLite Towel, XS 12" x 24"
Tape Duct, Electrical
Bike multitool Crank Brothers Multi 17
Multitool Leatherman Squirt PS4
Pocketknife TBD
Glue Rubber cement, superglue

Camping Gear

Item Name
Tent Tarptent Scarp 1
Tent pegs MSR GroundHog Tent Stake Kit (8 pegs)
Sleeping bag Golite UltraLite 3 Season Quilt Short, 20F
Sleeping bag liner Sea to Summit Thermolite Reactor + stuff sack
Sleeping pad Therm-a-Rest Prolite 4 Women's Regular
Camp chair Therm-a-Rest Compack Chair
Sleeping bag stuff sack Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Compression Sack

Cooking Gear

Item Name
Stove MSR WindPro

Hygiene & Safety

Item Name
Towel Sea To Summit DryLite Towel, XL, 30" x 60"

Clothes

Item Name
Brimmed cap Outdoor Research Sun Runner Cap, S

Electronics

Item Name
Bike computer VDO MC1.0 Altimeter/Cycle Computer
Laptop case Waterfield Designs Macbook Air Wallet 13"
Laptop charger MacBook Air charger, short cord
Laptop MacBook Air 13", 256GB SSD hard drive, 4GB RAM, 2.16GHz processor