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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

San Francycle: Adventure Cycling from Miami to S.F.

Posted By on Tue, May 31, 2011 at 7:35 AM


Oh, sure, your commute to the office might seem far, but how would you like to ride 3,500 miles?

Two weeks ago, cyclist Mario Renteria, 23, set off from Miami on a cross-country ride to San Francisco. Google Maps estimates that if you pedal nonstop, it'll take about 11 and a half days to make the journey.

Why is he doing it? "For no particular reason."

"The ride has now become a personal goal of mine with little more reason than adventure and self discovery," he told Miami Bike Scene.

He's not alone in this endeavor: adventure cycling is an actual activity. It's been around for decades, but has become more popular with the advent of new technology that makes it easier to stay connected while traveling.

The Adventure Cycling Association makes it easy to get out on the road, even if you have a family in tow, so don't worry about Google's advice to pedal for 11 days straight. The organization is hard at work on a campaign, Creating Bike Routes for America, which would do for the country what the SF Bike Coalition wants to do for the city: offer continuous, comfortable, dignified bike routes from coast to coast.

Considering how long it's taking the city to fix the bumpy, scary, hard-to-identify path from the Embarcadero to Ocean Beach, the national system should be done around the time that the human race is ready to evolve into beings of pure energy.

ACA also produces maps, routes, and guides for finding pleasant cycling routes. It has even partnered with AASHTO, a notoriously bike-skeptical highway-advocacy group, to produce a national bike-route system.

The project is still in its infancy, but for those looking to set off into the countryside on two wheels and immerse themselves in the big wide world, this is the place to start.

Alternately, thrillseekers could always try navigating down Montgomery Street at rush hour if they really want to feel their hearts rise to their throats.

Mario's trip will take him about two and a half months, and he's documenting every step of the way. So far, he has barely made it out of Florida.

Highlights of the trip so far:
- Dodging rain on the Alabama state line
- "One of the cleanest roadkill armadillos" he has ever seen
- Pitching a tent next to Tarzan
- Getting chased by a rottweiler

And that's just the first week. Keep an eye on his site to see the country unfold over the next two months -- and we'll see you in San Francisco in late July, Mario!

Follow us on Twitter at @TheSnitchSF and @SFWeekly

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Matt Baume


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