An interview with Brian Newhouse
1.) Where did you start?
From my home in St. Paul. Flew to Seattle, then took a Greyhound north
of town about an hour to Anacortes, WA. Put the bike together, dipped
the rear wheel in a little puddle of shining Pacific Ocean water and
headed pretty much straight east.
2.) Where did you end up?
Coast of Maine, in the little town of Rockport.
3.) How long did it take you?
Seven weeks. I took a day or two off for every six I road.
4.) How many miles was it?
A little less than 4,000.
5.) How many miles did you average a day?
Shortest day was three miles; longest 175. Average: 85-110.
6.) Did you ride the whole way?
Yep. I had Three Rules of the Road: no walking hills; no car rides;
no hangers on. I held to the first two rules perfectly, but blew Number
Three from the very first night on.
7.) Where did you sleep?
One-man tent for the first couple weeks. Then church basements mostly,
back bedrooms of preachers and generous farmers, shed floors of not-so-generous
farmers, three hotel nights.
Tons of it. I pedaled about 10 hours a day and loaded up with somewhere
around 7-8,000 calories every day. Which meant, regularly, a couple
of breakfasts, two or three lunches, and a gargantuan feed in the evening
that couldn't politely be called supper. Most of it purchased in grocery
stores and eaten right on the road, but a lot of truck stops, too. I
lost 10 pounds.
8.) Why did you take the bike trip?
When I left, I honestly didn't know. I just had a burning desire to
do it. Only partway through did I realize it was my attempt to create
a gesture so grand, that my father would finally notice me. It failed.
But that failure led to a deeper confrontation with him that was far,
far richer in the end.
9.) So this isn't just a bike book?
Right. It is more a book about relationships. Father-son. Girlfriend-boyfriend.
And how fundamental Christianity played into eachand not for the
10.) Why the northern tier of states?
I'm from the North, and am no fan of heat. This was my attempt to avoid
the Southwestern deserts, and Dixie's swamps.