America’s Southern Tier Tour

Follow me and ten other cyclists this fall as we make our way across the Southern Tier of the United States. Our cross-country tour will begin in Southern California and take us across mountains, deserts, the expanse of Texas and continue through three states in the deep south before we finally reach our goal where land turns to sea on the Atlantic Coast of Florida.

When our tour has ended, I’m sure I’ll always look back on the day we departed from the sunny beaches of San Diego; how we enjoyed the beauty of progressive Austin, Texas; the day we spent soaking in the cajun charm of New Orleans and the euphoria of pedaling through historic St. Augustine, Florida to our final destination – the swaying palms and sandy beaches of the Atlantic Ocean.

But, if my past bike tour experience has taught me anything, what will dwarf all that will be the people we met along the way. Those complete strangers who offered smiles and words of encouragement, provided a cold drink on a hot autumn afternoon, shared shelter in the midst of a torrential storm or asked if we needed a ride to the next town if our bikes break down. It’s the people, always the people, who make journeys like this exceptionally unforgettable.

The Details

Dates: September 24 to November 20, 2021
Start Location: San Diego, California
End Location: St. Augustine, Florida
Miles / Kilometers: 3,160 mi / 5,085 km
Riding Days: 51
Layover Days: 8
Longest Single Ride: 101 mi / 162 km on Day 40 in Western Louisiana
Average Daily Miles / Kilometers: 62 mi / 100 km
Accommodations: Camping / Indoor
Difficulty: Extreme
Elevation High Point: 8,228 feet/ 2,508 meters

19 thoughts on “America’s Southern Tier Tour

  1. Genevieve Erickson says:

    I had thought you were already on your way– thanks and I shall follow your travel/travails as you go. VAYA CON DIOS! love, g.

    On Mon, Sep 20, 2021 at 11:48 PM Rides Like These wrote:

    > rideslikethese posted: ” A Challenge of a Lifetime Follow me and ten other > cyclists this fall as we make our way across the Southern Tier of the > United States. Our cross-country tour will begin in Southern California and > take us across mountains, deserts, the expans” >

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Jack Palmersheim says:

    You’ve got guts, Joe. I know your experience, common sense and fortitude will see you through.. I envy you—and wait for your report at the end of this journey. God speed friend.–JackP

    Liked by 1 person

    • rideslikethese says:

      Thanks Jack — although I doubt my “fortitude” sometimes when it comes to these tours. (smile) I woke up in the middle of the night and thought, “what the hell am I doing thinking I could pull this off? Especially when I’ll miss the world series, college football weekends and mostly my family.” But I’ve been planning this tour for a couple years, and I can’t stop short of giving it a shot. I’ll post stuff on facebook and on my to keep you in the loop of what it’s like. — Joe


  3. Anna W Hamerin says:

    Good luck from Indiana. You are amazing to be doing this cannot wait to see how your adventure turns out. Good luck positive vibes your way.


  4. Larry Best says:

    This is my 58th year of post high school riding. I’m 77 & still ride at least 2,000 mi/year. I’ve done some shorter tours 300-400 miles. I also rode across the country from San Diego to Bethany Beach Delaware, a bit over 3900 miles. I was 69 at the time. Your statements & those of countless others about the trip centering around the people you meet puzzles me. I’ve also read tons of books on cycle touring & the authors are always full of stories about people inviting them to stay the night & have dinner at their house, offering them rides when they’ve broken down etc. I am very much an extrovert & will strike up a conversation with complete strangers anytime, anywhere. That being said, on all the trips I’ve done I honestly don’t recall anybody saying a damn thing to me aside from asking where I was going & wishing me good luck. I know other cyclists, friends of mine, who have toured much more than me & they all say the same thing. Nobody says a thing to them. So, that begs the question…how or what do you do that facilitates the interactions you speak of?


    • rideslikethese says:

      Thx for following. Happens a lot the way you described. But I always draw people out if possible and ask about them, Their town and tell them how nice it is just to be in their hometown. At least 50%of the time, they ask for details about the tour. I leave them with a card with my RLT site info and they follow a big percentage of the time.


  5. Marion Morris says:

    Hello, Hopefully the trip is going fine, but I haven’t seen a post since after the first day.
    I rode with a buddy on the TransAmerica Trail, a few years ago, and we didn’t always have internet connection..
    Good Luck and God Bless

    Liked by 1 person

  6. momentummike says:

    Hi Joe! I’m a friend of Mark R from Ohio who gave me your site. He’s also on the trip from San Diego to St. Augustine. Heard from Mark the other day and he said the ride is amazing. I’ve been thinking about and praying for your group nearly everyday. Would love to see some more pics and hear how the journey is going. I jumped on your Strava and Facebook pages also. Stay safe and healthy!

    Liked by 1 person

    • rideslikethese says:

      Hi Mike. Good to connect with you on my site and on STRAVA. Mark’s a great guy, one of the strongest riders of our 11-member team. The route’s challenging and the day-to-day rigors of living, cooking and sleeping on the road are quite a challenge. Unfortunately for me I had to abandon the tour near the Arizona/New Mexico state line after straining ligaments in my left knee and hip. But the rest of the group is sound and committed and I fully expect them to make it the entire way to St. Augustine, FL. I plan to write one or two more posts on my Rides Like site in the coming days to summarize “The Second Week” and perhaps “My Final Days.” What’s your STRAVA name? Best to you. – Joe Pickens


  7. momentummike says:

    Thanks for the recent post on week two. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. So excited for you guys. Sorry to hear that you got injured. Hope you are back on the road again soon!

    Liked by 1 person

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