Dan Hoyt

Web developer/designer

No Takebacks 1996

From 1996 to 2008, I made several solo bicycle tours across North America. Most were successful, and some were interrupted by injury, but all of them produced interesting stories. Following are accounts of the most memorable trips.

Just A Taste

While driving in west Texas, I passed by a solitary woman riding into the setting sun. Her bicycle was loaded with bags and camping gear. I was blown away by her audacity. She was traveling alone, living on her bicycle, crossing the continent. She didn't know it, but she'd just given me the bug. I had to try this thing.

Not long after my return to Austin, I'd packed my mountain bike with makeshift saddlebags and budget camping gear, and set out for an unknown spot on a map forty miles away. That first ride was harsh and grueling—knobby tires on crumbly shoulders through hill country, and Texas summer heat. Water bottles emptied and their replacements undrinkably hot within the hour. On arrival at the remote county park, the attendant was convinced I was up to no good. He made a show of calling it in on the radio.

When I finally got my camping spot, I discovered that I was alone. Lake levels were down in a summer drought. Only fire ants, cicadas and mosquitos kept me company as I attempted to nail tent stakes into what was apparently bedrock. Nor was I afforded sleep. I rode back the next day exhausted and hurting in places I didn't know could hurt. And still I was crazed with the intensity of it.

From that two day trip, I could tell there was much to learn. Bigger plans began to unfold.