Campus News

A Cross Country Bicycle Quest: Jose Amateco

Have you ever pictured yourself going on a bike ride for at least 79 straight days? Believe it or not, it is possible, as one of our current Alumni, Jose Amateco, has proven. He graduated last spring with a biology degree and is now hoping to continue his education through graduate school. However, before applying, his mentor, Mark Bybee, a business man from New Port Richey, gave him a graduation gift that he will forever remember: the opportunity to ride a bike through 13 states, spend 37 nights camping, and experience a brand new adventure.

       Amateco and Bybee’s journey started in Anacortes, Wash, and ended in Harbor, Maine. Included in their equipment was mountain hardware tents, sleeping bags, thermosets pads, an MSR stove, riding clothes for all weather conditions (including rain gear), Ortleib Panniers, and small miscellaneous materials one might need when riding across the country.

They began their journey on June 2, 2014, and were able to bike for 30 miles during that day. Out of the 13 states that Amateco visited, his favorite state was Washington, because he got to see Cascades National Park, which had beautiful mountains and snowfall; he was thrilled to see  snow for the first time.

“I had to climb about 30 feet up (a mountain), so I could really touch and lift the solid snow. It was worth it,” said Amateco

Amateco had so many great memories that it was hard for him to point out the best ones. One memory is when he and Bybee reached their 71st day and made a rest stop in Niagara Falls, N.Y. There, they were able to get on the Maid of the Mist boat for a tour around the Niagara Falls.

“They (the days on the tour) were special and you just never get tired of seeing the falls. You rarely get to see something so majestic and powerful. No wonder it is call one of the modern wonders of the world.”

Throughout their quest, they were fortunate enough to meet friendly people that offered the duo their homes for a place to sleep, wonderful homemade breakfasts, and a place to wash their laundry.

“That was the best part of the trip as well. I got a chance to meet wonderful people and made long lasting friendships with other cyclists.”

By the 95th day, they reached their final stop and completed their goal: they rode for 79 days, made 14 rest stops, camped for 37 nights, and traveled 4008 miles. Throughout their adventure, they kept a blog in which they posted their pictures, new experiences, and encounters with people they met along their journey.

“Keeping this blog was so great because now that the trip is over, I can always look back at it and remember the good times that I had.”

The blog is currently online. This was one summer that Jose never forget.

         “Our cross-country bicycle quest has ended, but it is just the beginning of many more quests to come. There are more states to cycle across. There are more mountains and passes to challenge. There are many more pictures waiting to be taken, and many more awesome people to meet. Not only in our country, but also many countries in the world are open with infinite opportunities for bicycle touring. For now, I am going back to school, but for all of you cyclists out there, keep pedaling on and best wishes in your fantastic adventures.”

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