Herman ’12 Bikes Across America
In August, Lily Herman ’12
completed the Overland American Challenge, a 3,000-mile cross-country bike trip that began in Tybee Island, Georgia, and ended six weeks later at the Santa Monica Pier in Los Angeles. Along with nine other students and two group leaders, Herman biked an average of 85 miles per day, with the longest day totaling over 120 miles. There was no van support, and the group prepared most of its own meals while sleeping primarily in campgrounds, as well as churches and community centers.
After dipping their front wheels in the Atlantic Ocean, the group rode through Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi, skirting the Appalachians, before heading north into the Ozarks in Arkansas and Missouri. They spent a week in Kansas, where temperatures soared to 110 degrees, before finally reaching cooler weather and “epic” climbs in the Colorado Rockies. They had another steep climb up to the Grand Canyon, encountering a sand storm along the way, before making the trek across the Mojave Desert to California. The last days of the trip were spent crossing the San Gabriel mountain range and navigating through Los Angeles traffic, followed by a well-earned dip in the Pacific Ocean, front wheels in hand.
According to Herman, the hardest part of the trip was, “pushing through the days in Kansas. They were filled with high mileage, high temperatures and high winds, not to mention the fact that the terrain didn’t flatten out until the western half.”
However, there were also many great parts of the trip. “The Colorado Rockies were absolutely breathtaking. The climbs were more gradual, and the scenery was like something out of National Geographic.”
Of course, reaching the Pacific Ocean was a highlight. “Rolling into Los Angeles was spectacular. Random people on the streets were cheering for us. Our friends and family were crying. We were crying. Taking off my front tire and sprinting in the ocean was one of the most rewarding experiences of my entire life.”