"The road has a way of taking care of you, but you need to be flexible and go with the flow."
It's been exactly a year since Andrew Stout @stoutabout decided to make the crazy decision to cycle 7644km (4750miles) across the USA on his trusty tour bike "Rusty". After Andrew's father passed in 2016 from Glioblastoma, a type of brain cancer, Andrew decided to raise awareness by doing the trip that his father had always dreamed to do by setting off on a cross-country cycling adventure from Maine to San Diego. We got chatting with Andrew to find out more about his ride and to find out what's next in the pipeline.
Hey Andrew, great to hear you’ve made it back from your last ride in one piece. How are you going?
Good day guys!! Life is good. I have been super busy reconnecting with friends, time in the mountains, doing a bit of side work, and of course enjoying the holidays. Lots of good things☺. The weather here in San Diego is a bit chilly, but we have had a great year so have been out on the bike a lot for sunrise rides.
For those people who don’t know what you do, can you tell us a bit about yourself?
So it’s kind of a long story, but in a nutshell….
I am 36 from San Diego, CA, and I am living back here now. Currently house-sitting 3 kitty cats and looking for the next work or travel opportunity. When I was 14 I started to travel internationally, which kind of turned into an addiction. Through work, school, and for the pure sake of adventure I have been to 55+ countries. I lived in Australia for over 4 years on 5 separate trips and consider the Gold Coast my home away from home! I most recently worked as a guide for long distance cycling and hiking companies and was based mostly in Europe and South America. After about 5 years, I wanted to head back home to be closer to friends and family. So, I found myself looking for work and realised it was my opportunity to do something big. Something to make an impact. So, I started organising a cross USA bike ride to raise awareness towards the cancer that took my father's life just over 3 years ago.
We’ve been following your journey on Instagram and it looks like you’ve been having a great time travelling around, what’s been the highlight of your ride?
The highlight of the ride for me was all of the incredibly wonderful people I met along the way. Oh, and of course the amazing pie and ice-cream in Middle-America. No better way to recover from a long day on the road!
Also, for me the WEST was the carrot on the end of the stick! I am from the WEST and when I saw my first yucca plant as I crossed into Colorado I teared up. All of the Nation Parks, and Nation Forests are very special to me so it was incredible to see them via the saddle of my bike.
The aim of this ride was to raise awareness for Glioblastoma (Brain Cancer). Did you reach your goal?
I definitely did! I started the conversation and who knows where it will go. I spoke with so many people that were affected either directly or indirectly by other types of cancer. I heard some very powerful stories, and I shared my story when people would listen. Everything was very organic, and very powerful. I printed out 1000 x Stout Ride Cards before I left and handed out over 750 of them! Also, a lot of people I have never had an opportunity to meet have seen my content from my ride on social media which is just another way of creating awareness.
Travelling 4,750 miles is quite a feat! What is your advice to someone wanting to do a similar ride?
Take it slow, take it hour-by-hour, and day-by-day. The road has a way of taking care of you, but you need to be flexible and go with the flow. Of course you need to plan ahead and have goals for the day, but you also need to learn how to let go and let the path unfold in front of you.
The Specialized Touring Bike you used on your ride is pretty nice, how did it pull up after 7644km (4,750 miles)?
Ahhhh that is one sweet bike. The bike is the Specialized AWOL Expert, and I named him “Rusty” from the color he is painted. That bike is a tank. It will take a beating and still perform very well. From climbing into headwinds in the Rockies, to dreamy descents in the White Mountains in Vermont I was very impressed. Of course there were a few mechanical issues, but nothing that I couldn’t fix myself, or have a local shop sort out for me.
To help navigate your route, you used Quad Lock- what was the best part about using it?
I always wag my tail about Quad Lock to people! I loved having my phone handy to take pictures and videos along the way. I would use Garmin for my route, but when I would get to towns I would use Google Maps to search for certain services and exact addresses, and this is when Quad Lock would shine! I would just use it for navigation as one would in a car while drive. It was great! I have Quad Lock on all of my bikes here at home, and wouldn’t think of riding without it.
What’s next in the pipeline for you?
Until recently, I have been up in the mountains and disconnecting from everything a bit. But since I finished my ride I have hiked the John Muir Trail (210 Miles from Yosemite to Mt. Whitney), spent some time in Colorado and Oregon, and now looking for work.
My mom is on an Educational Mission trip in Nigeria, so I will most likely be heading there to visit her in a month or so, and was thinking of climbing Kilimanjaro, or stopping in Nepal on the way home.