Transcontinental Bike Trip Utah

Reentering Bike Life in Salt Lake City

The day started off poorly. I wasn’t feeling very well, kind of like I might be coming down with something, and my timing was terrible. We had numerous chores before biking, and a 50-mile day, so told myself to “suck it up.” I prayed that would work. After three solid days of driving, I was very much wanted to be back in the saddle.

We had told the rental car company in Ohio that we’d be returning it to the Salt Lake City airport. At the time we didn’t give it much thought, but now it seemed silly to resume our trip from such a distant, bike-unfriendly place. So we found an office a mile from our hotel, feeling it wouldn’t make much difference. The Budget folks had other thoughts.

“Yeah, you can leave it here, but it’ll cost you another hundred,” the large, unsympathetic office clerk informed me.

“Holy cow, really?”

“Yep, since it’s an out of state, one way rental, it’ll be a lot easier for the airport guys to find a renter going back east than us.”

It was then 11:30, am and the car was due at noon.

Our unfamiliarity with the Salt Lake area, exacerbated by being in a hurry, led us to explore parts of the city totally unknown to all but metal recyclers, landfill operators and gravel truck drivers. And there was road construction, if you call what we were on a road.

We made it.

Biking away from the airport was a thrill. We didn’t violate our recently adopted resolution to avoid interstate highways, but we managed to cover 5 or 10 miles on a freeway. To us somehow, that felt completely safe. But my malaise continued as headwinds and rain worsened a near-fifty-mile day. By now it was after 1 pm, and we’d hoped to make Orem by 5 pm. That wasn’t going to happen.

But the miles did come fairly easy. The wind abated and we savored conditions we hadn’t encountered since New Jersey – level ground. The Salt Lake Valley is as flat as its San Joaquin counterpart in California, and we loved it. Twenty miles into the ride, my attitude improved, the mysterious ailment disappeared, and our pedals chewed up the distance. We’d regained our groove.

After an hour on the Interstate 15 frontage road where we were moving faster than the freeway traffic, the motel came into view. It was 6:30 pm. A jacuzzi soak, dinner at IHOP and comfy beds, put us back in the pattern we’d left one week ago. Amazing.

To be continued.

Below, Mike in full biking regalia

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13 years ago

So glad you guys are back in the saddle. Nice yarn: nail-biting doubt about whether you’d make your day’s quest, and then sweet success. BTW, has IHOP signed on as your sponsor?

Bill Zarchy
13 years ago

Go Johnnie, Go Johnnie, Go Johnnie, Go!

13 years ago

I’m in awe.Hope the good weather holds

13 years ago

Great stuff, John. What you need for that freeway riding is a couple of lassos to rope up a semi or two and kick back and relax!