Cambridge Resident Is Biking 10,000 Miles Around the Country

Peter Gorman quit his job, found someone to take over his apartment, and is leaving Massachusetts behind—for now.

After Peter Gorman finished reading Bill Bryson’s book A Walk in the Woods, which details the author’s travels along the Appalachian Trail, he knew it was time to embark on his own once-in-a-lifetime excursion, and walk away from the normalcy of his everyday life.

“I read the book and loved it, and it sort of put the idea in my head that I’d like to go on an adventure like that. Things just lined up, I had enough money saved, and I started talking to people about it,” said Gorman, a Cambridge resident and one-half of “bostonology,” a daily newsletter and index about “all things Boston.”

Starting next week, Gorman will begin his 10,000-mile, year-long trip on two wheels, with nothing but a few key necessities packed away in the panniers attached to the front and back of his new bike.

“I can’t believe it,” he said, envisioning what 365 days of biking on the roads, relying on the kindness of complete strangers, and camping and sleeping wherever space is available will be like. “I’ve been learning as much as I can to get ready, but the idea of touring and camping is totally new for me.”

As part of his solo-adventure, partly inspired by Bryson’s writing, Gorman has set up a website and special Instagram account where he plans on keeping people up-to-date on his travels each day.

For the duration of the journey, Gorman will be relying on his brand new Surly Long Haul Trucker bicycle, which he nicknamed “Franny,” after Saint Frances, who was deemed the “patron saint of automobile drivers” because she used to carry a lantern with her to light the roads and avoid hazardous situations. He will also be relying on a limited number of supplies, and the advice of friends and family.

Gorman, who quit his job at the Appalachian Mountain Club to take on the bike challenge, estimates he will ride 27-miles per day for the next year, making stops in cities all over the country, and spending a few days in certain areas. His route will take him from Boston, to Florida, down through the Southern states, and up to California, before he cuts into Canada and eventually travels back down into the Northeast on his way home, capping off the adventure.

“I’m hoping to give myself some time to explore. I’m really just taking my time,” he said, admitting he’s nervous about some aspects of the trip, but overall has prepared himself adequately with the help of online bike blogs that have detailed similar treks.

He said the biggest challenge would likely be spending so much time alone, but he plans on visiting friends when he can, and staying in touch with his roots in Boston throughout the experience.

“I have done some solo traveling, but thinking about doing this solo for a whole year is intimidating,” he said. “But I think it will push me to open myself up to new and interesting kinds of people. Physically, I don’t think it’s going to be too challenging, and I think trying to survive on the road will be my biggest obstacle.”

Worries aside, Gorman is trying to stay focused as the first day of his trip quickly approaches. He said he anticipates arriving in Key West, Florida sometime around Christmas, and planned his yearlong route so that the warm weather is in his favor as he circles the country.

“I’m really just looking forward to the feeling of waking up everyday and knowing that the only thing I have to worry about and think about is jumping on my bike,” he said.