Dena's Big Adventure




The Girl

The Bike

The Route

The Map

The Contact Info

The Word From the Road [updated 10/12/05]

Images of America [updated 10/04/05]




Hello, and thanks for stopping by my site, hosted by my dear friend Erik Wile.  On this page you can find out everything you need to know about my big adventure: a self-supported bicycle trip from Maine to British Columbia to California, from June-October 2005.      

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The Girl

For those of you who know me already, skip this section.  For those of you who don't, my name is Dena and I'm from Cambridge, MA.  After wrapping up a PhD in biology, I am taking a few months off to pursue my biggest non-scientific passion: bike touring.  In the summer of 1998, after graduating from college, I rode my bike from Seattle to Washington, D.C. as part of the American Lung Association's GTE Big Ride Across America. I couldn't think of a better way to celebrate the completion of my PhD than another cross-country trip, and I am thrilled to have the opportunity to visit America again. 

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The Bike


My beloved custom touring bike, affectionately known as "Dagny" was hand-crafted in Holliston, MA by master bike builder Mike Flanigan.  You can visit Mike on the web at to see all of the wonderful things that he builds.  Mike specializes in bikes that carry stuff, which is critical for bike touring!  The touring bike has a long wheelbase, so that it is very stable when loaded up and also to provide enough room in the back for the bags (panniers).  The gearing is very low, like a mountain bike, so that I can peddle up big hills easily.  Dagny also has heavy-duty wheels for supporting all that weight—fully loaded, the bike weights almost 70lbs! 

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The Route


I am riding across North America from east to west: from Portland, ME to Vancouver, BC.  Along the way I will pass through Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, New York, Ontario, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Washington, and British Columbia.  When I arrive in Vancouver I will be meeting my long-time touring companion Tobias Seidel, who hails from Braunschweig, Germany.  He and I will then ride the west coast of the country together, going through Washington, Oregon, and California on our way to San Diego.  The entire adventure will take four months, from June 10-October 15.  I estimate that during that time I will travel more than 6000 miles under my own power.  Most of the routes that I will be using were developed by the Adventure Cycling Association 

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The Contact Info


Thanks to the power of wireless technology, you can email me all summer long on my Blackberry!  I will also be receiving drop shipments from my parents on a weekly basis, so if you see a good newspaper or magazine article that you think I should read (or if you would like to send me snail-mail), please put it in an envelope and mail it to me at my parents' house, and they will pass it along.  The address is:


Dena Cohen

104 Manet Road

Chestnut Hill, MA 02467

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The Word From the Road


In this section you will find my trip journal.  I will try to update this section every few days as I make my way around the country.  Please check back to see what's new!

06/05/05 A Poem For the Road: Appalachian Farewell

06/12/05 Days -1 to 1

06/13/05 Days 2-3: Boothbay Harbor to Lewiston, ME

06/20/05 Days 4,5, 6 and 7: Lewiston, ME to Ticonderoga, NY

06/23/05 Days 8, 9, 10, 11, and 12

06/26/05 Days 13, 14, and 15

07/04/05 Days 16, 17, 18, and 19

07/04/05 Days 20, 21 and 22

07/12/05 Days 23, 24, 25, and 26

07/12/05 Days 27, 28, 29, and 30

07/18/05 Days 31, 32, 33 and 34

07/19/05 Days 35, 36, 37, and 38

07/25/05 Days 39, 40, 41, and 42

07/25/05 Days 43 and 44

08/04/05 Days 45 and 46

08/07/05 Days 47, 48, 49 and 50

08/07/05 Days 51, 52, 53, and 54

08/07/05 Days 55, 56, 57, and 58

08/22/05 Days 59, 60, 61, and 62

08/23/05 Days 63, 64, 65, and 66

08/27/05 Days 67, 68, 69, and 70

08/28/05 Days 71 and 72

08/28/05 Days 73, 74, 75, 76, and 77

09/07/05 Days 78, 79 and 80

09/09/05 Days 81, 82, 83, and 84

09/09/05 Days 85, 86, 87, and 88

09/14/05 Days 89, 90, 91 and 92

09/21/05 Days 93, 94, 95, and 96

09/27/05 Days 97, 98, 99, and 100

09/27/05 Days 101, 102, 103, and 104

09/30/05 Days 105, 106, and 107

10/03/05 Day 107 (missing from previous post)

10/05/05 Days 108 and 109

10/11/05 Days 110 and 111

10/12/05 Days 112, 113, and 114

[11/27/05. New pictures! Only pictures up until day 114 are posted so far, until she sends the journals which describe where she is in the remaining pictures. Keep bugging Dena to finish her journal. I nag sometimes, but it gets old. She's obviously done with her ride, safe and sound, but it's six weeks after she's returned and she still hasn't written up the journal entries for her last two weeks. If she'd written one single entry every third day she'd be done by now. -erik]


[10/25/05 MAP, MAP, MAP. I finally figured out the Google maps API and found out google-able locations for each of Dena's entries. Check out the map here. It's minimalist so far, with just simple as-the-crow-flys lines joining each of the 114 days that Dena has told us about so far. The Google maps API provides a pretty slick interface... use the zoom bar to the side, and just click and drag around. You can also click on cities and get the city name / day number, and a link to the journal entry. Hope you like. -erik]


[10/11/05 Dena and Tobias spent a few days at my parents' house in Santa Monica, CA. It was great to get a call from Dena saying "I'm in your parents back yard." My mom sent a couple cute pictures, and I put them up in the fan photos directory. -erik]


[10/04/05 Remember the group of people who got out of their car to cheer Dena up a nasty hill in the Cascades on Day 71? Well, they sent a couple pictures of the super-athlete we all know and love. Check em out! -erik]


[08/19/05 Just fyi, the tmobile coverage maps are: T-mobile in-network coverage map for where her email has any hope of working, and the roaming network coverage, for where the phone might work. -erik]


Images of America


I will be traveling with a digital camera, so I will also periodically be posting pictures from the road for you to look at.  Unfortunately, the pictures will be updated less frequently than the text portion of the site due to technological limitations.  The pictures will be broken down by state for your viewing pleasure.

06/30/05 Maine through New York

08/03/05 New York through South Dakota

09/05/05 Wyoming through Washington

10/04/05 Pictures from some fans in the Cascades!

10/04/05 Washington through California

10/11/05 Added pictures from my parents in Santa Monica, CA.

11/27/05 Northern California