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Searching for the spirit of America

Cody Kyle likes big adventures.

The CSU Monterey Bay alumnus (TAT 2010) and his brother Tyler just completed one – a 3,800-mile bike ride through 11 states from the Golden Gate Bridge to Atlantic Beach, N.C.

The odyssey ended on July 12, when, according to their blog, Cody and Tyler reached their final destination – in pouring rain.

"We were escorted by the Morehead Police Department. They guided us in for the last 10 miles, blocking off traffic at the stop lights and waving us through," the brothers reported.

"Thanks to friends, family and good Samaritans, we made it relatively unharmed, albeit scratched and with a few new scars," Cody said.

He wore a helmet camera during the trip, recording footage for a documentary he is calling “A Positive Mind in Every State.” The idea was to interact with residents of small towns and discover what makes each of them unique.

He ended up with more than 600 hours of footage and plans to have the project finished by next spring. Cody hopes to use the documentary as a resume piece to help him land his dream job in nature documentary work. And Tyler, a graphic designer, said the unique cities and the artwork he has seen throughout the trip have inspired him.

After graduating from CSUMB, Cody, 26, spent several years working for AD-Venture, a Fresno video production agency. Tyler, 24, a graduate of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, worked as an art director for a Morro Bay firm.

“The main reasons we’re doing this are to produce the documentary and to go on a big adventure,” Cody told the Fresno Bee. “We like adventures, and the bicycle just happens to be the medium for this one.”

The trip got off to a rough start in April. Loaded down with clothing and camping equipment, their bikes weighed more than 90 pounds – which made crossing the Sierra a bit of a challenge. Their unfamiliarity with road bikes and clipless pedals didn’t help. “We fell over a couple of times at stoplights,” Tyler told the Bee.

But that warm clothing proved useful when they were caught in a snowstorm outside Carson City, Nev., and another one in Colorado.

They averaged 60 to 70 miles a day and typically rode for a week straight, camping as they went. After a week’s ride, they took a day off to relax and stay at a motel.

They followed a route laid out by the Adventure Cycling Association and encountered dozens of bicycling travelers along the way. Some of them were headed west, and were able to provide the brothers with useful information about friendly towns, road construction and heavy traffic. And the locals they encountered along the way were friendly and helpful. Even the few times they were called “crazy,” it was said in a nice way, they said.

There’s only one drawback to traveling by bike, Tyler told the Bee. “There’s not much room for souvenirs.” Read the blog that Cody and Tyler kept during their trip.