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EXTREMELY BAD IDEA DAY: BIKING TO GAMES

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THE BIG TEN, OUR SMUGGEST AND MOST BIKEABLE CONFERENCE

ACTUAL PHOTO OF AUTHOR ON BIKE WITH HANDLER

On the Fullcast we broached the topic of VERY BAD WORKOUT IDEAS, which in turn kind of became a discussion of one of our hairier-brained ideas ever: Biking across the country over the course of a fall, and attempting to catch a college football game every week until you ended up in Atlanta for the title game.

This already sounds like a bad idea if you have ever spent more than six minutes as an adult on a bike. It sounds much, much worse when you remember that getting out of some states is nearly impossible already, and that’s before you ever consider a.) getting over the Rockies or b.) Attempting to drive across, much less bike across a flat infinity pan like Nebraska or Kansas.* Your ass would turn to bad ham, you’d get eight flat tires a day, you’d miss your family, and then possibly or definitely be flattened by a semi-truck driver somewhere outside of Columbia, Missouri.**

*Fun note: in the list of cross-country bike routes, Texas just doesn’t appear. It doesn’t. Even Texan biking forums are like “WHY WOULD YOU EVEN THINK ABOUT DOING THIS HAVE YOU DRIVEN TO EL PASO, EVER?”

**Dying in Missouri, even more than normal dying, sounds horrible.

That’s all before you consider that the distances between games of any interest at all are bad by car, much less by bike. Take week one of the 2017 season. Moving West to East, you could start in Eugene or Seattle, and then...um...you’re lost, because the most you could bike without any gear is probably 40-60 a day in decent shape, and that’s before you factor in literally everything else that can happen to you on the road. Unsupported, and towing a cart? You’ll be even slower, unless you’re already in pack mule shape and pounding amphetamines the whole way.

And don’t even think about starting in Pasadena, because then you’re following the I-10 corridor across Arizona and New Mexico in early September. We don’t even know if bikes are legal in Arizona. They might be considered some kind of subversion, and legally considered cannon fodder for the state’s registered 4,500 personal cannon owners. It’s probably best to not even try. If you do, disguise yourself as something beloved in the state like a psychopathic biker on a really slow, weird motorcycle, or as Jake Plummer.

Summary judgment: It starts off as near impossible and gets worse from there, and that’s before you think about where your stuff will be, and whether you have some sucker driving a support vehicle behind you.

The alternatives aren’t much better. Say you just try to do a conference. The SEC features some heinous distances, and that’s before you get to the West, which appropriately is both big on the horizontal axis and tall on the vertical. College Station is 366 miles from Baton Rouge; Fayetteville sits 529 miles from Baton Rouge; Columbia, Missouri is 296 miles away from Fayetteville. That leg alone might break a professional cyclist’s heart out of boredom, much less the stress and fatigue of pedaling that far.

The Big 12 and Pac-12’s immense distances eliminate them without even looking. Same for the ACC, where the mere presence of Miami and Boston College change the math to the impossible side.

The Big Ten, though?

Not that you’d want to—especially as the weather gets nastier into November—but that’s doable. Hard, yes, and probably in the list of the least amusing things you’d ever do, but at least possible. You’re saying our man here left out Maryland and Rutgers? Did he, reader? I mean really, did he? Who were we talking about again? What? Exactly, yes.

It makes sense that our smuggest conference by default, the Big Ten, would of course be the greenest potential conference for the insane environmentalist looking to maximize their football viewing without using a drop of gas. This post brought to you by the Florida State fan who will gas up the Tahoe in Tally this fall, throw every empty and two drive-thru meals’ worth of garbage out the window without looking, and drive 482 miles to Miami just to loudly yell “LOT OF ELBOW ROOM OUT HERE, IT’S NICE OUT HERE”. He and the insane theoretical cyclist are both heroes, really.

P.S. For bonus points, let’s consider the rivalry games you could actually do this with:

  • USC/UCLA, where it might be faster to get on a bike rather than waiting in traffic
  • SLC to Provo, which is only 47 miles or so
  • Atlanta to Athens, a leisurely 72 miles
  • Morgantown to Pittsburgh, 88 miles of leg-scorching hills
  • Eugene to Corvallis, a pleasant 47 miles people out West probably consider a light jog