Altoona man completes cross-country bicycle trip, hopes to inspire others to follow passions

Local News

ALTOONA, BLAIR COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ) — A journey on the open road hits a little differently when you trade four tires for just two.

“I’ve never ridden through some of those areas in a car, but my creation about that would be that you would be riding through it,” Patrick McGinnis, who rode his bike cross-country, said. “Where on a bike you are riding in it and that was my experience.”

For 76 days, McGinnis got to see our country’s landscapes at about 10 miles per hour.

“I really got a geography lesson in real time,” McGinnis explained. “Each area of the country has its own intrinsic beauty. It really does.”

His faithful friend, a fully loaded Trek 520 touring bike, named Rosie was with him for every mile.

McGinnis rides his bike in Altoona

“I had asked for suggestions for a name for the bike,” McGinnis said. “After being on the road for a couple weeks I figured that the bike should have a name since I was having conversations with her. Rosie was the runaway favorite name and it just happens to be my deceased wife’s name, so it is special in that regard too.”

McGinnis rode cross-country through nine different states. It was an almost 4,000 mile trek at all different climates and altitudes.

“Everybody said if you do it be prepared for it to change your life and they were right, it has,” McGinnis said.

The journey started in San Francisco and ended in Virginia beach.

“I actually put my back tire in the San Francisco Bay to start the trip,” McGinnis explained.

On his bike were the essentials. He packed everything he needed to live off of for about two and a half months. He said on most days his bike probably weighed about 80 pounds. 

Along the way, McGinnis said he saw the best sites and the best in people. 

“I had a number of families that would just kind of adopt me for the evening or for the day and invite me to dinner if they were camping,” McGinnis said. “I had folks just anonymously pay for my meals at restaurants after talking to them and things like that.”

McGinnis reads one of his journal entries

At the end of every day, McGinnis reflected by writing journal entries, which he would also post on his Facebook page.

McGinnis began riding seriously about ten years ago in an effort to reclaim some fitness. He quickly fell in love with cycling.

“I’ve logged, well counting this trip, pretty close to 80,000 miles in 10 years of riding,” McGinnis said.

The timing seemed right in his life to take this personal journey. McGinnis turned 63 in May and that same day he retired. Immediately after is when he started pedaling.

“I’m 63-years-old and to be able to take on a physical challenge like that at my age, I feel blessed and fortunate to have the good health to do that,” McGinnis said.

McGinnis is now sharing his journey in hopes of inspiring others to follow their passions.

“Maybe somebody will see it and realize that if you can imagine something you can do it,” McGinnis explained. “Maybe it will inspire somebody to start riding or do something else they want to do. If you have something that you can dream about, you can do it.”

McGinnis suggests reaching out to the Blair Bicycle Club if you have any interest in riding.

If you want to see pictures from McGinnis’s trip and read his journal entries, he has a Facebook Page called Salt to Salt 2021.

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