Briscoe completes ride of a lifetime

Quincy Briscoe enjoyed his 3,000-mile bike ride across the United States so much, he's already planning the sequel.

But not before enjoying a little down time, starting this weekend.

"It's Friday night," he said hours after taking a dip in the Pacific Ocean. "I couldn't have planned it any better."

Briscoe has earned the right to celebrate. The 18-year-old former Ashland High tennis player raised $7,000 — more than double his goal — for the impoverished youth of Cambodia riding his bike from St. Augustine, Fla., to La Jolla, Calif., a three-month journey that began Jan. 22 and ended at precisely 3 p.m. Friday. Friends and family gathered to cheer him on down the home stretch as his dad, renowned Ashland photographer Christopher Briscoe, snapped pictures. Quincy Briscoe dunked his tire in the ocean to make it official, then went for what must have been about the most refreshing swim of his life.

"It still hasn't set in yet," he said afterward. "It's kind of a surreal feeling, kind of weird. I'm sitting in my room right now, where I haven't been since last September — six months. I've been living out of a 20-inch by 10-inch bag, and now I have a whole room full of stuff.

"It's nice to check it off my bucket list, but I liked it," he added. "I liked staying in the funky places at night, going to new places every night, nobody knows you and you don't know anybody."

He's tentatively planning on doing it again next year, but with a more ambitious goal of $35,000. He's also considering switching it up and starting on the west coast to avoid the head winds that "suck all the water out of you."

Towing a trailer packed with supplies and riding a Specialized Crux racing bike, Briscoe pedaled about 75 miles per day on average, up hill and down hill, through biting rain and against blinding sun, early in the morning and late at night. He arranged for lodging through, a website that connects people who are willing to lend a bed or a yard (for a tent) to those who need it. Some of those people donated to Briscoe's cause and continue to keep in touch, but most of his stays were "short and sweet."

He received donations from others he met along the way. A old man egged on by his wife stood out, as did a marine who had just returned from Iraq.

Briscoe rates Texas as the most bike-friendly state. Drivers there would steer clear to give him plenty of room. But that wasn't always the case. Some of his daily treks were downright harrowing.

"On a highway, you hugged that line like you're married to it," he said. "You're always on that white line. One time a semi-truck did not get over, and it was probably about a foot away from me going about 60 miles an hour. That freaks you out. Especially with a head wind, because you can't hear them."

Briscoe said the cold mornings — "bone-chilling" — were the worst part of the trip. The friendships made it worth it, however. One, in particular, made Briscoe's journey seem almost like a vacation. He met two more bicyclists he had been unintentionally following in Fort Davis, Texas, and ended up riding the rest of the way with one of them, Cameron Wade.

"He's staying at my house for a few days," Briscoe said. "We're best buds now."

Briscoe said he never stopped to consider the enormity of his accomplishment, even as he closed in on his final destination Friday morning.

That attitude may have something to do with the root of his cause — a trip to Cambodia four years ago that opened his eyes to true poverty. He planted rice and gave away tennis balls, then almost felt guilty about leaving. That's why another cross-country trip doesn't seem so bad.

"We helped out a lot, but we peeked into their world, in a way unnoticed," he said. "We took what we needed and just left. We helped out in other ways, but with me it just kind of felt like there was no reciprocation. They gave us so much.

"I wanted to give them something more."

Share This Story