• Sophia Fang


Sunday, July 10th

Eureka, KS --> Newton, KS. 75 miles. "Mostly flat" (Google maps says this but "mostly" could mean anything. In this case, it was actually very flat. +876 ft. -449 ft.)

Hello there, this is Sophia coming with your Day 40 of Spokes!! (We are almost caught up on blogs). This means that we are officially halfway through our wild 80-day summer adventure! That's crazy. Also the roads of Kansas are so flat. Sometimes it feels like we are biking into the sky. Without hands, it's like flying :) Excellent shot by Maxwell below:

So we take turns leading when we bike (the person in front navigates, paces the group, yells "Clear" when there are no cars, and also finds places to stop for a quick snack break and stretch). As the person leading for our ride today, I was a bit worried we wouldn’t find the precious shade to properly rejuvenate but thankfully, Kansas has more trees than I thought.

Kansas is also very biker friendly - there’s a law that requires cars to leave 3 feet of space when passing cyclists!! Also I kept wondering what the difference is between a biker and a cyclist so I googled it. Apparently google is also unsure. This is what has to say about the matter: "A cyclist (or bicyclist) is someone who rides a bicycle. A biker is someone who rides a motorcycle. These terms are an ongoing subject of controversy, especially in cyclist circles. But it’s best to refer to groups of people as they refer to themselves. Cyclists generally call themselves cyclists, and bikers call themselves bikers. This is the case in the U.S., at least." Which makes me wonder how these terms are defined in other parts of the world.

Also, we were finally back on Route 76 (the Transamerica bike route)! In fact we were on it the whole way and so even though my phone died near the end, there were plenty of signs to guide us to Cassoday Cemetery (literally one of the only places we could stop before a 40mi stretch of nothing).

Literally a horizontal line (quite unlike most of our zig-zagging paths through previous states)!

We didn’t see any bikers on Route 76, but as we approached our destination in Newton, we saw two bike packers (potentially father and son?)!

Dinner was tacos with some delicious local corn that has been grown by a family for several generations. Our warm showers hosts were Mennonites, and shared a bit about the history of the group during dinner (many of them were originally settled in Ukraine before they came to Kansas).

We were all excited for an earlier bedtime (the past two days have been midnight yikes), but I suddenly remembered that I needed to go buy berries for my workshop (quick refresher: kids make dye-sensitized solar cells using berry juice as the dye and these typically generate about 0.3 volts on a good day). To acquire the berries, I found a grocery store about 0.7mi away. I decided to walk. Yes we have a car. Yes I have my bike. I just like walking (the walkability of Boston and Cambridge is one of my favorite parts about that area), and after all the biking, I missed it. In addition to the classic purchase of raspberries and blackberries, I also ended up buying a medium-sized bottle of grape juice as well since black grapes are another source of anthocyanins (the light-absorbing compound needed in the solar cell), and a $2 40-page journal. Alas there was always the intention of journaling on this trip, but it's crazy how many things we have to do each day and how little free time I actually have to write a few thoughts down. And yes, 40 pages because I want to have at least 1 page dedicated for the last half of this once-in-a-lifetime journey.

Back at the house, we met the fattest cat I have ever seen named Tiger, as well as a dog named Enzo. Tiger has an almost human-like meow. Enjoy some of these photos as well as my attempts to converse:

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