Cody and Tyler Kyle have a reason for bicycling across the country, even if it sounds like they didn't really need one.
The brothers, who grew up in the foothills outside Clovis, are nearing the end of a three-month adventure that will take them 3,800 miles through 11 states. They set out April 6 at the Golden State Bridge and are currently in Clemmons, N.C., taking a short break from the saddle to visit family.
After celebrating the Fourth of July with their aunt, uncle and cousins, they'll continue for the final 600 miles to their endpoint in Beaufort, N.C., on the state's eastern shore. They plan to finish by next weekend.
"We dipped our tires in San Francisco and I think we'll do the same here," Cody says. "And if I can find a short pier, I think I might just ride off it."
Before Cody does that, better remove the helmet camera he's been wearing constantly for a documentary titled "A Positive Mind in Every State." The idea is to interact with residents of small towns and discover what makes each of them unique. He's shot nearly 500 hours of footage so far and hopes the project is finished by next spring. (In the meantime, they've been chronicling the trip in a blog at outthereinit.wordpress.com.)
Cody Kyle, 26, spent the past three years working for a Fresno company that produces commercials and video web content. He has a degree in videography from Cal State Monterey Bay. Tyler Kyle, who turns 24 on Monday, has a degree in graphic design from Cal Poly. Both attended Sierra High.
"The main reasons we're doing this are to produce the documentary and to go on a big adventure," Cody says. "We like having adventures, and the bicycle just happens to be the medium for this one."
Tyler adds, "We're having the time of our lives. There's always the excitement of waking up every day knowing you're going to see and experience something new."
Things weren't so rosy that first week. Loaded down with camping equipment and warm clothes, their bikes weighed 90-plus pounds. Which isn't exactly ideal for crossing the Sierra, especially if you're not accustomed to road bikes and clipless pedals. ("We fell over a couple times at stoplights," Tyler says.)
But they needed all that stuff when they were caught in a snowstorm outside Carson City, Nev. Which prepared them for an even bigger storm pedaling into Rico, Colo., on the edge of the Rockies.
Pulling into the 300-person town during a whiteout, the soggy, shivering travelers were directed by locals to camp at a nearby hot springs.
"We just hopped in and out all night long in this blizzard," Cody says. "That was great."
The Kyles have been averaging 60-70 miles per day but have ridden as few as 20 in Colorado and 100 through Kansas. The two Eagle Scouts typically ride for about a week straight, camping where they can, before taking a day off to relax and clean up at a motel.
So far, they've managed to stay safe. Even though Tyler had a close call with a big rig in Kentucky that almost ran him off the road in a turn before the driver spotted him in the side mirror and eased off the corner.
Just as Tyler was breathing easier, another truck driver who had seen what happened pulled alongside and started hollering at him. A few miles later, they saw the truck again. It had swerved off the road and crashed into a ditch.
"That guy was yelling at me like it was my fault," Tyler says. "Then I was like, 'Karma, man.' "
Following a route laid out by the Adventure Cycling Association, they've encountered dozens of fellow two-wheeled travelers. Since most were headed West, the brothers got the inside scoop on friendly towns, mean dogs and road construction.
The Kyles have had excellent luck with locals, too. Even the couple of times they've been called "crazy," it's been said in a friendly way.
As far as Tyler can tell, there's only one drawback to traveling by bike.
"There's not much room for souvenirs," he says. "Just the stories we have."
The reporter can be reached at (559) 441-6218 or firstname.lastname@example.org.