Riding for a drink of water

Three to ride bikes length of Americas



Will Adams and Alex Taylor already have plenty of adventure stories, from hitchhiking the East Coast to getting stranded in suburban Tokyo.

But that was just the start.

In late spring next year, Adams, Taylor and another friend, Matt Riley, expect to embark on a 15,000-mile trek from Anchorage, Alaska, to the southernmost tip of Argentina.

The journey will be made on motorized bicycles and is intended to bring awareness about a lack of clean drinking water around the world.

Both men acknowledge it's an ambitious undertaking, but they embrace the danger and the risk.

"We'll run into some hairy situations and obstacles," Adams said. "That's the challenge of it."

They seem typecast for the adventure. Adams, 26, has long, curly hair pulled into a loose ponytail, muscular forearms and an easy smile. Taylor, 23, with a patchy beard and short hair, quotes folksinger Bob Dylan and philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche when talking about the trip.

Any questions about their sincerity are answered by the enthusiasm and planning they have put into the project, which they call All the Way Around.

Adams, an Athens, Ga., native who has lived in Augusta for nine years, has been plotting the route, raising money and tinkering with the bikes for a year. His first trip to Atlanta on the bike will be in a week or two, followed by longer excursions.

It's much better to figure out the kinks and hang-ups in the equipment locally than be stranded somewhere in Central America, Adams explained.

Sometime next May, the three men will ship the finished bikes to Anchorage and begin the trek.

For Adams, the bicycle was really the genesis of the project. He was puttering around with a small engine, trying to make improvements, when "I saw the potential to do some good," he said.

Adams knew he could make a long trip on the bicycles, which average 150 to 200 miles a gallon at speeds around 30 mph, but he lacked a cause.

Then he came across Water for Life, a nonprofit group in Hawaii that provides clean drinking water in impoverished nations. He found a partner in his friends, Taylor and Riley, who have experience in long-distance trips.

The past year has been spent working on a route, which is difficult at times because of a lack of local maps of Central and South American countries. The plan at this point is to travel the Pan-American Highway through Peru, then cut across to Brazil and stop in the Tierra del Fuego in Argentina.

Adams has been perfecting the bicycles that will bear the brunt of the 15,000-mile journey. The bikes will be standardized so that only one set of tools will be needed for repairs. Small trailers will be towed by the bicycles.

Adams expects the trip to take from four to six months.

Taylor is looking forward not just to completing the trip but also to what they find along the way.

"It's about the journey, not the destination," he said.


For more information on the trip, visit: http://allthewayaround.net.