If you ever doubt such a thing as kindness in strangers, hop on a bike. (Jim Quinlan)
On my bike trip across the United States in 2008, I discovered bicycle touring is the best way to see the world. I have a long list of reasons but towards the top are the people: the mother and daughter in Michigan who let us sleep in their treehouse, the couple who found us in 105° heat and decided to haul back a Costco pack of frozen ice pops, the campground owners in Montana who upon finding out that it was our leader’s birthday brought us a makeshift watermelon “cake” with a flower in it. These are the people you are much less likely to meet in practically any other form of transportation because bicycling takes you through the backroads.
In the summer of 2017, I took on the feat again, following the iconic TransAmerica Trail from Virginia to Seattle. Inspired by the fond memories from my 2008 trip, I set out to photograph the people I met along the way. Their portraits and stories illustrate the kindness that exists across America. In the aftermath of the U.S. 2016 presidential election, it was reassuring to experience firsthand the generosity and warmth that fills this country.
I'm happy to report that those 4,000 miles were just the beginning.