Bike Hobos in San Felipe

San Felipe, Baja, Mexico

January 15, 2007

Scot Colburn and Matt Baumeister, the "Bike Hobos", stopped in San Felipe for a cup of coffee and a visit to The San Felipe Title Company, just another small-town breathing spell for the two adverurers during their ambitious one year, 16,000 bicycle trek from Prudhoe Bay, Alaska to Ushuaia, Argentina. North to south, these locations are the two furthest points one can reach by road.

After over 6,000 miles, the two men looked cheerful and optimistic, although a few holiday hiatus periods have put them about three months behind schedule. But why worry? If the two cyclists managed to average about 70 miles a day, they would be applying a mere 15,000-20,000 leg-strokes between breakfast and dinner.

Below is an article that appeared in the Lincoln Journal Star describing the adventure. You can visit their website HERE.


Lincoln man riding bike from Alaska to Argentina
By MICAH MERTES / Lincoln Journal Star
Tuesday, Dec 25, 2007 - 12:24:08 am CST

A trek from the top of Alaska to the bottom of Argentina isn’t exactly light traveling.

Especially when you’re on a bike.

But for Matt Baumeister, a 29-year-old lifelong Lincolnite, a two-wheeled journey was the only way to go. “It was just something I decided I had to do,” he said. “I kind of changed my plans overnight, bought myself a bike and started planning the trip.”

Bike HoboBaumeister began his self-financed Pan-American Highway bike ride in June, a 16,000-mile stretch from Prudhoe Bay, Alaska — the farthest north you can get in North America, on a road, anyway — to the road’s end at Ushuaia, Argentina, the world’s southernmost city. He had just graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in May with a degree in geography, a discipline that’s proved handy in his venture.

As of now, Baumeister and his riding partner, Scot Colburn of Boulder, Colo., have covered more than 5,000 miles, about one-third of the total trip. He arrived back in Lincoln right before Thanksgiving to take a few weeks off for the holidays. And he’ll continue the ride south after the new year, hopefully making it to Argentina by next Christmas, he said.

“It’s been really nice being back,” Baumeister said. “Seeing my friends and family. But I’m ready to get back on the bike.”

Hindered by icy roads and weighed down by the unforgiving aftereffects of ingesting ham and turkey, Baumeister hasn’t been on a bike since he came home. Basically couch-bound, he’s eager to burst back into mobility.

The irony of Baumeister’s cycling addiction is that he actually did very little biking before the trip.

“Believe it or not, I hadn’t ridden a bike more than 10 times in the last 10 years before the trip,” he said. “And those were just jaunts with friends. I wasn’t in great shape before I left, so I lost about 15 pounds in the first few weeks.”

Bike Hobos in San Felipe
Scott and Matt in San Felipe

But he did have quite a bit of experience in travel, having backpacked in several countries before.

The bike ride was planned so that the pair rode through moderate weather most of the way, avoiding the unbearable cold of the north by passing through in the summer. And now they’ll dodge the boiling temperatures of Central America by traveling in the winter.

Decent weather was vital because Baumeister and Colburn spent most of their nights outdoors, either camping or sleeping on park benches. Of their 140-plus days on the road, they’ve stayed in a motel only twice.

“Another thing is we meet a lot of cool people,” he said. “And they’ll sometimes let us stay at their homes. It’s been great just stopping in these small towns in the middle of nowhere, hanging out in cafes, meeting the locals. We ride into town, and we look haggard, and we smell. And people get very interested and sometimes very generous. We do get called crazy sometimes, though.”

If they find a town they like, they’ll stick around for a few days. If they need to rest, they’ll rest. The only absolutes are point A and point B. Everything in between is fluid and spontaneous, Baumeister said.

Originally, they were going to ride for charity, but the arrangement didn’t gel. So now they’re riding across 16,000 miles, 14 countries and two continents to just, well ... ride.

“The million-dollar question,” Baumeister said, “what everyone always asks us: ‘Why are you doing this?’ I guess I’m just fascinated with people and places. I absolutely love that feeling of displacement, the feeling of being in an odd place. And when you’re riding, you just sort of get to meditate. Your mind shuts off, and you just roll down the road. You think about things you normally wouldn’t.”

He said his thoughts and conversations with Colburn run the gamut from Britney Spears’ latest hijinks to the existence of God.

“From the most trivial things to the ultimate questions.”

So what happens when the trip’s over a year from now?

“I have absolutely no idea. But I’ve got a lot of time to think about it.”

by Micah Mertes at