What does it take to get from New York to California? "Just WiFi, water, and a working bicycle," Jeffrey Tanenhaus tells WNBC-TV. The New Yorker rolled into the Golden State at the city of Blythe last week after riding 2,700 miles across 17 states—mostly along historic Route 66—on a distinctive blue Citi Bike he checked out in Manhattan on Aug. 6. Citi Bike is a fee-based bicycle sharing system. Speaking to New York magazine from Albuquerque this month, Tanenhaus said his job as a corporate event planner (to which he used to commute on a Citi Bike) and his apartment lease were both ending, and he "couldn't stomach" getting "just another job. I was out of options in New York, and I thought of the great American road trip." But, he tells New York, "I didn't expect to get very far—down the Jersey Shore at the most."
Along the way to California, Tanenhaus saw the Washington, DC, sights; the Grand Canyon; and the gravesite of Col. Harland Sanders (think KFC), among other things. In the Southwest, wind and frigid temperatures were a challenge. Gusts up to 40mph forced him to sometimes push the bike, the New York Post reports. Strangers helped out, providing rides and allowing Tanenhaus to couch-surf or bunk in RVs. In October, Tanenhaus had to detour to a hospital after an angry Oklahoma driver punched him in the face. And he took a break in November, flying back to New York for Thanksgiving. Tanenhaus tells the Post that he plans to knock around Joshua Tree National Park for a while, and then reach Santa Monica, the end of Route 66, by mid-January. As for the bike, Tanenhaus has been billed $1,200 by Citi Bike ("which I thought was fair"). He tells New York he wants to get it back to the "ecosystem from where it came," which means disassembling it and taking it back to NYC on a train. (This bike ride down the Atlantic coast ended with a man being murdered.)