Kurt Sandiforth is the type of guy you’d expect to find in a strange cafe somewhere while he’s in the midst of cycling around the world. He’s got the perfect cyclist build—tall enough for power but not so tall as to be laden by his own mass—and he’s got the sparkle in his eye that says “I’m going places.” Outgoing and enthusiastic about bikes and the world, he’s the perfect ambassador for the dream of throwing off the shackles of a conventional life and going for a long, long bike ride. The fact that he is cycling around the world then isn’t so surprising.
I first met Kurt a few months ago at my coffee shop, Gypsy Donut and Espresso Bar as he and a friend passed through my town on a test ride on his laden Surley. Nyack, where I live, is about half way between Beacon (where he worked at a shop) and Manhattan (their destination). Kurt had already worked his way from the west coast to New York via a very southern route and then paused in Beacon for a bit to prepare.
Kurt showed up again a few days ago in full-on-adventure travel mode, using Gypsy again as a cyclist-friendly pit stop. From New York he’s headed to Florida and then going to travel through Latin America and eventually start heading east until he lands back on the West Coast. When asked how long he plans to travel he says, looking off into the distance “oh five or six years. I’ll have to stop and get jobs along the way. This is a life goal, so I’m not going to rush it.”
As someone who has spent his life (until the last few years) as a freelancer I can certainly appreciate the journey he’s got planned. The idea of moving from place to place and living in the moment is the underlying attraction of most bike rides so a ride that encompasses years and spans the Earth sounds amazing.
Publisher note: Meeting Kurt was well-timed for our Fat Bike feature on Wired. It goes live Monday and we’ll have a post on the rest of the story after it does.