Before he biked across the country, he was just one of New York City’s thousands of commuters. Four-and-a-half months later, Jeffrey Tanenhaus has finally reached California – on a New York Citi Bike.
Tanenhaus began his cross-country journey on Aug. 6, leaving his job as a corporate event planner in Manhattan.
His daily commute took him from downtown Brooklyn to Times Square, the best part of his day, according to Tanenhaus.
“I was always expecting my job to get better, or to get a different job or for something to come along. When it didn’t, I ended up leaving in early August,” he said Saturday from Blythe, California, during a phone interview
The 2,700-mile journey spanned 17 states and cost Tanenhaus the $1,200 late fee charged by Citi Bike for exceeding the maximum 45-minute limit.
Despite the sometimes grueling conditions Tanenhaus has faced, he is satisfied with the overall journey.
“It’s been the most amazing thing that I’ve done in my life,” he said. “On a bike it’s been incredibly rewarding and I’ve had to go slow so I’ve been able to go places that travelers wouldn’t normally stop.”
Tracking between 30 to 65 miles a day, Tanenhaus has seen presidential homes, national monuments and the sights along historic Route 66 – something Tanenhaus, a part-time tour guide, has enjoyed.
“I learned about things like the Underground Railroad and the Civil War in high school history, but when you’re actually riding through the history, you absorb it a lot better,” he said.
No cross-country journey for man or machine is complete without a tune-up, and Tanenhaus’ Citi Bike was no exception. Even with a set of new tires, new pedals and a new seat, Tanenhaus plans to return the bike back to Brooklyn, though he is unsure how to finance the trip.
“I’ve spent enough time on this bicycle – it’s someone else’s turn. I’m happy to return it back to the bike-sharing system,” he said.
Tanenhaus plans to complete the last leg of his journey in mid-to-late January, finishing at the Santa Monica Pier, the official end of Route 66.
“Just Wi-Fi, water and a working bicycle and I’m able to go across the country,” he said. “Some people can’t even make it across town without [their bike] breaking but I’ve made it 2,700 miles.”