Down the East Coast: An Interview With Brent Nelson

Combining Passion with Fitness

Cycling is deeply rooted with philanthropic passions. It’s physically challenging, and a way to show a person’s support and commitment to many goals; whether it be a personal fitness journey, or a way to support a cause.

Brent Nelson is a potential and valued client of GC Murphy Bicycle Company. We had the opportunity to interview Brent Nelson, a local cyclist, who completed a 1,622 mile trip down the East Coast riding his State 6061 All-Road bike. Nelson began in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and ended in Clearwater, Florida.


Our team at GC Murphy Bicycle Company provides the main points of our conversation below. 

When did you start your trip, and what day did you finish?

May 12th; we did it in 5 different legs. We finished on February 3rd. There are obviously some gaps in-between.

How long was your trip?

18 days. It was 1,622 miles; about 85 miles on average. The longest day was 140 miles, and the shortest was 45 miles.

What routes did you take? Did you stick to trails?

So, coming out of Pittsburgh, I took the GAP [Great Allegheny Passage], then I did the C&O [Chesapeake and Ohio Canal], and I was done with that trip. It put me in D.C.,  then I went from D.C. to the Outer Banks, next to Myrtle Beach. Finally, I went from Myrtle Beach to Clearwater, Florida.

Were there any stretches that you were out on the road?

The last one; there was hardly any trail. Whenever it made sense for me to hop on a trail, I did, but I didn't ride 15 miles out of the way just to go on a trail. But if there was a trail a mile or two out, I got on it. 

What mechanical issues did you experience?

On the last trip, I ran over [my cable], and it hit the derailleur and knocked it, bent it, and broke some spokes. The nearest bike shop [Trek of Charleston] was 2.5 miles. I rode there; I could only use one gear, and it wouldn't shift. Those guys helped me out.


The very next day, I ran over a roofing nail and got a flat tire and was on the side of the road, and the same company [Trek]'s truck stopped and asked me if I needed help.


 What happened at the end of your trip?

My parents have a place in Clearwater, Florida. My wife and boys flew down, were all standing outside at the finish line, and we had a little party. 

Why did you make the trip down?

The reason why I did the whole trip was because of an illness. I have liver disease, okay? And, I needed to lose some weight. I used bike riding to do that. I lost 80 pounds in 6 months.

It was also a promise that I made to my brother when he got COVID-19; my brother died from COVID-19. The reason I started in Pittsburgh is because he and I are Steelers fans, and [going to a couple of games] was like the best time I had with my brother. And, he said, his best vacation was in Clearwater at my parents' place.

So, it was kind of like a memorial ride. It's definitely something I'll remember forever.

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