Chris Winkler wanted to conquer a longer ride. He had already biked from Seattle to Portland a half-dozen times. Once, he cycled from Tri-Cities to San Francisco. That particular trip “kind of whet my appetite,” he says. “I toyed with a 48 states ride. Then I thought: how about a coast-to-coast ride?”

From June through August 2021, Winkler (’86 Chem. Eng.) cycled from Portland, Oregon, to Portland, Maine. Technically, he started his ride on the Oregon Coast, so it was truly a coast-to-coast tour.

Chris Winkler
Chris Winkler (Courtesy Chris Winkler)

In all, the former Coug basketball player biked 3,797 miles in 69 days across the northern United States, pedaling through 14 states.

“You just enjoy the ride,” he says. “You’re in the fresh air. You’re really fortunate to be out there. It’s about the experience and not knowing what’s going to happen and what you’re going to do to overcome it. I like riding long distances on my bike. I’m a pretty good solo rider. It gives me time to think.”

The entire trip took 89 days, and he and his wife, Cheryl, put just over 10,400 miles on the RV they bought for their adventure.

She drove and tracked his progress, meeting him along the route to refill his water bottle. He rode around 65 miles per day, sporting a WSU jersey most days of the ride.

“And I tell you what: I loved it. If I could, I’d be out there doing it still. You have hard days. But that’s the beauty of it. I enjoyed the hard days as much as the good days because it’s all part of the experience.”


Web extra

Read more about Winkler and his journey, along with excerpts from Winkler’s blog of the journey.