Former Uber driver ditches car to bike across all 50 state capitals
WEST, Texas - Bob Barnes likes a challenge. He not only wanted to visit all 50 state capitals but wanted to get there on his bike.
The 52-year-old former Uber driver from Syracuse, New York, started his journey in August 2021, giving himself a year to finish. So far, he has visited 25 capitals plus Washington, D.C. He’s already tackled cities in the Northeast, mid-Atlantic, Midwest and West.
He said he always heard of people traveling to all 50 states but decided to add a twist by cycling to all of America’s capital cities.
Barnes said he’s making the trip for several reasons, including wanting to connect more with society.
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"I wanted to get out here and see what’s going on for myself," he told FOX Television Stations from West, Texas. "I call it ‘real reality’ not what we see on T.V. or the internet."
"Everybody out here is so kind," he continued. "The random acts of kindness...just all the nice gestures. I don’t see any hatred anywhere. It’s just a complete, unbelievable experience."
He also wants to raise awareness about the importance of blood donations. The Red Cross said that the current blood shortage is the worst that it's been in more than a decade.
"If you have anything to give, you have a pint of blood to give," he continued.
Barnes receives funding for his trip on his GoFundMe page. He also documents his travels on his Facebook page.
He said he bikes on average 44 miles a day, mostly camping in his tent overnight in several places such as truck stops and parks. Once he arrives at a state’s capital building, he takes pictures and continues on his journey. He said his favorite spot was Jefferson City, Missouri because graduation was being held for the state bar at the same time he visited.
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"It was just a really, really nice environment," he said.
For Juneau, Alaska, Barnes plans to take a ferry from Canada and then bike to the city. For Honolulu, Hawaii, he plans to fly to the island then bike to the capital.
So far he said the most difficult parts of his journey were in Wyoming, where he faced strong winds, and in Arizona, where he had to bike through a winter storm.
Barnes also said he’s learned more about himself along the trip.
"I am stronger than I thought I was," he explained. "Age is a number at this point."
Barnes is not sure what to do once he finishes his tour de America, even floating the idea of driving around in an RV or going back to Uber driving.
"I don’t think I’ll be able to top this, but we’ll see," he said.
This story was reported from Los Angeles.