Last fall, Eddie O'Dea became the first person to finish the 6,000 mile Eastern Trail Divide route, the longest bikepacking route in the world. Starting in Newfoundland, Canada and ending in Florida, US, we asked Eddie to share a some of the highlights of finishing this massive ride.
I was getting stir crazy through all the Covid days and started dreaming of a big ride. I figured why not try the biggest one of all? The challenge of being the first was a big draw too. I imagined the adventures would be numerous and I was not disappointed.
Why did you choose to donate to Georgia Cycling?
I believe deeply in GCA's mission of helping young people to develop a passion for a healthy lifestyle. I have been involved with the organization since the very beginning and now 9 years later we have had the opportunity to introduce thousands of kids to the sport of cycling in a fun, safe, and inclusive way. I can't think of any better way to help my community grow.
How do you plan your routes for trips and adapt to changes that spring up?
I was given early access to what I thought was the EDT route working copies via ridewithGPS.com. It turned out these were not being updated, but I had already done all the resupply homework. I learned about a week before I left for Newfoundland that my resupply data was going to be useless until the last 1000 miles. That was pretty frustrating, but I managed by doing the research on the fly every 300-400 miles. I would google what was available, make a list, and most times update that list as I found other options. The route is now fully published on Bikepacking.com. Hopefully I'll have my resupply list published to my site early next year.
What was your favorite (or most random) thing you listened to while riding?
I came across the Hardcore History podcasts and really got into their long format. 3.5 - 5hr episodes. I listened 20 some hours about the rise and fall of Imperial Japan and maybe even more about the Mongolian empires.
What were the top 3 most unusual or interesting animals you ran into?
I had two separate instances when a moose jumped on the trail right in front of me in Newfoundland. That same night I saw a black fox on the trail. Down in Florida in the everglades I saw a panther. All of these were too quick for photos or videos.
What were your top 5 most unexpectedly useful items on your bike/that you brought?
I bought a can of dog/bear/people pepper spray in Newfoundland. It came with a holster with a velcro strap to hold it in. I set this up on top of my stem. I never pulled the can of spray out but I did find the cheap velcro to be perfect to hold the excess length of headphones cable out of my way so it wouldn't get caught elsewhere. There weren't many other surprises as I have my kit pretty well sorted.
Did you have a favorite spot on the Eastern Divide Route?
There is an abundance of amazing places and people along the route. Fundy Bay, Virginia Highlands, Blue Ridge Parkway near Asheville, Big Cypress in south Florida all stand out for the scenery. I could/should write a book about the many generous people that I met along the way.
Which Redshift components were you riding with?
I used the Kitchen Sink bars with the loop, Cruise Control top and drops, and both the ShockStop stem and seatpost. The EDT is a mountain bike route with many rugged sections of single track and chunky gravel. All of these components kept me smooth. I had one high speed crash due to a front tire blow out and only took two NSAID pills for the full length of the 6000+ miles. That is a testament to the quality of my bike fit & how the Redshift bits add layers of comfort and control. I couldn't imagine finishing that ride without them.
Learn more + donate to Georgia Cycling here: https://www.
Check out Eddie's business here: Cycle Techniques Bike Fitting and Technique Instruction