ABINGDON, Va. — They cycled in sunshine and in snow.

And they pedaled from the Pacific Ocean of Washington State to the New Jersey shore on the Atlantic Ocean.

Brandon and Phillip Bolick also bonded as brothers of the road, completing a 4,100-mile trek that spanned 15 states.

“I’m so excited they had this chance,” said their father, Matt Bolick, of Abingdon, Virginia. “Really, a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”

Once in a lifetime?

Well, tell that to the Bolick brothers, 15-year-old Phillip and 19-year-old Brandon.

They’re back from their criss-cross of the country as participants of the Eagle Scouts Cycling Across America, which originated on June 17 in Seattle and ended on Aug. 21 at the Lincoln Memorial of Washington, D.C.

Phillip Bolick has now returned to classes at Abingdon High School, while Brandon is attending the University of Virginia at Charlottesville.

But back-pedal a bit.

That multi-week trip, for the Bolicks, may only be the beginning. Now, at least in passing, they’re talking about doing something like this all over again.

‘The Hardest’

Of course, this wasn’t easy.

“The second day, I knew, was going to be the hardest,” Phillip Bolick said. “After that, I knew the rest of the trip was going to be a piece of cake.”


“That day,” Phillip said, “we had 5,000 feet of climbing on a 12-mile uphill on an 86-mile day.”

Yep. You read that right.

“Our longest day was actually 116,” Phillip said.

That’s 116 miles.

That’s roughly the equivalent of riding your bike from downtown Bristol, Virginia, to downtown Christiansburg, Virginia.

And the Bolicks did that as they cycled, day after day, usually going about 65 miles each day.

“We also had rest stops,” Phillip said. “The support vehicles would go out and set up rest stops after the first 20 miles and then every 15 miles after that.”

And so it went, passing through sites such as Yellowstone National Park.

‘Level of comfort’

The Bolick family relocated in March from Fredericksburg, Virginia, to Abingdon, where Matt Bolick serves as the town’s director of public services and construction.

“And I had a level of comfort — the fact that they were going together, and were going to be able to look out for each other,” Matt Bolick said. “My wife and I were talking today that I didn’t know if we would let them go by themselves. But, the fact that they were going together was the fact that really put it over the edge for us.”

Brandon Bolick, especially, has since come back wanting to change “his career path ... and is rethinking what he wants to do when he gets out of college, so it’s had a big impact on him,” the 46-year-old Matt Bolick added.

It took about a year for the Bolicks to train for the trip. Over that time, they also raised money, gaining funds from friends, family and fundraisers.

That money — about $4,500 apiece — helped pay for food and lodging plus new bikes.

In all, the trip ran 67 days. And on the road, they said, they could not have done this without the support vehicles.

Both endured multiple flat tires, but neither was seriously injured.

And in the end?

The Bolicks were named two of 22 riders to complete the journey.

“I was the youngest who went the entire way. And the oldest was 69,” Phillip said.

“The entire trip, we were incredibly lucky. There were only four days, maybe, where there was rain.”


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jtennis@bristolnews.com | 276-791-0709 | @BHC_Tennis

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