La Jolla author and photographer releases book about bicycle trip across Route 66 with son
Quincy and Christopher Briscoe
Photo by Christopher Briscoe
Christopher Briscoe is no stranger to cross-country bike rides. In fact, he had ridden the over 4,000 miles from sea-to-sea three times before his son Quincy asked him to do it once more.
“[Quincy] went from Alaska and bicycled all the way down to Tijuana,” Briscoe said. “Then he came to me and said, ‘Dad, we got to do this together.’ In between the lines he was really saying ‘before it’s too late.’”
At first, Briscoe was hesitant. He worried that he was “too old and too fat” to complete the trip a fourth time, let alone keep up with his 23-year-old son. But a test drive riding an electric assist bike was enough to change his mind.
“It’s like having a personal tailwind,” he said. “That narrowed the fitness gap between the 23-year-old macho kid and the AARP guy. So at the end of the day, we were equally exhausted. It was the perfect technology at the perfect time."
So in 2016, they packed their bikes and set off from Santa Monica on what would be a 58-day, 2,700-mile trip along Route 66 to Chicago. Together they shared a meal with fourth-generation farmers, survived the Midwest’s humidity (“like breathing through a wet washcloth,” Briscoe says), mailed some treasures home that seemed like great ideas at the time.
“Quincy was going to learn how to play the ukulele,” Briscoe chuckled. “That never happened.”
During their cross-country trek, the La Jolla photographer and author took notes and portraits of the places they rode through and all the people they met. When they returned, he compiled it all into a book called "The Road Between Us: A Father & Son Bicycle Route 66,” which was later turned into a short film and even won an award at the 2018 Filmed By Bike festival in Portland. Briscoe said that no matter how people hear of their story, the reaction is usually the same.
“So many people said and continue to say, ‘I wish I had done that with my kid’ or ‘I wish I could do that with my dad,’” he said. “That’s a big deal because so many kids have problems with their parents, and all it takes is one memory like that to kind of reshape that dialogue and that relationship.
“It’s something kids talk about forever. I know Quincy is going to talk about it forever, and I know I do every chance I get. But it’s never too late to do something like this.”
And for Briscoe, it’s never too late to do something like this — again.
This June, he and Quincy will be setting sail to Hawaii and back, which he plans to turn into a book and short film titled, “The Wind Between.” To follow Briscoe and Quincy along on their adventures, follow him on Instagram at @chrisbriscoe. To learn more about the book “The Road Between Us,” visit shiftinggearspub.com