Ivan McTaggart of Topsham is part of a group taking a 3,800-mile, 45-day cross-country trip. The riders average a distance of about 90 miles each day, Contributed / IvanMcTaggart

Ivan McTaggart, a Topsham resident and longtime cyclist, is participating in a coast-to-coast bike trip with a company called Trek Travel biking from Portland, Oregon to Portland, Maine. 

“My father helped me get started cycling as a teenager,” said Taggart. “He passed away last year so I’ve dedicated this trip to him. He was an avid cyclist for many years.” 

The 3,800-mile 45-day trip involves a group of 22 cyclists from around the country. The riders average a distance of about 90 miles each day, with some days being as much as 120 miles. 

McTaggart said the trip has brought some extreme challenges, particularly in terms of weather. “There are some days of 40-to-50-mile winds, hot weather, rain or high humidity.” 

“The biggest challenge is more mental than physical,” he said. “The fact that you’re just on the bike every day, sometimes five, six or seven days in a row and you only get a few rest days to just wind down.” 

The riders have four days of rest during their trip. 


The group has ridden along the Columbia River, the Clearwater River in Idaho, the Badlands and “stayed in great towns along the way,” he said.

“It’s been a spectacular experience, seeing all these parts of a country from a bike. You get more of an appreciation for the size of the country and scope of the terrain and geography as you move coast to coast,” said McTaggart. 

For him, the highlight of the trip has been the friendships and connections he’s made with others.

“The people have really made the trip more than anything else,” he said. “We’ve formed life-changing friendships.” 

The guides on the trip help transport equipment and food, and keep the riders in good spirits. 

“There’s a camaraderie. The guides and other people help you along the way. It’s given me a deep understanding for the goodness in people,” said McTaggart. 


McTaggart and his wife moved to Maine about a year ago for their retirement, and most of that year has been spent training. 

“It requires a steady, dedicated training program every day,” he said. “I had to get used to being on the bike for several hours with minimal breaks in between.” 

As the only Maine resident in the group, McTaggart gets the unique experience of finishing the trip in his home state.  

“Other people will have to fly home from Portland and for me, I’ll be home when I get there. It’s like a long ride home from the west coast,” he said. 

The trip will end in Scarborough on July 16, then the group will go to Portland for a final celebration.

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