A college student from Wells recently completed an unusual trip from Maine to the southernmost point in the continental United States. What set his journey apart is that he completed all 2,400 miles on a unicycle.
“It’s a long drive on four wheels, from Maine to Key West, Florida and even more challenging ride on two wheels. So, what can you say about making the trek on a unicycle?” Maine Public asked him during a phone interview.
“Initially it was kind of for fun, for something to do,” said Avery Seuter, laughing. “Kind of an interesting trip.”
Seuter rode to raise money for and awareness about the East Coast Greenway, a developing bicycle and pedestrian route connecting 15 states and 450 communities from Maine to Florida.
Last September, then 19-year-old Seuter set off on the East Coast Greenway, a fledgling bicycle and pedestrian route connecting 15 states and 450 communities from Maine to Florida. Because it’s still in development, the East Coast Greenway exists mostly on maps. For now, the trail runs the gamut from paved, off-road paths, to un-paved off-road paths, to shoulders on roads. Busy roads, Seuter discovered… with speed limits of 55 miles per hour.
“When it comes to those high-speed routes, especially once you get further south, like Georgia and South Carolina, that’s incredibly uncomfortable to ride next to cars like that,” he said. “And, incredibly dangerous as well; there’s been a lot of fatalities.”
Seuter typically goes about 8 to 9 miles an hour and covers 20 to 30 miles a day. He said there are distinct benefits to slow travel.
“When you drive this distance, you don’t stop a ton, right. So, by doing it, it took a long time, but on a unicycle I stayed in a lot more small towns, and I saw a lot of places where you might skip over if you’re doing this trip in a different way,” he said.
Riding 20-30 miles per day, unicyclist Avery Seuter reached the southern terminus of the East Coast Greenway in Key West, Florida, on Saturday, Jan. 28, 2023.
But there were also challenges in rural areas like Virginia and North Carolina where he said it was difficult to carry enough food and water.
Seuter packed a tent and camped out some nights. But he was also able to stay with some family and friends along the way, and as the ride proceeded, with people who heard about his adventure and offered to put him up during the four-and-a-half month journey.
Seuter said he’s still processing what it means to have finished the trip. “I don’t know; it felt conclusive.”
Because he didn’t complete the entire East Coast Greenway, Seuter planned to take a pause to earn his college degree and then head back out on his unicycle to travel the portions that he missed.
Not normally a risk taker, Seuter’s goal was to promote the East Coast Greenway and raise money to create more off-road trails. He has raised more than $3,000 for the East Coast Greenway Alliance via his Instagram account.
This story appears through a media partnership with Maine Public.