Ryan McAfee is a multimedia journalist from Kansas City, Kansas. His interests include, but aren’t limited to, golfing, reading Shakespeare, smelling the inside of new furniture, sawing PVC pipes, telling ghost stories about his ghost friends TO his ghost friends, and shaking up jars of marbles that are used in those “guess how many marbles are in this jar” contests.
After a short stint as an extra in the movie “Fly Away Home” with that girl from the movie “My Girl,” he decided to go to south Florida and do something completely different. He got a job as an intern for the Naples Daily News, entering in high school football box scores, updating rosters, and putting together office chairs. When there were no more chairs to assemble, he decided to learn how to edit and produce short documentary videos.
Several decades went by without doing any videos that turned even the laziest eye, he got the gig that took his videography and storytelling to the next level, as a journalist for the Las Vegas Sun. The hot, dry desert air mixed perfectly with his brain and other stuff, too, to produce not 0, but ONE 3rd place winner in the NPPA monthly multimedia contest for his piece “The Coffin Couple” about a married couple in Pahrump, Nevada, who are obsessed with coffins.
Once the Las Vegas Sun caught wind of this very modest success, they had no choice but to lay off the entire video staff in order to not overdo the mediocre talent to which they had grown accustomed. Now, Ryan finds himself thrust kneecap-deep into a cross-country tour on a bicycle built for one. As far as bicycles go, though, this one is great. It has two wheels, brakes, and several gears that apparently are easier or harder to pedal, based on what gear you’re on when you start.
The only thing left is to now put air in the tires (duh), break in his seat and start pedaling, as he makes his way toward the unknown landscape (or portrait, if you turn it sideways–photography joke!).
Ryan loves any kind of adventure, whether it’s backpacking in Costa Rica, camping at Anniversary Mine in Las Vegas, kayaking in the gulf of Mexico, or climbing to the top of 300-foot-tall wind turbines. He is always up for the challenge, even if he is a little afraid of heights. His favorite food is pizza.
Michelle Cassel, aka Mich (pronounced meesh, not mitch) is a free-spirited video journalist whose nomadic lifestyle currently finds her cycling across America…somewhere. Growing up in the suburbs of Northern Virginia where inspiration and freedom of thought were hard to find, Michelle jumped ship, diving into a world of coconut cracking, volcano climbing, banana harvesting, illegal border crossing (for documentary purposes only), off the beaten path adventures.
To her east coast friends she’s a hippie, and to her west coast friends she’s a vegetarian environmentalist who’s an avid pursuer of peace, love, unity and freedom, aka a “neo-hippie” (hey, at least she’s not a hipster). Michelle is addicted to dancing. Whether it’s the sounds from a music festival, a shitty cover band, or a jukebox in an empty dive bar, you’ll often find her the last one uncontrollably flailing away on the dance floor, in the parking lot, or atop a grassy hill (which last time ended the dance in a pretty impressive tumbling stunt).
Michelle has a love for the ocean that is unconditional. She grew up wanting to sing with Flounder, Sebastian, and Ariel from “The Little Mermaid.” She got closer to spending her life “Under the Sea” after becoming a certified scuba diver, but never found her singing friends. However, her adoration for the ocean stayed the same, and has resulted in a reciprocated love from its surrounding wildlife. More specifically, it’s the birds that love Michelle. They love her so much, they physically express their love by defecating on her whenever possible. Twice in one day, and one of them was while she was UNDER a beach umbrella!
Michelle also happens to be extremely skilled with fire. She’s a certified wild-land firefighter, although she’s never actually fought a fire. She DID almost get hit by an inflamed falling tree during a controlled burn in the Florida Everglades once. She was later found hiding underneath an ATV vehicle filming (what she thought) was her last video confession to the world. On the flip side, she is a pretty awesome fire dancer, a skill only a few of her international friends know about.
It’s now an exciting new adventure for Michelle, one that she never imagined putting her ass through. It is a journey across America by cycle, with absolutely no experience when it comes to cycling or wearing padded shorts, or “spandex diapers” as she calls them. The road awaits Michelle: challenging, surprising, frightening, and electrifying her universe on every pedal.
The freedom and beauty of discovering the world at a human pace is what has brought Alex R. Favacho back to the road yet again. Like many Southern California natives, Alex has carved much of his adventurous intellect through a lifetime of backpacking the coastal mountains. Growing up as a skateboarder, Alex never considered cycling, let alone, bicycle touring. His passion for cycling only came about over a summer when commuting to work on his bicycle. Teaming up with Ryan McAfee and Michelle Cassel has opened up an entirely new way of experiencing the world.
Outside of bicycle touring Alex is a student and works at a local fish market in Santa Barbara, California. As a believer in organic and fresh food, Alex is the owner of one Boer goat and is an avid gardener. Potlucks with acoustic music are his favorite types of parties. Think wild caught seafood and fresh produce from some of the best top soil in the country…delicious!
Touring the West Coast gives all the opportunities he could have imagined. From the evergreen coasts of Canada, to the sandy beaches of Baja, there are organic farms and permaculture developments far and wide. Good eating is always a plus after a long day of riding! So as Alex, Ryan, and Michelle head south, it’s all warm weather, sunshine, and blue skies! The Coast Protocol is a modern day Endless Summer in search of the perfect ending. It will take more than broken spokes and tropical thunderstorms to stop these guys! Bon voyage and have a great adventure!