Humans of RV: Cooper Greer

Senior Patrick “Cooper” Greer shares his unique response to the common “What I Did This Summer” prompt and explains the story of his most recent travels

Marley Stutzman, Student Life Writer

The Humans of RV project is a weekly column based on Brandon Stanton’s seminal “Humans of New York” project, which seeks to “catalog the city’s inhabitants” through photography and brief interviews. RV seeks to expand on this project with our own “cataloging” of RV students and an examination into all the unique perspectives here at school. 

Note: this transcript has been edited and condensed for publication purposes.


Over the summer, I traveled from Montana to Alaska on my bike. I first took a plane to Seattle, Washington and then had a layover to Missoula, Montana;. It’s a small town with only a few hundred people in its population with a tiny airport. I started from there and went all the way up into Alaska; I was away for five weeks, with just my bike and I. 

Before my trip, I had to do some extensive research and planning to convince my parents to let me go. I made a spreadsheet of everything I would need, and planned out a map of where I would be stopping- this would be for food and stores, campsites for sleeping, et cetera. I even looked up bike shops and put them on my map just in case anything happened, which thankfully nothing did. After my parents saw how dedicated I was and accepted I would be relatively safe, they said “why not?” and let me go for it. I packed my bag, which ended up weighing 40 pounds, and my bike and I hit the road in the beginning of July. 

I don’t think I can pinpoint just one favorite part of my trip. I loved everything about it. Sure, some of the weather was gruesome and some of the paths were crazy rides, but the scenery was absolutely breathtaking. The mountains were nothing like anything you have ever seen before, not even comparable to mountains in, say, the Poconos. Each of those moments where I got to stop and take in the view made it so incredibly worth it. 

I wish I could have spent more time in each location to really take in the full beauty. And the people I met were so gracious and kind; when they saw a 17-year-old out on his own, they would give me so much praise and sometimes they would give me free stuff, like food and everything else. I met some awesome people taking similar trips as mine, and it was great to get to know them and have that bond. I still have a bunch of them on instagram, and we talk every now and then. So for sure, the friendships were a great part of the experience.

Greer on his bike ride this summer (Photo courtesy of Cooper Greer)

Each day on my bike, I would average about 75 miles. The farthest I went in one day was 165 miles. Crazy, I know. On other days, though, I would go a little bit slower based on the difficulty of the path; some of them got really gnarly. And sometimes, if I woke up sore or I wasn’t feeling good, I would just say “screw it” and take it easy that day. That was the nice thing about it being my trip- I could decide whatever I wanted to do. I had a schedule I made and I did have a plane to catch to get back home eventually, but I could basically change my plan whenever I wanted to. I could take a detour, and I could decide when I wanted a break, circumstances permitting. 

There is no one reason why I wanted to go on my trip; I mean, I have always liked being active, and I have some pretty early memories of my family and I being outdoors. But still, no one thing that told me what I was going to do over the summer; I just wanted to go, so I did. I don’t regret anything about it, it was the best time of my life. And I definitely was not planning on getting “famous” at RV. I really only told my close friends and family that I was going, and look at me now- doing an interview for the school paper, and getting asked questions left and right about my trip by my teachers and friends. But, I love telling the story because it brings back all the good memories I have of it. In the future, I hope to go on another trip, maybe down in South America. I don’t think I would ever join a cycling team or anything like that, though, because I am into this kind of thing more for the adventure than the sport; I just want to live life and have the experiences, you know? And to anyone who is thinking about taking their own adventure, to them I say: go for it.