I always try to stop and chat with the bike tourists I encounter around DC. Like many of these tourists Zach and Nick are riding the East Coast bike route. (You can get maps that guide you from Bar Harbor ME to Key West FL.) A few years back I happened on Nancy Wright, a teacher from Vermont who was riding the perimeter of the lower 48 US states!
From personal experience I know that encounters such as this one are very reassuring and helpful. And if you happen to be near and ice cream shop, buy them a cone. You can get a good miles to the scoop.