Sunday, March 9, 2008

Attempted Bike Repair

I took the day off in Fort Walton Beach, Florida. I was going to go for a couple more days as I wasn’t really ready to give my legs a rest yet, but my bike is making some funny noises that I don’t have the tools to fix, so I have to have someone look at it. I probably should have done my homework the day before though, as the bike shop in Fort Walton Beach is closed on Sundays. What bike shop closes on a Sunday? Isn’t the weekend when they do the majority of their business? Especially in a beach town where everyone comes in for the weekend. I wasn’t about to ride anywhere starting at noon, so I figured I would lay low and try and get the website updated.

I had a few more questions:

What do you usually eat?

My diet is probably not the best for what I am doing, but it was worked for the last several thousand miles. Generally I try to stay at a hotel/motel with a free breakfast, though that is more to save time in the mornings. Usually I will have a couple bowls of cereal, a few muffins & donuts, two or three bananas and an English muffin or bagel if they are on offer.

I constantly eat throughout the day. I usually bring a few energy bars along with me and eat about every hour. I don’t necessarily have lunch, but if I am passing through a town, I may stop at a Subway, eat half of a sandwich and take the other half for later. I have eaten far more pre-packaged gas station sandwiches than I ever would have cared to. The one vice I have when I am on the bike is ice cream. I usually wait until the end of the day to attack a pint or two, but oftentimes I find myself having some during the day. It is refreshing on those warm days.

Dinner is my big meal. I eat anything and everything. I generally won’t get on the bike to go find dinner, so it is generally limited to what is in walking distance. In some of the small desert towns in Arizona and New Mexico, selection was so limited that I wasn’t getting nearly the nutrition that I should have. In larger towns and in those instances where there is nothing in the immediate vicinity I will order a large pizza and have no trouble eating the whole thing. The problem with my 2005 trip was that when I was finished, I had to exercise restraint on what I would eat. It was just such a habit to gorge myself despite not burning nearly the same number of calories.

Why are you doing this?

Many reasons really. From the days when my father would take my brother and I camping each year for a week in the Catskill Mountains, I have always loved the outdoors. As with anything I do: work, play, love, I have to do it as hard as I possibly can. So instead of a bike ride I wanted to ride across the US. Hiking? Why just go for day hikes when I can spend a few continuous months out on the Appalachian Trail. Kayaking? I don’t know many people who have kayaked from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico, so why not?

I have an opportunity in my life now where I have the time and resources to do these things. I don’t have a family or anything in particular pinning me to one location. This time in my life will be fleeting and if I am going to undertake these adventures, now is the time. Not to mention that I am getting older and every day brings me another day past my peak age for engaging in these types of activities. My brain says I am 21, but my drivers license says otherwise.

Also, doing these trips are a way of not only seeing, but experiencing the country. Traveling under my own power puts me at the mercy of the elements and makes me vulnerable. It forces me to stop in places and interact with people that I would normally have no exposure to. Anyone can get in their car and go visit a National Forest, but why not pedal through on a bicycle? Why not see areas of the country that aren’t frequented by thousands of people? I wanted to speak to people from other walks of life and those who have grown up differently and experienced different things. People tend to get wrapped up in their own lives that they don’t get to see what else is out there; good or bad.

Lastly, in the past three years I had seen more of other countries than my own. Following the 2005 bike ride, I left the bike behind and continued on to visit over 40 countries before setting off on this ride. I love international travel as the experiences are so different than domestic travel, but there are many great things in this country as well and I want to take them all in.

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