One of the busiest times of the year for me is between the end of February and the end of March. During this period I will be on an airplane almost everyday flying around the country to perform most nights of the week. It will be quite the adventure. Today is one of my last “days off” for a while and I’m fortunate to be spending it visiting a good friend of mine in West Virginia, Mod. About a year and a half ago, at the age of 59, he rode a bicycle from Oregon to West Virginia and I’ve been having some fun talking to him about his adventure, especially about one guy that he came across during the trip.
Last night, Mod told me about a guy named David. He quite a job in corporate America and started working with homeless people in Seattle. He bought a bicycle and decided to ride across the country on it. Mod ran into him in Eastern Washington and was quite surprised that he had made it that far. You see, David had ridden a bicycle less than 100 miles his entire life before undertaking this cross-country journey. He had the wrong kind of map, no bike pump, no patch kit and no clue what he was doing. But he was determined to get there.
Comparing this approach to Mod is quite the apples to oranges thing. Mod had spent 2 years preparing for his trip. He had taken an unpaid job at a bike shop to learn how to fix bikes so that if anything happened on the road, he wouldn’t be walking. He had spent thousands of hours studying the logistics of routes, equipment, health, road rules, etc. He had trained incessantly to make sure he was in shape, could handle riding the hills and wouldn’t have a heart attack while undertaking the trip. I don’t think you could find 2 completely different approaches to a journey of this sort.
To make a long story short, Mod completed his ride in 46 days. Not bad for close to 4,000 miles of riding. He didn’t have a single flat tire and no major injuries. David…well he actually did complete his ride. He just took a lot longer to do it. Mod finished in July…David finished in mid-October. Preparation and training will make everything we do much better and efficient, but there’s something that can be said for pure will power. David probably thought about giving up quite a few times, but his determination got him through. Word on the street is that David will actually be doing a 12,000 mile ride that will have a documentary made about it. He’s trying to raise money for the people he works with in Seattle. I was also told that he learned a lot from his first trip and will be taking a bike pump this time (amongst other necessities).
I love getting to visit with good friends around the country, I find them very inspiring and they help keep me motivated to think about the big things I could try next…hmmm…maybe I should try to unicycle across the country someday. At least sometime before I turn 60.