For a long time, I thought I wanted to be a bicycle advocate. Now I realize I was wrong. Advocacy is a thankless business. I’m glad there are people who are willing to do it. I’m not one of them.
It has taken me a long time to figure out that all I really want to do is explore the world by bike and share what I see, hear, feel and experience with other people who might care about such things. Maybe there are a lot of these people. Maybe not. I don’t really know. In the end, it doesn’t really matter.
I always bring a camera along when I ride. Sometimes it’s the just the one in my phone, but lately I’ve been carrying my big old 35mm single lens reflex Pentax. It’s heavy but it takes great pictures. I’ve posted some of them for sale on Shutterstock and people actually buy them. I’m grateful.
I’ve experienced a lot of really amazing things while out cycling. Sometimes I stop far from town in the middle of the Iowa prairie and am overwhelmed by the quiet and peace of this wonderful place. I’ve seen rattlesnakes slithering and bald eagles soaring. I’ve come across big cat kills in the mountains and once crossed paths with a bull moose. I’ve learned not to be afraid of creatures that at one time struck fear into my heart.
I’ve ridden just about everywhere across the heart of America from the very core of big cities like Pittsburgh and Denver to tiny towns on the high plains and everywhere in between. I plan to ride from Seattle to Portland this summer. I’ve submitted an entry to the Omaha Jackrabbit, a rugged 125 mile gravel grinder that takes place in mid October. Last year’s winner averaged 12 mph. That should be an adventure.
I think about Thoreau and other icons of the natural world like Ed Abbey and John Muir while out cycling. A life of quiet desperation…the very thought terrifies me and yet I see it everywhere…all around me. I always have, and I’ve always fought to keep it at bay. People sometimes ask me what I’m running away from with all this cycling. If it’s anything, it’s this.