I’ve been riding bikes recreationally for years and years. I’ve been a bike courier, driven pedi-cabs, and even had a delivery manager position at one store. Biking is very well entrenched in my life, and I love it.
I didn’t always enjoy riding bikes, though. My dad was an avid cyclist and would always take me and my family on 20-30 mile rides when we were just out of training wheels. We hated him for that. After years of being exposed to the beauty of bicycles and the pitfalls of automated transportation our built in laziness started to decay. My dads love for biking certainly infected much more than just my immediate family. Much of my cousins started picking up cycling more and more. Something that we thought was rather crazy as kids we suddenly couldn’t live without.
I took my first bike tour when I was 18. I had been planning on doing it for a long time, but had never gotten my shit together enough to do it. It took an extra push from my dad to help me make that first step. He let me borrow all of his equipment; bike, trailer, camping supplies etc. I was so grateful that he was there to help me work out all the details. We sat down with maps and planned my route down the Oregon Coast, where I was gonna stop, what I was gonna see. It was very exciting to know that I was going to make this journey finally.
The day finally came to leave for my trip and my dad pulled up to take us out of the city to a small town where we were going to start our ride. My dad was coming with me for the first day of the trip, which made the push into what seemed The Wild much easier.
The first day was rainstorm after rainstorm but we finally made it to Pacific City, cold and agitated. I was second guessing my ability as a cyclist. I had been training for this ride all year, biking 15 miles to work everyday and always trying to do it faster. Eating right, dancing, yoga, everything I could do to make my body ready for this. After a crappy day like that it felt completely pointless.
The next day dawned with the same weather and both my dad and I were pretty distraught. He wanted to keep on with me, but had to head back to Portland at the next city. And I, wasn’t even sure that I could make it to the next town.
When we reached the fork we said our goodbyes. My dad said how proud he was of me and I had to hold back the tears. He rode off, and I continued on.
I was bent over my handlebars sobbing, wet and lonely. When I got to the top of the next hill which looked out onto the ocean I pulled over to put on another layer of clothes and I’ll never forget what I saw there. A gap in the grey sky, right on the horizon, of pure blue. The clouds were clearing, I was alone, but I was strong, I was ready for this. The sun came out and I felt myself grow. At that moment I knew what it was like to be truly independent; of government, petroleum, money, housing. It was just me and my bike. I felt unstoppable.
The sea is a good place to think of the future.