Trans America Tour
Seventeen years ago my sixteen year old son biked cross country. I was so jealous! Finally this spring after several personal setbacks including an incomplete spinal cord injury I got my chance. This cross country trip really began in 2009, about a year and half after a 2007 biking accident. I went to Craig Hospital,Englewood, Colorado for a re-evaluation. Bert Mendardi, Recreational Therapist, asked me what activities I missed, and my answer was biking. The next day, after a snow storm, we took a 20 mile bike ride; he rode a hand-cycle, and I rode a delta trike.
I bought my first ICE trike soon after. My Ice Vortex, Mabel, was a gift. What has transpired from that snowy ride has truly been a magical journey. Mabel and I have biked in numerous states, the South Island, New Zealand and now the Southern Tier.
In March our group of 15 left San Deigo, California headed to Saint Augustine, Florida on an Adventure Cycling Association van supported trip. My dear friend, Molly, was part of the team. She named us "the sooner or later express." Even as I inched up the mountains and encouraged her to meet me at the top, she would respond, no, this is a good speed.
Life on the road was usually glorious but sometimes included irritants like flat tires (6 - I ordered Schwalbe marathon plus tires and had them over-nighted to me), head winds, dust storms, chip seal and angry, aggressive dogs (marine horns worked!). Mabel took it all in stride and never had a problem (except very dirty chains.) Day to day camp life was incredibly fun because of our amazing group - best described as supportive, helpful, kind, generous and hysterically funny.
What began as a personal goal of riding my bike from coast to coast slowly evolved into a journey best described by Ralph Waldo Emerson "Life is a journey, not a destination." No matter how far we had to ride and what the weather conditions were, my only job (other than cooking dinner on my scheduled day with my unfortunate cooking partner) was to bike to the next location, enjoy spectacular scenery and meet many fascinating people. The majority were incredibly kind, helpful and interesting; many went out of their way to offer support. I'll never forget Wanda, a RV park manager, who made coffee cake and coffee and opened the office early because it was so cold, and the lady RV driver in Texas who drove miles out of her way to see if we needed help. There were many others.
Seeing the world from a trike adds an incredible perspective; "trikers" see life from the ground up. People look at us differently and with curiosity. Hopefully, somehow, I encouraged someone else to pursue their "journey."
Written by Cindy Halliday
For more information about tours offered by the Adventure Cycling Association visit http://www.adventurecycling.org/guided-tours/