Tuesday, July 12, 2005

northissouth


i’m at 30,000 feet with no supplemental oxygen, in a pressurized cabin enjoying the extra leg room in the exit row i was able to score. the tomato juice is tasty, the person next to me isn’t on the neutral arm rest, and the view below is of some monster mountains i will soon cross on my bicycle.

i’ve got a knot in my stomach, but a good knot because these are those moments that accompany an imminent change...a dramatic change...in lifestyle. for the next however long, i will be on my bike. a bike i haven’t even seen yet. i will wake up in my nylon cocoon, i will collapse and pack up my home, and i will ride. this will be the definition of my life, a definition i have chosen. if i see something that looks interesting, i will check it out. if i’m tired, i will take a break. if i’m amped, i will ride hard.

this lifestyle, similar to what it was hiking the appalachian and pacific crest trails, akin to being in vanuatu for three years, resembling that of cycling around new caledonia or new zealand or exploring tasmania with my backpack and my thumb...this lifestyle involves an ample supply of what i revere as the most priceless gift: time. uninterrupted time. time that is not riddled with other things that should be done or soon need doing.

and so naturally, it follows, what does one do with this cornucopia of time? and the most perfect of answers is: anything i choose. mostly, i will ruminate on things i didn’t remember i had forgotten. and i will gain new levels of love and appreciation for my family who have, however reluctantly, endured all these transitions in lifestyles i have chosen over the years. endured them, and i am so thankful for this, with kindness and support. i’m sure it’s not easy when a mother and father or sister, when asked the most ubiquitous of questions pertaining to those with similar dna, have to answer: "well, uh, he rides his bike..."

i just can’t see suffering and struggling through "x" in order to provide enjoyment for a future "y." because what if, by the time "y" eventually roles around, you’re in a casket? what, then, was the point?

so then i’m a hedonist? for tomorrow we’ll die? no, not at all. but i can’t help but not to forget that it is a possibility. and so if there’s a way for me to enjoy tomorrow or not enjoy tomorrow, i’ll positively pursue the former. and that way, if tomorrow comes and i am dead, the mortician won’t have to put the smile on my rigor mortis’ed lips...because it’ll already be there.

in vancouver, a guy comes up to me and tells me to give him any word and he would make it into a rap for me. "indecipherable," i said. he rapped. and despite the fact that i couldn’t really decipher what he was saying, i gave him $1. he asked for $1.50. i told him to be happy with what i gave him. i’ll never see that guy again. our lives collided for but a little hip hop, the latter of the alliterative h’s being what i want to do on my bike.

kona bikes is a sweet company, and i’m not just saying that because they styled me out with this bike and trailer, and they’re not paying me money to give them some good pr. it’s just a cool place. i got there and my "kona sutra" (not making that up) was ready to roll. doug lafavor, aka dr. dew, a bike designer at kona, totally hooked me up with customizing the bike exactly how i wanted it. it took a bit of time, but it’s done. the guys at kona, doug, brad, kevin, eddie were so cool to me and full of positive vibes for this ride. the time is now.

as with anywhere i ride, the hardest part is actually getting out of the bloody city and putting it behind me. confusion abounded but i got out and never looked back. thankfully, i was immediately in the mountains on the "sea to sky" highway. this is it. i’m finally riding. what i’ve been dreaming about for over a year is now open eye reality. nice.

i met a guy who invited me to stay at his house. he was all about the weed ("c’mon brah, eVerYone does it man...") which is fine, but i’m not everyone, and i knew if i took him up on it, i would have a late night. plus i still had plenty of energy and was feeling great. so i thanks-but-no-thanks’ed him, grabbed some air for a flat tire (on my first day!), and pushed on. found a home for the night with a sweet view of the snow capped mountains.

5am the next morning and i’m riding. my sandal’ed feet are numb and i’m too lazy to do anything about it so i just deal with it. some "warning: extreme grades" signs were everywhere i looked, upto 18%. but no worries. what’s the point of easing yourself into something? trial by fire. which is exactly what my legs were on. with sweet views that only got sweeter no matter which way i looked. i have concluded that canada is a dang cool place. i’m loving it (but i hate mcdonald’s).

i’ve never pulled a trailer before so i’m learning. it’s definitely pushy on the downhills, but i’m getting used to it. and sure, on the uphills you can feel it but it’s all part of it and you just deal with it and get on with it. based on several days with a trailer here and 6 weeks with panniers in new zealand, the trailer is the way to go. i’ve finally reached the point where i don’t have to keep looking behind me just to make sure it’s still there. all together, my big rig is about 3.5 meters long. it makes me feel like a bit of a spectacle.

my appetite is soaring and i’m trying to satisfy it with a healthy diet. i rationalize that ice cream is healthy. food availability is where cycling surpasses walking, or as most like to call it, hiking. when i cycle, i can always stop somewhere and feast. very little need to carry and ration out food.

currently, i’m heading north. so when people ask me what i’m doing and i say i’m going to south america, confusion abounds. soon, i’ll be in jasper, alberta- the gateway to the icefields parkway ("the prettiest road in the world," says my map). then i make my southward swing. then this trip will make a bit more sense. i will no longer be riding north to south america.

2 Comments:

Anonymous New Zealand said...

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Monday, November 07, 2005  
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Wednesday, December 14, 2005  

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