August 6, 2016
How do you start an 1800-mile bike ride? Well, for the Bike The US For MS team riding the Pacific Coast route, we spent the first hour out of Seattle walking on water, compliments of the Washington State Ferry System. Our bike ride actually started in earnest in Bremerton, on the Olympic Peninsula.
The first day of a long, multi-day trip is an exercise in finding your rhythm, getting to know your teammates, and getting comfortable with reading maps. (Yes, they still make hard copy, printed maps, and they’re a godsend even when virtually every rider is also carrying a GPS device.)
I’m actually only riding the first 12 days of the 31-day trip. My ride ends at Redwood National Park south of Crescent City, California. That’s where my wife, Elizabeth, will meet me for the drive home.
In the meantime, I’m living the vagabond’s life. Tonight we spend our first night camped in the backyard of a Warm Showers host. Warm Showers is a network of people around the country and world who open their home to touring cyclists. Our host also baked us homemade bread, and her son made s’mores. To avoid completely overwhelming her life with 20 extra people, some of us showered at the local fire station.
One of the great joys of this kind of journey is being reminded on a daily basis of the amazing and humbling generosity and kindness of strangers. If you’re ever in doubt of the greatness and beauty of this life we live, take a long bike ride across this country we think we know.
It’s a wonder.