First off, with the previous post being more than a month ago, let me reassure everyone that I’ll be updating this almost daily once the trip begins, and it will be shorter. Regardless, A LOT has occurred since, so here’s the novel:
A few days after the first blog post, the front wheel on my bike locked up while I was trying to catch up to a bus on my bike. I looked down momentarily, while stupidly holding my hoodie in my hand, saw that I was going 27mph according to my cyclometer, and then watched as one of the jacket sleeves went into the spokes. Needless to say, it would’ve been hilarious on tape, as it must have looked like I hit an invisible car. Both the bike and I flipped over and I miraculously did not land on my head. So, fast forward from then to now and we have three sets of x-rays, one radial head fracture at the elbow, and a couple bad-ass road rash scars. With my type of fracture, despite the fact that there is some displacement and gnarly damage, no surgery or cast is necessary. Therefore I’ve been left with the responsibility of avoiding scar tissue buildup through exercise, while at the same time being careful not to re-injure the fracture. My most recent x-ray shows that I’ve failed at either so far. The fracture is slightly worse, but my arm’s restriction of movement isn’t an issue at the moment, so this won’t affect my decision in continuing AiC at all. On a related note, I have wisely invested in a helmet.
I’ve been receiving a lot of questions, as far as technical inquiries in relation to my bike, what I’m bringing, how far I’m riding a day, etc… All of this information will be posted when I finish the AiC “Master Plan”, which includes just about everything in terms of planning and preparation. I’ll have that uploaded or linked ASAP, but to answer a couple FAQs right now:
Q:How many miles a day?
A:On the days that I’m not resting or exploring a specific area, I plan on riding between 70-130 miles a day. My average should be about 90mi. a day.
Q:What are you bringing?
A:I have two side bags (panniers) on the back of the bike, as well as a small duffel, a small handlebar bag, a backpack, and my tiny tent strapped to my frame. I’m bringing hardly any clothes at all, the tent, a lightweight sleeping bag, a couple hydration pouches, spares tires/tubes/spokes, my netbook, phone, a few boxes of clif bars (provided to me graciously by my friend Toyah from New Zealand) and a bunch of other small things.
Anymore of these questions should be answered soon when I post the ‘Master Plan’.
As this adventure approaches quickly, I’m finding my pockets close to empty, as well as discovering a lot of difficulty in gaining an audience for this blog, so I’ve been making a couple specific attempts to market/publicize the ride.
One of these little projects has been a short video that I drew up some ideas for. So far it looks awesome, thanks to my friends Alex Destefano, Jose Hernandez, and Jesse Inman. It should help with effectively communicating the purpose of the trip, and why I see such an experience as a necessity in my personal life. Alex is putting some finishing touches on it this weekend, and it’ll be posted up here ASAP.
Outside of the “AiC Trailer”, I’ve put forth effort in expanding this adventure’s audience by contacting local newspapers, such as The Sun-Sentinel and The New Times, and pitching the idea of covering the ride in their publications. So far it seems pretty likely, which is neat, and who knows, maybe with more local exposure, businesses might be encouraged to sponsor AiC.
In order to give this self-seeking trip at least an ounce of selflessness or humility, I’m utilizing whatever attention I receive as an opportunity to provide a platform for a local charity, founded by a good friend of mine, Ryan Alexander. The charity, Notfashionable.com, focuses on spreading an awareness of the massive amount of children that go starving every night, and the many who tragically die from hunger. I’ll be accepting donations through the blog that will go directly to this charity, and that money goes straight to the children in need. I recommend that everybody checks out the Notfashionable.com site as well, where you can buy Ryan’s shirts for the cause and learn a little bit more. To be honest, I had no intentions of making this a charity ride, and that is still not the focus, though the misfortune of these children will play a part in motivating me to ride on. I chose a charity because my mom has expressed concern in the fact that this trip has a lot of selfish motives. I agreed, and I had no doubt in continuing this “selfish” adventure, but there is no reason not to help out others through it. As far as my motives behind choosing this charity, it was not just led by my friendship with Ryan, but the fact that I trust him and I’ve watched him live exclusively for others for years. So with that being said, let the decision to assist in the cause be yours, and yours alone. The least I ask for is some conviction and awareness of the issue at hand.
I’m selling a limited amount of America is Cashed shirts with artwork done by Todd Traxler, which should be ready next week. Half of the proceeds of these shirts go to Notfashionable, and the other half will go to my overhead costs for the shirts, as well as food and supplies that I need for the trip.
As an incentive to encourage people to buy these shirts, anyone who preorders one within the next week, will have their name on the back of the shirts in a list of sponsors and people who made AiC possible.
If you want to preorder one, go ahead and click on the donate button over there, ---->
then throw $10 my way, plus a couple bucks for shipping, and put your size and full name!
So far, support in terms of people preordering shirts, and donating to the trip/notfashionable.com, has been pretty mind-blowing to me. It’s not like everyone is jumping at the chance to throw me cash, but like every other one of these previous similar situations, I'm blown away; not by the help itself, but who it's coming from.
The list of shirt orders literally, and almost entirely, consists of people I haven't spoken to in years, friends I rarely see, or people who barely know me.
I haven’t even begun this adventure, and I’m already learning more about the depth of this curious and profound thing called the human heart.
Because of this trip, I have to move out of the room that I rent, so everything has to go. The task is seemingly easy, finding a place for my belongings, but even though I may be able to store a few boxes in my friend’s garage, I cannot store my cats. This leaves me with no choice but to find another home for them. I’ve watched them grow from tiny troublemakers, to full grown nuisances, and I couldn’t be happier with the end result. They’ve been there for me when no human could; from the warmth they shared when I was homeless, sleeping in my car, to the affection that they’ve provided when I was isolated and alone. Outside of my realist views, I see these animals, and I see an infinite value in their unconditional love. It breaks my heart so deeply to watch them go, and it hurts even worse to have to take them to the humane society, despite the fact that I constantly implore my friends to take them and post on craigslist in hopes of having them adopted.
You might be thinking, “well if you love them so much, then make sacrifices to keep them, don’t go on this irresponsible trip”. Yes, I look irresponsible now, I might even appear cruel, but I have realized that I have an incredible ability to love, as well as an annoying tendency to tolerate familiarity and seek safety in the comfort of these oblivious creatures. It’s ironic that I hear so much about how cats are the high-class, self-sufficient, independent pets, when in fact; I’m being forced to abandon them because they aren’t independent or self-sufficient enough.
I wish I could go out to some forest, and let them run off, confident that they’ll find food, know how to stay safe, and be able to return to me when I seek them out, but they won’t. I can’t have that confidence, because they’ve been raised in an environment that is completely dictated by me, their God. All they’ve learned throughout their entire lives is that they are safe with me, and that I will feed them every day. If I released them, I would have to trust that their animal instincts would kick in, allowing them to hunt for food, and recognize potential predators. Unfortunately, I cannot trust that they’ll be so lucky or intuitive, so I’m forced to place them in a situation where they’ll either be recycled as house pets, or put to sleep. I pity their misfortune, and I will miss them so, but what I want to communicate through this painful experience, is that I have realized that they are in a situation not too different from mine.
I am a pet too.
I have been placed in a life, subject to conditioning based on social influence, just as these cats were raised on my power and my truth alone. They reflect my personality just as much as I reflect the social ecosystem I was raised in.
By setting off on this little adventure, I’m making the choice that my cats can’t.
I’m choosing to run off into that unknown forest, rather than be a complacent animal, caged in this “not-so-humane” society.
I don’t want to be recycled as a human pet to the powers that be, and I definitely don’t want to risk being socially euthanized, should I fail to be cute or skilled enough to be adopted by a financially privileged owner/employer.
The best part about my decision is that it’s an easy one. It may not be the responsible choice, but there is no question in it being the right one. In knowing myself, and possessing some self-awareness, there is a certain, almost absolute truth in the decision.
What will keep me going as I embark on this little journey?
It won’t be my body's physical endurance, it won’t be the intense focus of my mind, committed to a petty goal, and it won’t be some burst of energy, produced by fear in an escape from reality.
No, what will get me from one end of the country to the other, will simply be, truth.
The certainty of it will fuel me, the righteousness within it will steal away fear, and the integrity found in truth will bring me peace.
What I’m trying to say, basically, is that there is truth in seeking truth, wisdom in finding wisdom, and knowledge in searching for knowledge.
All you have to do is start; putting the first foot forward is the hardest part, and after that, your legs find their pace. The heart is not surprisingly the same way. Make a decision with some heart in it, and that commitment will carry you as long as your heart stays true.
The truth, my friends, is that I gotta go, haha, that’s truthfully all there is to it.