I’ve been home for a week now. Most of my gear has been aired out, hung up, and put away. I’ve reintegrated back into civilian life. I’ve reconfigured Tank Bicycle back into urban assault mode (feels twitchy without all the gear!). I’ve uploaded all my photos and I made a video. Life is good and I’m glad to be home; I missed Jen, our bed and cooked food.
But now I miss the simple life of being on the road. The single minded focus of going from point A to point B and finding lunch in between is a much simpler life than dealing with all the crap we fill our lives with at home. Worrying about bills, cleaning the house, fixing the car plus all the work stresses really seems a lot more complicated when compared to “20 miles on the bike then I’m going to break and eat some of this trail mix. Oh look, turkeys!” Also, there’s just something really satisfying about moving yourself, under your own power over a long distance.
Needless to say, I really enjoyed the trip and I know I’ll be doing more week+ bike trips. I’d probably even ride the trace again if I were going with some friends. I doubt I’d ride the whole thing again solo.
I had lots of people surprised/concerned that I was riding the trace solo. Everybody from co-workers, to my mom, to other cycle tourists expressed reservations about safety etc. I had zero problems from anybody hassling me but I think perhaps, I have large, white, tattooed, guy privilege. Plus, I was going through a part of the country where I was the right race and sex.
I enjoyed the solo aspect of the trip for a couple different reasons. First, I’d never cycle toured before. I’ve ridden my bike all over Nashville and I felt strong and I knew I could do the milage but I’d never fully loaded my bike up and tried to ride it somewhere to camp so there was a learning aspect to this trip. I really appreciated having the freedom to make mistakes without eyes watching me. Second, having the luxury of being on my own time schedule was a great feeling. Being able to do exactly what I wanted, when I wanted and how I wanted, without consideration for other people is refreshing. If you add both points together, I was free to make mistakes exactly how I wanted and without other people watching me. Ha ha.
Having said all that, I think the trip would have been more fun if I was sharing it with friends. Jen is the photographer of our adventure duo so I’m positive I missed about a billion photo opportunities. I only notice the obviously amazing photos opportunities. If I get my way, future bicycle touring trips will be on a tandem with Ms Jen on the back like these people.
So let me wrap this up by giving a few shout outs to the important people of my trip.
Without the support and encouragement of my beautiful wife Jen, this trip wouldn’t have happened, period.
Our morning and evening FaceTime calls were great and helped me to feel connected even though I was sitting in the woods. Her encouragement when I had mechanicals were very helpful. She liked and favorited all my posts in all the places. She came to camp with me on the last night! In short, she was great but next time, she’s coming with. 😉
A big shoutout to Green Fleet Bicycle Shop here in Nashville. They sold me my bike and bags. Richard let’s me be annoyingly type A and picky about stuff without getting visibly frustrated and I like that. I just like hanging out up there; they’re cool people. Austin, Richard, Ben and the other guys… hats off!
A shout out to all my friends and family who sent me special emails, text messages and encouraging comments on my social media posts. Thanks David Byrge, Jessie, Tommy, Mom, Cyndi, Jase, Erin, Ryan, Eleanor, Josh, Richard, Deb, Tim, Jason Harrell, Kelly and everybody else who were supportive. It really helps more than you know probably.
Here is the photo dump from the GoPro.