After twenty-three days, four-thousand four-hundred forty-three driving miles, nine states, fourteen cities, and four-hundred thirty-four bike miles I am back home. I had an amazing trip — inspiring, fun, peaceful, soulful, and enjoyable.
In recognition of my fourteen city tour, here are the fourteen things I learned or am reflecting on from this year’s trip:
- Friendships: Nothing is more valuable than the friends you make in your life. Many of the nights I was not in a hotel were the result of friendships I have been blessed with including two friends I haven’t seen in ten and and thirty-three years.
- Family: I stayed with three families on this trip. The love and energy they shared in their family and with others was impressive. The family has dynamic has the potential, by nature, to be dysfunctional. When grounded in selfless, unconditional love dysfunction struggles to find an audience.
- Adventure: I met so many people who had amazing stories about the adventures they pursued in their lives. These individuals were blessed with the gift of stories that were a testament to what happens when a dream is present and fear is not.
- Solitude: I had plenty of windshield time and quiet cycling time. Being off the grid was relaxing and peaceful. It provided me the time to think clearly. We all need to make more time for it!
- Hills: I learned that I ride in relatively flat Phoenix. Even the hills I ride are nothing like some of the everyday climbs others tackle around the country. Note to self, more hills and intervals on them.
- Cooperation: I know Phoenix was rated a bike friendly town. That is more because of the preponderance of bike routes. It is NOT because the drivers respect cyclists right to the road. Every city I road in had more courteous, polite, and aware drivers. Phoenix has a long way to go.
- Resources: I rode on five river routes in various cities. They are convenient, safe, responsible, and scenic. Congrats to Sacramento, Portland, Kennewick, Boise, and Albuquerque for your commitment to utilization of this natural resource.
- Attitude: Life gives us our challenges. It is unavoidable. Regardless, your attitude says a great deal about your character and potential in managing it. Smile and say “hi” or “good morning” to the people you bump into every day — it will change your attitude and help them with theirs.
- Beauty: There is so much to see and celebrate in every single city in our nation. Every one of them has citizens who are proud of their town. Find them out, encourage them to share what they love, and discover the amazing uniqueness of each and every one of them.
- Speed: I love riding alone. I find it peaceful and enjoyable. There was something quite special and challenging riding in groups of talented, passionate cyclists especially on a massive descent like the one I experienced on the Air Force Academy route. I need to ride in a group a little more often — it is very social, very challenging, and very fast!
- Risk: Embrace risk and the opportunity to do things you have never done. I learned a lot about myself on this trip — I am not quite as adventurous as I thought. I found myself in places that I not planned for and realized how uncomfortable I was. I also realized that my discomfort stemmed more from my fear of what I could not control, not the adventure of the situation. I am challenging myself to allow myself to embrace more uncertainty.
- Fear: You cannot do anything special if you are afraid. It is an extension of risk. Operate in the bubble of comfortable and you will make safe, incremental progress toward the known. Operate outside the comforts of safe and you will discover what you never knew or believed possible. For that to happen, the emotion of fear cannot define your decisions.
- Love: Love is not an behavior it is an emotion. Love is unconditional and is a gift. It is not a gift for you to give, it is a gift that has been given to you, therefore it is yours to share freely, not selectively. The more freely I live in a state of love for all, the more others are drawn towards me to share theirs. Love makes the world go ’round — selflessly share it and you will be amazed at the results.
- Gratitude: I am grateful for the opportunity to make this trip. I am grateful I had the physical and emotional resource to make this journey. While I look forward to the next one, I am incredible humbled, honored, and thankful that I had the ability to celebrate this journey. It was an amazing gift!!