The guest writer this week is Chris, my buddy that I did the bike tour with this summer. I spent nearly every minute with Chris as we rode from VA to CO. I know what you're probably wondering- no, we never fought and yes, we are still friends. It will sound like a cliché, but I don't think that I'd have been able to do the trip without him. I tend to be more of a "go with the flow" person and live a tad impulsively. Though Chris can be laid back, he is also structured in a way that was a necessity for our trip. Chris would pore over the maps in the morning, at each meal, every rest stop, and before bed. We would consult how far we thought we should go the next day, but Chris would advise about which towns would have amenities, the pit stops along the way, and the terrain. We played dozens of games of gin rummy, biked thousands of miles, ate (probably) hundreds of thousands of calories together, and shared so many amazingly mundane moments that can only occur on an adventure like this. The trip was initially his plan, but I sure am glad that I was impulsive enough to tag along.
Freedom has always been served best on two wheels.
With my hair blowing in the breeze and the wind pulling tears from my eyes, I clung to the roaring machine between my legs as I zipped around Denver. I had just finished my first bicycle tour, and I wasn't ready to give up the two wheel life.
47 days before Kevin and I departed Yorktown, VA with nothing more than what we could fit on our bicycles. And now we where here, at mile high Denver. We had ditched our bikes the day before in Colorado Springs and now we were carrying all our belongings by hand. I can recall the moment later that day when it first really hit me, that I no longer had my bike. A brief pang of anxiety hit me as I realized I had mailed home my security blanket. I needed a quick remedy, and I knew just the thing. I called up a motorcycle rental shop in Denver and had them pencil me in for 1200cc.
Kevin and I had made arrangements to stay with my friend Sam, another Fordham Prep alumn, when we arrived in Denver. I remember him saying to us our first night there that "It's just more free out here." The following day I woke up, called an Uber, and was thinking about those words most of the way to the shop. When I arrived, I couldn't help but think I looked like an idiot. I was surrounded by these hardened and roughed up Harley guys, as I was wearing cyclists clothes (all I had) with these dumb looking prescription Oakley glasses, which even my girlfriend did not approve of. I signed the paperwork, rode out of there, and was once again at peace.
I quickly realized my REI shorts, the ones with the zip on legs, were not going to cut it. My right leg was being burnt by the hot chrome, so I darted over to a mall and picked up a pair of my favorite jeans. Now nothing was standing in my way and after a month and a half of eating out of gas stations, I was going to taste the city. I galloped around making stops at all the local coffee shops, cafés, and Chipotles. I even took a drive up to the Red Rocks Amphitheater when I found out there was a restaurant there.
Two wheels is inherently dangerous, but so is freedom. They say life begins at the edge of your comfort zone, and I think each of us should have, on hand, a way to arrive at that edge. My avenue to the edge has, and will continue to be, two wheels. From the time my dad took my training wheels off and propelled me as he ran beside me, to getting in gear and dumping the clutch in the present day, the thrill has never gotten old, and I don't think it ever will. To quote Regular Car Reviews, an inappropriate video blog on cars and motorcycles, "A bike doesn't care. It simply says, 'The road is calling. What are we going to do about it?'"