I’ve been spending a lot of time researching “The Ride.” (I’m not sure what to call it. “The Ride” comes close enough.) The more I read, the more I shape what the ride is going to be like, based on other people who’ve come before me.
On one hand I want to make decisions and stick with them. Endless dithering drives me nuts. But I suppose I’ve made the most important decision: Get on a bicycle on June 1, 2014 and start riding. Everything else is open for discussion.
For example, though it’s been less than a month since I started this blog, I’m already leaning towards changing a fundamental decision about leaving Dexter behind. I just can’t imagine life without the little dog. I’ve said it many times before: there’s been times in my life the only living creature in the entire world happy to see me at the end of the day was Dexter. For that, he gets my devotion until he (or I) passes on.
It helps that he’s a chihuahua. Makes him easier to tote around. It’s still going to be extra weight, but it’ll be worth all the extra muscle strain the have him along. (You better appreciate this, dog.)
Another fundamental decision that I’m going to have to live with: While it’d be nice to tour the open road in a Seven Bicycle, I’m not going to be able to afford it. It’d be nice to tour the country in a private Lear jet, too, but that’s also way out of my affordability range. I’m going to have to aim lower, do more with less, bla bla bla. Everyone not sharing the last names “Gates” or “Buffet” knows what it’s like to have to budget. Buy the most bicycle that I can for the least amount of money.
Speaking of money: monetizing this makes it sound like I’m riding for money. I’m not. The blog so far is nothing more than my “thinking out loud” about all the things I’ve got to consider to pull this ride off. One question that has to be answered is, “How do I pay for this?” (Be nice if our elected officials would have to answer that question before they passed any law.)
That question also ties back into another question: What do I do when I’m done riding? I found this on Wikipedia under Bicycle Touring:
The French tourist Jacques Sirat speaks in lectures of how he felt proud riding round the world for five years – until he met an Australian who had been on the road for 27 years. The German rider, Walter Stolle, lost his home and living in the Sudetenland in the aftermath of World War II, settled in Britain and set off from Essex on 25 January 1959, to cycle round the world. He rode through 159 countries in 18 years, denied only those with sealed borders. He paid his way by giving slide shows in seven languages. He gave 2,500 at US$100 each. In 1974, he rode through Nigeria, Dahomey, Upper Volta, Ghana, Leone, Ivory Coast, Liberia and Guinea. He was robbed 231 times, wore out six bicycles and had five more stolen.
Another German set off three years after Stolle and is still riding. Heinz Stücke left his job as a die-maker in North Rhine-Westphalia in 1962 when he was 22. He has never been home since. By 2006 he had cycled more than 539,000 km (335,000 mi) and visited 192 countries. He pays his way by selling photographs to magazines. From Asia, Gua Dahao left China in May 1999 to ride across Siberia, the Middle East, Turkey, western Europe, Scandinavia, then another 100,000 km across Africa, Latin America and Australia.
So maybe I don’t have to ever stop riding. And maybe the “paying for it” will work itself out.