Thursday, April 19, 2012

Bike America: The Idea and the Inspiration

In the summer of 2010, I was riding my bike next to my best friend Joyce on a hot and sunny day. It was late July and we were spending the week riding Ragbrai across Iowa. The road felt endless and, as we reminisced about some of our past adventures, we began to dream for the future. I honestly don't remember which of us thought it first but we realized that we would eventually need to continue along that endless road and ride our bikes across America. We decided we'd do it in the summer of 2012 and we talked lots about it for the rest of the trip.

Then Joyce moved to Colorado and we kept in touch well but there were more pressing things on the horizon than a bike ride across the country and we stopped talking about it much.

In the spring of 2011, though, the dream popped back in my head and i couldn't get over it. I realized that not only should I ride cross country but that I should write a book about the experience. I talked to Joyce but she wasn't in a place to commit to something so long and intense the summer that she would finish grad school. Still, I was determined.

Then, on June 10, 2011, I had my parents and brother over for a vegan feast in celebration of my dad's birthday. We got to lots of talking, as we always do, and I shared my dreams about the biking and book writing. It was a stretch, but we started to wonder whether the whole family could make this possible together. My parents have been wanting to road-trip around the west coast and declared that they could participate in the bike ride if we had a car along. My brother would be graduating college with a degree in film and maybe he could come along and make a documentary about us. At the time it was all just a crazy fantasy but there was also something real and so inspiring about the discussion that night.

When My dad called me at work the next Tuesday to discuss what the two months away would mean for his position as the chair of the board at his church, I knew how real it actually was.

Very many other things had to happen to get me from there to here, only eight weeks from the first day of my 3,000 mile ride, but the seed had been planted and it was deep. Now I'm looking forward to two months on two wheels with both of my parents and a slew of other people that I love, including a month with Joyce with whom the idea was first born.

In this world, where time flies and schedules fill so quickly, it is easy to make plans we know we'll never keep and to have great ideas that we don't have the time or energy to follow through on. I have been guilty of wanting to do far more than I've actually been able to. Most of us have fallen short of our dreams at one time or another.

But life is too short. Take it seriously and be productive. But please also stop and think about what you want out of it. If you have an idea that just won't go away, pursue it. Follow it. Let it drive you.

My big idea is to bike across the country and to write a book about it. Tell me yours!!


  1. Great post! I'm so excited for you! I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE that your whole family is getting involved.

    My dream is to compete in an Ironman in 2014! I hope it will happen!

  2. This is so amazing, Carrie. I am so inspired that something you once talked about is now coming to fruition and you're going to DO IT!! This will no doubt be a life changing experience and I can't wait to follow along with you as you ride. So.very.awesome. :)