May 3, 2018 = Day 0 = Nashua, NH to Hampton Beach, NH
Some have asked the results of my poll, should I repeat my May ride and ride from home to the beach again?
After considerable thought, I believe John in his comments summed things up best — “God gave you the wisdom to make a shakedown ride to the Atlantic ocean!” —so I call that ride, Day 0 of my ride across America.
Adding that ride to the others means my ride across America was:
3,563 miles long with 103,141 feet of elevation climb.
When it comes to the elevation climbed, in theory since I began and ended at sea level, my old physics courses would tell me I did no work on this trip, because the energy I expended on the 100,000 plus feet of climbing, I received back on the same number of feet of downhill. I do feel as if I worked on the ride though (so I’ll lay physics aside for now).
So how do I summarize my ride?
How does it feel to be back?
Did I decide to change anything in life? (that was a question Marilyn asked me when we ate dinner together for the first time in 2 months).
As my final post-ride post, let me put a few thoughts down for you:
#1 this ride was difficult fun. I know of no other way to describe it. Some days riding was extremely difficult (maybe the most difficult thing I’ve ever done), whereas some days were really, really fun.
#2 God wanted me to take this ride. I really don’t know the reason for His wanting that though. Maybe He wanted me out of the way of the business and church for awhile…maybe He wanted those around me to learn or experience something while I was way…maybe this ride was not about me at all, but about others. I embarked upon this ride thinking I was going to be able to talk to others about God, to share Jesus with others, and although that only happened with 1 man, I soon realized that my ride was not going to be about evangelism, but about prayer and about God showing me how much He really is in control over my life. I don’t know if ever in my life I have experienced such a period of time when I felt as if ‘God was loving on me’. That may sound really weird to some, but that’s okay. Over this two-month period I knew nothing other than the faithfulness, provision and love of God for me. I cannot tell you how many times God said to me “I love you. I have you in my hands. I am with you…” through the kindness, encouragement, and support of those back-home (both in New England & California) and those I met along the way. My friends—God is good. He is faithful to those who place their trust & hope in Him. This I know, not only because the Bible tells me so, but because I experienced His grace, mercy, faithfulness, love & provision, peace, guidance…His overall goodness…every turn of the pedals along the way.
#3 my ride (counting Day 0) was 58 days long. I took 5 rest days, so that means I rode 53 days at an average of 67.3 miles per day, climbing an average of 1,946 feet of elevation per day. ALL THAT BEING SAID…I DID NOTHING SPECIAL. Nearly everyone could do what I did. Most if not all reading this blog, could do what I did. In reality all I did was sit on a bicycle & pedal—and who cannot do that? Who has never ridden a bicycle? Agreed, some might take longer to do it, but others would take far less time. Some ride on bicycles across America each year in races that last but 7 – 10 days at times. While I was gone, I spoke to people who knew someone who rode across America before me…some who knew someone who walked across America…one person told me about someone who rode their horse across America...I DID NOTHING YOU COULD NOT DO IN ONE FORM OR ANOTHER. I rode a bicycle is all, and along the way I met others (supported and non-supported who were doing the same). What I can tell you is that this ride was a blessing from God to me in so many ways.
#4 it feels surreal to be back. On one hand I feel as if I never left home and that the ride never took place, yet on the other hand, it is really difficult being back. I miss exercise (which I’m taking a break from while the nerves in my hands, toes, shoulders, legs…heal) and I miss being outside. If I were a single man without a responsibility in the world, I could live on a bicycle and ride the rest of my days. I love bicycle riding and have since my first bicycle so many years ago. I’m happy to be back where I can once again return to Vegan (it was just too tough on the ride to eat right), and I’ve been cooking up tasty (healthy) meals again. By the way, I know I began to look very thin a few weeks into my ride (while I was still meat & dairy free), but once I started gorging myself on everything, I arrived home only 6.5 pounds lighter than the day I left. I have lost inches though. I can now wear the same size pants (in the waist) that I did in high-school. That too me is crazy. When it comes to working, I’m still slowly getting back into that and will not fully return to the office until next week. Acclimating back to my life has been slow in coming.
#5 any life-changing decisions? Not many. Just 1 or 2. First off, I’m going to start taking Mondays off of work. For 15 years I have typically worked Monday through Friday on business, Saturday’s on sermon writing, and Sunday’s on preaching—not really getting a regular day off. That is changing. Monday’s are going to be a day of rest for me. Also, along the same lines, no more working at night either. Most of the time before the ride, I’d get home from the office and Marilyn & I would watch a program as we ate dinner, and then I’d go up to the office to work and what I did not get done during the day (typically until 11:30 – midnight). That practice is now dead. If business can virtually live without me for 2 months; then business doesn’t need me at night. Secondly, since I’ve returned I’ve made more time for meditation on God’s Word. On the ride I made it a practice to read a passage of Scripture in the morning and to reflect upon it as I rode during the day. In fact, much of the first month was focused upon Matthew 11:28-30. Since 99% of the time I was alone on the bike (not riding with others), I had a lot of time to meditate on Scripture and to pray. In the busyness of my life before the ride, I had lost such reflection upon the Word of God. Don’t get me wrong, I was reading God’s Word daily, but it was the quiet meditation upon His Word that had wained in my day. It is back now and I’m grateful. Thirdly, Marilyn & I have come to the conclusion that 2 months apart is too long. She suggests future bike rides to be a month or less and I concur (unless we buy a tandem and she goes with me). My bride is the greatest gift next to salvation that God has given me. Marilyn was a saint to be home alone for a month, and to do the banking and bill paying for the business (something she’d not done before) and I owe her a lot!!!!!
#6 were it not for the prayers of God’s people, their support & encouragement, this ride may not have been possible. Thank you to everyone who encouraged me and who prayed for me. Also, thank you to those at New in Christ Bible Church and Integrity Laser who kept the church and the business going while I was away. Because of the teamwork of those in the business and the willingness of those in the church to step-up and do more, I was able to ride without worrying about what was going on back home. THANK YOU OVER & OVER AGAIN!!!!!
Here are a few videos from my Day 0 ride.