I once rode part of the way across the country.
Okay… I went on a day’s journey with a group of Ukrainian cyclists who were riding across America. It was part of the World Without Orphans world tour. A friend of mine, who rode a large part of the route with them, made me aware they would be coming through the area where I lived at the time, so I figured out where, and I joined them for a day.
These were not professional cyclists, either. It was one guy with a huge heart, with a ragtag group of young adults, a few people with vehicles, and even a few young kids riding across the US. This group had already ridden all the way across Europe! I was super impressed by their fortitude and enthusiasm!
I was also amazed to learn that the leader had, himself, adopted over 30 kids off the streets where he lived in Ukraine. A couple of those kids were riding with us! The leader told me that the air in most of America is a lot easier to breathe than in other parts of the world. He and his crew had some really arduous days on bike as they traversed the ~3,000 miles across this country. But he said he loved every minute of it, because of the great air quality alone!
That man and his family now have no home. This ridiculous war has orphaned all of them! In his own words, though the world was largely unaware, even years ago they were already living at the edge of a war zone. He said he could step out the back door of his tiny home, walk about 100 yards, and he would be shot at by opposing forces who were camped out basically in his back yard!
He is now very involved in helping people escape the perils of war and doing all he can – with the help of others – to keep his family, friends, and countless others safe. It is a far worse situation than anything he ever encountered on a bike! But I know he is a very resilient and resourceful individual, and he will continue to care for others as long as he’s got the breath to do so!
I just picked up a new-to-me, very gently used road bike and will be getting back out on the roads soon. And, I think it would be awesome to take a cross-country cycling tour. But it would be for a purpose – a cause greater than me, or greater than just seeing the countryside – though I’m sure that would be phenomenal too!
I actually have some photos from that day, so I’ll share a few. They’re probably not the best quality / resolution. But I’ll share anyway. No…I’m not in any of them, if you don’t count the top of my helmet which I didn’t crop from one.
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Awesome. I haven’t ridden a bike since I was a teenager. The sheer hurts my back, which is why I can’t ride. But your story is awesome.
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