The idea for this ride came about in early March of this year. On Facebook I follow a non-profit group called the Adventure Cycling Association. Their mission statement is to inspire and empower people to travel by bike. Part of what they do is research and approve possible bike routes and publish maps with all the pertinent information, including turn-by-turn directions, hotels/motels, food stores, and more. Their routes all are over bicycle friendly roads. That is, bikes are allowed on all the roads and most are very low traffic roads.
On this particular day I read that they just created a bike route retracing the original Route 66 from Chicago to LA. As soon as I read it I knew I wanted to do it. I love riding for many reasons. The physical and psychological benefits it provides, but mostly, because it’s just fun! When I start riding my first reaction is always that I feel like a kid again.
And Route 66 has always intrigued me. Though it had become obsolete during my youth, it’s something that I seemingly always knew about. Movies, songs, and books have covered this historic route -- from Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath, to the 1946 song Get Your Kicks on Route 66, to Easy Rider and Thelma & Louise. – Route 66 has been covered over and over again in recent American history and culture. So when I read about this cycling route I knew I wanted to explore this iconic piece of American history for myself.
However, for me there's a reason that really drives me. To me, this ride is in a very real way an analogy to my life and the challenges that have always been a part of it. I have always had serious, often life-threatening obstacles placed in front of me. Like getting the results of the blood test for my marriage license and being told, “you're entering end-stage kidney failure.” Or, removing the patch over my eye following eye surgery and seeing absolutely nothing. This, on an eye that had fair vision before surgery. Then being told by the doctor, “Oh, sorry. Nothing I can do.” And less serious - but still not exactly fun experiences - like riding my bike 95 miles through a non-stop rain storm for a charity event.
Regardless of the obstacle, quitting stopped being an option for me a long, long time ago.
In a nutshell, that answers the "why" part of this. Now, it’s the logistics of putting this all together.
Click here for the “how” – the logistics of putting this all together.
I spent many years riding bikes and loved all of that time I spent on two wheels. But when I was able to start riding again brought back memories of aching hands, wrists, shoulders and my back. Now, I was 20-some years older and had just been through three major surgeries following two and a half years on dialysis. I started thinking about a recumbent bike and in mentioning this to a friend (thanks Louis Garcia!) he told me about recumbent trikes – two wheels in front and one in back. I started doing some research and decided this was the route to go.
Now, my cycling is all done on my trike. It's a great alternative to a traditional bike.