Two years ago when my cousin Mike and I biked over a thousand miles across the country, I thought that would do it. After all I had just turned 70 (years old), and I had a sore ass, a sunburned neck, and because we’d used motels in lieu of campgrounds, a much lighter wallet.
But alas, it didn’t. For some reason that trip just whetted my appetite for more of the same. Maybe it’s because I came late in life to long distance biking, maybe it’s because I have an insatiable appetite for this kind of stuff, maybe, well maybe I’ll find out what it is during this trip. Nevertheless, here I am at 10 pm on Labor Day Friday at the San Francisco Airport waiting for my red-eye flight to New York. My bike is already on the way.
As someone in his eighth decade of life, I count myself extremely lucky to be as active as I am, and I treat each trip as if it may be my last. I have a lot of people to thank for my good fortune. Most obvious there’s my wife Marilyn who has allowed numerous absences and missed dinners, and put up with the ever-present threat of my appearance at the front door with a broken leg. (Yes, that really happened five years ago.) Then there are my children Jennifer and Chris, who support my endeavors, all the while gnawing on fingernails and praying for my well being, already having given up on similar pleas for my sanity. And finally my four cousins, really surrogate brothers and sisters, including Mike who alone has the perseverance and familial craziness to accompany me on my pursuits.
Then there are my biking companions both young and old (the younger ones for generously accommodating my slower pace, while the older ones for keeping their skeptical comments to themselves.) Those biker friends have helped compile a year-to-date Strava account of 1463 miles of biking, involving 157,597 feet of climb, and almost 181 hours of “saddle time”. (If you’re unfamiliar with Strava, check it out at strava.com.)
My plans this time are less ambitious than the earlier trip, but more meaningful to me on a personal level. I plan to leave from my daughter Jennifer’s home in Brooklyn, and bike the 450 miles to my son Chris’s in Bangor, Maine. This is the first time my kids have been personally involved in one of my endeavors. Again, Mike will accompany me, and we’re thinking it will take a bit over two weeks.
As a quick overview, we are planning to leave Brooklyn, bike east through Queens and suburban Long Island, to the idyllic town of Orient, New York at the northeastern tip of the island. From there we’ll take a ferry to New London, Connecticut, and then meander along a path that connects Norwich, CT; Worchester, Massachusetts; Manchester and Durham, New Hampshire; Kennebunk, Bath, Rockland, in Maine, and finally my son’s home in Bangor. We’ll undoubtedly deviate from that itinerary, but that’s half the fun.
More to come.