I believe I live more when I ride my bicycle.
My bicycle opens doors that don’t exist from the wheel of a car or in the belly of a bus. A trip to the grocery store becomes an adventure of balanced bags, shortcuts on bicycle paths and smiles from drivers shaking their heads at the six bags of groceries strapped to the side of my bicycle.
A late-night ride home from a friend’s house showcases the stars. Even better, a ride across the country, or across a continent, turns a mere month of living into a lifetime worth of adventures.
By the time you read this, I’ll be at the beginning of the trip of a lifetime: a bicycle journey from Alaska to Argentina. Instead of spending the next year polishing resumes and paying electric bills, my husband and I have sold nearly all our belongings and put our professional lives on hold to truly experience life from our bicycles.
We will carry our world with us and open ourselves to new faces from many countries and backgrounds. We will sleep under the stars, in hostels, guestrooms and fire stations.
We will struggle and probably have a few fights, but through it all we will build our relationship and learn how to live with very little in a very big world.
I have traveled on bicycle before, nearly 10,000 miles of travel over five trips. Four years ago I took a solo trip from Alaska to Montana, riding 90 miles a day with pigtails and a pink tank top through the isolated Yukon Territory.
I met people I never would have talked to otherwise, including a construction worker who loved math and let me cook dinner on his stove.
I talked to countless vacationers wondering what a girl in her 20s was doing on her own in the wilderness. I shook off their worried inquiries and kept on riding. I was living more on my bicycle.
When I met my husband, he had never taken a bicycle trip, and I wasted no time converting him.
Two years ago, we rode the Cascade Mountains from Mexico to Canada, living in the rhythm of mountain passes, scorching hot afternoons in California and freezing rain in the mountains of Oregon.
We spent a week wondering where Northern California actually started, and celebrated every mountain pass. After six weeks that felt like six months, we went back to the “real world” and started saving for our return to the world on two wheels.
Now the time has come.
The preparations are mostly taken care of: vaccinations, water filters, warm clothing, spare parts. The tent and sleeping bags have been tested, the stove is in working order, and the plane tickets are purchased. As terrifying as it is to drop a comfortable life and embark on the unknown, I believe this is my one chance at life, and I want to live as much as I can. So the bicycle beckons, and the ride begins.