"Never use your face as a brakepad"
I am addicted to cycling. I Know it when. . .
1. I meticulously care for my bike, while my $20,000 car quietly rusts away.
2. I hang around bike shops without really needing anything.
3. I plan the year ahead around the dates of the Hilly Hundred, the Death Ride, Rambo Ramble, etc. (the list grows longer every year)
4. I don't plan any family events ahead until checking the club newsletter.
5. I begin to regard doing the family laundry as a troublesome nuisance, interfering with my quality biking time.
6. I divide my friendships into two groups - those that bike and those that don't.
7. I talk as if I really understand gear ratios.
8. I'll ride all day in the numbing cold and soaking rain, and then complain at home if a draft from an open window blows on me.
9. I have a permanent black grease mark across the calf of my right leg.
10. I accumulate bike catalogs - and find something new to order with each new issue.
11. I plan, and actually look forward to, a 7 week bicycling vacation trekking across mountainous terrain and setting a goal of 75-100 miles a day, rain or shine!
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your wagon to a star."
-Ralph Waldo Emerson
To me a very important element in making the thousands of miles I will be bicycling safe, fun, life changing, and successful for my cause for Habitat For Humanity, is relative to the power of prayer support that goes before, during and after this cross country ride. Last evening was a special time for me during these final days before I leave on my bike trip. A friend had invited a group of ladies to her home. We are known to each other as "renewal sisters." Some twenty years ago we had attended a church retreat on the same weekend. Since that spiritually renewed weekend we have shared friendships that have supported one another in the many events in each of our lives. Praying with and for each other has always been a beautiful part of our friendship. When we were at Nuala's home last night it was a time for my friends to send me off on this challenging trip with their good wishes and for them to pray with me. These special friends who pray for me gives me great confidence that I will succeed. I have many times witnessed the power of prayer. Naturally I am excited just thinking and imagining what this wonderful bike trip will bring. For 50 days not one single day will be like the other. Every single day will be new and different scenery, new people to meet, each day things never before experienced. But I am also getting a little nervous about all the unknown's too. Will I bring the right rain gear to stay warm if it rains in the mountains? Will I be chased by mad dogs? Will I be able to control my bike on steep descents? Will I get enough rest? Will everything be alright with my family while away for so long? Will my bike arrive at the start without damage? A hundred of these little worries were creeping into my thoughts yesterday. After the beautiful moments of prayer last evening, I came away renewed with peaceful assurance that each of these possible troubles will have a solution exactly at the moment if and when needed. I look forward to the many hours on my bike when I am riding along that I can remember all the people who have asked me to pray for them. That is part of the wonderful joy of bicycling - the time it provides for meditation and prayer - with a beautiful backdrop of the great outdoors surrounding me. The silent pulse of just my bike and I rolling along in peaceful harmony with God and all he has created. Makes me excited just to think about this wonderful opportunity that lies only a few days away.
My friend wrote a prayer and last night the circle of friends who prayed over me said this prayer together. They all said they would pray it again while I am out on my journey across America. I would like to share the words my friend was inspired to write. Click here.
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"Cyclists burn water, not fossil fuels"
One week to go. I am trying to remain mellow, it is a challenge. This dream of crossing America has been in my thoughts and plans for nearly two years. Now it is only days away before I meet up with a group of 58 strangers who have had the very same dream. I am sure they must be thinking some of the same things I am today. Who will they be? I know they are coming from many different states as well as England and Australia. Strangers the first day, but soon we'll be a type of unique family. We will be traveling for 50 days together. Being surrounded everyday by people who have a passion and enjoyment of cycling will be quite an experience. But this thirst for adventure in each of us at this level, ready to cycle ocean to ocean, is hard for me to imagine right now. What it will be like to meet face to face, tire to tire.
If you have taken a look at the route the touring company, America by Bicycle, has mapped out for us you see that we will cross into Ontario, Canada for a couple of days of cycling. This is special to me in regards to the cause for which I am biking: raising awareness and money for Habitat for Humanity. A lot of people think that Habitat for Humanity just builds houses in the U.S. But this is an international organization, and actually more houses are built outside of the united states than in the U.S. So for me to go 'international' and cycle into Canada too is just a reminder that HfH is indeed global. I will remember this as I speak to people across this nation, as well as in Canada to include the fact about Habitat being a global ministry of volunteers coming together to build houses for people all over this earth. You can visit the website of Habitat for Humanity International to see what is happening around the world. I noticed that on Tuesday, President Bush visited the sight of a house being built by HfH and he too picked up a hammer and drove a few nails.
Yes, I am getting very excited and anxious to start on the bicycle ride of a lifetime! Yesterday I took my bike over to Century Cycles to my favorite mechanic, Darek, so he could replace a faulty harness for my Flight Deck bike computer, and to do a final check to make sure everything on the bike is in excellent working order and safe. I had to leave the bike there until Friday morning. I don't like it when my bike isn't here with me. I will be happy to pick up my blue steel steed and go for a ride, because by Friday my legs will be "aching to pedal."
When I see an adult on a bicycle, I do not despair"
Lately, I have noticed the America flag flying or displayed in some way just about everywhere I look. Most of the time I carry my digital camera with me when I am out biking. Over a month ago I started taking pictures of the U.S. flag when I see it displayed in an attractive or unusual fashion. I have seen big flags, little flags, wooden flags, spiral flags, all sorts. The first time I clicked the camera was the one that caught my eye when I was cycling past a tall apartment building somewhere in Akron. Facing the road were many stories of windows. As I glanced towards it I noticed in one window a tiny little America flag on a tiny stand. Of all the windows of this large building, just that lone window had the flag displaced. I took a picture. Since then I have continued to capture on camera the American flag. I was with the bike club group the other day, and when ever they lost sight of me someone would radio back to me, "Where ARE you, Sara?" With my handy two-way radio on the bike I call up, "Taking a picture of these cute U.S. flags lining the flower bed out in front of this large Colonial house." That scenario was repeat several times. I find I have a collection of these flag pictures now. I have this idea that as I bike from one side of the US to the other, to take pictures of our flag in every state I visit. I wonder what state I will see the greatest number of stars and stripes waving? After I get home, I want to do a collage of them and I'll put it on this website.
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