Posted on August 4, 2018
There are many points in a persons life that brings them where they are today. All of the choices we make, whether large or small, have an impact on us. Although I have always loved bicycle riding and long distance touring there are a couple of incidents that helped me make the decision to ride around the world now. And there are a few people who helped influence my planning and decisions and fed my desire.
After having a stroke and dragging myself out of my apartment in Cambodia in the middle of the night while half paralyzed it was an easy choice to increase my exercise regiment. The best way I could do that was to get on a bicycle and ride. And keep riding.
In October of 2017 while on my motorcycle in Siem Reap someone ran over my foot with their big ass SUV. I didn’t know at the time that moment would help mold my bicycle ride but it had a big influence on my future of bicycling.
I was stopped near the side of the road when the Driver tried to park and the SUV squeezed between me and the curb. I was on my motorcycle with both feet on the ground protected only by the cloth strap of my flip flops. The tire didn’t just run over my foot, it ground it into the pavement as the driver turned the wheel at the same time he was running over my foot.
The tire acted much like a smoker as they drop a cigarette on the ground and pulverized it with a twist of their foot. When I looked down at my foot it was flat. Just like in the cartoons when someone dropped an anvil on someone’s foot. Even someone who scoffs at flat earth theories would remark ‘Now that’s flat!’.
The twisting tire not only ground my foot into the pavement but it torqued my leg in a clockwise direction. Since I was seated on my motorcycle my leg could only twist – the rest of my body held tightly in place on my motorcycle seat. Thousands of pounds of metal, rubber and plastic grinding and twisting human flesh. It was bound to do some damage.
In that instant I can guarantee the thought going through my mind wasn’t “Wow, what a serendipitous moment!” If I remember correctly I was able to recite George Carlin’s seven words you can’t say on tv both forwards and backwards. Out loud, multiple times.
My foot regained its normal shape quickly and the driver and I exchanged a word or two. He got out of his car yelling that I was going to pay for the damages. Luckily his wife was more level headed and was able to coax him back to reality.
It it turned out that incident kept me in my apartment for two weeks while my foot healed. In that time I ate a lot and watched a lot of YouTube. During that time I spent many hours watching videos of other people who were riding bicycles around the world. My route was enhanced based on their experiences and I became more confident in my abilities to increase my plans from three months to four years.
These are a few of the people who have inspired me to go on my Strokes to Spokes bicycle ride. In addition I am inspired by the bicyclists and non-bicyclists that I meet every day while I am on my ride. Without them there would be little meaning and purpose to my daily endeavor.
Ed is a unicyclist from England who rode a unicycle around the world. Yes – he did it on one wheel. And he carried all of his gear. He finished his ride in England just a few days ago after a few months in the United States.
I discovered his videos after he had passed Southeast Asia and was on his way to Australia. I spent many hours watching his adventures as he rode though China and the followed him through Australia.
To me it it is an incredible feat to ride a unicycle around the world. His experiences in China led me to include China in my plans and opened my eyes to making this an around the world trip.
Super Cycling Man
Will Hodson is on a five year, one-hundred thousand kilometer ride across all seven continents to raise money and awareness to Parkinson’s Disease. Not shy about his endevour he rides his bicycle while wearing a super hero costume complete with cape.
He stops at many schools on his way sharing his stories about riding and bringing inspiration to children in the countries he passes through.
I found out about him watching Ed Pratt’s videos when the two of them met up in China and rode together for a while.
Jin is a young woman from South Korea that has been riding her solo bicycle trip around the world since 2011! She bikes through the hottest hots and the coldest colds as she makes her way around the globe.
Being a female her experiences and perspectives may be different than what I might encounter. The world of long distance cycling is mostly men but there are more than enough females to continue to inspire me and keep me moving forward.
Dirk is from Germany and travels for six months a year to bicycle throughout Asia. I met Dirk on the road near Siem Reap a few years ago when I stopped for water on my way to Battambang. I was on my motorcycle but I always try to engage a touring bicyclist when I have the opportunity.
Since then we have met up a number of times when he was riding in Asia. I have heard a lot of his first hand experiences about his cycling which helped spark my interest in long distance touring.
Last year I put together a short video about his bicycling that you can view by clicking the link below.
When he he is home in Germany during the summer months he teaches mountain biking and takes people on mountain bike tours around Germany.
YouTube Video: https://youtu.be/98t-4OJY1_Y
These are some of the people that inspired me to start my long distance bicycle ride. Some of them are still riding today and I will continue to follow them and be inspired. Maybe I will run into one or two of them on the road.
The internet allows an open flow of information and experiences to be shared. I appreciate the influence and inspiration I have gathered from these cyclists and many others. I look forward to seeing more of their travels in hopes of opening my eyes to a new place or a new way to do things.
Strokes to Spokes
Around the world bicycle ride
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