Four years ago at the urging (nagging) of a friend, I got off the couch and bought a Schwinn bicycle. Schwinny (every bike should have a name), was a hybrid with a luxurious, comfy bike seat. The comfy bike seat was important, because, as a whole, I am built for comfort not for speed. And comfort is important if I was to get on the bike for a second time. I had a great deal of anxiety on my first ride (a story for another day), but found that I enjoyed the experience – the feel of the bike, the synchronization of pedaling to movement, the challenge of a hill, and the reward of the descent. Most of all, I enjoyed the company of old friends on a new adventure.
My riding buddies were all friends of 30 + years. We had been through a great deal together – some we can repeat, some we will never tell. We found we were now beyond dating, weddings, and babies and found ourselves stuck in a new routine. Our new routine included getting together of course, but we found that we spent most of the time either a) supporting one another through difficult times as our loved ones fought medical issues, and passed on or b) got together at the annual cookout or holiday party where we drank and reminisced about our great adventures of days gone by. We still enjoyed one another, but we were not creating new joy or happy events – we were either stuck in the tough, or in the past. The addition of bikes and Saturday morning rides gave us a new shared experience where we created new events, and memories. And laughter. And sweat. And accomplishment. And swearing. And the battle cry of ANGRY ASS! (Picture: fat bottomed girl working it up a hill, and a friend encouraging from behind. Now picture said fat bottomed girl gasping for air and laughing while chugging away at said hill thus the creation of Angry Ass! And the naming of my blog: Angry Ass Across America).
Four years later, I ride a Specialized road bike named Sweet Ruby with a not so luxurious seat, new friends have been added to our chain gang, we ride greater distances, new tales have been added to our storytelling and I have signed on for an adventure of a lifetime.
I welcome you to my adventure and over the next two months will blog about my preparation for and events leading up to my bicycle trip across the southern tier of America. 58 days in total, 3100+ miles, 7 states, 30 women and “X” number of flat tires! I roll out on March 7 from San Diego and my hope is to invite you along on the ride as well, as I give you a glimpse of America by the seat of my bike.
I am also using my personal journey to fund raise for Make-A-Wish New Hampshire. Please take a moment to check out my page and story here, and if you are looking to make a charitable donation to a worthy cause in 2014, I hope you will consider making it to Make-A-Wish in support of my journey. http://friends.wish.org/058-000/page/Karen-Coffey/Karen%27s-Cross-Country-Ride-for-Wishes.htm
Also – please forgive typos, grammar or the overuse of (side comments), and ‘s. All errors are mine, and I hope by the end of my journey you still think I am literate.