i am going to ride my bike across the country this summer. perhaps across and back, as yet to be finalized. i'll already be going from NJ to DC in june on a school trip i am co-chaperoning, but that's only about 270 miles out of oh, say, 1600. dickie is coming with me, so he says (cross-country, not to DC). we are trying to organize other people to go with us, and we're probably going to try to document it and maybe (maybe maybe hopefully) raise some funds. and by raising funds, i mean a minimal amount to cover food and shit with the rest going to a green/sustainability/environmental organization yet to be chosen. maybe even some urban initiative, bike-lane creating, recreational happy people program.
anyways, the reason this came about was because, well, i want to ride my bike across the country. i am still debating whether it is a wise idea to do this on a single speed (i am thinking it is a very, very stupid idea); but, even if it is a very stupid idea, i am hoping it is still a feasible idea. the other reason this came about is because i realized how absolutely, horrifically terrible it is to have to depend on a car. and, yes, i have to depend on a car because new jersey is IMPOSSIBLE to navigate on a bicycle. there are no bike lanes, drivers are entirely unaccustomed to cyclists on the road -- there aren't even sidewalks in most places, no matter goddamned bike lanes! people don't even walk around here, so cycling is fairly out of the question. suburban dependency upon automobiles is out of control. also, urban cycling is not a walk amongst the sun-kissed clouds, either. with a majority of the people i love having been struck and maimed by vehicles, i think it's okay to say that riding in the city ain't too damn safe either.
i know it's not something that can be easily resolved, but.. that's why i want to do something. i may be a young idealistic idiot but, well, sometimes young idealistic idiots need to do novel things other than drink PBR in dark bars. and i'm not talking about critical mass, either. because, seriously, what does that shit even do besides irritate the drivers in their idling automobiles and nearly get me beat up by fat black ladies who try to run me over every month (okay, so that was only one time, but still)?
when i was in switzerland, everyone had a damned bicycle. these people would commute through the ALPS. the ALPS! yo, americans, if the swiss can ride up thirty percent grades on a daily basis to go buy some fresh emmenthaler in the next town over, you can cycle/walk/rollerblade/cross-countryski to the grocery store two blocks away to get your cheetos. (excuse that bout of preachiness, please). although riding to the grocery store is far less exciting than riding through the alps (true story), such is life. and, oxford? more bikes than books, i swear. and someday, honest to jeebus, i am going to ride my bike around the arc de triomphe. i will probably die, but i will go out in a two-wheeled blaze of glory. i hope i am struck by a peugeot. i mean, they used to make really wonderful bicycles so i guess their cars should have the first go at striking me down dead in my hypothetical parisian hit and run. also, i don't mean to be all EVERYONE MUST RIDE A BIKE ARGH, i rather want to be EVERYONE NEEDS TO GET OUT OF THEIR CARS ARGH.
i think all of this was instigated by the fact that I HATE LIVING IN NEW JERSEY. damn you suburbs. i never thought i was some crazy bike riding tree hugging hippie, but maybe i am after all. i swear i'll never wear organic deodorant though. especially when riding a bike across the country in august, because the world does not deserve such olfactory torment. if any good comes out of my having sacrificed nearly a year of my life to car-based, picket-fenced, false american dream suburban living, may this far-fetched wackjob journey be it.
some book i read by some good dude said something about not being able to run away from yourself in order to find yourself, but i think finding myself means finding other people and other states and other landscapes and other adventures and other others and, hopefully, somewhere in all of that crap, there i am.