Tomorrow I head home. It will be exactly two days shy of one year when we cycled away from our home in Malaysia and embarked on the most wonderful journey of a lifetime, our “cycle for retirement.” Our trip has been winding down since arriving September 1st in the US but the last couple of days have been a stimulating way to put the final “stamp of completion” on our first long distance cycle tour.
I had the pleasure of speaking at the Cycle Touring and Travel/ Recumbent Bicycle Expo at the Sharonville Convention Center in Ohio. The very act of preparing a presentation and sharing the “Lessons Learned” from our trip served as a way to remember and share our journey with an attentive and interested audience. Speaking also helped put positive closure on our wonderful journey.
Although this convention was primarily a recumbent bicycle expo, there were many dedicated cycle tourists in attendance who have cycled thousands of miles to many corners of the world and the United States. It was delightful and inspiring to hear their stories, compare notes and get ideas for upcoming “cycles for retirement.” (Yes, there will be many more!)
Another benefit to attending the expo was that I was formally introduced to recumbent cycles and trikes. Although, I’m not ready to make the switch to this type of cycling, many of the “converts” enthusiastically swear by their decision to switch and made some pretty compelling arguments. I can see the benefit to recumbents and trikes as ways to keep many people cycling who, due to physical impairments, might otherwise have stopped. But, I still want to sit high, balance on two wheels and enjoy the scenery from the higher vantage point. Maybe someday…
Today I took the necessary steps to get my bicycle shipped home. Up until this day, I’ve always traveled with my bicycle so we never suffered the sadness of a long separation. But this final leg of my journey involves three planes and two airlines (couldn’t pass up a $19 ticket) so the logistics and expense of flying with my bike just didn’t make sense. So I rode 10 miles to the nearest bicycle shop, Trek Bicycles in Blue Ash, pre-paid for a shipping label from Fed Ex, and said a hasty “good-bye” to my trusty steed of 362 days. I crossed my fingers that it will be safe and not too lonely until we meet again at home.
I then stopped in the Chipotles near the bike shop to purchase a burrito and stuffed it in my backpack to eat at a park on the long 7.1 mile walk back to the hotel. I chose to walk home after researching the inconvenience of public transportation from the bicycle shop back to my hotel. The walk + bus + bus + walk would take longer than just walking. And a taxis would cost more than my hotel room. I’d forgotten just how difficult it is to live in the US without a car. As hindsight is 20-20, renting a car might have been easier and less expensive, but then I wouldn’t have had the satisfaction of cycling to the finish.
So here I sit, physically ready to live in our home again but mentally not so sure….