I still remember the first time I rode a bike without falling down like it was just yesterday. We were on family vacation in Squaw Valley I rode about 50 feet, hit a tree and then fell down. I got up and fell down again and again, Even at the tender age of 5 I was a gluten for punishment. I still fall down these days but not as often as I did back then. You never stop learning, you get better and better but you never stop learning. Falling down is what reminds us that there is more to learn.
From that day foreword everywhere I went I went on my bicycle, still falling every time I thought I had finally beaten gravity. I never once cried when I got hurt as a child, my eyes would well up with tears, I would walk it off and jump right back in the saddle. I started building what are now called mountain bikes in the early 80’s If they already existed back then I didn’t know about them. I had learned a network of trails while in the boy scouts and had started heading deeper and deeper into the woods finding the best trout fishing holes by bike. When I wasn’t on my bike I was tramping through the wild with a daypack filled with a bottle of water a side of bacon and a pan I snuck from dad’s backpack. I tied an old wool blanket to the back, trout rod in hand I explored the canyons that where unrideable. These days they call it ultralight backpacking, back then we just called it fishing.
At some point in the late 80’s I combined my ultralight backpacking obsession with my love of cycling and a new love was formed, it didn’t have a name back then but we stealth camped anywhere and everywhere always pushing our journeys farther as well as ourselves. It was only a few miles from my house to the LA river, from there a few hours to the coast and PCH would lead us to some of the best mountain biking on the planet. We would load up on Western Bacon Cheeseburgers form Carls JR and could live off them for days. Eventually we refined our bikes, gear and menu but those first few trips we felt like pioneers.
The choice to live on a bicycle is one I’m still in the process of making. Its a natural transition for a modern day explorer who’s ship has sailed. I need adventure on a near daily basis, I need exploration and something new to learn everyday. The feeling of being truly and utterly lost is something most people will never experience, to me its home. Life is moving at a rapid pace as I patiently wait to get all my ducks in a row. The bike is almost ready for day trips to be followed soon after by overnighters, weekends and with a little bit of luck a few long weeks. I’ll know I’m ready the day I just keep going ever searching for whats around the next bend.
If you try and make it though life without falling down your not trying hard enough. If your afraid to cry when it hurts its going to be an empty journey and if your not willing wipe the tears of pain and frustration away and jump back on that bike, well…
To say I’m scared with my new transition in life would be an understatement, I’m crippled with fear wanting to somehow hold onto the safety and security of my present life but still make a new way into the future. I’m sure I will fall many times and when I do I will wipe the tears from my eyes dust myself off and climb back into the saddle. The top is out there somewhere you just have to keep pedaling till you reach it.
The fear and anxiety of any new endeavor can only be matched by the spoils of the journey.