CYCLING DAYS · REFLECTIONS/ OBSERVATIONS

The Rest of the Story…and “Plan B”

I arrived in Santa Barbara today after Brian and I  rode 43 miles from Buellton (where the film “Sideways” was filmed 🙂  ) We’re staying at Brian’s friends, Joe and Laurie Sullivan, for a couple of days. I’m excited to see Santa Barbara!

One thing I haven’t written about during this trip, because I didn’t want to increase anyone’s concern for me, is the level of risk I feel.  There have been many narrow, steep, windy roads with little or no shoulders. The great majority of drivers are considerate; some aren’t.  Logging trucks, chip trucks,  Dodge Ram pickup trucks and RV’s are unnerving.

img_1781I’ve thought a  lot about the roads and what I can do to make myself as safe as possible.  I wear flashing lights on my bike and helmet, wear bright clothes and constantly check my mirror to see what’s coming.

In Mendocino, CA I had a brief conversation during lunch with a touring couple.  Two hours later I came upon an ambulance loading the woman.  She hadn’t been hit, but had fallen by going off the eight inch shoulder of the very narrow road and had broken her collarbone. She is going to be fine, but it was unsettling.

I have heard many stories of close calls and of cyclists being hit by cars and trucks-on the Pacific Coast Route and in Missoula, Tucson, Colorado, etc. I feel a lot of tension on the roads with lots of traffic and inadequate shoulders.

img_3016Sometimes I look in the mirror attached to the bow of my glasses and see that there are no cars coming for a quarter mile.  I then move left into the traffic lane and cruise along with no concern about cars getting close to me or of going off the edge of the road.  I relax.

When cyclists part, the common farewell is “Be safe.”  After more and more time on narrow roads, I started hearing “Be safe” as “Be lucky.” There’s not a lot a cyclist can do to to be safe; it is mostly in the hands of the drivers.

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Just north of Jenner, California. Gorgeous, spooky road on which to ride.
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I was thinking of my brother  and his love of heights…as I clicked this picture from my bike.

Cycling on these roads for hours in a day, being passed by hundreds or thousands of cars, feels more dangerous than I expected, and I have decided that the risk is greater than the gain.

About a week ago I talked to my  wonderful girlfriend, Jenny Wayman, about what I’m feeling.  She was understanding and suggested a “Plan B.”

As part of “Plan B,” Jenny is going to drive my car to Phoenix when I meet her on Oct. 21. This is an annual cycling trip for her, this year throughout Arizona with seven or eight friends.   Since February I’ve planned to join them.

After our 10 days together in Arizona, Jenny will fly home and I’ll continue my trip- with a car,  my bike and Jenny’s bike. I’ll drive my car, and sometimes ride my bicycle on safe, intriguing roads. I’ll continue the loop I had planned- Arizona, Texas, Florida, New York, Ohio, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Glacier… and Coeur d’Alene. Or something like that. I hope friends and family will meet me along the way.

Jenny will fly to meet me in places so we can play together.  I’ve missed her a lot, and realize I’m way more interested in nurturing the relationships I have with friends and family than in meeting new people.  My least favorite part of the trip has been the two weeks I’ve been alone.

Traveling by bicycle has also limited what I’m able to do and see.  After riding all day, I don’t feel like riding my bike very far.  I’m reluctant to ride even two miles into town from a campsite, to attend an event, explore or have a beverage with the locals.

Do I feel bad about this change?  No.  I’m listening to what’s really going on for me. “Plan B” could enable me to see and experience more places, to see more friends and family,  to have a wonderful adventure, and to be safe. I also hope I’ll get to see Jenny more.

I will  continue to share my adventures through this blog…and we’ll see what that looks like. 🙂

Finally, thank you to all who have been checking on me on this adventure, have sent encouraging notes, suggested places to see and things to do,  read what I write. That has meant a lot.

Here’s to “Plan B!” And 217 miles to San Diego!

David

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21 thoughts on “The Rest of the Story…and “Plan B”

  1. Go you, David, for listening to your heart and mind and having the courage to follow what they were telling you. What a wonderful gift to have the freedom to choose your path, be it in the beginning, the middle or the end of your journey. Each day we are changed by the thoughts and experiences of both ourselves and those around us, and each day we must adapt to survive and flourish. I’m happy and relieved that you have made a good decision. Let your incredible journey continue!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Good plan! Back roads in the midwest may be good. Great biking paths around Mpls. We have a bike path here! I don’t feel safe on roads without a nice big shoulder! I ant to ride in Ireland or Holland!
    My danger may be going back to teaching!! I went to put in papers to sub and they need a long term art sub at the middle school. So starting next week I will be teaching 6th and 7th grade art!!! (putting away $ for a big trip one day)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. David, your journey continues to inspire us. So glad you are following the path that feels the best for you. One day at a time right…I appreciate your words so much. Keep well! Keep safe! I agree with Jillian, plan B stands for beautiful!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Great plan, Dave. It sounds better for you. Kudos to you for listening to yourself, taking care of yourself and shifting gears. I think you are going to enjoy Plan B. I wondered how you would do cycling alone…this will let you connect with people more and that’s always good for you. Love you! Happy trails! – Kris your sis

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  5. The adventure is yours and will still be magical even with a change. I am glad you are staying safe and adapting the adventure. We miss you and love following your updates!

    Lisa, Jacob and Hailee

    Liked by 1 person

  6. well ridden. well written. well done, david ! i wonder if there just isn’t a “plan a” or a “plan b” or a “plan c” when you are on a trip like this. there is only the journey. i imagine it is a journey of both riding your bike and internal processing of your life and experiences. wisdom comes when you trust the process and enjoy the journey. sounds like that is what you are doing. love hearing the adventures!

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  7. So relieved to hear of the ascendancy of Plan B! I’ve never been able to figure out how people could find touring on busy roads with skinny shoulders fun. Especially since I’d had a very close call myself a few years ago. Now you’ll have the best of all worlds! Bike on and enjoy adventuring with good friends, family, and especially your special friend, Jenny.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. When you left CDA, what was your purpose, your dream? Was it to take time during your life for discovery and for adventure? Or was it to brag that you had ridden a bike 9000 miles, encompassing the country? Once that is answered, the choice is clear. But keep writing; I’ve become somewhat addicted to vicarious discover and adventure.

    Like

    1. I don’t think bragging was ever the goal. Self-satisfaction as a result of overcoming the challenges? Collecting 9,000 miles of experiences? Discovering what it’s like to travel a long distance by bicycle? Thanks for your questions.

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  9. Hi David!

    Having ridden plenty and for years paid attention to the shoulders, the risks, etc, I totally get where you are at. More power to you to proceed with a plan B! I hope it’s great and we’ll keep checking your blog! It’s been fun already!

    Enjoy!!

    Gordy

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

    Liked by 1 person

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