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Fundraiser from Leeds wipes away her tears in US cycle challenge

roadskater's picture

Oy! I enjoyed reading this account of a couple from Leeds doing a ride across the US of America, cancer survivor Jane on the bike and husband, Mike, in support, for charity (see http://www.janesappeal.com).

I'd like to thank the Who for my having heard of Leeds, and the Kösen terriers, and pudding, for my having heard of Yorkshire.

Their ride sounds like a great event, a sixty day challenge they've joined with some other riders. I don't know much about it all, but boy does it make me wish I had attempted some such craziness myself in my years of relative freedom of scheduling. Of course I was income challenged in exchange for my freedom, and busy making other epic attempts of my choosing, and roadskater.net is the record of some of that.

Also, of course, skating across the US would meet much more resistance among law enforcement I am guessing than would cycling, but there are ways to ameliorate that I believe (such as choosing a survivors of fallen police and fire officers as one's charity?). And having a big van with huge charity signs on it might help with all of that.

I enjoyed Mike's diary entry in the article and especially the perceptions of people they met along the way. How interesting to read travel writing that isn't trying to slip in a mention of this or that boarding house (that gave them a free room), this or that restaurant (as a wink for free food) and the attractions (for free entry). Interesting that they met so few tourists seeing the heart of USAmerica, which we all know is true, for we don't usually meet tourists, either, unless we're being one.

This reinforces what I love about skating and can understand about cycling. By slowing down and providing the power from the legs, it's impossible not to notice the countryside and much more likely to feel connected to all that's around. I've never once stopped to talk to a horse when driving in a car, but am often happy to do so when on skates. It's nice to have a chat and a rest and to readjust the laces and get a photo as well.

When I had the old 1979 FIAT Spider 2000 I noticed the same thing, driving as I did so often up to Hanging Rock to camp before I started skating. Slowing down (usually) and being out in the open made it much more enjoyable in most kinds of weather. And the smell of the countryside seldom breaks in on the air conditioned bubble most of us travel in so often. Of late, being without my air conditioner on my car for awhile had led me to understand what we miss, and why missing it is still worth it so often to stay cool!

The reason this couple meets so few tourists is that they are not busy tourists. Busy tourism by air and car leads to very limited wanderings and little experience with non-franchise USAmerica, where everything looks the same within a mile of any Interstate, and along US highways and anywhere the census indicates an influx of new money into the countryside. Those folk need their nails done, apparently, and they want a grocery store, video store, fast food, and bank nearby, but other than that (ha ha) they'd like it to be like it was when they decided to buy the lot with 150 others in a place named after what they killed: Hidden Lakes, Macpherson's Farm, Rushing Streams, Majestic Pines, Great Oaks Landing, Gates Mill, and so on.

Tourism by the clock means tourists only see prefabmerica. Even US tourists fall into this trap, including me so often, on the run, looking for predictable food far from home, predictable rooms, too, and missing what could be had in less a hurry, with more sense of adventure brought on by having adequate funds and the luxury of time. 

Sixty days on the road on a bike (even in a car) still misses vast expanses of the US and especially its off-the-highway folk in less populated urban centers, but is a lot more connected than hitting the high spots in a mad dash. One could drive to the Guilford Battleground National Military Park and drive the loop in a few quick minutes, think, well, that was nice. Or one might park the car and bike through--or better still, wander on through the woods--with a totally different experince. You can't skate there of course, skates being such dangerous toys as to be banned by the Code of Federal Regulations--except in the few designated areas allowed.

Not dead yet, so let's keep skating across the USA with time and money in hand--and doing so for charity--on our list of things to do, ye roadskater.net skaters and cyclists.

Fundraiser wipes away the tears to carry on her US cycle challenge
Leeds Today, UK - 1 hour ago
... the ride we knew that with tired legs after seven weeks of cycling they would ... at this stage but that's why hopefully people will support the charity as they ...

[Charity Cycling]
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