I did it. I rode my bicycle alone from Vancouver to Mexico. People have been asking me how I feel after the trip. Much like the great Pacific I watched for months, my emotions and revelations vary. Sometimes, new lessons hit me in waves, exposing truths I learned along the journey. Other times, the water is still, and I don’t even believe the trip happened.
There is not one singular sense of accomplishment or any magical change. I do feel stronger. And I learned a lot of lessons. I cherish mostly the smaller accomplishments I achieved daily (sometimes by every minute) on the ride – pushing up that one hill, keeping my cool with dangerous situations, withstanding the rain and overbearing sun.
A lot my victories and takeaways are mental. I learned early on in the trip that it wasn’t aggression that would get me up the hill - it had to come from a place of love, a more gentle, but more powerful place. Towards the end of the trip, with my new strength, it was possible to get over those hills with aggression. Doing this, I didn’t feel quite right. I had to actively remember to settle down, become calm, and operate from a better place mentally. I will keep this lesson with me always.
I’m already missing the tour. It’s a wonderful lifestyle. It made me feel good every day and I enjoyed pushing myself. I feel pretty lazy not challenging myself each day now. For the next few months, back in my home state of West Virginia, I’ll be looking at different ways to stay physically active.
When the weather is nice, I’ll definitely be biking, but other days I think there will be a lot of winter hiking and backpacking. I might throw in some weightlifting and indoor rock climbing. The point is to keep myself in the place where I push the boundaries of what I can do. This won’t be easy. On a bike tour, it’s compulsory to stay active. You’re only allowed at campgrounds for so long, so it’s required to keep moving. At home, you need an internal motivation.
The big takeaway from this trip is that everything is a constant process. I continue to find a few essential truths of what sticks out as good and right. In my process I need to always return to those. It’s important to circle back to the days when you were a beginner at something and remember what it was like. I’m going to get better at most things in life, but I’ll always try and remember what it was like in the beginning.
One strange thing I’m craving? I look forward to nerding out: programming and building side projects galore. In general I’m a workaholic, and while I worked as much as I could on this trip, I look forward to working… more obsessively. I can happily spend 16 hours straight absorbed in code. I’m about to crank out some really exciting projects. At the same time, I’ll be planning future bike tours.
Roughly, I’m planning to build programs around bike touring in West Virginia. When it gets closer to early summer, I’ll be starting peer-led bike trips somewhere in the greater West Virginia area. Totally open, and encouraged, to first-timers of all sorts. If there is any chance you might be interested in joining one of these, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or a message on instagram @ankurkwv.
The support I’ve received on this trip has been amazing and I hope you were able to feel my excitement and energy along the way. Being able to share the journey with hundreds of people on Instagram, Facebook, and the blog has been amazing. I really like long, solo tours like this and want more of them in my life.
Unfortunately for my parents, and for those that worry, this is just the beginning. I’m dreaming of a ride across our country. States that often get overlooked or simply misjudged (much like my beloved West Virginia). I’m thinking the south. California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida. Yep, even just writing those out right now felt right.
Well friends, until the next adventure,