Now that I’ve finished the Sonic Divide adventure I often get two questions:
- Are you tired of riding your bike?
- Don’t you miss your family?
Am I tired of riding my bike? Not really. First of all, I LOVE that bike. It’s by far the best ride I’ve ever experienced. It’s light, quick, responsive, and after getting the bike fit by Tim it’s incredibly comfortable. After riding over 2,500 miles I have no pain or injury at all and I never experienced any problems on the ride other than the usual fatigue. It’s an amazing machine. I mean, just LOOK at it. It’s totally stealth ops, right?
For me cycling isn’t just something I did for the Sonic Divide. It’s a lifestyle. It’s how I get to work, it’s how I run errands around town, and it’s how I enjoy interacting with nature. There are aesthetics to cycling, just as there are with music, and this ride is one of the most beautiful, elegant, yet, rugged that I’ve experienced so far. I’m taking a week off and I need to rebalance my body over the next few months with plenty of yoga, upper-body strength training, swimming, and running, but I’ll be back on the bike within a week. It’s just how I get around, and for me it’s far, far better than traveling by car. About four years ago I made the transition over to self-powered travel and my life has been exponentially better ever since. I could never go back.
As for the second question, oh yes, I missed my family a great deal. This was especially difficult when I was having a tough day dealing with extreme heat or wind, or sandy, washboarded roads, or steep climbs, or all of the above at the same time. I do travel a lot as a musician in general and I always hate leaving my beautiful wife and two little girls behind. But if I wasn’t out exploring the world I would go nuts. I am by nature an explorer and if I’m not out there I start to feel static and rusty and useless. I need to move and explore. But the minute I leave I feel guilty. I wonder if perhaps I’m a lousy a father and husband. After all, a lot of what makes a family special is spontaneous. Part of being a good father and husband is just being there.
So it’s constantly back and forth and many, many times I was in tears when I was out on the Divide, wondering what I was doing by myself in the middle of nowhere, struggling so much, when I could be home with my amazing family.
But there are two things that I tried to remind myself of: First, when I am home I try to really be there. I spend quality time with my girls and I really interact with them. Second, our children learn from us primarily by watching us. I want my girls to be strong and independent and I hope they too will explore the world. It’s much more powerful for them to see me actually doing it, rather than just talking about it. The risks (and rewards) and sacrifices I’ve made will hopefully inspire them to follow their own muse and see the world in a way that makes sense to them. And when they are a bit bigger and stronger I’m guessing we’ll start exploring the world together.