One Guy, One Bicycle, One Cross-Country Tour

No matter where you live, you've likely thought about hitting the open road and seeing what else is out there. Ever consider doing it on a bike?

My mind immediately flooded with memories. I thought about the young woman I had met at an archery range in rural Wisconsin who was sharpening her bow-handling skills in preparation for hunting season (I had stopped to watch, intrigued). And the Oregon man traveling with his young grandsons, whom I met at a state park campground. We dined together under the stars, and his grandsons helped me load my gear the following morning, running after my bike for hundreds of yards, shouting encouragement as I pulled away.

Of course there was also the drunk Montana guy who, while sitting next to me at a ramshackle saloon, decided to lecture me about race and religion. I surreptitiously made sure my necklace was tucked safely under my T-shirt. It had a pendant on it representing the Jewish symbol for life. If he had asked about it, I'd have pretended to be a mathematician and claimed it was the symbol for pi.

The America I'd seen included a patchwork of faces and stories that continues, even 18 months after my return home, to make an impression. I was welcomed wherever I went and never heard a harsh word directed my way--though God knows how hard people may have laughed when I was out of earshot.

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