Peddle! Peddle! Peddle! TJ and a few of the the Suncrest Mobile Home Park crew hollered as I learned to ride without training wheels. There were a lot of wrecks in this process. I remember still the the feeling of fear and excitement that came with mastering the balance needed to stay upright on a bicycle. Looking back at my youth I realize how much bicycles played a role in my free time. My best bud growing up Justin Brophy likes to remind me that use to tell him how awesome my legs felt from long bike rides. Justin has admitted to me that some of our adventures by bike were a bit strenuous.
Fast Forward many years that passed with biking getting replaced with skating, girls, wild parties, and bodybuilding. Six years ago while working security in a nightclub the head of security John Riffey showed up on his bike. In retrospect I now see the brilliance of John reintroducing me to bikes. This was a very dark time for me and though John might not admit it he knew I needed to peddle. I had a few incidents that put me in an all time low. John had just bought a new bike and offered to sell me his old Trek Y frame bike.
I soon found myself hoping on my bike with my headphones in and pedaling for hours around Greensboro clearing my head. Next I started hitting the trails every chance I had. Realizing that It was time to retire the Y frame I got a more modern mtn bike. Mtn biking was my favorite way to get away from everything. Shredding down mountain sides hyper focused on picking the right line cutting and slicing my way back to the parking lot. I felt invincible. Life has its way of keeping me humble and in 2012 I lost my drivers license and my right to be a motorist. A wreck that could have taken my life or someone else's left me back in a dark place. This incident made it seem like I had hit bottom. I'm blessed to have good friends and family but their support wasn't enough…. I needed to peddle it out.
2013 was one of the hardest years in my adult life. I learned a lot about humility and blessings. Working full time as a personal trainer 6am-5pm then peddling across town to go to massage school from 530pm-9pm M-F. There were a lot of rainy days. Days where I would literally start to fall asleep on my ride home from school. That Fuji road bike was as old as me but I found help at the Asheville Bike Recyclery. Commuting roughly 3000 miles that year I broke almost every component on that bike but I learned a lot. I remember biking in single digit temps and thinking “poor me” and “you don't know my struggle” these thoughts would be broken when I would ride past someone who would be sleeping outside without proper gloves and cold weather attire. This made me decide to live life with less. “Why do I have 6 jackets and one body to keep warm?” I had been meditating on non-attachment to so many worldly possessions that were not serving to better my community. I moved out of my apartment and into a minivan with my bikes. This provided me with my basic needs while allowing me to plan and save for a grand adventure.
5 years after reigniting my love with bikes I decide I needed to find my way and that I couldn't do so without pedaling. The summer of 2015 I shipped my bike to City Hostel Seattle where I would begin a 5000 miles of pedaling and 200,000 feet of climbing to get home. Riding through the Rockies made me know what I would be getting into the summer of 2016.
I'm 4 days out from taking on Riding the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route. My nerves are kicking in as go down my check list and look over maps. I don't know what I will encounter over the next 6 weeks but I do know that the lessons and personal growth I gained though biking has made the impossible possible.
This one is for you Dad. I'll be taking you with me in my heart.