A guest post by Alec Burney
It’s been a bit more than a year, the calendar says, but it seems like just the other day that I shoved off from home with gear on my bike and dreams in my head.
I just got my photos back, and that brings it all into focus again. I’m reminded that I wouldn’t have seen these sights or met the folks I did if I hadn’t been inching my way a few thousand miles down the coast.
|Relaxing in the shade|
What I’m left with is a confirmation of what the bicycle is and can be. It’s a tool for going from “A” to “B,” some will tell you. Or it’s a toy for zipping around on the weekend. Or a piece of exercise equipment. Or maybe it’s a different way of thinking.
|The Pine Creek Gorge|
You can head out for a weekend or a week, and stick to the dirt roads, state forests, and country lanes where it’s quiet and there’s little traffic. Maybe you’ll find yourself on an unpaved track in the backcountry where you can go at your own speed and be contented with your own thoughts.
A sensible bike will let you put on some bigger tires, for comfort, racks for your stuff, but then the rest is up to you - go have fun! When you're out rambling, you don't need much to stay happy.
|Tioga State Forest|
|My "navigation device"|
|Swimming in Pennsylvania|
|A turtle in the Genesee Valey|
Life on the bike really was life without a schedule, where I could nap and read under a shade tree in the heat of the day.
|Jersey Mills Post Office|
|Pine Creek covered wagon|
And along the way I learned to ask for directions. “Anyone seen Williamsburg? It’s over there somewhere, right?” It’s fun to let on that you’re completely lost, especially when you are.
|My "trail guide"|
|The NCR trail|
|Schuykill River Trail|
Before I knew it I was on the Jones Falls trail, an amazing part of Baltimore that could be anywhere, a serious part in the middle of a busy city.
|Gary joined me for the New York section|
Virginia is a blur of long rollers, but then the flat, calm Outer Banks of North Carolina leave a lasting memory. I’ve been back to ride this section a couple more times. It’s very strange to find yourself so surrounded by water, but riding a bike.
There’s parts of Hatteras less than 500 feet across, and it’s all sand dunes. Just a long flat road all to yourself, and a nice campground at the end of it. There’s few bad places to ride a bike, but this might be one of my favorite, if I had to choose.
After landing in southern North Carolina, and attending my sister’s beautiful wedding, I set off on another adventure. Maybe we can talk about it next time.