It’s been eight days of Minneapolis. Eight days of city life, of unloaded bike cruising, of chai teas and coffee shops. “The Crockhouse” – my home for the week – has been the perfect roof… a place to rest, organise, laugh and play. A day after I arrived was Will’s birthday party… the rooms filled with delicious cooking smells and friendly faces. Then I spent two days hermiting on the couch, getting photos finally uploaded and consolidating my options.
I was exhausted. My travellin’ soul is growing weary, the road seems endlessly long. Considering my options, the idea of hitching across North Dakota seemed tantalisingly easy. I could thumb it until Cut Bank – all the way until Western Montana – and then ride from there, over the Rocky Mountains, to the coast of Seattle. This would cut 2 weeks off, mean that I got to ride with Leon (my incredible Irish mate) and Mike (the ‘walking across usa’ guy, who is now riding) and would skip the horrible windy flats of the Dakotas. I set my mind to it. Telling people of my new plan, I explained that I didn’t need the kudos of a solid “Coast to Coast” tour. It’s always been important to me to remain open and flexible in my rambles – to always follow my heart and do what is best for it, not necessarily my ego. I wanted old friends and community – the sooner the better.
I’m not sure if it was my ego that finally spoke up, or if my rest here in the twin cities strengthened me (so many bikes!)- but I soon realised that I was determined to pedal the distance. Yeah I’m tired, my head is unable to absorb much more, and familiar faces are much needed – but I have a dedication to sustainable travel that I won’t dismiss, and a fuel indulged journey wouldn’t heal my heart. Life is just better by bicycle – I know that, I’ve learnt that. Chris, my beautiful host in Ithaca told me as I was leaving: “If you ever feel lost, just remember – pedal on, always pedal on”. And Charlie, all the way over in Tunisia, riding his own road, messaged me a poignant quote: “Life is like a bicycle – to maintain balance, you have to keep moving.” (Einstein)
So tomorrow morning I’ll do both. My gear is packed up and I’ve even found a Canadian fellow by the name of Oak, cycling the same route. Again, I’m feeling the sadness of leaving, the excitement of the open road, and the anticipation of adventures Juno and I will get ourselves into. The Bicycle Film Festival has instilled in me more video inspiration. I’ve got new ideas, new motivation, and am ready to ride! Rubber side down!