Big Finish ~ Big Dip

May 1, 2018

  • 59 days of adventure +
  • 51 days of riding +
  • 3100+ miles ridden +
  • Approximately 4 million turns of the crank +
  • Heaven knows how many feet of climbing +
  • Eight states and one continent crossed
  • Equals one epic journey!

    My Final Sign

    This is our final day of the the Southern Tier. Nearly all of the above is behind us except for 41 miles and a tire dip in the Atlantic Ocean. The weather is still fair and we are off on the final leg. Every mood is upbeat and our hearts light, our legs lithe and our spirits soaring. We will have accomplished that which only a tiny fraction of a percent of the population has attempted. There will be others who have gone further, faster or more often but this is our day and the end of our adventure. Throughout we 14 mostly strangers have become friends and forged a memory to last us through the rest of our days.

    Bike Sandal Tan

    It is an easy ride and while we are eager to finish it, dip our tires and reunite with family and loved ones there is a part of us that sees the end with some regret. We will have other adventures but this one will always stand tall in comparison. Cammie and Kelly have been great guides across the continent and throughout they have helped us work together to accomplish this. At the very end we have chosen to wait for everyone to finish and ride together for that celebratory tire dip in the Atlantic.

    Sad Reminder on the Final Day

    It is fitting that this, our last day, is also National Bicycle Safety Day. It is also sad but fitting that along the route of this last day that we see a reminder of why bicyclists and drivers must both do all we can to make this sport one where safety comes before all else. We passed the memorial with thanks that our own journey was without any serious incident.

    Our final rolling moment comes at the beach in Saint Augustine, Florida where we ride together to the water’s edge for hugs, shouts of joy, ceremonial bicycle lifts, champagne toasts and the total glee of one of life’s great moments. It will stay in my mind and I hope those off my Southern Tier family forever. Whatever lay ahead, this memory will last!

    The Southern Tier I Family March 4 ~ May 1, 2018


Shadow Rider

What began as an idea hatched between some high school buddies in 1969 finally became a reality with this journey. (Just where are those buddies today?) Why it took so long is a question nearly everyone of us can answer. We all have dreams that merely stay dreams since living our daily lives has a way of getting to the front of the line. It does not have to always be that way. Each of us has the ability to make at least some of those dreams a reality if we really make doing so a priority in our lives.

If I had a lottery ticket for every time I have heard someone say, “if I win the lottery I am going to…” I would still just have a pocket full of useless paper. Winning the lottery is a poor strategy for doing anything but if you think about it, really think and plan, you can take steps along the road to making that dream a reality. Actions speak louder than wishes.

I have always been a stubborn person but I feel I have been so in a positive, not selfish way. I believe in setting goals and taking steps, even baby steps, towards reaching those goals at every opportunity. Owning my own business was one such journey that began before I even had enough money for a down payment on a car. It appeared unreachable when I started and at times I appeared to be moving in the wrong direction but persistence coupled with learning and thoughtful planning paid off in the end. Truly, anyone could have done it if only they made doing so the priority I made it.

The same was true for The Ride of the Nearly Departed. I began by getting my body in shape, not all at once but gradually over a number of years. Further down the road I began to try to bicycle for longer distances and to do so in a way that would allow my body to adapt. There was a wealth on information on a number of websites such as Sheldon Brown’s deep and information rich pages on how to do so. Not every day, but regularly and without fail, I took baby steps towards making my dream from 1969 come alive. I did not buy the most expensive bicycle but one that I could afford and which had what others who had made the journey advised would do the job. I researched doing the trip self contained, either with a friend or by myself and when I found I did not have anyone to share the adventure with, I began to research organized rides until I found one that seemed a good fit for me. Solid plans were made and then it happened.

A unexpected and previously undetected medical condition put me on my back and nearly in the grave. I was glad to be alive but my dream seemed shattered beyond repair. However, I asked the medical experts and they said not to abandon it in haste. There was hope. Hope that needed to be coupled with caution, hard work and a bit of cooperation from my body. Even if I was not able to make the ride on the date I had signed up for, it could still be possible in the future. I made that goal a priority in my life and each day, took a step in that direction. As it turned out I received a cautious and tepid approval from my cardiologist and a strong admonishment to listen to my body and not hesitate to abruptly end the trip at the first hint of trouble. I made sure my plans now included an exit strategy as well as an attitude that constantly whispered, “take it easy,” in my ears. The ride was back on! The rest you read about in the preceding pages.

One final thing: Never give up on you dreams. Stop wishing and start acting to make those dreams a reality. Keep at it. Find a way. Be willing to make compromises and explore other paths to your goal and even if do not get there, you will get closer and maybe find a reality far more satisfying than what you first imagined. Only you can make it happen.

~ Bob Peltzer ~ May, 2018