YK’s 365 Release: Day 30

The next few days I’m going to spend talking about my 1999 cross-country bike trip and releasing related items, because it was a life-changing experience for me and truly taught me how we always already have everything we need to be happy.

When we are young, breakups seem like the end of the universe. When one of my first relationships ended, my heart was broken, and I was devastated, of course. Without much intention, I signed up to bike across the country. At the time, the thought that was foremost in my mind was that I had to do something different. This ended up being one of the most important experiences in my life and I took away from it more than I could have anticipated.

Not only did I see more road kill than I ever thought humanly possible (armadillo road splatter was by far the most fascinating), but I saw the country the method I believe may be the most awe-inspiring. When you bike, you are propelling the bike entirely by your own body so you feel every ascent, descent, rock, pebble, texture. You are going slow enough to have time to observe everything you pass, you can smell everything because there is no barrier between you and the atmosphere, and you can feel the wind, temperature, and climate at all times. I also consumed more bugs unintentionally than I probably needed to in a lifetime (protein!), and I think one time a bee was in my eyeball for a good 40 miles.

I started with a group of 12 strangers, who very soon became close family. The first day, we began our ritual of dipping the back  tire of our bikes in the Atlantic Ocean to signify the beginning of our trip. 90 days later and 5000 miles later, when we dipped our front tire in the Pacific Ocean, I was forever changed.

I had never biked long distances or seriously camped before this trip. In fact, I bought everything for the trip, including my tent and touring bike, a week before it began. I purchased everything based on suggestions and hearsay, and did a shockingly decent job of getting exactly what I needed.

day30One item, which I purchased simply because I was over-prepared, is a BOB trailer. I actually didn’t know what that was until I purchased it. It’s a small cart you attach to the back of your bike to carry all of your gear. Instead of the trailer option, I used panniers, which are the saddle bags. As you can see from the photo, some of us had panniers, others used BOB trailers (attached to the bike of the woman second from the left). There were pros and cons to both. This photo was from the one day it rained during our trip and one of our crew was changing a flat. Our bodies and bags are covered in bright rain gear.

So on Day 30 of my 365 Release, I am letting go of the BOB trailer that I never used, except to go grocery shopping in Portland a few times after my trip. I kept it because it was costly. Yet as I am learning quickly with this 365 Release practice, the price of an item is negligible if it is not even being put to use.


[I created the 365 Release Project to practice non-attachment, letting go and change by giving away 1 thing a day for 1 year. The background, vision and guidelines to the 365 RELEASE project are here. The running list of everything I have released is here.]

3 responses to “YK’s 365 Release: Day 30”

  1. […] after college, I began biking more (see Days 30, 31, 32, 33, 34 and 35), and fell in love with that mode of transportation, and the rollerblades […]

  2. […] a kid (see Day 27). I began fixing bikes because when I did my cross-country bike trip (see Days 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35) I had to learn how to take care of my bike on the side of the road. I worked […]

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