[Cross-country bike trip thread continued from Day 30.]
Within the first two weeks we biked over the Appalachian Mountains and during the last part of the trip we biked over the Rockies and the Sierra Mountains. Everyone else had been an avid biker before this trip, but I had nothing else to focus on except this ride, so it inspired strength and endurance I never knew I had. It also taught me one of the greatest lessons in my life; I can do anything.
We carried everything on our bikes in saddlebags, or trailers attached to our bikes. For each of us this included our camping gear, cooking gear, tools, spare tires, tent, sleeping bag, clothing, food for the day, and any other supplies necessary or desired. When you bike uphill up a mountain for 7 hours at a time at 2mph in the blazing sunlight, you contemplate whether even that extra roll of film was really necessary and how it is weighing you down.
When you live like this, with everything you need carried by your own legs, you begin to see how you really don’t need much to be completely happy. I began to forget what I had left in my storage space back in North Carolina, and I no longer cared. I had everything I needed right there with me.
My only potential hindrance, which was simultaneously my only strength, was me. My legs, my arms, my mind, I was the only person that was either holding myself back or propelling myself forward. It was liberating to know I didn’t really need anything at all. Every evening, when we reached our destination to camp, I would unpack and pack everything, because efficiency was essential. And everyday, much like this 365 Release, I would go through and assess which items I could do without. By the end of the trip, I had exactly and only what I needed. No more and no less. Another lesson was learned here; when you are doing what you love, you don’t need anything else at all.
There were items I had to acquire along the way, in addition to items I brought that I sent home. Because one of our first weeks involved going up a mountain formation I learned that it is helpful to have more variable gears. So I switched out the gears on my touring bike for mountain biking gears, which proved more versatile.
So on Day 31 of my 365 Release, I have Shimano caliber gears, used only for a few days before they were replaced for efficiency of going over mountains and through valleys. I have kept this because it is a reminder of my trip, but I have had it in a box for over 10 years, depriving someone else of the opportunity to have an unbelievably smooth bike ride.
[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.]