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This blog’s title…

Around about the time I was preparing for my first ‘practice cycle tour’ (round Holland last September), a certain Mr Mark Ronson released a song simply titled ‘The Bike Song’. I stuck it on my iPod and listened to it as I set off for Holland.

Big mistake.

(Unfortunately YouTube have disabled playing this as an embedded video. Just hit play and then follow the link that appears).

 

I was stuck with the lyrics ‘Gonna ride my bike until I get home‘ rolling round my head solidly for a week as I cycled. No matter what other songs I listened to, this one just muscled its way back into my head! So, on the basis that if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em, I thought I’d embrace it and name my blog after it. I like it – I think it captures my mood in setting off on this trip – I’m not in it for the Physical Challenge. I’m not in it to prove/discover/scare/find myself. I’m just gonna ride my bike for a bit :-)

For the record, the lyrics are included after the break: (more…)

Follow me on twitter!

Although I’ve had a Twitter account for yonks, I’ve always just used Twitter as a consumer, following others. Well no more! Assuming I have reasonable connectivity on the road, I shall be tweeting like a crazed-self-obsessed-celebrity (that is what Twitter is all about, isn’t it…?) as I cycle along. Well, not while I’m actually cycling. I’m no fool – I’ve seen the YouTube videos

So the easiest way of keeping up with my velocopedic ramblings, so to speak, is by following me on Twitter. My twitter id is grahammcculloch. In particular, look out for the #grmb hash-tag.

Of course, if you’re reading this because you’ll be out and about on the TransAmerica route and tweeting as well, do drop me a line and I’ll make sure I’m following you too!

Why, why, why?

Of all the questions that people ask me about this trip, the one that I find hardest to answer is this:

“So why are you doing it?

I also happen to think its the most important question to ask about this trip. But the more I think about it, the more I have come to believe that the answer isn’t so important. More on that later…

“Or, you could…”

Its been said that people who have to ask you why you’re cycling across America probably wouldn’t understand your answer anyway. I think there’s a lot of truth in that. For me it was obvious – I clearly remember making a firm decision the instant the idea was first proposed to me.

And that proposal was the work of an old school friend, Alex Jones. We were chatting sometime last summer and I was explaining how I wanted to get out of town for a bit and maybe have a bit of an adventure. I raised the idea of thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail, something I’d long been interested in doing. And Alex uttered the simple words “Yeah. Or, you could do something like cycle across America”. Instantly I knew that was it. No more discussion needed – I had a mission!

What its not

Its actually easier (as it often is) to provide reasons which are not my reasons for doing this trip:

  1. I’m not doing it for the ‘Physical Challenge’ – I want to enjoy it!
  2. I’m not doing it to raise money for charity. This was a tough one as it makes a lot of sense and I’d love to be able to help people give more to a charity. But I felt it would be odd to ask people to donate when I originally set out to do this for myself. Still, if you want to donate, I can certainly suggest a charity you could send your money to.
  3. I’m not doing it because I’m sick of my work or the ‘rat race’.  In fact I love my job, and I have no doubt I’ll be desperate to get back into it on my return.

Ask me later

So I don’t have any of those typical reasons. All I can say is that this trip felt like what I needed at the time and I’m trusting God that it still is. I mentioned earlier that I don’t believe the answer to ‘why are you cycling across America’ is so important. The other day I found myself starting to worry that actually I didn’t know why I was doing it and what was the point of this whole trip etc. And then it struck me that maybe I don’t need to know the answer now, before I do the trip. Maybe its enough to know that I want to do it and to be open to learning why I’m doing it as the trip unfolds, or even after the trip has finished. We’re so fixated with knowing the answers up-front, before we try anything. Perhaps sometimes we need to just let go and allow God to provide the answers as we get on with living!

What are your thoughts on that? Is it irresponsible to decide to do something without being able to say before-hand why you’re doing it? Or is our perception of ‘the right order of things’ skewed? Comments please!

 

 

 

Tell me thy company and I will tell thee what thou art

When I started planning this trip, I optimistically emailed a few key friends who I thought might be interested in coming with me. As expected they almost all said i) I’d love to, and ii) but I can’t. So I did what any other self-respecting person would do – I advertised for a friend on the internet! And amazingly, I got quite a number of responses. For various reasons, not all of them could make it in the end, but I do have some definites:

Patrick – a 20-year old college student living in California who’s taking a semester off from college to ride across the country.  Pat’s gonna join me at Yorktown for the start and we’ll ride together.

Demi – a 21-year old girl from the East Coast who’s hopefully going to join us about half-way along the ride, near St Louis, Missouri.

Planning with Jim

Jim – a Scotsman in his 70s who still competes internationally in triathlons, has cycled the TransAmerica route already (in 2008) and is generally a Legend. Depending on schedules, Jim is hoping to meet up with us either at the start in Yorktown or somewhere near the start. He’ll probably fork off towards LA once we reach Pueblo, Colorado. Jim lives in North Essex and we met up in February to chat and discuss plans.

There are also various other cyclists who are doing some or all of the same route around about the same time, so I’ll be hoping to bump into them or ride a stretch with them whenever possible. Amazingly, one of them is called Graeme McCulloch! What are the chances?!

If you’re reading this and you think our paths might cross/join on the TransAm, do get in touch!

 

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