What Keeps You Going?

I must confess that my first attempt at cycling across America was not successful. Several years ago, I quit after only 11 days and 660 miles, following a minor crash in the rain that resulted in nothing more than a good case of road rash. I didn’t fully understand then that I was abandoning a lifelong dream because of my minor short-term discomforts.

In retrospect, I realize now that I’d always fantasized that cycling across America would be a summer filled with nothing but sunshine, cycling and adventure. In reality however, it’s hard work! There was sweat dripping from my face and into my eyes as I struggled to climb steep grades with the sun blazing overhead. Some days my tired legs felt like weeping willows about to snap. And – did I mention the traffic and rain?

One of the things that keeps me going now is an inspiring story that I read in a November/December 2008 issue of ADVENTURE CYCLIST MAGAZINE, “The Final Mile, HANDS ACROSS AMERICA, A chance encounter of the inspirational kind” by Frosty Wooldridge. The story is about meeting Bob Wieland on his quest to walk coast to coast across America on his hands. If you are not familiar with Bob Wieland’s story I strongly recommend that you read this article and find out why his story has been a source of encouragement for me and millions of other people. His story and simple challenge to “always remember that it’s too soon to quit” will remain a source of inspiration for me.

While the right gear, physical conditioning and route selection are important when preparing for a cycling journey, preparing yourself emotionally is perhaps the most important ingredient for success. That is why I’ve developed this portion of the website.

I welcome your thoughts and experiences on what helps keep you going during a cycling journey.

Ken Whittaker