Human-Powered Journeys: A Pacific Bike Ride & Exploration
Organized by: Amy Johnson
Challenged Athletes Foundation
May 14, 2017
History: A handful of years ago a friend and I dreamt up awesome trips we could take to see places we didn't know and we came up with biking the West Coast. (Cuz why not?) Life got busy, as life tends to do, and we both kept finding jobs in locations farther and farther from the West Coast. The bike trip was mentioned a few times in the following years and the discussion was always cut short due to not being able to take off work and not having the money.
Present: I now work as a field instructor at NYC Outward Bound Schools. The easiest description of what I do is I hang out in the woods with 6th and 9th graders from New York City and help them work on leadership, team-building, survival, and communication skills. Super fun, right? I think so! (As you might imagine, it can take a little longer for the students to think so.) A bit of the fine print of my job: I ask the students to leave their comfort zones - the city, their friends, technology - and dive into this crazy place called the wilderness. I ask them to set goals for themselves and then I encourage and support them to meet and, often, exceed those goals. I ask them to be vulnerable so that they can attend to facets of themselves that are waiting to be developed, or even discover new pieces they didn't know existed at all. Like I said, this job rocks!
How does this tie into a bike trip down the West Coast? Well, I was running through a list of potential summer trips I could take and the bike ride flashed through my thoughts. My logical brain quickly squashed it with the usual "no money, no gear, no knowledge" argument. And then this piece of my less-than-logical brain said, "Hold up! Whatchu mean ask these kids to leave everything behind and trust a new-to-them place to take care of them? Whatchu mean ask these kids to set goals, when they're scared, no less, and then push them to smash the goals? When you're not willing to do that yourself? mm-MM, that's a shame." (Yeah, that brain can be sassy.) So there I was, faced with the reality that I was making excuses to not do something that I had dreamed of for years. That did not sit well. *Shout-out to a very dear and adventurous friend of mine who also pushed me to take the trip.*
I fly into Vancouver, BC, Canada on July 12, 2016. I fly out of San Diego, CA on August 27, 2016. 45 days. Biking from Vancouver to Tijuana (and back to San Diego). About 2000 miles. Self-supported. Camping and seeing friends. I will stay inland from Vancouver down through Portland and then cut out to the coast and ride that all the way to Mexico.
Bike the whole way (aka, crush that goal!). See some amazing places. Drink a new West Coast beer every day of the trip. Eat some delicious food. Be present and reflect. Also... I would really like to explore awesome programs that work with humans along the West Coast. Aside from my current role in outdoor education, I have many years in adaptive recreation and behavior therapy. I'm interested to know about programs in these realms. I'd love to meet up and talk with folks in those organizations. Maybe this looks like summer camps. Or adaptive programs. Or urban outdoor education. Or wilderness therapy. Or cool schools that serve students with special needs. Or something else that you think is noteworthy. In the end, I will send half of the money raised to an awesome program I connected with along the way.
What I imagine this could look like:
Biking. Blogging. Meeting great organizations (that you all recommend!). Shout-outs to those organizations on the blog. Biking some more. Eating...yum. A vote put out to you all at the end of the trip to determine where the money goes.
What exactly the funds will be going toward:
I will use half of the money to help cover my meals, camping fees, and incidentals. The other half will go to an organization that you all vote on once the trip is over. If my needs are less than half the amount raised, I will send more along to the program.
If you have any ties to great programs along the West Coast, I would like to know about them. I would also love your support in making it from Vancouver to Tijuana. Let's explore and expose the greatness of the West Coast!!