Mid-Life Cycling

Mid-Life Cycling

13 February 2015

What Did You Do In Your Youth?

My first multiday bike tour took me from New Brunswick, NJ (where I was attending university) into the Poconos.  From there, I rode down to Island Beach where, more than three decades later, Superstorm Sandy would blow a Ferris wheel into the ocean.  Then I pedaled gingerly up the Jersey shore back to New Brunswick. 

All told, I spent a week on the road.  For two days, I wandered the Poconos, and I spent a day hanging out at Island Beach where I slept on the beach and, surprisingly (in retrospect) nobody chased me.  Sometimes you get away with stuff like that when you're twenty years old and, in the eyes of the world, male.

That ride was one of the few things I'd done up to that point in my life that impressed anybody.  As a friend of my mother's said, on that ride, I pedaled more miles than most people ever pedal.  She was being a bit hyperbolic, but I understood what she meant.

I was not impressed with myself because the ride was actually a bit easier than I expected it to be.  (Don't forget, I was twenty years old and full of testosterone!)  In fact, I castigated myself afterward because, even though riding wasn't difficult, I brought far more stuff with me than I needed.  Now it seems comical, especially since, in my memory of that ride, I hauled even more than this guy:

 Ryko rode his modified bike from Adelaide to Darwin and spent the next few years travelling around the Northern Territory photographing the landscape

He spent 28 days on the road.  Actually, I use the word "road" loosely, as Edward "Ryko" Reichenbach's journey from Adelaide to Darwin took him through the Australian outback.  He tramped through sand, waded swamps and dodged all manner of obstacles.  In contrast, the most remote rural roads I rode were paved and never more than an hour's ride from a store or some form of habitation.

Ted Ryko is pictured here carrying his bicycle through a swamp in the Norther Territory. In 1914, he set the record for cycling to Darwin from Adelaide, completing the 3,000km trip in just 28 days

The time Ryko took to complete his 1914 ride was a record that stood for quite a while.  And being the keen photographer he was, he left a rich visual chronology of his adventure.


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