A two wheeled vehicle with a purpose

After quite sometime of deliberating (ever since signing up for the Illini 4000 back in September, about 6 months), I finally decided on a bike.

The bike is a Trek CrossRip and is designed for cyclo-cross; it should be more than able handle the 4000+ cross-country journey.  More importantly, it was the silverly grey color of the clear coated aluminum, which I specifically selected as a dedication (see link to prior post about ribbons) to a close family friend (the father of my best friend) who is battling brain cancer like a true champion. In addition, I selected the red water bottle cages because it is my best friend’s favorite color and perfectly goes together with the red painted accents on the bike, just like my best friend and the father. I will be incorporating other symbolic colors in the near future (e.g., lavender, orange, black, and lime).

Also, I have been trying to keep in mind that this contraption is going to be my primary vehicle of transportation taking me clear across the USA from the Big Apple to the City by the Bay.  It did not dawn on me until I actually sat in the saddle of the bike for a prolonged period of time during the initial bike fitting (more on this later) that I was completed overwhelmed with emotions of concern and nervousness. Typically, I have always been very selective on the days I bike ride for commuting around town. If it is too cold, hot, windy, rainy or if I just do not feel like riding, I always would opt out.  However, during the  72 days of the Illini 4000 journey I will not have the luxury of choosing the “perfect” days to ride, and I will be exposed to all of nature’s splendor for the entire 72 days. There will be no nice windshield or roof to protect me from the elements (sun, wind, rain, hail, etc.), no air conditioning to offset the temperatures, no radio to help pass the time, and no engine other than my own body to move this precisely crafted small collection of aluminum, plastic, and rubber at speeds of ~15 mph for 4000+ miles across mountains, deserts, hills, prairies, farmlands, and forests under whatever elements mother nature decides to provide that day. The very thought is humbling, rather intimidating, and seemingly impossible, but it is often said “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”― Lao Tzu, or in this case, I can say: “The journey of four thousand miles begins with a single turn of the pedals.”


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