AXC - The bike

AXC - The bike

Monday, February 17, 2014

The last piece of the puzzle

When I tell people about my upcoming bike trip, there are a handful of questions that everyone tends to ask first*: “How long will you be gone for?” “Are you riding by yourself / with a group?” “How far?” and more often than not, “What are you doing about work!?” with the implication of ‘how the hell can you take 3 months off??’

Well, dealing with work was one of my biggest things to figure out, and one that I left for near last. I needed to see if a few things came through before I could tell the various necessary people about the trip, and after that passed I finally told them.

I do software consulting, so I work for a ‘parent company’ as a full time employee, and they farm me out to clients. Currently I’ve been working ‘on client site’ for a year, so I effectively have 2 bosses – my actual boss at the parent company, and my acting manager at the client site.
I finally told both of them last week that I am taking 3 months off over the summer. I didn’t ask for the time, I stated that I was taking it. Then we can work out what that means for each of the parties.
I was prepared to do any of the following: take a sabbatical and come back to my company when I get back, providing they’d have me. I was prepared to quit, if that was necessary, and I was prepared for them to just let me go. My line of work is in pretty high demand and I’m not overly worried about finding work when I get back.

Much to my surprise, my boss seemed very inclined to keep me on, and work with me to take this sabbatical. There’s still a lot of details to be worked out, but if it means I don’t have to send out resumes and take phone interviews in my tent while traveling, that’s pretty awesome.

One comment I got at work when I told someone I was leaving to ride my bike cross country, he said “That’s such an Aaron thing to do!”  This person doesn’t know me all that well, and I can’t tell if this is said with a positive or sarcastic connotation. But then again, I suppose it kind of is a very ‘me’ thing to do, even though I’ve never done anything even remotely like this before. This is consummately ‘me.’

The workplace announcement also marked the last major hurtle (ie: bit of stress) I had to take care of for the trip. I’ve bought the bike, all the gear, paid the fee, told my friends, and now settled up things with work. From here on out, all I have to do is basic preparations: train, figure out my packing list, and lots of little planning details that are somewhat small in comparison to everything I’ve already done.

With this last major bit covered, the trip seems to be approaching faster and faster, and I think it will be upon me before I realize it.
In one hand, it can’t get here soon enough, I’m so eager for this. On the other hand, there are a billion little things I need to do, and the 2 ½ months I have left seems barely enough to get it all covered!
I suppose, only time will tell if I’m really ready when May 3rd arrives. 

“How long will you be gone for?”
Almost 4 months. The bike trip itself is 93 days, plus a little time at each end to settle in.

“Are you riding by yourself / with a group?”
With a group. 14 riders plus 1 tour guide. I don’t know any of the other people.

“How far?”
4305 miles total.

Then, there are many common secondary questions:

“How far each day?”
Average of 55-60 miles a day.

“Where are you staying?”
We are camping most nights, with a ‘rest day’ once a week at a more established place like a hotel or hostel.

“What is the route?”
From Virginia to Oregon. Ocean to ocean.

“Is there a van carrying your stuff?”
Nope, everything I need for 3 months of living I will be carrying on my bike. (or maybe, buying some stuff along the way as needed.)

“You’re crazy.”
Is there a question in there? ;)
"No, there's no question you're crazy."

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