AXC - The bike

AXC - The bike

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Carpe Diem

Three Thousand Miles! That is how far I've come (officially. Unofficially, I've done a few miles more!)
Looking back, here's a little though on how I got here, and what this means to me. 

'Carpe Diem.' This translates to "Seize the Day."  On the surface this seems straight forward, but to me it encompasses several increasingly granular aspects of the idea. 

From the poem where the phrase originated, the complete line is [roughly] 'Seize the day, and do not leave it for the future.'  

For this trip it originally meant; finally do this thing! Grab the adventure, stop letting things get in the way, and go!

Prior to the trip, my boss asked me to talk to the team about the trip, and share a little of what I was doing. I talked about the details, explained the TransAm route, and about my bike, But I closed out my presentation saying this; "You create your own opportunity. If you wait for opportunity to present itself, there will always be something in your way. If you want to do something, make it happen - Create your own opportunity."
It doesn't have to be something as big as biking across the US, maybe you want to see an opera in the Sidney Opera House, maybe you want to climb Machu Picchu in Peru, or maybe you just want to learn to play guitar. For me, this means if there's something that's been an itch in the back of your brain, scratch it, find a way and make it happen. It might not be right now, and might not be for a while. But if you make it a priority and make a plan, you can make it happen. 

Another more granular aspect of Carpe Diem that has come about in this trip is to take things one day at a time. I have not ridden 3000 miles (so far). You can't do that, I can't wrap my brain around the concept of biking that far. What I've done is ridden 55 or 65 miles a day, for as many days as it's taken me to get to this point. When I get on my bike in the morning, I have to go the 60 miles that day. That's all I have to worry about. I don't have to worry about the mountain range I'm crossing next week, or where I'm staying three days from now. All I have to do is get to the finish point that night. Then tomorrow, I'll do it again. And again. And eventually I hit 3000 miles! After that, I'll get to the west coast and dip my wheel in the ocean. But tomorrow, all I'm focused on is covering that distance. 

And there is more meaning for me still. The smallest grain, the tiniest aspect - the moment. Living in the moment. As I ride through vast open spaces, I try to remember to look up and take in all that is around me. In vast and endless fields in Kansas, that meant soaking in the image of wheat fields that stretch off to the horizon. In Kentucky there was also beautiful scenery, but I also looked around to see the houses, the people, the towns, and comprehend what I was seeing. It also means taking in what I'm doing in general, I have these moments where it occurs to me 'holy crap, I'm really biking across the country!' 
Sure, I think about where I'm going, what I need to do, and other stuff that bobbles around in my head. But I also try to just experience what I'm doing right now, soak it in, and seize the moment. 

I don't know if this is an outlook that I've developed on this trip, or something I already had that I've cultivated. But I hope that when the trip ends and I go back to my hustle and bustle life, I can continue to seize the moment, the day, and the opportunity. 

And with that, I'll leave you with some of my favorite pictures from the last 3000 miles. 


  1. Love your pictures, Aaron! Thanks (again) for sharing your 'great adventure' with all of us landlubbers!

    1. Thanks! And thanks for following along!

  2. One of the most meaningful, interesting and surprising things about riding long distance on a bike is examining those things that "bobble around" in one's head. Long quiet moments on the road lead me to long, deep thoughts--and also sometimes to a mountain of random silliness! Seize the moment, seize the day--seize your life!

  3. I believe this trip has and will continue to mold the person that you are. All in good ways. Thank you for sharing it with all of us.

  4. Beautiful pictures, Aaron! Stay safe.