The long way round: the background of how and why

At points on this journey I’ve caught myself thinking how on earth I’ve managed to get myself into such a wonderful situation. I’ve spent the last three months of my life sweating my sizeable arse off riding a bicycle across continent. In a way I have no right to do this; no history of adventures, no history of bike rides, no history of being ridiculous.

OK, I’ve got a history of being ridiculous. But not this ridiculous.

It all started in London. With my very good friend Gal. If you were wondering, no, Gal is not a shortened form of Goliath. However, if I have told you that it is in the past, I do not apologise one bit. Gal, although he did not know it at the time, was the butterfly to this tornado of an adventure. He suggested that I should check out if there was a Moishe House in Melbourne, where I was about to depart to. And so I checked, and indeed there was! Or rather, there was about to be, led by a guy called Brett. But more on that later.

I’d wanted to go to Australia for an age, and after my bestie Sam had spent a year of Uni in Melbourne, I decided that was the place for me. So I got in touch with Ash, a friend from my year in Israel, who offered me a place to stay with her boy-toy Toby. Now Ash and Toby both had bikes. I hadn’t really ridden in years, but thought it might be a good way of getting to know Melbourne better, and a good way to gain a bit of independence. So Toby’s mum Helen drove me down to Bicycle Recycle – a second hand bike shop – the day after I arrive and I picked out a beauty of a bike.

I had my bike.

Cut back to Brett. I made contact with Brett and met with him (and others) at the Jewish New Year. It turned out that Brett was a keen cyclist and invited me along on a cycle. So the next week I went for a lovely cycle up the river with Brett and Debs. I was then invited to a casual bike group, The Bikey Nom Nom Gang. I went on a couple of rides; what with my limited working hours I was always free.

A guy named Jacob was part of the group to and had just come back from some time in the USA and Europe where he’d been, you guessed it, cycling! And enjoying bluegrass music it seems. He was keen to go on a ride, and I was keen to go with. So Jacob, Mikey and I got the train out of town for a lovely day in the saddle. This is where I found out about his travels, and also Mikey’s planned bike trip to Cambodia. All these adventures that people are having on their bicycles!

Maybe I would do a bit of cycling in the States?

And, well, that was that. I’m now sitting in a coffee shop in Washington DC having cycled across a continent to get here. And it all started with a comment from Gal. From small waves come mighty floods. My journey has been flooded with challenging, friendships, experiences and reward. I could not think of a better experience to solidify my faith in humanity than the interactions that this adventure has given me.

And the fantastic thing? It’s not over. Who knows what the next week will have in store.

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