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Conquering the Continent

First of a two-part story.

By Ted Kanemitsu and Lisa Davis

It’s hard to believe that a whole year has passed since Lisa Davis and I embarked on our once in a lifetime journey across America. And let me tell you, what a journey it was.

Before I get started, let me take this opportunity to once again thank all of you who have so willingly given of your time, money, well wishes, encouragement, and of course prayers that made this event far surpass our wildest dreams. Also we would like to congratulate the non-profit organizations who have taken part in using this opportunity to raise funds for their various causes. We are honored to be of help to them as well.

Riding a bicycle might seem like a kid’s activity to most. And in a way, it is. It was their first real experience of freedom, sort of to speak. It broadened their horizon, and lessened their dependence on mom and dad to take them places. Yes, a bike was every kids dream. But as we grow older, we develop a taste for more exotic transportation. A motorcycle perhaps, or maybe even a car. The more expensive and louder, the better.

A bicycle on the other hand, is quite the opposite. It’s quiet, very cost efficient, and nobody really notices anybody riding a bike. But imagine if you would, being able to go as fast as you can without the cops chasing you, or irate neighbors giving you dirty looks. On a bike you can do just that. Going twenty, feels like you’re going a hundred. You get the sensation of speed like you could never get in a car unless you were actually going a hundred, and then you put everyone at risk. You could travel a hundred miles in a single day if you wanted to on a bike, and it wouldn’t cost you a penny in gas.

In this respect, a bicycle becomes more of a viable alternative to recreation, as well as travel. Cyclists are amongst the fittest people on the planet. They have lower body fat, more efficient hearts, and they recover within seconds of hard efforts that would leave the average person panting for the next half hour. But beside all that, riding a bike is just plain fun. You can not stop the aging process, but you can slow it down.

Years ago when I was in the military, I drove coast to coast and back, as well as boarder to boarder. It was all a blur except for the occasional reality check. In contrast, traveling by bicycle was a much different and more enjoyable experience. You get to see the land up close. You get to smell the country, and hear the sounds. You meet people in their own surroundings, and see for yourself what a wonderful place America really is.

Our travels took us through ten states traveling east to west from Yorktown, Virginia to Florence, Oregon. A total of 4,389.5 miles as we made our way through some of the most scenic parts of North America. We followed the historical “Trans America Bicycle Route” which was first ridden as part of our country’s 200th Anniversary in 1976. That year, over 5,000 people embarked on this journey. Although not everyone completed the entire route, they all shared a common desire: to see our great country up close, and to meet the individuals who make this the best place in the world to live. An experience none of them will ever forget.

Stay tuned – next week Ted wraps it up with the second and final part of the story.

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