Cycleamerica2014… It’s over before it even began

22 08 2014

So after 1 year of planning & 8 months of training, cycleamerica2014 was over after just 40 miles. After all the hard work that went into pulling off the project; disappointing doesn’t even begin to describe it. I’m sitting here beginning to reflect on the exhilarating 4 days in Seattle before the ride began. If you have read my previous posts you will know how unbelievably excited I was to drive to Canada to visit some of the locations from the American TV show, Smallville. That was fulfilling a dream since I was a young teenager. So I was like a kid in candy shop. Couldn’t get enough photo’s, couldn’t stop talking about different scenes, the characters, the plots…… I would even call it as one of the best days of my life…….

 

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Forward on 2 days later to Sunday 10th August 2014. The day began at around 8am, arriving at the Seattle Space Needle. With our bikes ready to roll we busted out our fashionable lycra shorts and did some lunges (Thankfully the crazily busy tourist attraction was really quiet). We started the day by cycling 1.5miles to catch a short ferry to Bremerton to avoid having to cycle through the busy streets of Seattle (Safety first!!!). After missing the first ferry, we arrived quite late in Bremerton but ready to smash the miles out. After all the planning, anticipation and excitement I loved every mile at the start (I’m cycling with a big smile on my face – passers by probably think its quite weird) After around 40 miles we stopped for a late lunch at a town called Shelton. After missing the first ferry I ate my lunch quickly and was eager to get back on the bike to avoid a late finish. From this moment on I have no recollection of what happened. I can remember eating lunch at Subway at around 3pm but I can’t remember what I ate, leaving or even getting back on the bike. At about 6:30pm I woke up in hospital in a lot of pain and feeling very confused. I’m pretty sure I asked the doctors the same questions 10 times but just couldn’t remember their answers.

The newspapers, doctors, the police, bystanders have all filled in the gaps in between. At approximately 3:15pm I was cycling along when a pick up truck went to overtake me. The truck swerved into me to avoid hitting the oncoming traffic. Traveling at 45mph it hit me on my left hand side throwing me from the bike, landing on the right hand side. I have sustained quite severe injuries all to my right side. 3 broken bones in my back, 6 broken ribs, broken right arm, severe concussion, lots of road rash and random cuts & bruises. Not quite the glorious ending that I had planned for Santa Monica Pier!!!!

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So I am now back in the UK beginning to recover from my injuries and have had the time to reflect on what has happened. In the grand scheme of things I am gutted that the trip was over so quickly. I had some awesome plans at the end of the trip, one of which was to fly to Oklahoma, where I studied 10 years ago and meet up with some old friends. Unfortunately this had to be cancelled!!! I was meant to be going to Ibiza (my spiritual home!!) at the end of September, but this also had to be cancelled!! Given this and the extent of my injuries, I am actually feel like the luckiest person in the world right now. I’m sure you are all thinking… He must have really hit his head hard?? How many prescription drugs is he on?? ….. The answer to which are really really really hard & lots and they are strong!!….. But the way I see it is that given the pick up truck hit me at 45mph I should be in a much worse state. Its those sorts of accidents that you hear of people being permanently injured or even killed. Yet I sit here with a clear mind and a series of injuries which should heal with lots of rest and time. I think back 3 years ago to when I bought my helmet. I can remember going to Mike Vaughans in Kenilworth and thinking to myself, shall I spend £20 getting the basic helmet or shall I go top of the range and spend over £120. I’m not a religious person, but thank God I spent the money because who knows, if I had bought the £20 one, would I be sitting here right now? Essentially that helmet saved my life & I am so thankful to be here right now.

Although right now I feel pretty weak & fragile, it is experiences like this that make us mentally stronger. Que cheesy quote….. “That which does not kill us makes us stronger”….

I’m sure some people reading this are thinking… Well where to from here?? Is this the end of the story?? I admit it going to take a while for me to get back on the bike. Not only physically to recover from all my broken bones but also mentally getting over the fear of being hit again. I can see myself getting back on the bike, tentatively in 6 months time. I don’t think I will be ready to start the next challenge, that may take years. However I do already have an idea for the next project!!! & I admit my imagination has already begun to go wild with the possibilities. Maybe in 2016…. but who knows where this path of life will take me next…. I hopeful that it will go onto many more projects which make me feel alive…..

I finally just want to thank everyone for all their messages & kind words since my accident. Being in a lot of pain, it has been comforting knowing that there are people out their willing to help. For example there was one gentleman who had read my story in the Seattle Times, someone who I have never met before. He went online, sent me a message and donated $276 to get me to my donations targets.

THANK YOU TO EVERYONE…. I am hopeful that my injuries will have not been in vain and that we can continue to raise money that will help change the lives of people less fortunate than ourselves. To donate please go to www.cycleamerica2014.com or www.crowdrise.com/cycleamerica2014 or pop into Esquires Coffee Houses @ The Coventry Transport Museum.

Love to All,

Steven

 

 





Somebody Save Me…..

10 08 2014

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The Start of cycleAMERICA2014.com…….

5 08 2014

So here we go…. The start of cycleamerica2014.com….

I’ve been meaning to write this first post for about 3 months now but the words just haven’t come.

It’s the evening before we fly out to Seattle and so many thoughts & emotions are flying through my mind. Now that I’ve signed off from work my mind is free to think about my last trip in 2011 and what the next month has in store for me. 

In 2011 I cycle I cycled 3000 miles in 32 days from east to west across America. The 50c heat in the Arizona desert, hanging onto a tree to stop being blown away, the beautiful national forests, the rednecks, the dogs that chased me, the hallucinations. The list is endless. So these experiences makes me think….. What adventures will we find in America this time? You probably think I might want to avoid the heat, the wind, the nature & the people, but these were the moments that made it into the trip of a lifetime. I hope this trip will give me experiences that will shape who I am into the future. Moments that will make me more determined, stronger and better equipped to take on more of life challenges…… 

We are the sum of our experiences. It’s not about who we are on the inside, good intentions are noble, but it’s what we do that makes us who we are. I read a great quote recently….. “Life isn’t measured by the amount of time you’re here, it’s measured by your achievements” 

So here’s to the next adventure of a lifetime. I hope I have many more stories to tell….. More stories that will probably bore most people, but stories that will take my breath away and make me feel alive…. 





3000 miles in 32 days……job done!!!!!!

28 08 2011

We all dream of doing amazing things in life. For most people they stay untouched in our heads. I think a lot of people like to keep it that way to avoid spoiling them and the risk of failure. We have this romantic view of riding off into the sunset where we all live happily ever after!!!!!!

Unfortunately life isn’t quite like that. It’s messy, complicated, frustrating, stressful but mostly hard. In achieving something awesome in this world it’s never going to be plain sailing. The reality of working towards our dreams is never how we imagined it to be. If something is hard, do you think that is a good reason not to do it? A year ago when I had the insane thought “I want to cycle across America” I could have thought “Naaa,Illgive it a miss, I’d rather stay at home”. I’m sure I would have carried on with life as though no opportunity was missed but then I wouldn’t have found myself sitting on Santa Monica beach after cycling 3000 miles in 32 days. The journey has been tough; easily my most difficult challenge. The thunderstorms, the 120F heat, the American trucks, punctures and the sheer physical pain of cycling 7 to 8 hours a day for 32 days. You know what it was all worth it to have that moment cycling over the Los Angeles hills, seeing the Hollywood sign, smelling the sea air and rolling down into Santa Monica beach. This moment has taken my breath away. I feel overcome with amazing emotions. Happiness that I have done it but at the same time sadness that this adventure has now come to an end. These experiences have profound effects on where we are going and what we will be doing in life. I am sure that this will change my direction in life.

So is this the end of the story? Naa, it’s only just the beginning………………. Love to all……..





ITS THE FINAL DAY TOMORROW…..

27 08 2011

So tomorrow is the final day…….

I can’t believe that we have come this far and it all comes to a head tomorrow on Santa Monica Pier. So the plan is we have 72 miles to cycle in the morning, a short day in comparison to the past few days, and finish at 4pm (Midnight UK time). At the moment I am buzzing and I think that I will be going pretty crazy tomorrow.

So today was another tough one. We cycled 100 miles but until around 2pm the weather was so hot again, hitting 114F and we had to climb 2500ft. Ill admit that at times today I just wanted it to be over. For the whole of this trip I have loved the cycling but yesterday & today I did wish I was still sitting in the motel.  A friend recently told me a Winston Churchill quote “when your going through hell, keep going”. I was thinking about this a lot today, just to keep cycling and that it was the final hurdle. So we hit 2500ft and as we came over the brow of the hill the temperature started to drop. We were finally feeling the cooler air from the pacific ocean. Loved it….. We picked up the miles in the afternoon to make up the miles.

So tomorrow is the day…the day that I have been planning for 9 months & cycling for 31 days…..its going to be legendary!!!!!!

LOVE TO ALL…….

 

 





Courage is being scared to death – but saddling up anyway

26 08 2011

So today we hit the Arizona & California desert. It is just south of an area called ‘Death Valley’. I managed to cycle from Quartzside, Arizona to just before Indio, California. There was a section of 90 miles with only one service station after 60 miles. It is just mile and mile of road & sand. I have had to get the sand out of my shoes this evening. You know what, I have to say that today was the toughest day of the trip!!!!!! The temperature hit 49C/120F today at around 4pm. It was so hot that Dayle’s skin started to bubble (He spent the afternoon in the car with the after sun & the air con).  I decided to carry on and cycle through the heat. At this point I didn’t realise how hot it actually was. I guess ignorance is bliss. Every hour I had to stock up on water. I think everyone on the interstate was amazed that a cyclist was out in this weather. I even had people beeping their horn and shouting “you can do it!!!” A hottie called Amy saw me and stopped off to give me some water. Thank you.

The heat really grinds you down. Throughout the day I made sure to pace myself. At points I could have gone faster but I kept holding back. Later on in the day I was happy I did this. Sitting here on my bed in a nice air conditioned room feels awesome. Although it was a hard day I am so pleased that I persisted through the weather. I still can’t believe that I cycled through 49C. Crazy……

So I stopped off this afternoon in cafe in the desert (called Desert Cafe). I looked up on the wall and there was the quote “Courage is being scared to death – but saddling up anyway” by John Wayne. At this point I found out what the temperature was outside. We had only covered about 85 miles at this point. There was no choice but to carry on. So I got on my bike and rode off into the sunset…….. truly awesome day….

Please please please donate by going to www.cycleamerica2011.com or www.coffeekids.org





Day 28 – 40mph is fun….

24 08 2011

What an incredible day…….it was legendary. So we started off at 7000ft in Flagstaff, NM and dropped to 3000ft over the first 45 miles. It was great coasting down the hill. Although there was a lot of traffic it was an easy morning. However we then hit the hill I have known about for a long time. It was a 4000ft climb over 15 miles!!!!!!!! We hit the bottom of the mountain so I dropped down to the lowest gear and decided to pace myself up 3/4 then to attack the final stretch. I hit 7000ft feeling comfortable and could have gone higher had the hill not stopped!!!! The view’s were amazing over Arizona. Looking back over where we had just come from, but what was more exciting was the drop in front of us. We flew down the other side, hitting 40mph at one point. It felt like we were racing down the hill, hitting the corners faster than the signs were recommending for cars. So the 4000ft climb was definitely worth drop.

So we coming near the end of this epic adventure. We only have 4 more days of cycling until we reach the pacific ocean. 3000 miles in 32 days….crazy…….I can’t believe how far we have come…….so far we have hit just under 2500miles. It has been full of high’s and low’s but the most important aspect is us raising as much as we can for Coffee Kids. You can donate by going to www.cycleamerica2011.com and clicking donate OR go to www.coffeekids.org. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE donate and help make a difference.

Love to all….