good on you Jedidiah Jenkins!
If you need conversation material at parties, I suggest planning a seven thousand mile bike ride. It gives you the ability to talk to anybody. It’s a story that spreads on its own. People will just walk right up to you and ask, “Is it true? Holy shit.”
I just turned 30, and I’ve decided to use this year to radically shape the rest of my life. I am about to leave my job and ride a bicycle for seventeen months, from Oregon to Patagonia. The need to do it (and it really felt like a need) hit me about three years ago when I read a quote from famed naturalist John Muir.
“I am losing precious days. I am degenerating into a machine for making money. I am learning nothing in this trivial world of men. I must break away and get out into the mountains to learn the news.”
When I became a bicycle courier I found that I loved cycling for a living. I loved the exhilaration of pedalling quickly through the city, flowing between stationary cars and weaving through the lines of moving traffic. I loved the mindlessness of the job, the absolute focus on the body in movement, the absence of office politics and cubicle-induced anxiety. I loved the blissful, annihilating exhaustion at the end of a day’s work, the dead sleep haunted only by memories of the bicycle. Hypnagogic jerks, those juddery twitches that occur on the edges of sleep, were smoothed out into circular pedal-strokes of the legs. Most of all, I loved learning what London taxi drivers call the Knowledge: the litany of street names and business addresses that constitutes a particular map of the city, parallel to that contained within the A–Z street atlas but written on the brain, read by leg and eye.
And buy Cyclogeography – Journeys of a London Bicycle Courier by Jon Day…HERE!