Written by: Jonathan Falk
It was an orange crate, a white cardboard orange crate that has been common place on this trip because I think it holds the group’s laundry detergent. It sits in the trailer, packed with all practicality. It is easily overlooked. On the side of the box in blue font was printed the word “strength.”
It’s funny how sometimes in life the sites and experiences that have the greatest effect on a person, especially on a journey such as a cross country bicycle ride, are not the ones you might expect. It might sound tired and hackneyed but really it’s in the small things. Sometimes it’s not about the grand scene of the canyon but the moment you remember is the squirrel that you watch bury a nut in a tree stump or that long hike you took to see something beautiful and all you can recall from that night is the lone shooting star that made you wonder about life.
Today’s moment wasn’t crossing the mighty Mississippi River on a bicycle. It was much more simple than that. A whisper that hit you right between the eyes and it shouted strength.
That box reminded me today about strength, the kind that comes from within and has nothing to do with the size of your legs. The truth is riding a bicycle across the highways and byways of America requires a great deal of strength but it’s not just physical. It takes a spiritual and mental muscle that can only be grown by testing its limits and pushing beyond them.
We have be tested on this ride, chased storms down and battled headwinds. We have had hard phone calls from home and families who miss us. We continue on though, we forge ahead into new territory because as rides get tougher and situations arise our muscles grow and we grow. We grow strong in our commitment to our cause and to each other. True strength is that smile in the stormiest of days and knowing that together we can ride through anything. That kind of strength can’t be boxed and shelved.
As long as I have the soapbox for one more time, I’d just like to say thank you to some of the strongest men and women I have been honored to ride with the last few weeks. Together we grew in the small moments and I will always remember them.