Update 1 - March 18th, 2001
Americus, GA

In fifteen more days, I'll be heading out again. It is really hard to believe that this will be my ninth consecutive trip since 1993. I must admit that I've got bicycle touring in my blood and it has become a part of my life. It's hard to separate myself from a bike. Everybody is starting to know me as the "Cycling Rev." I think that when I sleep my legs possibly go through the motions automatically like when a dog's feet move around when they sleep.

I tell everybody that when it is time for my spirit to go up to Heaven to be with my Creator they would probably find my body alongside some road with a bicycle underneath me. Jokingly, I tell everybody that I would like to be buried with the bicycle that I have at the time (maybe sitting on the saddle).

I know one thing for sure and that is that all of my efforts and struggles have been for a good cause -

"To share ADONAI's love throughout the land"

with a message of " that we can't just talk about our faith but to sincerely live it " .

If I had it my way if financially and physically possible, I would probably stay out on a bicycle year round. For the first eighteen months of my ministry, I did just that between February, 1993 and August, 1994 cycling three times across the country and pedaling almost 28,000 miles. I'm not getting any younger so I need time off the bicycle every once in a while.

This year, I'll be on another 2-wheeled friend. My partner for the last three years, "Liz" (a 1998 Specialized Crossroads-Sport 21-speed hybrid) bought in New Orleans, Louisiana replacing the 1997 Specialized hybrid that got destroyed in a car accident cannot go out on another long trip. I've put over 32,000 touring miles on it, which is a record for me. My previous record was 28,500 miles).

Last year, I toured almost 10,000 miles on "Liz". But to keep her running, I spent a little over the amount that I purchased it in repairs. The bicycle just isn't cost-effective anymore.

"Liz" will not be dumped onto a scrap heap. It is being donated to Habitat for Humanity International with plans for it to be on exhibit in Habitat's new museum that is being built in Americus, Georgia, since it has become part of "Habitat-History." I visited nearly 600 Habitat affiliates across the United States on it.

Instead of getting another hybrid, I've picked another type of bicycle that is more efficient and less damaging to my body. I have several things that I needed to consider. Back in 1995, I damaged a vertabrae in my lower back in a non-biking accident. Along with this, I have some problems with my legs and I have been suffering from pre-cursors to carpal-tunnel syndrome. Holding onto the handlebars for as many miles that I've ridden has started to cause a lot of pain in my wrists.

With all of these things to consider, I decided to purchase a "bent" (recumbent) in the short-wheelbase mode. It is the Thunderbolt A-10 built by
Lightning Cycle Dynamics in Lompoc, California. Lightning Bikes build some of the fastest recumbents in the world at the most reasonable prices. Here is a picture of my new bike.

Lightning Thunderbolt A-10 : picture courtesy of Lightning Cycle Dynamics

The Thunderbolt A-10 has twenty-four speeds with a sixteen inch front wheel and a twenty-six inch rear wheel. This recumbent only weighs twenty-nine pounds and has a wheelbase of forty inches. Components include a Shimano Acera rear derailleur, Grip Shift shifters, alloy rims, high pressure (85- 100 psi) tires, and V-brakes.

Price for the A-10 was $995, which is the best price that I've seen. Over half of the price was donated to my ministry in just a month's time last Fall. Recumbents similiar to the A-10 made by other companies but not of the same quality would cost well over $1500. Most of them would also be "stock models". Lightning Cycle Dynamics "custom makes" each recumbent to fit the person's dimensions (height, ex-seam, inseam).

I had spent several months corresponding with several of the employees at Lightning. They responded quite quickly to all of my questions. I was hooked me up with one of their dealers on the East Coast. It was neat that they were less than 140 miles away in Atlanta, Georgia. The dealership was Coolbike Pro Shop. The sales manager, Brenda was really helpful. She talked me through the process of getting my measurements because each bent is custom-made to fit that particular rider. In Mid-November of 2000, I placed an order. Lighting Cycle Dynamics shipped it for free to the CoolBike Pro Shop.

On December 2nd, I went up to Atlanta from Americus with a friend to pick up the recumbent. We met Brenda at a local neighborhood club in Northeast Atlanta that had a half mile paved track where I could get some training. When I first got a glimpse of the Thunderbolt A-10, I think that the first word out of my mouth was "Awesome" and the second one was "Incredible". It took me about ten minutes to get the hang of it.

The one real drawback of recumbents is that they cannot carry as much gear as an upright bicyle. This is due to the small front wheel. Because of this, I also purchased a trailer to carry my camping gear. Last May, while I was cycling up the coast of California I saw a lot of cyclists pulling trailers behind their bicycle. Of all the trailers that I've seen, the most of them were the single-wheeled YAK produced by B.O.B. (Beast of Burden).

With regards to this year's ride, I'll probably be spending most of my time in the Midwest but I have tentative plans to ride as far west as Council Bluffs, Iowa and into the Eastern edge of Texas weather permitting. I do not think I'll be going into the New England very far.

My first goal from Americus, Georgia will be the North Carolina Outer Banks. This would be a great "shake down ride" since it will be mostly flat terraign. From the Outer Banks, I have hopes to find my way across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge - Tunnel to the Eastern Shore of Virginia and Maryland and traveling up the eastern edge of Deleware and New Jersey. Skirting around busy Northeastern New Jersey, I hope to ride along the Hudson River to Central New York.

This is as far as my plans go for the year. I'll be writing more in the next couple of weeks and will be setting up a section as I have done with all of the other rides.



Bicyclist in Sunset



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