Author Topic: Please help... I want to do it but its really hard.  (Read 2226 times)

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Offline Charlie Parker

Please help... I want to do it but its really hard.
« on: March 20, 2013, 10:32:23 pm »
Guys, I'm very serious about touring from Boston to LA, for a lot of reasons, but I honestly don't think I'm strong enough or independent enough. I mean, that's the whole reason I wanted to do it. Become strong. Become dependent.  I wanted to actually become someone, and not just another name on a gravestone. I wanted to raise money for the Boys and Girls Club. I wanted to win back my girlfriend. But I bought a map of the US a few days ago, opened it up, and almost crapped my pants. The states are so big. It really made me feel small and it made me really realize how big of an idea it was. The more and more I think about it, the more and more I plan about it... the less real my ideas become. And I get angry because I know that I can't do it. 

Sadly, I realize I can't do this alone. I have a huge anxiety of the dark- ghosts, witches, aliens, murders- seriously all that stuff scares the shit out of me. (These are the things people don't know about.) On top of all of this, my parents would be extremely upset, because instead of getting intership experience, I would be riding alone across the country. I already know they wouldn't take me seriously at first, and once they did, they'd get very upset and angry, because they'd say "that's really stupid. You'll get hurt." They paid for my college and a lot of other things, so me doing this would be an real insult to them. So not only am I afraid of the dark and public bathrooms, I'm revolting against my family. Plus- I really don't know how comfortable I'll be when I'm on a tight shoulder. But I kind of expected that.

Did anyone else have these feelings before a long tour? God I want this so much. When I first thought of it ( and the idea randomly came into my life) it felt so right. I never was so clear about anything in my life.

If your still reading this. Please help me. :(

I'm 22 years old. I know if I did this- it would change me. Period. How the hell do I do it?
« Last Edit: March 29, 2013, 09:55:22 pm by Charlie Parker »

Offline John Nelson

Re: Please help... I want to do it but its really hard.
« Reply #1 on: March 20, 2013, 10:54:52 pm »
Okay, it sounds like you have some phobias I can't help you with. But everybody has a fear of the unknown. And everybody has butterflies in their stomach when setting out on a trip like this. You just take it one day at a time. That's not just a slogan. In fact, it's natural. Once you get on the road, you seldom think about how far you've come or how far you have to go. Your only goal is where you will get to today and tomorrow. Assuming you're using ACA maps, the ACA has done most of the hard planning for you. Just follow their route and stay in the places they have scouted out for you.

What you hope to do is not that far out there. An almost uncountable number of people have done it before you, many even younger than yourselves, and most without their parents' complete approval.

Oh, and that part about winning back your girlfriend--give up on that. You'll find somebody else.

Offline PeteJack

Re: Please help... I want to do it but its really hard.
« Reply #2 on: March 21, 2013, 11:23:36 am »
Charlie, John's advice is excellent. The winning back your girlfriend thing only happens in movies, direct your energies elsewhere.

A lot of the corny adages are true.  "One day at a time" is a good one. It sounds like you won't be cycling to a deadline so just concentrate on getting from A to whatever B you've picked for that day. You're young so you should get in shape pretty quickly. Start off without being too ambitious, say 20-30 miles a day. Before you know it you'll be up to 60-70. But remember it's a ride you're doing not a race. when you first set off you may well meet people going the same way. If they are faster riders than you let them go ahead. Don't spoil it for yourself (and others) busting a gut trying to keep up.

Stay at places recommended on the ACA maps but do check the addenda to make sure they are still in business. I learned that the hard way. Don't leave it too late before stopping for the day, if you aren't sure of your abilities start early and be done by 4pm. I can't recollect ever riding after dark in many thousands of miles of touring. Charlie, take a bike maintenance class NOW. There's not much that can go wrong that you can't fix yourself once you know your way round a bike. There's tremendous satisfaction to be had in overcoming the little challenges that get thrown your way: flats, worn out brake pads etc..

Tell your parents they can come and rescue you if it all goes to hell (which it won't). Before you know it you'll be 1000 miles away, having the time of your life and your parents will be bragging to the neighbors about how far you've rode.

Offline johnsondasw

Re: Please help... I want to do it but its really hard.
« Reply #3 on: March 21, 2013, 11:52:36 am »
You don't have to start on a trip across the whole country.  First go on an overnight trip about 20 or 3o each way, set up camp, spend the night and ride home.  Then try a three day trip, etc.  You'll gain confidence and courage and see that you can achieve way more than you thought with less fear.

Go for it and good luck!
May the wind be at your back!

Offline geegee

Re: Please help... I want to do it but its really hard.
« Reply #4 on: March 23, 2013, 12:10:48 pm »
Quote
Please help me.

I'm 22 years old. I know if I did this- it would change me. Period. How the hell do I do it?

Such a trip might change you, but if it does you'll find out that change comes from within you and not from some external source.

Since you mentioned your phobias and situation candidly, allow me to read between the lines and suggest that you letting far too many external factors dictate things in your life. Seems like that is the true barrier you need to get over. If you go away and come back to the same situation you will still need to face these issues again.

So my advice is, whether you get to go on an epic trip soon or not, find a way to make peace with or slay your internal demons beforehand. And then when you do go (and you will if you really want to) you'll have a much better time.
« Last Edit: March 23, 2013, 12:17:39 pm by geegee »

Offline windrath

Re: Please help... I want to do it but its really hard.
« Reply #5 on: March 23, 2013, 02:13:45 pm »
Charlie -

All of the advice you have received is good.  My answer takes a slightly different direction.  You are biting off quite a bit with the ride you want to do - pretty long way, self-contained, some of the outdoor phobias.  There is alot to learn about the kind of ride you want to do.  In essence you are trying to run a marathon when you don't even know how to walk.

I suggest you step back a bit and ride on a supported trip for 1-2 weeks.  Cycle America does a job of helping you work up to the ride you want to do, but are not sure you can.  They haul your stuff, provide the meals, and help you with your bike if/when problems develop.  You learn to walk with a steady hand.  They do a tour each summer that starts in Lake Placid and ends in Boston.  There are other tours they do as well.  Cycle America is not the only company to do it - I just have experience with them.

Once you have done a supported ride, consider multiple week ride and them embark on a long ride like Adventure Cycling does where you continue to learn along the way.

If you do this, they are like vacations.  You are not insulting your parents.  Your are continuing your education in life.  And,by doing something each year, you will be amazed to look back 10 years from now to see what you accomplished. 

Hope this offers something you can get your arms around.

Offline csykes

Re: Please help... I want to do it but its really hard.
« Reply #6 on: March 23, 2013, 05:30:18 pm »
How much riding have you done up to this point?  Maybe you could join a local bike club and get some experience.  Do some centuries which are pretty epic to most people.  You could always join the Coast Guard or other branches of the military if you want to change yourself, see the world, and learn to pee around other people.

Offline freightbike

Re: Please help... I want to do it but its really hard.
« Reply #7 on: March 24, 2013, 12:08:06 pm »
Go do RAGRAII. One week on that trip and you'll lose all you inhibitions. Might even get lucky.
May the wind at your back always smell like home.
                  MORG

Offline Charlie Parker

Re: Please help... I want to do it but its really hard.
« Reply #8 on: March 25, 2013, 10:28:54 am »
Hey guys, thanks for the help and support. I'm one step further to doing actually this. The parents and family know. 8)

Offline jimbo

Re: Please help... I want to do it but its really hard.
« Reply #9 on: March 26, 2013, 08:46:30 pm »
Charlie,
Lots of good insights already provided. I am 66 and I rode 2500 miles with a 19 yr old last summer and he had ALL your fears and more. Night terrors and all. He rode 4400 miles in all and always managed to find someone to hook up with, but did weeks alone in the middle of the trip. Read " companions wanted". You don't need to do this alone. You have already taken a huge big step.

Offline markm109

Re: Please help... I want to do it but its really hard.
« Reply #10 on: March 27, 2013, 04:06:05 pm »
No matter if you do the trip across the country or a smaller trip - DO SOMETHING.  Too many regrets later in life if you give in to your fear and do nothing.  When I was your age, I graduated college and rushed into a job and a family and all that came with it.  I wish I had taken some time to just enjoy being young and doing stuff I no longer have time to do when you have a full time job.  Keep planning and moving forward and just do it.  You won't regret it.  Your fears aren't really as big as they seem.