To this day, I have detailed memories of my two solo cross-country bicycle trips -- the first in 1983 and the second in 1989.
I mapped my own routes from New York state to the Pacific Coast and let the bike days unfold organically, allowing the weather and people I met and events dictate where I ended up crashing in my sleeping bag that night.
I wrote travel stories from the road for newspapers back home in New York during the cross-country treks, and the writing, I discovered, proved to me my companion.
I didn't realize it at the time, but I was doing adventure cycling -- exactly what Jim Sayer was trying to convey tonight at a nice presentation at the Carrollwood Bicycle Emporium bike shop.
Jim is executive director of the Adventure Cycling Association and he spread the gospel of overnight cycling -- whether it be for one night or a mega-cross country biketrip or multi-continent voyage.
Jim pointed out the efforts to have a national bicycle route system and the wonderful benefits of adventure cycling.
It was cool hanging with Jim and Brian Eckman, owner of Carrollwood Bicycle Emporium, which hosted the Adventure Cycling presentation.
It was a fun night to also see the local bike regulars, which included Jim Shirk, Tina Russo, Bill and Ellen of American Classic wheel manufacturers, Ellen Pierson of the Police Unity Tour and Ed Hillsman from CUTR.