Have you ever thought of dropping everything, getting on your bike, and just riding? I know I have many times. How great would it be to see the world from the saddle of your bike with no time schedule or agenda? Here is the story of a guy we met this week who is doing just that. I suggest you find his page on Facebook and follow along with his story and journey. His page is called ‘Drawing America by Bike’.
That’s how Barbara and I got involved with his trek. His name is Eric Clausen. After many years of college, earning his BFA and MFA, he knew he needed a break. Being an avid cyclist already, the idea just hit him one day. Let’s see the country, have some fun, and help finance the trip with drawings of his sights on the trip. What a banner idea.
He left his home in Brooklyn, September of last year. Riding down the east coast before heading west, he has done about 7000 miles before his stop here in San Diego. He hopes to complete his trip by October of this year. From here, he is headed up the west coast to Seattle, before taking a round-about eastward direction back home.
We became aware of his project a while back. We were glad to get to meet him and hear some of his stories from the road. We caught up with him at the iconic Balboa Park here in San Diego. His plan was to meet a few of his Facebook followers and join them on a ride to have dinner together. We wanted to ride too, but time restraints didn’t allow that. Right after work, Barbara and I hurried down to the park to see if we could catch up with him before they left. He was still waiting for the small group to assemble when we arrived.
This gave us a chance to talk, and get a feel for this cool young man and his goals for the trip. After about a half hour, we were still the only ones there to greet him, so we offered to take him out to dinner to hear more. We had already found out that he was on a minor break from riding, so we put his bike in the back of the station wagon and headed to a great little crepe shop in North Park. The La Creperie on 30th street is one of our favorite spots to eat when we spend time at the art school near by. He was all smiles as we all got to know each other a little better.
Over a hearty meal, with desert, his tales of the road were fun to hear. Being from a military family, he has relatives all over. This has given him many chances to sleep in a bed, instead of his sleeping bag. Also to connect with family he had only known existed before his trip. He has extended his world in a way many only dream about. I wish we would have had more time to hear about his adventures.
We heard many stories though. His time traveling through the states has been fun and eye-opening. The people he has met have been interesting, unusual, and characters in their own right. Some of the weather and riding conditions have been more than challenging. He is riding on an old road bike that has been standing-up well. Doing over a 100 miles on a good day, and many less in hard winds and rough roads. A few mechanical problems and flat tires have slowed his progress, but allowed him to meet new people, and feel their generosity and American spirit.
After dinner, we all went to the art school for a visit. Being an artist, I could tell that Eric enjoyed seeing the many people creating their own personal masterpieces. The art on display is very nice and varied. We introduced him to some of our friends there and garnered some interest for his travels and Facebook page. I hope to get the word out more, to help his drawings get into the hands of many people. He has promised to send us one, and I am sure it will find a great spot on one of our walls.
Eric had saved up some money for the trip. His plans are to help with that by offering his drawings and stories in exchange for donations to keep him going. He is hooked in with a few web sites that help him with that. As his travels continue, he hopes to meet more people like us, that will put him up, buy a meal, or contribute to his activity in some other way. By all means, ‘like’ his Facebook page to follow his trip, and learn what you can do to help him. And don’t forget to meet him in person. It will be worth your time, and he will love it.
Living the dream, and you can do it through Eric. Get involved with his trip. Help him out if you can. Check out his blog, twitter, and FB pages. All the info about his journey and donation sites are there. You can see many of his drawings. Send him a message to cheer him on. Tell your friends about his story. Find him on the road to say hi or ride with him. He is a nice guy, and you’ll be happy to know him. I know I am. You go Eric!
Stay tuned for an up-coming story of my new-old English 3-speeds. Classic, cool bikes that will get the full treatment. Till next time, thanks, Turbo Bob.
“In Bangkok, I jumped into a bicycle taxi. The driver, a 21-year-old named Tik, uses his powerful legs to take me around. I bought him lunch and asked if I could take him for a ride. On a wide stretch of road, we switched places. It was hard to get started but soon we were gliding. The steering was sluggish and the seat was uncomfortable. But behind me in the tropical sun, Tik was enjoying his ride.”—Ray Hosler.
My first stop in San Diego for bike parts is Q-bikes.