Transmutational Cycling

My 50th birthday celebration ride across the US of A

Welcome to Transmutational Cycling

Enjoy my mental meanderings as I pass the months and miles with my bicycle (AgAu) along the Southern Tier Route of the US of A followed by a trip up the East Coast to celebrate my 50th birthday


Welcome to my website on which I will attempt to share a personal experience and dream. You can join me in person or follow me from afar as I travel, experience, and share my way as I pedal across the US in 2016.  I will be writing this as I go along so be patient with me as I figure this new system out in between logging miles on my bike, experiencing life and the world as experienced from my bike’s seat, and creating this site.  I will be starting in Ocean Beach (just out side of San Diego, CA) on Sunday, September 25th after working at the Tour de Fat all day Saturday.  I’ll then be riding my bike, AgAu, quickly to Tempe, AZ in order to work at the Tour de Fat there on Saturday, October 1st.  After a short work related trip that week, I plan to return to my bike in Tempe and then travel to the east coast.  Once I arrive in Saint Augustine in Florida, I’ll then head northward toward home in NC in order to arrive and celebrate this accomplishment and my 50th birthday with my family and friends.  Please note that Internet access will be spotty at times and it daily updates will not be possible.  I shall, however, make daily notes and update as soon as I can.  So please do check back frequently.

About the names :  A transmutation is the transformation of one metal into another. Cycling refers to the activity in which I am being transformed.  In my mind, this process goes beyond a mere transformation.  It is a theme of dynamic interplay between forms and the greater something that is formed by the forging of base elements.  Years ago, my wife and I designed and made wedding bands that were composed of white and yellow gold overlapping bands.  To us they symbolize the two of us coming together to form something that was greater than either one of us separately.  Now, it feels as if the dynamic relationship between man and machine, in this case-my bicycle and I, can form a relationship that will carry us both across the country as we are forged into something greater than the separate parts.

I have wanted to do a bicycle trip like this since I was in my twenties (my ‘silver age’) and now as I approach my fifties (my ‘golden age’) it is becoming reality.  When I asked my family for suggestions for naming my bike, my daughter, Lara, suggested “Aurum” for my golden birthday.  Her love for Latin was touching but since the bike is silver in color, it did not feel right, nor did “Argentum.”  Playing with this thread, “AgAu” or silver transmutating into gold, felt right.  So the bike was named AgAu and reflects the ages in which my deferred dream transformed from desire to reality, the colors of my relationship and wedding band, and the idea that journeys, like this one, transform us into something more precious and valuable.  Thus, a name was born.  The Bicycle was made for my size and purpose of touring by the fine folks in Seattle at Rodriquez Bikes (more on them later).

I will be turning 50 on the 22nd of December, the Northern Hemisphere’s Winter Solstice and the Southern’s Summer. I am beginning the trip on the 22nd of September, the Northern Hemisphere’s Autumnal Equinox and the Southern’s Vernal.  Like the Taoist Yin/Yang, it feels symbolically fitting that this journey will take a season and depending on where you are reading this, it is either Spring or Autumn for you. For me, it will be Autumn going into Winter, two of my favorite four seasons. The general course I have chosen based on the time of the year (so that I arrive close to my birthday), weather patterns (so as to avoid harsh dangerous conditions), is called the Southern Tier Route as established by the Adventure Cycling Association from San Diego, CA to St. Augustine, FL. Upon accomplishing the goal of dipping my bike’s wheels into both oceans that border the country, I’ll then head up the east coast toward North Carolina. Along the way, I’ll be experiencing the geography, history, weather, people, wildlife, traffic, fauna, flora, and more along the way. As I pedal, I will strive to experience the trip with all of my body’s senses. (Note: there are far more than just five).  I’ll be camping out most nights and pulling all of my own gear.  Sometimes I’ll be staying with volunteer hosts along the way from the Warm Showers organization so that I can clean up every so often.

My Challenges
My challenges are to experience a transformational journey. It might take the form of a successful achievement of pedaling every mile from San Diego, CA to the Outer Banks of North Carolina via St Augustine. It may take the form of preparing to pedal that distance but learning to accept personal, physical, or environmental challenges that cannot be overcome. Either way it will be a journey between those coastlines and extremes. I’ll be stopping along the way to see and experience the historical and cultural sites along the path.  The additional challenge for me is to push myself physically and psychologically to safely complete this ride, no matter the ultimate distance accomplished and accept what I can push myself to achieve. Normally, somewhat of a reserved person, an additional challenge for me is to share the next next ninety days of my adventures, both internally and externally experienced, via this website.

Your Challenges
Your challenge is to examine your life and the lives of others around you. This is no “bucket list” like task for I’m encouraging you to live life focused upon the journey and experience not have some checklist to complete. Instead, I’d like to challenge you to complete your own journey in your own way and share it with someone. It might be a hike, bicycle ride, camping trip, or something else but it should help you step beyond your current plateau of complacent comfort. It might consist of going as a social group but every step, pedal, or climb you make with your own body is one that should directly experience your world and reflect upon how you wish it to be.  Gandhi is reported to have said “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”  In this spirit, I am attempting to live the the changes that I wish to see in the world and would like to challenge you to do the same.