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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Judy's "Haiku Bike Journey"

My friend Judy is back from her 1815 mile solo bike ride across the west and has posted gorgeous pictures, commentary, and haiku at ""

She writes:

I was unsure of my physical capabilities in serious mountains, and began to train in earnest, albeit in a 50+-year-old's fashion, a few months before my departure date. But I was more worried about my mental capabilities: could I manage for five weeks without friends and family, without familiar routines, without someone to talk to daily? How could I prepare for the mental and emotional challenge?

I decided during my training rides prior to the trip that I should perhaps find a way to focus my head through poetry. I tried writing a Haiku as I rode-a short poem that captured the essence of that day's ride. It worked like a charm: I spent time really absorbing my environment to find the most important thing to capture, and then I spent time working with words to express most perfectly what I felt or saw. Hills went by without suffering; the miles passed easily as I considered images and counted off syllables: 5, 7, 5.

And so, on June 14, 2008, after a reasonable amount of preparation and a little Haiku practice, I flew out to Western Oregon and began the last, long leg of my journey. I traveled light: I brought no cell phone, no odometer, no IPod, no laptop. I brought minimum supplies and clothes, a set of maps, and a small flip book of index cards with my pre-planned daily itinerary on each page. At the end of each day of riding I would jot down notes of the day on the back of the card and then write down the Haiku I had finalized during that day. Over 31 days I biked across Oregon and Idaho, down through Montana and Wyoming, and into a little of Colorado, absorbing the scenery at close range and writing my poems as I went along, to complete my journey near Denver.

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