On a recent Saturday I packed up all the bike touring gear and loaded it into the panniers to simulate a bike ride on a fully-loaded touring rig. I wasn’t sure what I had brought on the last trip; then I remembered that I made a list of what I brought last time–and published it in the book I wrote, The Descent into Happiness. I grabbed a copy and flipped through the pages until I found the list on p. 90-91.

While putting the gear together, I kept flipping through the book, recalling all the experiences that took place on that adventure. It’s something I didn’t think about when the book was published, how I would eventually be an audience for the book.

On Sunday, I took the bike out for a test ride. It was a familiar experience, but one that I hadn’t had for a while. About 30 miles into the ride, I pulled over on the side of the bike path and sat on a bench. Then I had an idea for the book I plan on writing for the ride that will happen this June/July, so I took the laptop out of the rear pannier and started putting the ideas down into words. Again, it was a familiar experience, writing on the side of the trail, but one I hadn’t had for a while.

I’m glad I wrote a book on the last big bike ride, because I don’t think I can go on another big bike ride without having a writing component to it. Writing while riding enhances the overall experience so much, because it isn’t just about the experience of the journey; it’s also the experience of documenting the journey. And documentation, a reflective activity, forces the rider/writer into a heightened state of awareness as to what is happening and what is being learned.

Because I’ll be biking with my daughter Kait on this upcoming trip, I’ll have to develop a new protagonist. I’ll also have to learn more about writing dialogue and character development. Assuming this happens, then I can look forward to learning more about writing and riding. The last big bike ride had a big learning curve. I’m sure this trip’s learning curve will be just as steep, but at least it will begin in a familiar place.