I have a confession, I am not really a bicyclist. I am not a bicycle tourer. I am not an adventure bicyclist. I have never identified myself as a bicyclist or cyclist as real bicyclist are often called. I do not think that I would ever call myself a bicyclist.
I have ridden bicycles ever since my father taught me how to ride when I was a little kid. I enjoy buying old bicycles and restoring them to original condition. I have owned perhaps a dozen different bicycles in my life. I enjoy the simplicity and complexity of bicycles.
In my home town of Austin I occasionally ride my bicycle from my home to the city center - about 8 miles (13 km) round trip or a ride in a city park. The farthest that I've ever ridden a bicycle is probably 14 miles (23 km).
I have not trained for this bicycle adventure. I actually bought the bicycle that I am riding one week before this journey began. I bought it through craigslist used for $325. It was in excellent condition. I think I got a pretty good deal because a brand new bicycle like mine retails for about $600. I test rode my bicycle about 200 feet in a parking lot. I test rode it again about 200 yards in the street in front of my house. I admit that I look like a circus clown while riding my bicycle. I bought my plane ticket one day after I bought my bicycle. Common sense would indicate that this is no way to conduct a proper bicycle tour.
Other real bicyclists would probably not recommend doing what I am doing. One should do research, talk to experienced bicycle tourers, buy a real touring bicycle, ride your bicycle, familiarize yourself with your bicycle, disassemble and reassemble your bicycle, accessorize your bicycle, become one with your bicycle and train.
I am not a real bicyclist.
However, I do have faith. My faith is not blind, but has been developed from years of experience. I have faith in God, in people, in my bicycle and in myself. I have faith that I am always in the right place at the right time. I have faith that I will meet people and we will enrich each other's lives. I have faith that I will meet strangers that will help me in a moment of need. I have faith that my little bicycle will take me to places where I have never been. I have faith that I will live simply, be safe, choose wisely, be friendly, calculate risk, overcome obstacles, have empathy, share generously, act passionately and smile.
Today I conducted another test ride. I rode my bicycle 25 miles (40 km) over roads, on dirt, up and down hills, along the ocean, under the sun, in the rain, from Baracoa to Yumuri. A new distance record for me! I rode, I walked, I pushed, I finished.
Now there are about 800 miles (1200 km) ahead of me. Poco a poco.
This is my confession. I am not a real bicyclist, but I have faith that all things are possible.