Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. — Helen Keller
More than 6,000 combined miles later, we did it! With a few pictures taken in front of our destination, Pedego Alexandria, our journey was complete. Hooting and cheering, the Wild POGs succeeded in their mission of riding from Pittsburgh on their Pedego electric bikes. At that point, all that was left to do was celebrate and reflect on a job well done. I particularly enjoyed the latter. Any English student can recite the difference between farther, as in to go farther in miles, and further, as in to go further in changing your life. On this GAP Ride, I’m proud to say we accomplished both.
There are regular Pedego tours, of course. We offer them at our store, Pedego Greater Long Beach. They provide an easy cruise for people who are seeking a relaxing, fun experience. The experience might seem a little basic for those who own their own Pedego bikes, but they make a great introduction to electric biking. And If I didn’t already say it, they’re fun.
But then there’s the Pedego Authentic Adventure. Designed for Pedego owners who are ready to experience a more robust level of riding. They’re seeking something grand that may change their lives forever, as they rediscover the hidden powers we all possess. Years of working for bosses who held us back have made us forget the great things we’re capable of accomplishing. Being told that we’re unemployable because we’re over 40 or 50, that we’re not worth the expense to a company, has taken its toll on our spirits. This is the kind of adventure that brings back our invincibility. It’s the difference between hopping on an amusement park ride for six pre-planned minutes or jumping from a plane for some real-life skydiving.
So, I asked myself, what is the nature and deep purpose of such an authentic adventure? We rode more miles, surrounded by acres of silver maple, Pawpaw, Tulip Poplar, Box Elder and American Sycamore as well as Northern Spicebush and American Bladdernut — forming a canopy that enveloped us from the first day. This was real forest, not a few trees in front of a building. Animals, such as deer, racoon, snakes and more paid us visits. Some deer ran alongside us as we rolled. The riders appreciated being on their own personal bikes that they have equipped to their tastes and needs. We made suggestions, of course, and there were some required supplies. But Pedego builds 15 models to suit every body type, and the riders who own bikes know what they like.
I know this: A lesser electric bike might not have survived the rigors of the wild trail. Buckets of rain affected some of our electrical components (and most were easily fixed), but Pedego’s sturdy motors held strong, and the frames kept their shape intact no matter how much mud we threw at them. The muddy condition of the trails meant that electric bikes were more necessary than ever. They provided the safest, most effective mobility option available. In the planning stages, we figured that the weather would have an impact on the event. Boy, were we right! No one could predict the amount of damage to the trail system. But then, no one could predict the amount of true grit each of us had buried in our souls. One downed tree? We formed a team to go over it. Multiple downed trees? We knew what we had done before and adjusted it to surmount the obstacle and keep moving. Any employer out there would be lucky to hire the people whose talents and inner strength were on display that day.
This wouldn’t be complete without a nod to the RAC team. Dennis Bueker’s unswerving calm in the middle of every challenge inspired the rest of us to do our best. Gwen Bueker worked hard to keep up with a chaser van and organize our nightly rooms. Stephen Mulcock’s steady hand at the wheel of our trailer-van kept us moving forward.
Emotional about her experience, Jean said, “It was the most fabulous, fantastic, wonderful, challenging, scary, wet, muddy, joyous, victorious, empowering … see you next year!” l wager that every member of our group has known someone who sat on a couch until their health failed. Some told me they purchased bikes from GLB after a family member died of heart disease or diabetes. Our group has worked hard to make it all more meaningful and life affirming. When Paula rode a particularly challenging leg of the journey, her daughter Noelle was concerned. But Paula went anyway. “If I die, just know I died doing something I love,” she said.
Brian’s favorite quote is, “A ship in harbor is safe, but that’s not what ships are built for.” We all found the adventure we were built for while enjoying a lot of fun and beauty along the way. And you know what? At 50, 60, 70 and beyond…we’re strong, smart and ready for our next adventure on the Katy Trail in August. Are you ready to join us? We are the Wild POGs!