Why bike across America?
Noah and Charlie grew up together and felt destined to do something epic. As a cyclist, biking across America had always been a dream of Charlie's and as an adventurist, Noah grew more and more open to the idea. In the fall of 2014, a phone conversation between the two took place. Charlie was graduating from the University of Oregon and came to Noah for advice regarding his next step in life. It was Noah who brought up the serious possibility of making this trip a reality.
They agreed that a journey like this would be physically exhausting, mentally demanding, and at times very dangerous. This is exactly what they both wanted.
With Noah's background in Philosophy and Charlie's degree in Geography, they recognized that crossing the US by bike is a perfect opportunity to explore many of the passions and questions they both shared. They decided to use their writing, filming, and presentation skills to share their experiences through a video and blog.
The definition of Westward Wheels changed many times. At first it was a quest to explore the American Dream and the societal norms that our fellow countrymen have come to develop. After further discussion Noah and Charlie realized that the ability to have dreams and norms relies on a much more basic foundation- the people and the landscape.
It was decided that Westward Wheels would explore health (the people), sustainability (people and landscape), and bicycle education (our mode of transportation).
With the support of their friends, family, and community, Noah and Charlie put the wheels in motion and began seriously planning the journey. On June 1st, 2015, they will leave New York City to explore, test them selves, and head westward, back to their home town of Long Beach, California.
It all started with a black Nishiki my dad bought in 1987. Growing up I heard stories of my Dad riding from Long Beach to my Grandmothers house in San Diego and remember the awe I felt when thinking about riding more than 100 miles in one day. After resurrecting the Nishiki from the depths of our garage I began my transformation to someone who feels more at home on two wheels than on two feet. I ended up doing the same route as my dad when I was 17 and knew that exploration by bike would be a major part of my life.
I moved to Eugene, Oregon to study Geography and bought my 1982 Miyata 610, Mikelah. In Eugene Mikelah helped transform from a bike enthusiast to a cyclist. It was on Mikelah that I learned bicycling is a way of life rather than a pass time. In the summer after my freshman year I completed my first tour from Los Angeles to San Fransisco and have been touring ever since.
To me, Westward Wheels is an opportunity to test my knowledge, experience new things, and to live out a life long dream. Between finishing school and beginning a career, I hope to use this bicycle journey to embrace and explore the inner workings of my mind as I do the same with the American landscape.
The first and most profound thing I learned when I left California and arrived in New York was to stay curious and be passionate. I had no idea where those two principles would take me but I trusted my intuitions and in the end a little passion and curiosity have lead me to 5 new countries, helped me learn a new language, become an All-American water polo player and kept me happy as a clam. Now, four years later, an environmentalist philosopher with a New York state of mind I am lucky enough to continue following these principles.
As a philosophy major I was not sure where I would end up when it came to the working world, I knew I didn't want to pursue teaching or law right away (as is normal) so I kept looking. Then I took one of the most influential classes of my college carrier, Environmental Philosophy, fitting right. It was the intersection of my philosophical passion and everyday love for the environment. What it produced in me was curiosity and burning passion to learn more, as many of my peers were environmental majors, and finally it lead me to where I am now. I am forever a student and want to learn as much as I can so that one day I will be able to do some real good.
Follow the project @westwardwheels