INTRODUCTION!?: The status of my cross country ride as per October 15th 2004
Friday October 15, 2004
Today is my 25th birthday. Yep….. October 15th. That is my motivation for writing my introduction and beginning my cross country journal today. It’s going to be a hell of a year. I’ve been reading the journals on this website for a very long time and I’m always the most interested in who these people who are, that are doing these amazing bike rides. So let me blabber about myself.
My name is Michael Riscica. I’m currently living in long island, New York with my grandparents about 24.8 miles outside of New York City. I’m a full time student at the New York Institute of Technology as an architecture student pursuing a 5 year degree. I’ll have 2 years left after this ride. (1 year of classes, then I’ll start my 1 year thesis project.) I took my time before jumping into college. I went to school part time for many years, fell in love for a few years, got some great experiences working for architects, relocated myself a few times and now I’m finally a full time student. That put me on an 8 year plan to get a 5 year degree. I’ve learned I have a love/hate relationship with architecture and the career path I’ve chosen for myself. I also look at all the other 25 year olds I know and I don’t really feel like I’m missing much being several years behind in this game of life. I’m in no rush to grow up. I study architecture and ride bikes and that consumes my entire life.
The idea of taking a cross country trip has been a dream of mine for a long time. When I was 17 years old I read jack Kerouac’s book “On The Road” and have had the burning desire to just take off traveling/exploring the country. I had been hanging out at a lot at NYC punk shows, meeting a lot of people traveling the country while they were in NYC, most of them had been hopping freight trains and sleeping in the woods. Several opportunities to travel for the summer passed me by…. looking back I probably should have went, but I’m glad I didn’t.
The idea to ride my bike cross country came up the summer of 2002; I was living in Boston and riding bikes like crazy. I stumbled upon Denise Goldberg’s cross country journal and that’s when I found this entire website.. (I was actually trying to find some information so I could ride from Boston—>NYC over that 4th of July weekend of 2002.) I was working for an architecture firm in Cambridge Massachusetts at the time and reading all the journals on crazyguy as I pumped cad for the office. I followed Denise across the country and I read many other journals here in the meantime…. that summer after I rode from Boston—>NYC I mentioned to my dad I’m thinking about doing a cross country bicycle ride someday he wasn’t too supportive of it.
A few years went by, rode Boston—>NYC twice and rode a small portion of the Atlantic coast from Newark, NJ—>Baltimore. I relocated to Long Island for school and opportunity came up to spend 3 weeks in Italy studying architecture the summer of 2004. At first I didn’t think I could/should go, but magically everything came together and I managed to make it happen and I went to Italy for 3 weeks. When the Italy trip was starting to become a possibility, the dream of riding cross country really came back hard. I took a step back examined at my fairly simple life and began to question what was REALLY important to me. Eventually I said, so what if I lose a summer working in the architecture office and do what I need to do to make this trip happen. I’ll have the rest of my life to look back at this trip.
After Italy I spent the rest of the summer of 2004 working at the architecture firm and using that money to pay off debts from the school year and making the necessary purchases for this ride. Luckily I already have a lot bike/camping gear from previous bike tours I’ve completed…
I bought the trans-am maps, and after a lot of going back and forth between trailer and panniers, eventually I took a deep breath and purchased a Bob trailer. As much as I enjoy riding a fully loaded bike the major deciding factor was that I am the most unorganized person in the world and I would rather deal with one big back then 4 small bags.
This summer I also picked up the flashy 2004 Bianchi chrome track bike as an everyday/city bike. :: ahem:: THAT I WILL NOT BE RIDING CROSS COUNTRY THE SUMMER OF 2005!
TRACK BIKES ARE ANOTHER STORY FOR ANOTHER DAY…. I’ll be riding my Cannondale T-700 touring bike on the trans am.
As of now I still have to purchase: a sleeping bag, a good set of raingear, a lot of misc. items, more cycling clothes and a small laptop…. the laptop is giving me a headache… I don’t want to get into it… I analyzed the entire computer situation and decided I want to travel with a small laptop. Now I just have to pick one (with my small budget) and that’s the worst part. I hope to resolve the laptop issue around Christmas time…. I was also thinking about getting a smaller tent, I currently have a Eureka backcountry and its served me well but it’s kind of big for 1 person.
Currently I’m planning on starting the Trans Am from Yorktown, Virginia and ride the route west to Oregon. I don’t know how I’m getting to Virginia just yet, actually I haven’t even thought about it. I hope to camp as much as possible to save money and if I run out of money or get hurt I’ll probably just hop the greyhound home or something. After I finish riding I would like to make my way to San Francisco to see my friend Chuck before I come back to New York. Chuck and I vaguely spoke of taking a detour to Austin Texas to see old friends as I made my way back home but all these ideas are very cloudy and I’ll worry about the end of my trip when or if that time comes.
I’ve invited my favorite cycling partner along to join me but she doesn’t know where she’ll be or her financial situation when the time comes to leave for this ride so I’m not holding my breathe. If she can join me that would be amazing, if not I’m more than happy to ride alone…maybe I can convince her meet up with me somewhere on the route and ride with me for a few days. I’m not really interested in “making any plans” with riding partners and besides I’m going to meet a million people along the way..
I’m leaving for my cross country ride the minute the spring semester is over, which will be around the end of May. I don’t have to take design studio the spring of 2005 so that frees up a great deal of my time, that I can use to get ready for this trip.
In the meantime I’m in the middle of the fall semester, currently designing a Recreational Facility for the city of NY, located across the east river in Long Island City. I’m trying really hard to not take architecture school so seriously and to sleep more. Sometimes I just get too bent out of shape with bullshit. I’ve received half the funding for this ride and I’ll have the other half sometime in March. My Aunt Barbra recently gave me a copy of John Steinbeck’s book “Travels with Charley.” I picked it up today and read the first 15 pages. Now I just have to find some time to finish the rest of this book. If anyone else could recommend some good books about cross country adventures that would be appreciated.
So that’s where I stand with my ride at this point. I’m really excited. I’ve been anxious to get this journal/journey started. I decided over the summer to wait until my birthday. In the next couple of months I’ll write more pages about my plans, training and the gear. I’m sure I’ll also keep editing this page over and over again…