Friday, September 25, 2009

Update from New York City!

Hey Friends!

Wow, it's been a while since I've checked in. I don't know if anyone is still out there reading this...

(If you are, send me an email so I know to keep writing!

...but if you are still reading, I want to tell you what I've been up to for the past couple of weeks.

Our fundraiser party in DC was a smashing success. We raised over $1700 that day, bringing the grand total for the trip to around $12,000. Not bad for a small group of folks with a dream, huh?

After a few days of getting settled, I was asked to make a speech at an Alzheimer's Association fundraising event. It was an incredibly affirming experience, standing in front of a large group and talking about what we accomplished together. I realize that this trip might have to have a life after this summer, so the story can keep moving people to action.

On 9/16, I began moving up to New York City. Of course, after a summer of traveling by bike, I couldn't just jump in a moving van. The trip helped me realize how much STUFF we can accumulate over time, and how much of it is completely unnecessary. Plus, 80% of my clothes don't fit me anymore, since I slimmed down this summer. So I made a MASSIVE thrift store DUMP, sent a box of audition music/clothes/shoes up to a friend, and put the rest of it in my panniers, and moved on my bike!

I made it as far as Philadelphia, where on the 19th, my bike had a complete meltdown. After crossing the whole country without a single flat, I was attacked by a vicious mine-field of broken glass on the shoulder of US1. Then, the shifting on my front gears stopped working. And THEN...wait for it...the pedals FELL OFF. Literally, the whole arm of the left pedal fell off the axle completely. And when I pulled over to try and fix it, a state trooper pulled up behind me, sirens blaring, and told me I had to get off that road. GREAT.

And did I mention, it was my birthday? I was pretty spent, and it just so happens that I was about 6 miles from one of my best friend's parents' house. Tail-between-legs, I rolled over to their house, dumped all my stuff in their van, and hitched a ride up to NYC, where they were already headed for Rosh Hashanah services. I left my bike with them in Philadelphia, and plan on going back in a few days to fetch it, and ride back to NYC.

I've been in New York for about a week. At first I was completely overwhelmed. In a lot of ways, this city is the antithesis of the bike trip: Instead of the open space of back-country roads, I'm stuffed with hundreds of people in a tiny subway car. Instead of pitching my tent in a backyard, I'm looking at apartments that cost $1500/month for less than 100 square feet.

That being said, things took a major turn for the better today. A friend of a friend of a friend found me a sublet in Astoria that I can actually afford. I found a job driving a pedicab (rickshaw/cycle taxi) around the city. And, I've been reconnecting with old friends every day (sometimes on purpose, sometimes just by chance meeting on the street), and have found a few volunteer projects to get excited about. So things are looking up.

If people are still checking this blog, I'll keep working on the journal entries from the last few weeks of the trip. I have them written, I just haven't typed them up. (There's so much to do here in the city! It's hard to find time!)

If you're interested, I'll also point you over to my personal website,, where I'm going to start keeping a blog again. The last time I updated over there, it was right after my Nicaragua trip. But as new adventures unfold here in the city, that'll be the place to read about it.

Thanks for being so supportive in everything I do. I couldn't ask for a better group of cheerleaders. I know there are lots of you out there that have been in touch with me, and many others who have not. (So I'm told, anyway). I hope you'll keep in touch, and maybe start following my blog over at

Take care,


Sarah said...

I am still reading!

Cathy Siebert said...

Fantastic entries. You are such a gifted writer. Keep writing. I'd love to hear about the rest of your trip!
Cathy Siebert-Cincinnati