It’s a special thing to be able to look at your life in the present and say “This is the greatest time of my life.” As we hauled our heavy, loaded bikes through the sand at Brighton Beach, Brooklyn, and dipped our rear tires in the Atlantic Ocean, I kept saying to myself, “You’ll be telling people about this adventure for the next thirty years.” For the past several months, we’ve worked hard to get to this point. We made sacrifices. We spent long hours preparing. I was most drawn to the idea of doing this ride because it would be the most significant thing I had done to date. And here we were, taking off on our first day of riding.
This first day was chaos. Riding a bicycle through New York City is as much of a thrill as you would imagine. Maybe even more so, when you consider the bags full of gear we were each hauling with us. While we enjoyed some scenic areas with uninterrupted bike lanes, much of our morning was spent weaving through traffic to the sounds of honks and shouts, some at us, but most towards other drivers. Our route brought us from Brighton Beach, at the southern edge of Brooklyn, up to the Brooklyn Bridge, and over into Manhattan. Once we arrived, we made a quick pit stop at charity: water’s headquarters to say hi to Garrett Derossett, designer of Ride for Korah’s branding and “swag”, and get a quick tour. From there, we took a short ride through Tribeca to World Financial Center, where we then took a ferry into New Jersey. From our ferry destination in New Jersey, we had another twenty miles to our host’s home. As a result of some poor planning and a bit of an underestimation of what twenty more miles of riding would be like, we skipped lunch in lieu of a couple protein bars we had packed.
With just ten miles to go, the fatigue was setting in. Though we had hoped to finish around 5PM, we were pushing 6:30PM. We pressed on. Burning 2,200 calories in a day will turn you into a madman, though. We fantasized about cheeseburgers as we pushed on towards our last mile. Then there was a hill. It was the last straw. I put my bike into its lowest gear and crawled up it, as miserable as ever. Famished and exhausted, we reached its peak and could see the light at the end of the tunnel. As we reached the driveway, we were greeted by a smiling face and the smell of meat on the grill.
This was where things really got out of hand. Our hosts gave us one of the best feasts I’ve ever had in my entire life. We devoured massive portions of steak, chicken, sausage, potatoes and more. They even had a cake for us! While I appreciate their unbelievable hospitality, I’m concerned that we’ll never get as great of a meal as we did tonight. We were also joined by a number of my friends from North Jersey, which was a total surprise for me. As we relaxed after a tough forty-five mile day, we laughed with good friends over great food – another reminder that I truly am living the greatest time of my life.
We owe a huge thank you to the Nervegna family for their amazing generosity as hosts. We came in as strangers and you treated us like royalty. Also, a big thank you to the Joshes, Jimmy, and Marc for stopping by to say hello! We loved hanging out with you guys,