Day 5 has been an exceptional day. Joe Delamielleure and I started the first leg of our bike ride at approximately 7 a.m. and completed 15 miles of riding at our best pace yet at 17.4 miles per hour. It was a great day for bike riding with sunshine and no rain. We did have hill inclines and declines routinely along the way. In some cases, the incline looked to be almost a mile long, where you continue to gradually ride up the incline. We had a small head wind of approximately 10-15 miles per hour. We were very pleased with our ride today and feel that we are progressing well. We continue to meet great people along the way who are very interested in knowing more about what we are doing. We have had interviews with local media every day of our trip with television and newspaper coverage.
Now that we have a few days of riding under our belts, we have a much better perspective on some of the unexpected situations that arise that require ongoing flexibility. Even with the best of planning there are some unpredictables that you cannot plan for. These are a few of the things we have dealt with that have caused us to re-arrange our trip plans at various times. One of the most significant unpredictables is the use of the school bus donated by Kellie Dean CEO of Dean Transportation, which is used as the last vehicle following the bike riders, protecting them from vehicles coming up behind them. What we didn’t expect is when we are traveling on two lane highways; all of the cars on both sides of the road interpreted the bus to be a real school bus. Therefore, the cars stop for the bus, waiting for it to drop off children, thus blocking traffic in both lanes. This can cause significant traffic back-ups with potential problems. In these cases, we may need to alter our route or adjust the way the bus driver is monitoring our safety.
In addition, there are times when we need to alter our route due to construction or general safety issues that arise, such as there being a very little bike ride path next to the main road. These are situations that are not insurmountable; however, they may alter the way we ride, the number of riders riding at a time, the route we take during the ride, or whether we even ride in the area. In all of these cases, we have been able to adjust our schedules and ensure that we continue progressing toward the completion of our 2000 mile goal.
Another unpredictable has been the swine flu breakout. Many people have asked us how we were going to deal with the swine flu issue when we get to Matamoros Mexico. The answer is a simple one. As we planned this trip, it has always been our strong belief that the health and safety of the bike riders is of utmost importance. In the case of the swine flu, we are continuing to obtain accurate and current information about the status of the swine flu by receiving State Department advisories throughout each day. This information will help us make the final decision as to whether we ride into Mexico or not. We have 13 more days to see how this unfolds and plan to make our decision at that time. However, our decision will be made based on the priority of protecting the health and safety of our riders. If we are not able to ride into Mexico, we will make sure that we complete the remaining miles needed in Brownsville Texas, to ensure that we reach our goal of 2000 miles for the entire trip.
Lastly, we sincerely appreciate everyone’s ongoing monitoring and support of our bike ride. So many people have stated that they would have loved to ride with us, but due to family and employment obligations, it is not possible. However, we do know that many people are with us in spirit, and that is a powerful inspiration that continues to drive us closer and closer to our goal of biking 2000 miles for these children. We are inspired and ready to move on the Day # 6.
Written by John Shinsky