Introducing my regular guest blogger, Miss Felice! This time, her take on history & the joys of traveling by bicycle. Enjoy!
With a West Coast and Gulf Coast chapter of the School Food Tour under my belt, I was excited to seize one last opportunity to join Sara on the Tour for a ride up the East Coast. After a hectic couple of weeks of work and travel, I was keen to return to life at bicycle pace! I arrived in Charlotte, NC and collected my bike from the friendly folks at Uptown Cycles – who I must thank for caring for my precious machine. By the time I met up with Sara along the road, I had been struck by the beauty of the area – particularly the vibrant green fields and abundant blooming azaleas. And even though my nose started to instantly itch at the pollen in the air, I knew I was in for a great week of riding.
As we pedaled towards Richmond, VA we encountered many encouraging and inquisitive folk who asked some common questions: Where are you riding from? (Oregon … yes that’s right, Oregon!) Why are you riding so far? (The School Food Tour, of course!) Do you have a sponsor? (Yes – thank you John Wayne Cancer Foundation) and, What is it like? Well… the last one is a little more difficult to answer! It is especially tricky to describe to someone who will not even get out of their car to talk to you what it is like to explore the beauty of the world at bicycle pace, and how much more scenery you can appreciate compared to zooming along in a car. On my previous stints of pedaling on the School Food Tour, I had thoroughly enjoyed marveling in the natural wonders of the country – deserts, forests, rivers, mountains, beaches, wildlife and weather variations. But this chapter of the tour changed tune for me. Riding through the maze of roads in rural areas of North Carolina and Virginia I appreciated the chance to observe quaint farmhouses, grand plantations and estates, and spectacular gardens.
Traveling at a slower pace also gave us time to consider the area where we are riding. Since Sara and I were pedaling through a region so rich in history, we decided to learn more about the establishment of the United States of America. Being Australian, my education on the American civil war was spotty at best, so I got a crash course in US history! I was interested to learn about the numerous battles, the abolition of slavery, the secession of the Confederacy and the reconstruction of the Union following the war. The facts and figures were bolstered by some local tidbits of information that we found on roadside plaques that also gave us an excuse to have a snack and take a break from the headwind!
My favorite plaque was about the first major sporting event in the nation, horse racing at Long Island, which was the beginning of enthusiasm for sports spectating in America!
This love of sport also means that I must return to my work in the sporting arena, so I am sad to say that my time riding with the School Food Tour is over… A HUGE thanks to Sara for letting me join her on the adventure and I send best wishes for her onward journey to Michigan, and future endeavors. I strongly encourage anyone who can join the School Food Tour for a pedal, even just that final mile, to do so… you will enjoy the view of the world from your bicycle, and you might just learn something!
Thanks, Felice for the great recap of our journeys in North Carolina and Virginia. I can’t thank you enough for your dedication to the School Food Tour! -Sara