The idea of cycling from Toronto to the gulf coast through what one might call the "heart" of America first came to me in the summer of 2011. I had just completed a 1,000 km. bike ride around Lake Ontario. I very much enjoyed the few days I spent in upstate New York cycling east from Niagara, along the Erie Canal. I noted the rhetoric of the 2012 American election was already beginning to heat up, as a gaggle of Republican presidential hopefuls played leap-frog over each other to appeal to Tea Party supporters.
I have always been drawn to any opportunity to observe events as they unfold. Whether it is looking up when I hear a siren, attend a G20 demonstration, a political convention, or witness the FLQ crisis unfold, I'm always curious. I want to take events in with all my senses whenever possible.
For this ride I intend to observe campaign events as I come across them, eavesdrop on coffee shop conversations, perhaps even participate in one or two. Not immediately jumping in, I expect, will be one of my greatest challenges. I'll need to keep front of mind that I will be a guest in America, in possession of two ears and one mouth. I will want to remember to use them in a similar proportion.
Of course, there will not only be the election events to observe. America, like everywhere else, is struggling with transformation. Like it or not, all of humanity is confronting the challenge of diminishing resources. I am curious to know how the slice of America I travel through is dealing with this. Are they in denial, or seeing it as an opportunity? I suspect it is a combination of the two, and much more, but I will have to wait and see.
I will be sharing my observations as I pedal through America. I'll make the best use of technology during the trip to report on what I see and hear. I'll use Twitter (@leonardpoole, #LPRide) which will automatically post to my facebook page. As time permits, I will be posting longer commentary to this blog. Follow along if you are interested. Don't hesitate to fire off any suggestions or comments.
I'm looking forward to experiencing a little slice of history unfold this fall. It should be a blast!