Renaissance Souls find something nearly every day they want to pursue. Just today I saw a poster at my local coffee shop for a rain bucket building workshop. I have no idea why I’d need a rain bucket, but I definitely thought I’d like to learn more about what a rain bucket is, why I might want one, and maybe take the class.
Us Renaissance Souls find ideas everywhere – in conversations with other people, on TV programs, on posters in the coffee shop. Some we say “oh, that sounds interesting,” and it ends there. Others we jump at as soon as possible. And still others percolate and maybe only get pursued much later, should the right conditions arise. Such is the story of how I came to find myself riding a bike across Iowa in the summer of 2004.
Four years ealier I met a woman who had ridden her bike across the country. I can’t recall what the cause was, but I do remember thinking, “Wow, I wouldn’t want to ride across the country…but a big bike ride might be fun.” I didn’t think about again until early 2004 when my native Iowan boyfriend told me about RAGBRAI. It’s a seven day bike ride across the state of Iowa with 8500 of your dearest friends.
Let me interject here that I am not at all into physical fitness. Whereas he was at the gym every day, I was bored to tears thinking about walking on some machine each day that got me nowhere. So when T. asked if I’d like to do RAGBRAI, I don’t think he ever thought I’d say yes. But I’m a Renaissance Soul (though I didn’t know it then), and so the idea struck me as enough of a challenge and something that I’d like to try once. We signed up. I didn’t even own a bike.
Within a week, I joined a gym and bought a hybrid bike on craigslist for $80. (Renaissance Souls are practical people. I knew I’d probably get this bike across Iowa and never ride it again, so I wasn’t spending hundreds of dollars on a new bike.) I took spinning classes a few times a week, and biked the local Rail Trail with T or on my own a few times a week. Four months later, I could comfortably bike 10 miles at a stretch. As good as this sounds, RAGBRAI would require me to bike 60-80 miles per day over seven days. But my research said that there were food stops at least every 10 miles, so if you could do 10 miles, you were golden. I was going to test that theory….
To Be Continued….