Final Thoughts

Okay, this is long overdue, it’s time to wrap up Ian’s ride 2016. I want to share some of the stats and takeaways from my adventure. I had an amazing time and made some incredible memories. Thank you so much to all of the supporters who helped make this possible. This never could have happened without you.

Doing life!
Doing life!

Let’s start with the stats.

Mileage

I used Strava to record my mileage which all can be viewed here. The total journey was 335.4 miles over 10 days. This took me 53 hours and 18 min. of riding time with 9585 feet of elevation change. My average speed was just under 6.5 mph and my longest day was 40 miles exactly. We left Port Angeles on August 13 and arrived in Portland on August 23. After a couple days exploring Portland’s accessibility we made it home on August 25.

Beer

I used Untappd to record and rate all the beer tasting; the data can be found here. We visited 15 breweries over 12 nights and sampled 107 unique beers. I did a flight/sampler at each brewery which was often shared between us. I’m happy to say I never overindulged on the trip and woke up each morning hangover free. The title of favorite brewery goes to The Dirty Bucket in Woodinville with my favorite beer being the Ruski Porridge Oatmeal Stout. Their staff was very welcoming, their beer was excellent, and the owner is a really nice guy who enjoyed discussing his craft and picked up our tab. I’ve been back a couple times since and am sure happy I stumbled across this gem. I highly recommend visiting this establishment.

The reward after a hard days work.
The reward after a hard days work.

Umbrellas

I had to purchase a total of four umbrellas throughout the trip. It turns out these poorly performing parasols aren’t made for traveling 7 mph in a headwind. Two of these shade providers flat out broke after flipping inside out one too many times. Despite Josh Blaustein’s best efforts to keep these devices in working order the unrelenting wind proved to be too much for these parabolic sun protectors. In the future I will look into some sort of canopy that is more durable and less likely to fold in the middle of a busy intersection.

The final umbrella!
The final umbrella!

Particular Trails

I feel I should mention some of the trails I enjoyed most while tooling down the state. My favorite trail ended up being the Centennial trail in Snohomish County. It’s 30 miles in length, has a very smooth surface, and is well away from the road for much of the distance. There were beautiful pedestrian bridges, meandering rivers and streams, and lots of singing birds. Another noteworthy one was the Yelm-Tenino trail. This trail travels through some rural towns and keeps you far enough off of the streets where you don’t hear road noise. We traversed the section during a very hot day and we welcomed the tall trees on either side of the trail that kept us out of the sun. It’s only about 14 miles in length but well worth the visit if you are in the area. I used many others such as the Burke Gilman trail, the Lochside trail, the Green River trail, the Interurban trail, and the Sammamish River trail. All of these had their charms but the Centennial and Yelm-Tenino were the two that I would love to ride again.

Fundraising and Donations

I raised just over $11,000 for the ride. Total expenses were right around $6000 ($1000 of which went to replacing a crew members bike), which left $5000 for donations. Washington Bikes was the main recipient with $4000. I also donated $1000 to the Peninsula Trails Coalition. The PTC manages the Olympic Discovery Trail which I ride regularly. Both organizations were very appreciative of the donation which I’m confident will be put to good use.

Now for some takeaways

– Don’t be afraid to ask for help. If you feel strongly about something, look to your friends, family, and community to help make it a reality.

– People are awesome. They love seeing someone overcome a challenge and often will support you in doing so.

– Washington is a beautiful state. Many of the small rural towns are quaint and charming with delicious mom-and-pop eateries. The most beautiful thing to me though, was the natural beauty. Our rivers, trees, and vistas are just spectacular. I believe you gain an even greater appreciation when you get to view them at 7 mph.

– Use a U lock when locking up bikes.

– Downtown Seattle is not easy to navigate in a power wheelchair.

– Don’t let physical limitations deter you from your passions. Take chances. Go outside.

– Over three fourths of the ride was on roads and highways. This really developed my appreciation for bike lanes. Jon Snyder, who rode with us on day six, is an advisor for the governor and introduced me to the concept of “complete streets”. I plan to advocate for this concept moving forward.

– Being Washingtonian of the Day is pretty cool.

Me and the Gov.
Me and the Gov.

– The biggest challenge turned out to be the heat. The shoulderless highways were challenging but expected. I had not planned for the heat and it really made for a couple difficult days.

–The biggest surprise was the outpouring of support, not just financial, but honks and fist pumps, Gatorade, buying of our dinners, and then the e-mails from veterans and recently injured as well as other passionate outdoor wheelchair users throughout the world. These were the things that really make me want to do another ride.

Final Thoughts

I can’t say enough how rewarding it was to push my limits, spend two weeks with people I love, and do something I’m passionate about. It was also immensely rewarding to have encouraged and inspired others to get out of their comfort zone. It’s been great being greeted and thanked on my home trail, the ODT, for being an advocate for outdoor accessibility, and getting to meet with the governor really made me feel like I did something of worth. All in all it was a tremendous success, and although nothing is planned, I had such a great time I will have to take another big ride in the future.

A trip to remember!
A trip to remember!