As most readers of this blog know, my favorite bicycling event is the Washington Area Bicyclists Association’s 50 States Ride. It involves riding 60 miles through the streets of DC on a route that includes the avenues named after the 50 States. I have done this ride a dozen times (2006, 2007, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020). This year’s ride is scheduled for Saturday September 11. Barring an onset of sanity, I intend to ride it.
T-shirts are awarded to finishers. I have worn mine all over the country and am often asked, “Wow. did you really ride in all 50 states?” Which begs the question “How many states have you ridden in?”
Through no planning, between 1960 and 2019, I have ridden in 34 states: New York, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Virginia, Maryland, Hawaii, California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Nevada, Utah, Montana, Colorado, Kansas, North Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Delaware, New Jersey, Vermont, and Pennsylvania.
I have had in the back of my mind the notion to ride the remaining 16 in five tours: New Hampshire and Maine; Alaska; South Dakota, Wyoming, and Nebraska; Arizona, New Mexico, Texas. Oklahoma, and Arkansas; and Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana. Since they are not bunched together, this endeavor would take me several years.
I started my 2019 tour from Indiana to California with an ache in my left hip and left knee. The mountainous terrain and long days (made necessary by a lack of support services on the route) in Colorado, Utah, and Nevada beat my body up something fierce. The pandemic was a blessing in disguise, allowing me to get medical treatment (physical therapy, cortisone shots, and other therapies). Even now, however, I feel worn out. Perhaps this is father time’s way of telling me to change my approach.
The pandemic and scores of rides in mid-Atlantic weather these past 24 months, have conspired to make me proficient at another activity: napping. Today I rode 46 miles in suffocating heat and humidity to the Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens in DC. At the garden I spent about an hour walking around in the hot sun. When I got home, I had some lunch, took a shower, and laid down on the couch to meditate. I woke up two hours later.
It occurred to me that maybe riding in all 50 States is a younger man’s game. Maybe napping in all 50 States is more my speed these days.
So how many states have I napped in already? It’s a difficult question to answer because, well, I was asleep at the time. I am pretty sure I have napped in these states: New York, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Hawaii. Texas, California, Oregon, Wisconsin, Michigan (on the ferry on the lake), West Virginia, Indiana, Colorado, Florida, and Arizona. I have 36 states to go!
Maybe I could establish the Washington Area Nappers Association.
I could have a t-shirt made: I Snored the 50 States.