New Beginnings: Colombian Thief and Restarting in the U.S.

Somewhere in Colombia.
Somewhere in Colombia.

After I broke the world record in Panama, I had absolute no idea what to do with myself.

 

I found a job as a waiter at a restaurant briefly, but it just didn’t cut it.  So I moved on.  I unicycled to the end of the Panamanian highway, and on the coast I met an Englishman.  He was cycle touring from Alaska.  We decided that, because there are no real roads form Panama to Colombia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dari%C3%A9n_Gap), we would kayak the 150 miles (240 km) along the coast.

It took us 21 days and lots of miserable experiences with tiny misquitos and Panamanian police to arrive at the border of Colombia (and therefore South America).

I will allow my companion, Nicolas Gault, to explain the fun we had via video, in four parts:

 

   In May, after arriving in Colombia, I got back to unicycling.

Except for riding on a few of the islands, in following with Guinness guidelines, I had not done any major riding in 3 weeks.  All of the sudden I found myself battling the massive mountains of this rugged country.

Mountains, Colombiano style.
Mountains, Colombiano style.

After not even a week of riding, I had reached Medellin, a major city just north of the country’s center. It was there that my trip, and consequently my whole year would change.

     In the garage of the hostel in which I was staying, I had stashed my unicycle and a pile of my clothes.  On top of that pile was an unmarked bag containing my passport, debit card, gopro, GPS, and all the data on my zipdrives.

 

They stole the bag with everything in it.

 

I had little choice but to fly home.  I got on an overnight bus to the embassy in Bogota, got an emergency passport, and charged a flight home to the credit card I luckily had in my wallet.

I spent the next 2 1/2 months at my parents’ house in St. Louis, MO.  All I could do was start over.  And at the same time, I was continuing the trip.  I made sure that I followed the Guinness rules as closely as possible, riding at least every 2 weeks (though I rode 10 miles to work each way, every day–all of which does not count, as it is repeated mileage.)  I was able to use my custom-dressmaking mother’s sewing machine and studio to remake ALL of my bags.  I was able to work and save money both to replace what had been stolen, and to get back on the road. I was able to write over 75% of my book, which I hope to publish in the next few months, entitled “The Naked Unicyclist.”

    September 5, 2014 I was back at it.

I had been riding an average of 20 miles per day (mostly sprints to work and back) and felt readier than ever!  I sought to come back stronger than before, and I did.  I broke my previously held personal record of most consecutive riding days (averaging 62 mi/100 km per day, no rest days) which was 14, set in Mexico.  I broke this record, at 17 consecutive days from St. Louis, MO to Rapid City, SD.  I followed the Missouri River and the original Lewis & Clark Expedition trail more or less to Montana, taking in Mount Rushmore, Yellowstone and much more.

Entering Wyoming, September 2014
Entering Wyoming, September 2014

And somewhere along the way, I finally decided I would take this whole trip to the next level. Or next “generation,” I should say. I made plans to start a program I call “Get Out There.” I am visiting elementary schools across the nation, reminding kids to get out, get active, and eat healthy. Eventually, I hope to donate a starter unicycle to each of these schools, to be incorporated in their P.E. or after-school programs.

So the count is 13,000 miles. 27 states (including previous trips). 11 countries. And millions and millions of calories consumed!

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4 thoughts on “New Beginnings: Colombian Thief and Restarting in the U.S.

  1. I’m sorry you had to deal with the theft but I’m relieved you are back in the USA. I was a bit concerned for your safety in Columbia. Keep up the good work and please keep posting please. BTW my wife and I met you briefly in Baltimore right before you set out on your trip.

  2. Love your goals! So impressed! I am a distance rider, mostly half-marathons for fun and exercise, but reading your blog has blown me away! Your sense of adventure and youthfulness have been used well! I can’t wait to read more about your travels. Oh, and I Love the idea for schools! I have had similar thoughts …
    Please visit me at http://www.unicyclerose.com

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