Webster dictionary defines adventure as an undertaking usually involving danger and unknown risks or an exciting or remarkable experience. Local resident Jason Jennings embodies the word to the fullest. On September 1, with no training whatsoever, Jennings embarked upon a cross country bicycle adventure to San Francisco, California.
When asked why, Jennings replied, “No reason, just to do it.” Each year, Jennings tackles a new adventure. Last year it was the “Run with the Bulls” festival in Spain. Another year, an African safari. This year, it’s a little over 2300 mile bicycle journey to the Golden Gate Bridge. Jennings, 36, and a resident of Pioneer and native of West Unity, is not even an avid biker. “I didn’t even bike much as a kid.”
So far, along the way, Jennings has met a lot of interesting people. He’s been chased by dogs. “I had to go really fast!” His route is not strictly mapped out, and his destination date is loosely set around October 20th. On average, he bikes between 40 to 70 miles a day, but he has done as many as 91 miles in one day. Originally, Jennings had planned to camp along the way, but a tire issue with his trailer caused him to ditch that idea. Instead, he traded the trailer for a backpack. Eight miles into the ride, he realized that the backpack was far too heavy. He stopped at a friend’s house, unloaded the backpack, and headed back out with the decision to stay at motels along the way.
The most challenging aspect he had not anticipated has definitely been the wind. He has been warned by a truck driver that the wind in Wyoming is “very bad.” Also, he is quick to admit he is not fond of hills. His body aches. Muscles he doesn’t normally use are being worked to the max. That first morning after pedaling 70 miles the day prior, he woke up sore. He continues to wake up many mornings in some pain, but “the aches go away once I start.”
Typically, he pedals from 8 in the morning until dark stopping only for meals, photo opportunities, and necessary breaks. It can be lonely on the road. He wishes he had an IPod for some music. He has his phone, but it serves as his map so he does what he can to conserve the battery. Learning as he goes, he has had to fix a gear issue and may be replacing a tire soon as his back tire is going bald. He is looking forward to smoother roads in the near future. Wyoming, Utah, Nevada, and California allow bicyclists on their interstates.
For someone who has been skydiving nine times, rock climbing, and hang gliding, a cross country bike ride is just another adventure to add to the list of accomplishments for a man who loves traveling. He says, “It’s been a lot of pain and exhausting, but I think it will be worth it.” He plans to possibly spend a few days in San Francisco before flying home. His advice to someone who thinks a cross country bike expedition sounds intriguing-“Just do it, but I would recommend training first!”
As for his next adventure? Maybe a New Zealand adventure or Alaskan rock climbing. Whatever he decides, it will be sure to include some sort of adventure.
Tammy Allison may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org