Finding Joy in our Urban Life
We had given up all the things that define American life; traded them all in for two bicycles, a tent, two sleeping bags and eight panniers packed with nearly everything we owned. We had redefined retirement by retiring from a life filled with stuff and invented a life filled with the challenges of self-propelled, two-wheeled travel, carrying only what we needed. We were learning every day how to live with less. We could cook a full dinner from a few ingredients on one burner using only two pots and a small skillet; we could wash our folding dishes in a small collapsible “sink” we carried with us; we could make gourmet drip coffee with reusable nylon cones supported by chop sticks and balanced on our travel mugs; we could set up our tent in less than five minutes, blow up our sleeping pads, unstuff our sleeping bags and down pillows and make a home for the night in less than fifteen minutes; we could sleep soundly under yard lights.
That paragraph describes, briefly, Jim and Sharon’s Big Adventure. To say it was life-changing doesn’t come close to describing what we learned about flexibility, empathy, ingenuity, patience, curiosity and joy. We are currently writing the whole story of our bicycle life, a story we feel is worth telling for its affirmation of the kindness of Americans, and to inspire those who have dreamed about their own big adventure.
While we still consider our life an adventure, we are now enjoying the part where we have established a home base in
Denver, Colorado – a 550 square-foot, one-bedroom apartment just south of downtown. We love bicycle-friendly Denver with all the bike paths, and bike routes that make our car-free lifestyle fairly easy. We bicycle relatively safely wherever we need to go, or hop on a bus or train to go farther afield or if we need to carry something bigger than our panniers can hold. We have taken advantage of Cherry Creek State Park, where in an hour’s bike ride from home, we can entertain our love of camping for a simple overnight or a long weekend without needing a car.
As we’ve mentioned on our blogs, the bike paths follow the creeks and rivers that thread through the Denver metro area and wind around the city to the suburbs. Denver’s many parks and huge old trees provide habitat for birds, and as avid birders, we are always looking and
listening for our avian friends. With the mountains always in view to the west, and all of Denver’s city and state parks, nature preserves and riparian areas, we feel like the natural world is close at hand in spite of the tall buildings piercing Colorado’s blue sky. For now, and for the foreseeable future, we are finding pleasure as urban bicyclists and naturalists.
If you have questions about getting started in bicycle touring or if you need moral support before embarking on your life’s dream, please contact us. We are happy to contribute to the delinquency of retirees of any age. In the meantime, we hope you will subscribe to our blog where we write about living the urban bicycle life, and please, send us your stories.