After the back injury in Georgia, I had to take it easy for a week, using a cab and Uber to get myself through most of Georgia and South Carolina and back to health. I took a trolley ride in Savannah to see the historical district, which included the First African Baptist Church (1859) (part of of the Underground Railroad), numerous parks with magnificent trees (always a pleasure) and of course grand old houses completely restored and worth gazillions. I got to meet my Vegas friend Kathe’s brother Ted, and we shared our views on reaching out to others.
There were a few 11 mile practice rides before I started up the journey again. In Charleston SC I found a pleasant park with a nice bike lane that got me back on the saddle. The second 11 miles were in the Atlantic Beach SC area. Then, I headed to Shallotte NC for my first distance ride again, starting out on a cringe-worthy road and then finally turned on some country roads with minimal traffic. (How am I figuring out routes? Check out these crazy notes that got me from Shallotte to Southport).
Cyclists told me there weren’t good shoulders or bike lanes on the route I was planning for Georgia and South Carolina. They were correct. I was glad to be in a motor vehicle on most of the roads I’d planned to cycle because there was a ton of traffic and minimal or no shoulders much of the time. Once I crossed into NC into a town called Calabash, lo and behold there were shoulders (sometimes small but OK) or at least wider lanes with minimal traffic.
Back to the purpose of this ride: Aside from getting media attention (links below) I have had several fruitful discussions. One person, staff at one of the hotels, supports the cause and talked of his own background with criminal charges for a nonviolent offense (which is true for at least two-thirds of those incarcerated – check out this data, for example: https://www.bop.gov/about/statistics/statistics_inmate_offenses.jsp. ). He had an attorney, a middle class background, and a decent education. These advantages played out in court as well, allowing him to get work and have the record of the conviction sealed.
Another person in Southport expressed support, not having any awareness or experience with those incarcerated. She was unaware of the challenges faced by those released and the high rates of recidivism when people are not helped by the programs for which I am raising funds. Please donate if you can: www.generosity.com/community-fundraising/new-beginnings-work
I’m trying harder to find back roads and I believe once I leave Wilmington (more about that visit next time) and get to Sneads Ferry, road safety will be better (at least until the DC-Baltimore segment – the last day!). I keep forgetting, though, when I find safer roads, there is a downside. For instance, when I left Shallotte NC early to dodge a storm heading to Southport NC, the back roads were meandering and beautiful with little traffic but I forgot: good roads come with….dogs!
To my right, I hear a distant bark. A dog running with all his might from the farm house he is protecting is several hundred yards away. My adrenaline kicks in, I pedal like mad, and am able to avoid yet another close encounter.
That’s about it for now — here are the media links from the past week’s interviews: