When I was 16 years old, a huge group of touring riders stopped for the night in my hometown. My buddy Don and I went down to the local gym where they were hanging out and preparing to sleep on the basketball floor. We talked with a couple of riders, and then swore to each other that we'd join them for the next summer's ride. That's easy to say when you're 16.
I had a 10-speed Raleigh that was nothing special, but it probably could have made the trip. Poor Don rode a cheap-ass Free Spirit that was supposed to be a 10-speed but functioned more like a three-speed. Other than my cheap pair of gloves and a couple of water bottles, that was the full extent of our cycling gear—no helmets, no shorts, etc. The idea faded as autumn turned to winter. We both had plenty of other things to think about by the next summer, like girls and cars (which could be enjoyed simultaneously in wondrous ways).
One of these days, I'm going to bite the bullet and go back to do that ride—Biking Across Kansas. Yeah, I know it's flat. I know it's hot—I lived there for 18 years and couldn't wait to leave. I still want to do it. Maybe I can catch a year that BAK goes through my old hometown so that I can ride through and see what's left. Visit some old friends before pedaling away the next morning.
Don and I still stay in touch. Maybe I'll talk him into buying a bike so we can keep the vow.