Back in late September, The REI Blog shared the story of Ignacio Anaya, a 44-year-old father of 2 and an avid REI member from Tijuana, Mexico, who was riding his bike from New York City to Tijuana, in part to raise funds for Fundacion Castro-Limon.
We’re happy to report that Ignacio safely completed his big ride and has graciously provided us with a follow-up report about his trip. Many thanks go to Jose Gonzalez, REI’s outreach coordinator for the San Diego area, who translated this from Ignacio’s native Spanish into English.
REI: What kinds of mechanical difficulties did you have?
I had 9 flat tires, which is not a big problem considering that I rode 3,337 miles. I didn’t have mechanical problems with my triathlon bike; I just had minor adjustments made at the REI stores in Pittsburgh, St. Louis and near Phoenix.
REI: Did you have much bad weather or headwinds along the way?
On 3 days I had very bad weather—rain and winds in Ohio, Kansas and Colorado. In Arizona, I had a cold night and some winds in New Mexico. In general, though, I think that the fall weather was great!
REI: Was it difficult for you to cycle across an English-speaking country?
I don’t have too much difficulty with spoken English. And many people spoke Spanish. I must add that I was never questioned, harassed or investigated by police, sheriff or agents of migration despite crossing dozens of cities and towns. I was always comfortable with my safety.
REI: Did it get lonely for you at times?
Not really. I am glad I did this alone, and I had a smartphone plus free wi-fi in many places (such as McDonald's restaurants) to call family and friends.
REI: What were your feelings at the finish?
I was happy, but a little sad because the trip was over!
REI: Why did you ride? What good will come from it?
I believed that it was possible to make this journey using a triathlon bike and carrying my backpack because I had previously made such a trip from Los Angeles to San Diego. One motivation was to show others that with commitment, enthusiasm, patience, discipline and passion that anyone can achieve great adventures in this country. Another was Fundacion Castro-Limon, an organization that supports children with cancer. We have similar parallels: perseverance, patience, courage, enthusiasm, etc.
REI: What did your wife and kids think about your trip?
My family likes to do outdoor activities (camping, biking, climbing), but it is also difficult for them because this time we parted for many days—even though we talked almost every night by phone. The ones who most resented my absence were my children. But by the end they were very happy that I did it!