Written by Jen Offord

Health

Burn in the USA: burned it!

Standard Issue’s former couch potato turned sportsaholic Jen Offord took her bike Beyoncé on a crackers 2,500-mile ride across the USA. She nailed it. Although her arse may never fully recover.

Jen and baby alligatorTwo thousand, two hundred and five miles later (a bit more if you include the additional non-bike transport miles of terror. I say terror because sitting next to a man with a tattooed FACE for six hours is terrifying, as is crashing a car into a steel truck), here I am in a cafe in New Orleans. Having not accidentally stumbled across an alligator, I actively sought some out, earlier. They were all right and no one lost a limb.

After finishing my ride in Houston on Thursday, I think my arse has almost healed, but I was starting to think there wouldn’t be enough Sudocrem in the world, to be honest. That’s probably too much information.

It’s been something of an emotional rollercoaster and one that I’m still not sure really happened. In the build-up, it never really seemed that big a deal to me – how hard could it be, right? Well, pretty hard, it turns out. Not just physically, which funnily enough, often didn’t feel like the worst part of it.

Jen in front of a 'Texas' signTravelling on your own is hard enough if you don’t really like having to take responsibility for day-to-day decision making, which apparently I don’t. When you add to that the isolation on many of those roads and the opportunity to ‘think’, I was pretty bored of my own thoughts by the final two weeks. I was also bored of feeling anxious about being killed by a mad truck driver, after weeks of warnings (I bought some pepper spray in the end, mostly for shits and gigs) to the extent that I was almost a nervous wreck by the time I got off the bus in New Orleans. Though it hasn’t always been fun, it has been fulfilling and rewarding and, sometimes, lots of fun.

I’ve met incredible people, particularly women; I’ve met the first woman to work at Mission Control for NASA, for fuck’s sake. But I’ve also met amazing women who’ve kind of cared for me and helped me. Ellie, in a hostel in Houston, a 23-year-old travelling solo, who basically sorted my life out for me (I don’t know the ways of this backpacking shiz); sci-fi fanatic Stephanie who voluntarily took me on a three-hour round trip to buy a new tyre THEN bought me dinner; Crystal who works in a gas station and insisted on giving me $10 in case I ran into trouble.

Texas-shaped waffleI have learnt a lot about myself and travel and people:

Americans are really nice.

I’m really suspicious.

MOST people are awesome, sometimes even the ones who don’t share the same political views as me: it’s not their fault Rupert Murdoch wants to control them with fear.

Rupert Murdoch’s media outlets are designed to control people with fear and it’s ruining us all.

Rupert Murdoch is an arse.

21 year-olds in hostels are TOO MUCH fun.

Dogs stop chasing you if you stop pedalling, but they’re still bellends.

“In the build-up, it never really seemed that big a deal to me – how hard could it be, right? Well, pretty hard, it turns out.”

Dogs are scarier than alligators.

Guns are scarier than dogs.

Jen standing in front of a city skylineAlligators are all right.

I am not immune to mosquito bites.

There are lots of mosquitoes in the deep south.

I am not immune to sunburn.

It is very hot in the deep south.

I’m really fucking hard.

I really, really like peanut butter.

And, to use a Queen (band not monarch)-based analogy for over-cycling, too much love can kill you.

The biggest lesson, however, is that really you can do anything if you really want to/are borderline obsessive/don’t want to lose face. Never let anyone tell you otherwise.

http://inspireajen.com
@inspireajen

Not sure why Jen did this? Find out more here.

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Written by Jen Offord

Jen is a writer from Essex, which isn’t relevant because she lives in London, but she likes people to know it. As well as daft challenges, she likes cats, cheese and Beyonce. @inspireajen

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