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  1. #1
    Ridin' Hard. planyourfate's Avatar
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    This was in the local paper...

    Pedal for peace
    Cross-country cyclist stranded by crash
    BY ROBB FREDERICK
    robb.frederick@timesnews.com

    It was just talk -- five guys what-iffing a bike ride across the United States.

    What if they each went a different way, starting from a different state?

    What if their routes, laid out on a map, formed letters: a "P," an "E," an "A"?

    And what if those letters, put together, spelled "peace"?

    What would that say?

    They even mapped it out. The "P" reached from Seattle to Los Angeles.

    They agreed. They would do it.

    Then they went to bed. And that was the end of it.

    Except for Hayato Tokudome. He looked hard at that map. He traced his finger over the letters. He imagined the Grand Canyon, the Badlands and Huck Finn's Mississippi; the snake-boot Texans and the white steps of Washington, D.C., where the wars that had so occupied America -- and that had spread to his own friends, talking in that apartment in Hyago, Japan -- had begun.

    Yes, he said. He would do it.

    All of it.

    He cashed in two years of savings -- his take from a job in the cell-phone industry. And, at 29, he bought himself a bike.

    (Chris Sigmund / Erie Times-News)

    Zoom | Buy this photo
    He landed in Los Angeles.

    He rode, alone, up the coast.

    "In a sense, as a youth, I perceived wars and peace as somebody else's business," Tokudome says.

    He is sitting in the kitchen at the Erie City Mission. He has lost his clothes; his collarbone shows over the stretched neck of a borrowed T-shirt.

    "America is depicted as a powerful nation," he says. "I wanted to see the real America."

    He almost did it.

    He got to San Francisco. He rode to Eureka, Calif., through Coos Bay, Ore., and into Olympic National Park. He turned east, across Washington state, then went into Oregon, and back to California.

    He rode 60 miles a day. He carried three sets of clothes, a camera and an ATM card. He spent $15 a day.

    He slept in campgrounds, setting a tent next to air-conditioned RVs.

    He pedalled into the desert.

    "There is nothing there," he says, speaking through an interpreter. "It's dry. It's very flat. There were ghost towns.

    "I was happy to see the shadow of a human being."

    He got to Salt Lake City. He went to Twin Falls, and on to Phoenix, and then to Las Cruces, in New Mexico.

    He had finished two letters -- "P" and "E". The third took him across the heartland -- Oklahoma, Kansas, Iowa, the Dakotas.

    He carried 5 liters of water. He showered once a week.

    "It is easy in the heat," he says. "All you need is water to splash here and there."

    He started on the "C." Suddenly there was too much water -- five straight days of rain. And that was all he saw of Chicago.

    He pushed on, from Wisconsin to Minneapolis. He got to Omaha; Kansas City; Tulsa, Okla.; New Orleans.

    He took pictures. He inked big pink letters on his ripped-up map.

    And so it went, from Louisville, Ky., to Fredericksburg, Va., and on to Washington, D.C.

    He did not stop at the Lincoln Memorial. He never saw the White House, or the headstones at Arlington, or the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, which has long drawn bikers of another kind.

    There was no time. The sun was going down.

    He rode north, through Harrisburg, Williamsport and Corning, N.Y. He turned west and went to Buffalo.

    On Nov. 11, after seven months on the road, he approached North East. He was at the top of the last "E" in "peace."

    The bike had reflectors. But the sun was down, and his jacket was dark.

    The driver never saw him.

    Tokudome remembers nothing of it. He woke at Hamot Medical Center. His left side was swollen, and his cheek was torn open. The hole was as big as a quarter.

    There were stitches in his neck.

    He went to the City Mission. His clothes were gone. His bike was pretzeled, hauled-off by the tow-truck driver.

    Since then he has been waiting, filling out paperwork, trying to line up his insurance, a new bike and an extension on his visa, which expires on Dec 3.

    He would like to complete the ride.

    "He has some apprehensions about this," says the translator, Keiko Miller. "But his spirit wants to finish it."

    It's odd for him, sitting, going nowhere. It is not his nature. His name, Hayato, means "moving fast."

    "I am feeling the impact of this pause," he says. "I am trying to make it a valuable time, reflecting, assessing and planning."

    Still, he second-guesses.

    "I question it," he says.
    "Is the goal to finish? Is that the only thing? Or is there something else that I should learn from this experience?"

    The answer to that, he believes, is in Altura, Calif., where a couple in an RV told him he could stop at Walmarts without fear of being run off. It's in Tulsa, where a woman gave him water, and in Erie, at the City Mission, where he got a clean T-shirt.

    "I am beginning to understand where peace lies," he says, the map spread out in front of him. "It is not in these letters. It is in the hearts of people, when they open up and give to you. That moment when they offer water, or say, 'Come on in' ... That is peace."

    He looks down at the map, where the bottom half of his last "E" fishhooks into Florida. He wonders if he will ever see it.

    ROBB FREDERICK can be reached at 870-1733 or by e-mail.

  2. #2
    Senior Member devilshaircut's Avatar
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    Hate to sound trite, but I really do think it would be a better America if people rode bikes instead of cars.

    Makes me sick to hear about ANOTHER cyclist getting sent to the hospital by a ****ty driver.

    A vehicle is as good as a weapon, and anyone can get access to one. It's scary.

    EDIT: Although I gotta say I lol'ed at how melodramatically written this article is.

  3. #3
    Ridin' Hard. planyourfate's Avatar
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    Haha yeah most articles in the Erie Times News are melodramatic. You should read the ones concerning the Pizza Bomber. ****ing hysterical if it wasn't so tragic.

    But I kinda want to give the guy my bike so he can finish.

  4. #4
    Senior Member devilshaircut's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by planyourfate View Post
    Haha yeah most articles in the Erie Times News are melodramatic. You should read the ones concerning the Pizza Bomber. ****ing hysterical if it wasn't so tragic.

    But I kinda want to give the guy my bike so he can finish.
    Pizza Bomber? Sounds rad.

    Seriously though, this reminds me of Ian Hibell. At least this guy lived.

    I often wish I were brave enough to quit my job and just spend a year or two traveling across the globe, just me and my bike.

  5. #5
    Gentlemen. ADSR's Avatar
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    Pizza Bomber? ...Like the Noid?
    The bums will always lose.

  6. #6
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    good story... and yes america would be less fat if everyone rode bikes instead of driving...

  7. #7
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    thats awesome.... but really this dude cashed in his life's savings, decided to ride across a foreign country on a bike and never grabbed a set of lights???? think a little bit harder next time!

  8. #8
    Inebriated Ninja Hatters BMonei's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by planyourfate View Post
    .....

    The bike had reflectors. But the sun was down, and his jacket was dark.

    The driver never saw him.

    .....
    Am I the only one who sees no fault in this? We can't all be moral patriots... right?

  9. #9
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    It may have been his own fault for not having lights and wearing a dark jacket, but that's still really crappy. I hope he can finish his trip.

  10. #10
    cab horn
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    Quote Originally Posted by BMonei View Post
    Am I the only one who sees no fault in this? We can't all be moral patriots... right?
    I was actually just about to ask if the guy even had lights on his bike. If not, you really can't blame the driver for hitting you.
    Mes compaingnons cui j'amoie et cui j'aim,... Me di, chanson.

  11. #11
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    welcome to america

  12. #12
    K2ProFlex baby! ilikebikes's Avatar
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    Im glad he didnt run into any of you guys along his trip, he wouldnt have made it anywhere
    You see, their morals, their code...it's a bad joke, dropped at the first sign of trouble. They're only as good as the world allows them to be. I'll show you. When the chips are down, these...These "civilized" people...they'll eat each other. See, I'm not a monster. I'm just ahead of the curve

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by operator View Post
    I was actually just about to ask if the guy even had lights on his bike. If not, you really can't blame the driver for hitting you.
    lights are great, and everyone should have them, but by that logic if someone hit a pedestrian at night crossing the street it would never be their fault.

    i hope this guy can finish his ride.
    Quote Originally Posted by benda18 View Post
    it's a wash when you account for the calories the prius owner uses to pass judgement on people who can see beyond the veil of greenwashed consumerism.

  14. #14
    Senior Member devilshaircut's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by buggg View Post
    lights are great, and everyone should have them, but by that logic if someone hit a pedestrian at night crossing the street it would never be their fault.

    i hope this guy can finish his ride.
    +1

    SERIOUSLY ... a driver is not at fault for hitting someone just because the person wasn't using a light??? REALLY??? I mean COME ON. I guess next time I get in an SUV and plow through a herd of pedestrians, I'll just say "They didn't even have reflectors!!!".

    I don't know what planet you guys live on, but if I am driving a car after sunset, I use caution - not even just for cyclists and pedestrians, but cars too.

    90% of drivers, at least in Atlanta, suck at driving. They don't stop being ****ty drivers just because someone isn't using a light. They are ****ty regardless, and need to be taken off the road. They shouldn't even have licenses in the first place!

  15. #15
    on my scraper bike delegado zero's Avatar
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    Yeah, that's kind of harsh. I mean, trees and signs don't have lights either but I do my best not to hit them when I'm driving.

  16. #16
    Senior Member Bala's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by delegado zero View Post
    Yeah, that's kind of harsh. I mean, trees and signs don't have lights either but I do my best not to hit them when I'm driving.
    I agree.
    Plus, that article doesn't have enough info. to make judgments.
    Was he in a bike lane?
    Was he on the shoulder?
    Was the vehicle's driver impaired?
    Did the biker have lights and they just weren’t on yet?

  17. #17
    Senior Member devilshaircut's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bala View Post
    I agree.
    Plus, that article doesn't have enough info. to make judgments.
    Was he in a bike lane?
    Was he on the shoulder?
    Was the vehicle's driver impaired?
    Did the biker have lights and they just weren’t on yet?
    Yeah ... admittedly there are factors that weren't mentioned. Assuming there were no sweeping omissions (drunk cyclist, going wrong way on a 1 way street or breaking other traffic laws, etc.) though, it sounds like the cyclist was not at fault. Especially if you consider the lengths to which the guy went to to make his trip across the US. It doesn't seem like the kind of cyclist who would be intoxicated or doing something dangerous.

    But like the previous poster said, when I drive, there are all sorts of lightless objects that I try to avoid. And if I run into one, it is my fault. Couldn't have said it better myself.

    P.S. Delgado, either you look like Regina Spektor ... or you just have a Regina Spektor avatar.
    Last edited by devilshaircut; 11-21-08 at 09:50 AM.

  18. #18
    on my scraper bike delegado zero's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by devilshaircut View Post

    P.S. Delgado, either you look like Regina Spektor ... or you just have a Regina Spektor avatar.
    the second one

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