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English Translation (by Jennifer Wezeman)

Their names are Ryan and Mandy.  They left by bike from Sebastopol (CA) a little over a year ago and have traversed the country from coast to coast.  They have just begun the return trip: their goal is to cross the goal line by Earth Day, in April of 2010.


The counter that the wear on their legs will then mark is 12,000 miles or 19,000 kilometers.  Theirs is the odyssey of a “road movie.”  The movie will be titled “Within Reach” and will be the greatest adventure ever told about the “other” America found off the beaten path.


We met Ryan and Mandy in a place with mythical resonance:  Ithaca (NY).  They seemed tired but content.  With such effort, after the daily forays of 42 miles, they ask themselves every night if it is worth continuing to pedal.


“When you know what you want, the world conspires in your favor,” maintains Mandy, with the renewed conviction of her 31 years.  “Why are we doing this?” Ryan asks, two years older than she.  “Let’s just say that we have met people who have pursued their own dreams; we hope to find ours on the road.”


On the road, Ryan and Mandy have reinterpreted the journey of Kerouac and so many others searching for a chimera of infinite horizons.  Nevertheless, their journey has an unusual and intentional purpose with a long string of stops in communities, neighborhoods, and ecovillages that rarely if ever have anything to do with the American Dream.


“Change is already occurring in this country,” certifies Ryan.  “People are discovering that creating community and living in harmony with nature is the road towards sustainability.  And the answers are surging from the local level, without waiting for the politicians to figure it out.”


Mandy and Ryan confess that they shared the consumerist creed of their compatriots until a proverbial trip to Central America in 1999 made them open their eyes.  That is where they met, although their paths separated upon their return.  Ryan went off to become a lawyer, and later a photographer.  Mandy did not yet have it clear, and her life continued forward in a straight line.


“Would you be interested in crossing the U.S. on bike?"  The proposal from Ryan was extremely tempting.  The two of them sold their cars and trained for a year.  They started their trip in October of 2008 on a solar bike to Fresno, and later continued on a tandem to Arizona.  Soon they discovered that the best thing was to do the journey as perfect “bike-packers,” with backpacks on their separate bikes.


In New Mexico they discovered the community of their dreams, Hummingbird Ranch.  But they decided to continue their search in Austin, TX, and from there to New Orleans to share the dream of the neighbors of the Lower 9th Ward with the help of Brad Pitt.  They later experienced the practical utopia of The Farm, where the spirit of the hippie era persists.  They went up through North Carolina, sweated next to the cyclists of New York, and finally headed towards the Ecovillage of Ithaca.  There they again heard the sirens’ song.


Time urges them on as Ryan and Mandy head for Comstock, MI and perhaps something beyond there.  They are getting dangerously close to 5,835 miles and winter is coming.  They will stop by Greensburg, the green heart in deep within America, and will leave for last the revolutionary corridor that runs between Seattle and Portland, the city where anything is possible.


We will follow Ryan and Mandy periodically on their journey.  We aspire to arrive with them at the goal and to discover along the way that every day is Earth Day.