Pedaling to the Pacific for a paradishift. Bicycling west in honor of Merritt Levitan. Pursuing a dream 5 years later.
Remembering & In Memory
In 2013 I was part of a group biking across the country. We were on a long flat road in Arkansas when we were hit from behind by a young driver later found to be texting at the time. The impact of the crash killed my tripmate, 18-year-old Merritt, and seriously injured some of the other riders. Merritt Levitan was the kind of person you know the instant you meet her you’ll need to keep her around in your life— incredibly genuine, humorous, and determined. Those two weeks our group shared with her were full of singing and jokes and living each day as it came—every mile of them.
TextLess Live More
Following the accident, Merritt’s friends and family set up a campaign to end distracted driving and raise awareness about its dangers. The campaign empowers youth to confront the distractions technology presents, to live fully in the present, and to make a world where no loved one is taken too soon from a split second decision to look down and not up on the road. This campaign, TextLess LiveMore, has grown tremendously over the past 5 years and more information can be found at its site: http://www.textlesslivemore.org
I’m now the age the distracted driver was who hit us on that blue sky day in Arkansas. I’m currently biking across the US to carry on Merritt’s legacy. My goal is to carry her memory past Arkansas to the Pacific where we were so eagerly headed and to support the mission to make the roads safer out there for all journeys. I’m following our initial route from dipping our wheels in the Atlantic off of Charleston, South Carolina to running into the ocean in Santa Monica, California. I will be gathering memories & reuniting with some of the dear folks that supported us along the way 5 years ago. We’ll also be making a whole lot of new memories as we sweat across the US accumulating stares and honks and well-wishes along with miles of hot pavement and ever- changing landscapes. It’s the pace of bike touring that I love the most— communities and wilderness are unblurred and the hospitality truly felt.
From ocean to ocean we are pedaling. I’m joined by my incredible mother for this stretch of the ride and hopefully some scattered friends along the way (including a rider in my 2013 group for the final push). I’ve partnered with Positive Tracks, an awesome organization that helps support the mission of youth sweating for worthy causes. Positive Tracks will match my fundraising efforts up to $1,000! We are aiming to have the money raised for TextLess LiveMore be double the number of miles on our odometer by the end of this journey.
Please join us in whatever way is fitting...on bike, in spirit, in a pledge to make the roads safer! Please also spread the word to friends, family, and businesses invested in the TextLess LiveMore (TLLM) mission.
I’d like to extend a huge thank you to the Levitan Family for their support and blessings in making this happen; to Overland for its continual support of chasing dreams & pavement; to Positive Tracks for the tools and drive to make this possible; to Omer & Bob’s bike shop for sending us on our way; and to our various road angels helping us as we cross the USA... and to you!!
TLLM & TextLess Bicycle More.
Peace & Pedals,
We’ve been stowing away our phones during the day but can be reached in the evenings.
Updates to follow but we embarked on this wild wonderful journey on the 9th and have made it across 5 states &1 time zone into Kansas. Hoping to greet the Pacific in Santa Monica in 3 weeks! SC—>CA ~3,054 mi
Pictures: My 2013 AC group after dipping our wheels in the Atlantic (Merritt is 3rd from the left, next to me), Me dipping my wheel at the same place last week, my mom & I representing positive tracks at the border of GA & AL, and some sunny sunflowers on the road with the TextLess LiveMore jersey!