Tuesday’s With Laura: Bike Touring the U.S.
* Join former staffer Adam Coppola and his wife Christy on May 9th at our Trailblazer Branford location where they will share stories and pictures about their charity cycling adventure through all 50 states!
In early 2010 Adam and Christy Coppola decided over a sushi dinner they would take off for a year and bike over 12,000 miles through all 50 states. Their longest ride so far had been 17 miles.
They wanted a year-long adventure that would encompass giving forward, or giving back to the community, Adam’s Photography, Christy’s writing, and ultimately, they wanted to wake up every day doing something they loved–and they did.
“Being on this trip was doing exactly what we wanted to do,” said Christy, “[it was] knowing that we are able to live a great life.” They thrived through the year, they said.
For Adam and Christy this experience was about finding a life that fit them and made them happy. They married in October of 2010 and were on the road January 10, 2011. Adam had just finished grad school and Christy was ready to move on from her job as a middle school teacher. “It was a good time for a transition,” Christy said. But that doesn’t mean it was easy. She wrote a letter of resignation to the Madison Schools Superintendent and sat frozen in front of the computer. “I need you to help me push the send button,” she told Adam. “You better push the button with me so we’re in this together,” she said, “this is it. There goes our health benefits.”
They were about to take on a completely different life style. It was scary, but they both knew they wanted to do it, Christy said. Nerve-racking, in fact.
“That was the most scared I’ve ever been in my life,” Adam said. “You know, we’d just told hundreds of people, thousands I guess, [they were featured in the New Haven Register] and we didn’t know if we could do this. We didn’t know if we could even make it to state number two.” It was that moment of realization of, “What did we just get ourselves into,” Adam said.
They had around ten months to plan the trip but it all boiled down to the last two weeks. They were buying gear, deciding what to take and coming to terms with the fact that there was no turning back. The bikes were brand new and Christy had ridden all of two miles on on hers. “That’s a huge no-no,” Adam said,” you don’t do a huge tour on a brand new bike.” It was a stressful time, Christy said, “we didn’t know what we were doing.” “We were at each other’s throats for those two weeks,” she said. “But once we got there, once we were actually on the road, everything calmed down and we were OK. [It was worth it], from then on it was amazing.”
There were times were it got tough, being on the road, living in a tent, having little privacy, but those challenges made their relationship stronger and them happier, Christy said, because they truly did find a life that fits them, they’ve found what makes them happy.
A year and 12,591 miles later, Adam and Christy are back on the road. During their bike tour they raised money to benefit Achilles International and World Bicycle Relief, through their Give A Bike campaign. Now, they travel around the country working with Bikes Belong to put more people on bicycles more often and unite a million voices to request federal funding for bike friendly roads.
“If you have a dream and you want to do something you can do it. If you have a passion and you want to follow it there’s nothing stopping you. It’s challenging, it’s tough, it’s gonna be extremely hard work, but you can do it,” Adam said.
“Sometimes you just have to have a little faith and things do work out,” Christy said.
They are making a stop at the Branford Trailblazer next Wednesday May 9th. Come meet them, hear their stories, check out amazing photos and learn about what they do.