Beaming with positive energy and determined to reach his goal, Colorado native Steve Garufi, is gearing up to ride his bike across America- AGAIN! In just 1 week from now Steve will be setting off on his voyage across the nation from Huntington Beach, covering 10 states in the process. Read on to find out what motivated Steve to do so, where he will be going along his ride, and the awesome cause he’s supporting in this edition of the Weekly Feature:
Name: Steve Garufi
Place of Residence: Buena Vista, Colorado
Current Jam: U2-Sometimes You Can’t Make It On Your Own
Favorite Food: Chinese
Mode of Self Expression: Cycling
Ark: Tell us a little bit about yourself Steve!
Steve: I’m 39 years old. Picked up the sport of cycling in my 30s and biked across America by myself. It was amazing! The opportunity came together where I’m able to do it again in 2 weeks through a charity called Smile for a Lifetime. Smile for a Lifetime helps children from low income families get proper dental care and braces. I’m spreading awareness for this charity because I didn’t realize that braces cost somewhere between $5,000 – $6,000, and the government doesn’t pay for children to get braces no matter how badly they need them. So I decided it was a good idea, and partnered with this charity to try and raise awareness.
A: What and/or where are a few things that you draw inspiration from?
S: I’ve always been a little more sensitive to the fact that life is short. If you have dreams or goals/things you want to do or achieve. Not monetary, but goals. You have to go for them & have to be courageous/take risks. My first trip was such a monumental experience that it inspired me to write a book which I’m putting the finishing touches on. Becoming an author is a top priority for me right now.
A: I’m guessing it’s safe to say you liked to ride bikes as a kid growing up. With that said, at what point in time did you get serious about your cycling and really start pushing the envelope?
S: I was 32 when I took up the sport of cycling- 7 years ago. The cardiovascular strength and power is amazing! Jogging and basketball is all good, but after a long ride my body feels awesome. During my last ride I was averaging about 60-70 miles a day.
A: How did you originally come up with the idea to ride your bike across America? Was it something you had been thinking about for a while, or something that just came to you one day?
S: After I did it once I always wanted to do it again and it was in the back of my mind. This past October a guy found me on facebook & said he heard I wanted to ride across the country again. He told me that he had an RV and that his dream has always been to drive across America. I got super excited about it and he told me I could sleep in the RV at night while I was making my way across the country, and he was offering to pay for everything. Then in December he contacted me & told me that he could no longer afford the trip because of financial reasons and that he couldn’t go. But I still wanted to go, so I’ve been raising money and asking my friends to donate to the project.
A: I noticed you did a 45 day ride across America back in 2008. That’s awesome! What was it like to cover that much land and experience the drastic climate changes while you were riding?
S: It really is all about just taking it one day at a time. I got into this mode where my only full time job was to ride my bike for about 5 hours each day. All I had to think about was riding my bike and getting to the next destination. During the ride it was really cool to see how the land and the scenery changes. From the deserts and mountains of Arizona and New Mexico, to the plains of Texas and then the scenery turns back into the mountains- it’s awesome!
A: Who are a few of your favorite athletes that you have looked up to over the years. Whether it be cyclists or athletes in other sports.
S: I really like Michael Vick. I know he’s really controversial to a lot of people but I love him. The whole story of redemption in his life and correcting his mistakes. He’s really close to my heart and I’m cheering for him.
A: What is the longest ride you have done in your years of cycling, besides the ride across America in 2008?
S: I biked across Colorado over a 10 day period. Besides that, the longest I’ve ever gone in one day was 126 miles in West Texas. The winds in the plains were straight at my back and I was just flying down the road!
A: Tell us about your most memorable, funny, awkward… (fill in the blank) encounter you’ve had over the years when you’ve been cycling. This could be from your previous ride across America in 2008, or just any random day over the years.
S: Haha. It was definitely when I 1st got my bicycle shoes that clip into the pedals. When you stop you have to learn to unclip from them, and I definitely fell a few times at major intersections. It was so embarrassing.
A: Riding your bike across America must take tons of preparation and training. What are a few of the ways you prepare yourself both mentally (and physically) to tackle the adventure?
S: I’m convinced that this journey will be 90% mental and 10% physical. I’m working hard on not being over confident. It’s easy to become overwhelmed by the whole trip and become scared or psyched out, but I’ve found the key to success is to take it as a one day at a time thing. One other thing is that I want to have more fun on this trip & laugh more. If something bad happens I want to be able to laugh it off and just have fun.
A: How many states will you be covering during this trip across America, and will you be doing it solo or with friends?
S: 10 states in total. I will be starting in Huntington Beach and reaching my final destination of St Simon’s Island in Georgia.
A: Alright. Now it’s time for the lightning round. This is where we’d like to get your opinion on a few topics. If you could answer as quickly as possible we’d appreciate it.
*Steve’s answers are in RED
- Road biking or mountain biking?- Road
- Wind or rain?- Wind
- Riding solo or with friends?- With friends for sure
- Worst case scenario: Flat tire or crash?- Flat tire (had 11 on my 1st trip)
- Lance Armstrong or Eddie Merckx?- Lance
- Unicycle or tricycle?- Unicycle!
A: What are a few other hobbies you like to do when you’re not cycling?
S: Hiking and enjoying the outdoors. I’m also a photographer and a mountain climber.
A: Thanks Steve. We appreciate you taking the time to do this interview. Any last words?
S: Thank you guys for the support and I’m really looking forward to riding my bike across America with the cycling jersey you guys are making for me!
***Make sure to check out Steve’s website Bike Across America HERE to stay updated on his experiences during his travels. Also, scope the map below that shows the route for his ride across the Country!