2008Peddie Bicycle Touring 2011:  June 7-13, 15-21

Riding Backroads into the Country.     Testimony


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SIGNUP ANNOUNCEMENT //  Bike Ride 2011 Interest Form



Samantha Myers ’11: 

Because I never thought of myself as very athletic, I had never thought that I would go on the Sophomore Bike Trip ’09.  At first, I thought the BikeTrip would mainly focus on the athleticism of the students and whether we could complete physical challenges.  I thought that the students would be competitive with one another when cycling, worrying about if they were in the front or the back of the group.  I pictured the faculty always giving us directions and making sure we didn’t misbehave. I also thought that the only learning we would do would be when we stopped at places such as Gettysburg and Washington D.C.  I was completely wrong. gettysburgLecture2009.jpg

    I was correct about the physical challenges.  Cycling for miles and miles is not easy work.  But there was no tension between the students caused by competitiveness.  Rather, encouragement from many.  And if you needed to board the bus at lunchtime after a hard morning, you wouldn’t be frowned upon by the group.  Instead, you would find them giving you respect for making the decision.  The faculty became friends with the students, mentoring them and speaking to them as their own peers.  And the students admired the faculty for their hard work and impressive skills whether working with the cooking crew, replacing flat tires, driving the vehicles, or leading the group of cyclists.  There was rarely any misbehavior or need to punish.  Everyone became friends.  And before I went on this trip, I would have never expected it.  It certainly was a great thing to see, and something that I will always cherish.  I was able to see a personal side of the faculty that as a day student, I usually didn’t get to see.

    On this trip, I learned so much.  Pages of writing cannot describe how much this trip opened my eyes.  Every single day of riding was a new experience.  I would have to say, going through the Amish country really did it for me.  I finally realized all the places I was riding through, all the things I could see much clearer on a bike than in any other transportation.  There were no distractions when I was riding a bike.  No constraints, unlike a car. There was no air conditioning.  Instead, I could feel the summer weather and the temperature changes.  My view was not obstructed at all from windows or doors.  I had a front row seat to whatever there was to be seen.  I didn’t have a radio or my iPod on full blast.  I could listen to the sounds outside of the animals or busy streets.  I was by myself for the most part, unable to use a cell phone or really communicate with people.  I was able to have time to myself and experience these different areas that I never experienced before…and I knew I probably wouldn’t ever get to experience like this again.  All my senses were peacefully simultaneously working as I rode my bike.

    Speaking of all the things that I did not use while riding my bike, there were many daily material objects that we were deprived of when we were off the bike.  We slept in tents every night.  And the tents weren’t just ready for us when we arrived at the camp sites.  They had to be taken down and put up every morning and evening.  Our dinners had to be cooked with minimal kitchenware.  And when the dinners were made, everyone had to be considerate of each other and watch their own servings so that everyone could receive an equal amount of food.  It wasn’t like Peddie’s food service where we could usually help ourselves to as much food as we wanted or needed.  I watched everyone so maturely share the food and give loads of adoration to the cooks of the day.

    Not having a TV, washing machine, bed, or a full size towel really taught each and every one of us to really be grateful of what you have each day. Sure, they were simple things that you could live without for ten days without too much stress, but it opened my eyes to the larger, even greater things to be thankful for.  Your family, who you were away from... your home and your hometown…and your standard life that didn’t present too many changes or hassles.

    After leaving this trip, I would have to say, the thing that I was most thankful for was the ability, and opportunity to go on this trip.  I was grateful for my health, which was able to withstand the physical challenges this journey proposed.  I was grateful that Mr. Clements and the Peddie School gave this opportunity to their students because I know many people from different schools who would have jumped at the chance in a heartbeat.  I was grateful for the people that made the trip so meaningful.  And I was grateful for my family and friend’s encouragement to go on the bike trip.

My parents continuously remind me of the first thing I said to them after returning from the bike trip: "After this, I can do anything."


Jill Skipper ’11:  

On the sophomore bike ride, I had an amazing time, especially at night when everyone was all done riding and we had time to sit down and really take the time to get to know each other. I loved when Jordan would sit down and play the guitar and everyone sang with him. It felt like we were a big family, and it was hard to leave everyone on the last day.

   When the bike ride began, I thought I would only have a few friends that were going, but midway through I realized that I haven't talked to the most interesting, most amazing people at Peddie in my time in high school. The moment from the ride I'll never forget is when we stayed in Amish country. We stayed on a field of grass that looked over 3 or 4 farms run by Amish. This sight was the most gorgeous landscape I had ever seen. When we got there the crew made dinner and the rest of us passed a frisbee around and threw a football. We all were together in a beautiful area, and I felt like I belonged there. 

I learned not only to seize the day and take on every experience possible, but also that if you don't take the experience that each day presents you, you have not lived to your fullest capacity possible.  I never thought I would have talked to the people that I did on the bike trip but now I have walked away with some of the best friends I could have ever imagined. 

I never put these ideas together before, but now I realize that teachers can be cool. Every teacher on this bike trip took the time to sit down and talk with mostly everyone. Mrs. Brown spent her time cooking and teaching us. Mr. Clements was like the father of the trip and he cared about each of the same amount. Mr. .Harris is not only a role model to his children but is now a role model to me.  The image that lingers in my mind is how close we all are going to be next year. I’m really excited now to see all of the people who experienced this with me soon.


Hayley Klein '10:  The Peddie School Bike Trip 2008 had me at hello. I'm not sure what my naïve and utterly inexperienced self imagined the Bike Trip to be while reading Mr. Clements' catchy and informative e-mail more than five months prior to the actual trip, however, today—ten days, five states and over two hundred and fifty miles later—I can say that the Bike Trip lived up to each and every single one of my expectations. Venturing into the world of having to be able to pitch ones own tent, cook an entire meal for more than fifteen ravenously hungry teenagers (and seven adults), and bike thirty plus miles in ninety degree weather, I bid my goodbyes to my computer, cable, Facebook, family, home-cooked meals, and—above all else—air conditioning. My priority was no longer Hayley. Instead, I had to work with twenty seven of my classmates in order to reach a different destination each day as well as establishing a living arrangement that we could all benefit from and enjoy. Every day I was presented with a new physical challenge: one thousand foot inclines that stretched for miles and seemingly never-ending mountain ridges with miniscule downhills. Additionally, I was faced with physical obstacles that were equally as challenging, including the willpower that it took to either get myself up the slopes or the confidence that I had in myself to call it a day and board the bus. One of the major and most exciting aspects of the Bike Trip were the friendships that I created and strengthened. Spending ten days with twenty seven of my classmates taught me a great deal about their lives, personalities and ambitions, as well as my own. I discovered that befriending new and seemingly unlikely people should not be scary, but gratifying and fulfilling. The Bike Trip gave me the opportunity to step out of my comfort zone and leap into a world where no one worried themselves nor competed with fashion, schoolwork and popularity (an opportunity which is rare to come by in this day and age in high school). Our main priority was to see and learn about aspects of our country that we had never taken the time to notice before, while having a ridiculous amount of fun in doing so. The Bike Trip is an experience that I will treasure and take with me throughout my entire life and I would do it again in a heartbeat. I encourage every sophomore to take part in this incredible journey in the years to come and I thank all my teachers and classmates who helped make this trip as educational, beautiful and fun as it was!


Jordan Glaser ’11:  On the sophomore bike ride, I had an incredible time! When the bike ride began, I was very nervous about being able to ride over ten miles at one time. I had never done anything like the bike trip, but was looking forward to experiencing a part of the country I'd never been to. When the bike ride began, I thought, "Ok. I know four people here, I've never talked to most of these people, I'm camping with them, AND I'm biking about thirty miles a day! Why am I here?!" The trip started and I soon realized how wrong I had been. I soon made friends with people I never thought I would ever talk to. These friends became closer as we pushed through challenges on the bike together. The moment I remember that changed my perspective on not just biking, but life, was when I got to the top of the first huge hill. Not only was I rewarded with a "half-lunch", but I realized I could overcome great challenges. I have always been the kind of person who is ok with not succeeding, but after the bike trip, my perspective on life has changed. The sophomore bike trip was one of the greatest things I have ever experienced. I never thought a bike trip would change the type of person I am, but it definitely did.


Taylor Goode ’09: On the Sophomore bike ride I had an AWESOME time. It was such a unique and fun experience. Everyone on the trip became close friends and formed bonds that will last forever. It started my summer in the best way possible. The trip not only tested me physically but mentally as well. I learned a lot about myself and my peers. It was also an opportunity to learn and experience new things. Going on the bike trip was easily one of the best decisions I ever made and it inspired me to try new things whenever possible.








Bike2007-LennonRomanoBike2007-FourBoysBen Wilde ’09:  The sophomore bike trip is the best way to start your summer. I had a great time on the bike trip: it’s been by far one of my favorite Peddie experiences, and its the perfect way to spend time with friends and get to know your classmates and faculty outside of the classroom. After finals are over, take a few days off, then put away your laptop, leave Lotus Notes and Instant Messenger behind and ride through the countryside with PJC and your friends; you won’t regret it. I’ll never forget winding down the mysterious roads of Catoctin Mountain after a challenging ride, exploring Harpers Ferry, West Virginia or riding up to the steps of the Capitol building. When the bike ride began I felt uneasy about the trip, unsure of why I had decided to sign away 10 days of my precious summer vacation, hours after that thought I was having a blast and after 10 days, I wasn’t ready for it to end. Go on the sophomore bike trip to spend time with friends, get some fresh air, unwind and see new things.




Bike2007-Cookman2Bailey Cookman ’09: Considering that other than lacrosse I am not particularly an athletic person I was worried about how I could handle 10 days straight of biking. Surprisingly, I had no trouble at all. I thought it would be a huge physically challenging experience but it was a combination of physical and mental that really challenged me. I have an entirely new outlook after this trip. I got to know myself, friends and teachers better. I can not even express the amount of memories and bonds I took from this trip. Yes it was fun hanging with my friends and PJC at night hanging around the camp fire or in a warm tent but my best memories come from my time alone on the open road, biking and looking at the beautiful scenery. Half of the time I was biking I was singing some random song in my head, but the other half I thinking about my life and what's around me. It was an eye opening experience and I would suggest that every sophomore go and have this adventure.



Caitlin Heim ’09: I originally was not planning to go on the Sophomore bike ride, and when I heard it mentioned and brought it up with my mom, she say something like “You’re too busy”, “What about soccer?”, or “How much is this thing gonna cost?” So the date to sign up passed, and I forgot about the bike trip and went on with things. Then, one day, Mr. Clements sent an email saying “Sophs: One, maybe two slots open for "Bike Ride 2007"”, so I brought the topic up again and again met resistance. But this time I pushed harder; everyone else was really excited about the trip and it sounded like a great experience, which I wanted to be a part of. I finally convinced my parents to let me go, though I had to compromise by leaving two days early. I didn’t know exactly what to expect about the people who were going on the trip; I had some close friends going on it but I wasn’t really close to a lot of the people going. It turned out that we bonded and it was amazing how close we became in the span of a couple days. The daily endorphins combined with the beautiful scenery and the amazing people made the bike trip one of the best experiences of my life, and one which I will never forget. I talked to Ms. Grubb prior to going on the trip to see what she thought I should do, and she advised me to go. As I was leaving, I remember her asking me if I thought I made the right decision and if it was worth it, and I promptly responded “Definitely” knowing that I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.



Bike2007-AmishBuggiesEmily Boudreau ’09: The highlight of the sophomore trip was the scenery from the Amish country to Gettysburg to Washington D.C.  Not only did the sights from a bicycle give me a new outlook, but the time we all spent together on the trip was equally important.  From making dinner to sitting around the campfire together, we all became closer and learned more about each other.  This trip is about a lot more than just bicycling, and you definitely don't have to be an amazing cyclist (I'm not) to take a lot away from this experience.



Mike Nyman ’08: On the Sophomore Trip Bike ride I had the time of my life. It was easily the best decision I've ever made. On the trip I bonded with everyone on it and made some great memories with the people. The experience from that ride that I'll never forget was camping out in the Amish country, and having a little Amish boy walk past our campsite and join in to our frisbee game. The riding did not prove to be as strenuous as I thought, except for a few days. I would never believe that I would be going 40 miles per hour on my bike down a hill and survive. I learned not only to work well in a group so we don't starve, but to appreciate my friends.


Bike20087-Gorajek2Carolyn Gorajek ’09: It's hard for me to even describe this bike trip because it was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. Even five months later, I still find myself telling everyone the hilarious adventures we encountered during the ten days we camped out and got a taste of good old-fashioned nature. Before the trip started, I was nervous because I hate being away from my family for more than a couple days, and I also had no idea how the group was going to mesh together. However, once we started biking and eating together that first day, I knew this trip was going to be loads of fun. Throughout the course of the bike trip, we never stopped laughing and had more than a few unforgettable experiences. The scenery was absolutely breath-taking! I'll never forget riding along with my friend on an old country road with nothing around us but hilly farm land and magnificent trees. The people were incredible, the fun was never-ending, and most importantly, the life lessons that were learned will stay with all of us forever.  GO ON THE BIKE TRIP! It was amazing and I'm still trying to come up with reasons to do it all over again.



Bike2007-LennonRomanoMatt Lennon ’09: On the sophomore bike ride, I had one of the best experiences of my life.  When the bike ride began, I thought it was going to be tough getting up early every morning, being away from home for so long, and riding 30 + miles most of the days, but midway through I realized that I didn't need to be home relaxing because camping with my good friends and riding my bike through the backroads were just as relaxing.  The moment that I'll never forget is the night we had to set up camp, make dinner, eat, and clean up in the pouring rain because it not only showed how experienced we became at putting up our tents and how to put our fly on correctly, but also showed our teamwork as everyone pitched in to get everything done.  I not only became closer to my close friends who went on the trip, but became close friends with the people I didn't even know that well going into the trip.  I never thought that I'd be able to bike from Hightstown to Washington D.C. , camp out, and not interact with any electronic devices for more than a week, but I survived, and it was well worth it. 



Bike2007-DeMartinMonica DeMartin ’09: On the sophomore trip I had an awesome time! At the beginning of the trip I was apprehensive as to whether or not I would be able to complete the trip, a major obstacle for me was the camping aspect of the trip. However, after a couple of days I learned what a fly was, how to work portable stoves and how to cook for 20 people. The moment that I will never forget is when we finally made it to Washington, D.C., I had looked forward to reaching Washington D.C. the entire trip, however when we finally arrived I felt that I had accomplished something really great! I learned not only about the different ways of life of different Americans, such as the Amish in Pennsylvania, but also the hospitality of people along the way, such as the Amish family who allowed us to eat our lunch on their front yard, having shown up completely unannounced. I never thought that I would be able to bike from Peddie to Washington D.C., camping out in the woods, setting up and taking down my tent and waking up veryyyyy early, however I am proud of myself that I completed the trip and I would DEFINITELY this trip to any interested sophomore!



Bridget Lang ’09:  At the beginning of the trip, I knew everyone and was friends with them, but did not really see them too much during the school year.  But, through camping out, learning to cooking, and traveling over 200 miles on bike to Washington D.C., I formed a unique bond with everyone.  The Bike Trip taught me that survival depends on the help of others.  On this trip, we had to pitch tents in the pouring rain, learn to spend money wisely, cook and prepare proper meals that would give the team the power to ride the next day, and of course ride our bikes.  After looking at the"Topo" maps that PJC gave us each day, I had no idea what to expect of the difficulty of the journey.  I figured that the spikes meant that I'd probably be getting off of my bike and walking or there would be sweat a bustin' and snot a flyin'.  At the beginning of the trip, I figured that I would have to ride during at least one of the difficult days.  But, the Bike Trip gave me confidence in myself, and I ended up riding all 200 miles of the journey.  We faced a couple of spills, flat tires, broken chains, and crashes, but we all made it through together, and in once piece.  While riding through the National Mall, I figured I was lucky and accomplished in a way because I had not fallen all trip.  Well, because I didn't knock on wood, I did end up falling, on the way back to the bus from the steps of the Capitol Building.  The experience from the ride that I will never forget was walking up the steps of the Capitol Building and realizing that I had completed a task that I never thought I could do.  To this day, the members of the Bike Trip 2007 still chuckle about all of our fun times we spent together.  We have concluded that if you were to film the entire trip, every second would be funny and worth watching over and over again.  We, the members of the Bike Trip 2007, have a unique bond that no one else can share.  We traveled to Washington D.C., from Hightstown, NJ, by bicycle.  We traveled over "rollers" in the Amish country, up mountains like Blue Ridge Summit, and flew down hills.  We cooked, played games, and made jokes.  We lived in tents in the pouring rain and cooked under a tarp.  But most importantly, we completed all of these tasks together!  I would never trade my experience from the Bike Trip in for anything.  It is a journey that you will remember forever!



Bike2006-CapitolGroup2Christine Lee ’08: The moment from that ride I’ll never forget is discovering the reservoir of strength that lies deep down within me. Almost everyone has read the children's story "The Little Engine that Could" and knows that with the same persistence, determination, and effort that the Little Engine put forth, one can overcome challenges. It may sound quite simple, but reality is really an amplified version of "The Little Engine that Could".  To actually be that engine going up the hill requires more than just "I think I can, I think I can". It requires mental focus, physical endurance, wholehearted determination, and a certain toughness. Nothing could have been a more personally defining experience than the bike trip. I distinctly remember climbing up those hills that seemed to rise endlessly towards the sky. A part of me (most likely my burning thighs) kept telling me to stop, yet some other, unknown part of me pushed me onwards. I remember the taste of sweat on my lips and the force of cars rushing past me from behind. I remember how I would attempt to keep my upper body relaxed by moving my fingers as if I were playing the piano. The classical tune in my head, however, was easily drowned out by the pounding of my heart.  Arriving at the top was the most overwhelming and rewarding feeling ever. I experienced the true feeling of accomplishment, one that resulted from gritting my teeth and continuing to pedal through the burn. I had discovered the depth of my strength and determination. I had recognized the importance of dedication. But most importantly, I had learned to take on challenges for that same thrilling feeling of achievement. 280 miles later at the conclusion of the trip, I felt more accomplished than ever...even more accomplished than the Little Engine.                



Bike2006-Sokol2Lauren Sokol ’08:  Walking up the steps of the Capitol building in Washington, D.C., it was unreal to me that I had just ridden a bike there more than two hundred and fifty miles from Hightstown, New Jersey.  I had made it through two rigorous forty mile days, and fought through heat exhaustion, hunger and dehydration.  I cooked quesadillas in a thunder storm, rode through the Gettysburg battlefields, explored Harper’s Ferry, and learned how to play ultimate Frisbee.  I ate homemade ice cream in Intercourse, Pennsylvania, went swimming in Beaver Creek, saw a beautiful sunrise over an Amish farm, and slept in a tiny green tent with someone who became one of my best friends.  I had always loved the outdoors, but riding the back roads through Lancaster County and alongside the Susquehanna River greatened my appreciation for nature and America as a whole.  I developed great friendships with fifteen of my classmates and five Peddie faculty on a Bike Trip in the summer of 2006.  I also understood more about myself every time I pedaled up a steep hill, and especially when we sat on those steps of the Capitol of the United States.  The bike trip was an experience I will never forget and would love to do again.


document last update: November 29, 2007 by Patrick J. Clements pclement@peddie.org
Copyright (c) 2007     Peddie School
URL: http://falconnet.peddie.org/faculty/pclements/cycling/BikeTrip2008-Testimony.htm