From Cyclist to Medical Student: 85 Days Across America

uvmmedicine blogger Jordan Munger '21
uvmmedicine blogger Jordan Munger ’21

Just 12 days before his first day of medical school at the Larner College of Medicine, Jordan Munger ’21 celebrated another moment he’ll remember for the rest of his life: the end of an epic, over 4,000-mile, 85-day bike trip across the country. He rode from Yorktown, Virginia to Astoria, Oregon, on a self-supported bicycle tour with a longtime friend, Lincoln Frasca. A 2015 graduate of UVM with a major in biological sciences, Munger said on his blog that the trip was inspired in part by a belief in the “power of bicycles as a form of personal transportation that strengthens individuals and unifies communities.”

“We are strong believers that cycling can be a way of life — a lifestyle reliant and influenced by sustainable transportation and community development. Our love for cycling and bicycle culture has led us to explore bicycling touring,” Munger writes on the blog chronicling his journey, titled Virginia to Oregon by Bike. After a two-day East Coast tour, and a week-long tour through North Carolina funded in part by UVM’s Biking and Outing Clubs that they subsequently helped further develop as an offering for UVM students, the cyclists called the Transamerica tour the “logical next step in our progression as bicycle tourers and advocates.”

The pair of cyclists cross prairies and mountain ranges, meeting a diverse assortment of people along the way. Many of their adventures are chronicled in text, video, and photos on Virginia to Oregon by Bike.

Upon reaching the Oregon coast, Munger took time to look back at what he experienced as he prepares for the next journey, this one to last four years. After five days of orientation, he began his first medical school course this week.

“With the road behind us it is time to reflect on what we’ve learned throughout this journey of a lifetime. Every night a new camp and every day a new adventure that no amount of planning, pumping, or fidgeting could ever have prepared us for. As we pushed bike, body, and mind cross country we frequently talked about need vs. want in our everyday lives. We made sacrifices and were rewarded with the intangible. With determination, curiosity, and a common vision we were able to find a rhythm amongst the constant motion. Google defines rhythm as a, “strong, regular, repeated pattern of movement or sound.” A repeated pattern of movement is how we greeted each new day on the road. In the end it is the journey not the destination that we will remember.”

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