Ryan Bowen was just an ordinary man who, like millions of other people, commuted to work on his bike from his home in
But Barack Obama's historic election as President of the
Bowen, 22, arrived at his destination at midday on Sunday after pedalling over 3,000 miles (4,800 kilometers) over the past six weeks from
Before he set off on the epic journey on 2 December 2008, photographer and massage therapist Bowen had never travelled more than 20 miles in a day, but he managed to average 85 miles a day on his trip, with a peak of 151 miles per day when travelling through
But the journey was not as easy one, with more than 40 flat tires, many nights spent camping out in a tent and even being hit by a Jeep. The sheer physical challenge of riding such distances for the first time was also a big shock to his system. "Early on, my knees felt like they were going to explode," he remarked.
Adopted into a white family in
"When you see somebody with his ideals, as well as the racial thing, it gives me hope that we can do better things in this country," said Bowen. "For the first time, I feel like it wouldn't be a shame for me to be patriotic, to be proud of my country and take ownership of my country."
But Bowen was not alone during his “crazy idea that worked”. Filmmaker Albert Velazquez documented portions of the journey and Bowen was joined by fellow cyclist Joshua Atteberry in
“At the times when things were their darkest, in
After finally climbing off the saddle in the
Handing him the ticket Congressman Earl Blumenauer, co-chair of the Congressional Bike Caucus, said the trip was "an example of what anybody can do to make the country better. It's people burning calories instead of burning fossil fuels."
© AFP 2009