Biking for Obama: One-Year Reflection

December 6th, 2009, by RYAN BOWEN

A version of this post was first published at

This week marks the one-year anniversary of that fateful Tuesday last December when I took off on my bicycle from Los Angeles, en route to see President Obama’s inauguration in Washington D.C. to document this historic moment in our nation’s history.

I gained so many positive things from that 3,000-mile trip: new friends, a passion for cycling, a belief in the American people, optimism unbound and a deep knowledge that anything you dream can be achieved if the intentions are pure and your efforts are supported by like-minded individuals.

As I reflect on what the past year has brought me, I must say that I am filled with emotions — some happy, others quite sad. This past year has been such a wild ride through life that I find myself disillusioned and fizzling on my pro-Obama platform.

And the headline this week…30,000 more troops to Afghanistan?!

If this all goes through, and Mr. Obama becomes just another war president, then I am obliged to state, along with Michael Moore, that he “will do the worst possible thing [he] could do — destroy the hopes and dreams so many millions have placed in you…You will teach them what they’ve always heard is true — that all politicians are alike. I simply can’t believe you’re about to do what they say you are going to do. Please say it isn’t so.”

If there’s one thing I learned about politics in this last year, it’s that it is much more challenging than anything I could ever see myself doing. But I do hope we can get some pro-peace momentum going forward.

Ryan Bowen is a photographer and social justice advocate who lives in New York. In 2008 and early 2009, he rode his bicycle from Los Angeles to the presidential inauguration in Washington D.C. and documented the experience on

Last modified: May 9, 2011 at 3:49 pm