Setting a Dream on Fire

Wrestling a fever and sweating through the hotel bed sheets, my mind sought shelter from the flu by escaping into my recurring fantasy.

As I drifted off into this dream or slight hallucination, the sweat beads rolling down my cheek and spine were no longer caused by a fever but rather from the sweltering noon heat as I biked into Washington D.C.  The sun was beating down, but my solar panel was soaking up every photon of energy, propelling my electric bike forward into the Capital City. I was gloriously alive, living my dream.

As the fever turned to shivers, I came back to the cold reality. I was far from D.C. I was sick on a business trip in Pocatello, ID. And at that moment I became sick with myself, tired of hearing myself talk about this dream for the past five years. So at 2:40am on that sickly night, I gave myself a deadline. A one-week sprint. One week to see if I could gain any traction in crossing the country on a solar charged electric bicycle. And if I couldn’t, I’d set this dream free and move on.

The next morning, I pushed the flu aside and hit the ground running. I knew the bike I wanted for the journey, the Specialized Turbo S. In my opinion it was the Tesla of e-bikes, a true beauty with the best design and overall functionality. I didn’t have a connection to the Turbo, so I turned to LinkedIn.

I felt that an engineer at Specialized would be the most keen to helping since I’d be re-engineering their bike to work with solar energy. Instead of charging the battery pack through an outlet, I was going to charge it through the sun. What engineer wouldn’t want to geek out on this with me?

I attacked. I sent friend requests to every second degree Specialized engineer on LinkedIn. I then cast my friendship request a bit wider to anyone else that looked influential.

Three people accepted my friendship. I quickly hit them with a LinkedIn email about my quest. And three fingers pointed me to one man – Scott Stroot.

I sent Scott an email and the rest is history. He has been my greatest supporter and advocate, graciously inviting me down to Specialized to test ride the bike and talk about the journey. The wheels were in motion after that visit. There was no turning back. This dream gained life.

LinkedIn was my dream catcher, my catalyst to take a leap into a new direction. It was my spark that set this dream on fire.

D.C. here I come. Let the journey be everything I dreamed of, and more.