Sell All Your Crap and Hit the Road -- On a Bike

Better than sitting at home.
Better than sitting at home.
Russ Roca

That's what Long Beach local and OC Weekly photo contributor Russ Roca is about to do with his life. The bacon-loving, will-bike-ride-anywhere-the-assignment-takes-me photographer has opted to shuck his apartment, couch, bed, dish towels, television, kitchen utensils and boxes of forgotten crap he's accumulated over the years to hit the road on the longest bicycle road trip he's ever embarked on.

Roca and his girlfriend Laura Crawford, two self described "bikey" people (she also designs rustic, handmade jewelery), are packing their stuff, selling most of it, and preparing to take off at the end of the month on a year-long, cross-country, cross-border journey around the U.S. and abroad, to document the lives of people not unlike them who have decided to live simpler, less conventional lives in an effort to partake of all the earth has to offer (and leave a smaller, cleaner carbon footprint in the process).

The two have practiced for their long trip by taking dozens of breathtaking trips throughout California and Oregon by bike and train only. Their latest experiment is an extension of these past trips: to see what life is really like lived only with the stuff that will fit on two bicycles. In other words, what will it be like to be homeless for a year in the name of sustainability and freedom? Campsites are cheap, and most of the time they'll be cooking at "home" so this may yet be the most viable way to downscale and innovate during the recession.

The two have started a blog detailing the first baby steps in their journey (suddenly: life without health insurance), and to also raise some funds to support their journey and documentary work.

If any of this sounds freeing, invigorating, intriguing or even a little weird, you can check out what the two have to say about taking the high road on a bike this Saturday at Open Bookstore in Long Beach, where they'll be giving a talk on the pros of traveling by bike, how to do a long bike trip right (no beach cruisers), and tips for the road.  

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