The Foreign Service Journal - October 2014 - page 56

FSO Richard Boly retired in
August 2013, after 19 years in
the Foreign Service. The very
next day, he started a new
job at theWorld Bank. But he
was itching to have the “big
chunks of time” that retire-
ment can a‹ord—something
rare in the workaday world. So
when his World Bank contract
came to an end, he decided
to do something he always
wanted to do: Ride his bike
across the country.
Boly kept a blog on Tumblr
about his adventure called
“Pedal Quicker, Time Is Catch-
first post, dated April 27, 2014,
he outlines the 10 reasons he
embarked on the trip.
They ranged from nostal-
gic (“My mother was born
in rural Kansas, my father in
rural Missouri. I would like to
have a glimpse into the coun-
try and people they came
from”) and reflective (“Short
of becoming a monk, I can’t
think of a better way to plumb
your depths”) to quixotic (“I
am a volcano of ideas, but
not a dreamer.... Until I dip
my front tire in San Francisco
Bay, I am just another Don
Boly rode about 75 miles a
day, primarily on back roads,
through Virginia, Kentucky,
Illinois, Missouri, Kansas,
Colorado, Utah, Nevada and
California. He encountered
two tornadoes along the
way and persevered through
crosswinds and headwinds
in the Plains. “You can have a
headwind all day long,” Boly
says. “That doesn’t mean you
are going to get a tailwind the
next day.”
Boly’s cross-country
trek ended 65 days after he
started out from his home
in Bethesda, Md., when he
dipped his bike’s front tire into
San Francisco Bay on July 6.
The ride completed, Boly is
now back in Bethesda, Md.
Richard Boly retired as
director of the O•ce of
eDiplomacy. He also served in
Italy, the Dominican Republic,
Ecuador and Paraguay. Before
joining the Foreign Service
he did a variety of things,
including establishing and
running a shrimp hatchery in
coastal Ecuador and help-
FSO Bikes Across the United States to Celebrate Retirement
ing to launch the first Apple
Macintosh computer.
Now he has embarked
on what he calls a “portfo-
lio” career, one that allows
him to combine his creative
talents with his technical
and diplomatic skills. He is
working with the U.S. Institute
of Peace on a new initiative
called the Peace Tech Lab,
which Boly describes as an
“accelerator for innovation in
He is also active in the
Mind the Bridge Founda-
tion, an organization he got
involved with while posted
in Italy that serves to help
grow the “entrepreneurial
And he is in the process
of launching an enterprise he
calls “Bethesda Visual Cre-
atives,” an outlet for creative
talent to meet and share
ideas and work together. This
is the kind of venture that, he
says, his cross-country bike
trip prepared him for in a way.
He had been thinking
about doing BVC for a long
time. Like his bike ride, Boly
says, “Sometimes you just
have to say you’re going to
do it.”
He recalls the familiar
saying that 90 percent of
life is just showing up. “Well,
90 percent of biking across
the country is just getting
up early and getting on your
–Debra Blome,
Associate Editor
Richard Boly reached San Francisco Bay after 65 days on the road.
Left: Boly’s route took him through the Ozark Mountains. Right: He entered
Colorado in early June.
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