Why haven’t I done this before?!
Ernesto Guevara once commented on the way bums with wheels had a much easier time finding sympathy then bums without wheels. His motorcycle had finally broken beyond repair, but even a broken bike implied some level of class, whereas a bum of foot was just a bum.
And it’s true isn’t it? A hitchhiker with a crappy broken bicycle seems some how less sketchy then the same person with only a backpack, or at least that’s how many people see it.
Now, in reality my backpack is actually worth more then the old bicycle I pulled out of my parents shed, but after my recent border (not)crossing fiasco the added legitimacy of a bicycle seemed like a good move.
And I have to say…I’m impressed.
I love walking, it’s so simple and so old, humans have been walking for something like 6 million years, where as bicycles have been around for a couple hundred years give or take. I know this because I googled it. Walking is simple and I like that, it’s still my top choice all around, but I’m definitely coming around on bicycles.
It kind of started as a way to look more legit. “I can always just ditch the bike once I’m in”. Next I figured I might as well get some panniers (bike bags) “because I’m sure I’ll need them some day” and due to a deal I have as a wilderness guide I got some very nice ones very cheap. “Shame not to use these” I thought, so I figured it was time to track down an actual bike.
My cousin is a genius with bikes, and he got me even more stoked on the whole thing, so I started poking around my parents shed and found (surprise surprise) my old mountain bike! It was originally my moms, then I got bigger and started using it, then I got more bigger and got a car…so it hadn’t been ridden in years. You could tell by the thick layer of spider webs, mildew, grease, and dirt all mixed together :)
I also found a nice road bike, but as I prefer to avoid roads it didn’t seem like my best bet for bike touring.
So…with the mountain bike in tow I headed over to my cousins place, and sure enough, after a little oil and a lot of rags I’m now the proud owner of a “touring” bike, yay! It’s a beast if I dare say so, steel framed and old enough not to have shocks. My cousin loaned me a back rack and I’ll be adding a front rack, but other than that it’s ready to roll, and it rolls quite nicely too.
Now I’m surprisingly excited by the prospect of bike touring. Of course I haven’t a clue what I’m doing…I have yet to load up the panniers and even try and ride the thing, but it all seems quite promising.
Last week I went for a ride with my brother, I used the road bike just to give it a go (I don’t think I’d ridden a road bike before). It was fantastic! 15 miles slipped by in an hour or so, what would have been a very full day backpacking, and it felt down right easy.
Maybe I’ve spoken too early…maybe it will fail in some epic and unexpected why, but until then I’m just wondering why it took me so long?