I’ve been solo on the road for a week now. Pedaling away from the comfort of the company of Matt and Eric was not an easy feat. I think I underestimated just how nervous I’d be, setting out on my own. Thankfully, the necessities of the road keep the mind engaged, and the melancholy feeling faded away quickly.
One thing that has stood out throughout the trip, is the helpfulness and generosity of strangers. There is something about bike touring that lends itself to people being curious and helping out. This comes in many forms, but one of the most meaningful is shelter. I’ve been using the program “Warm Showers” whenever possible. It’s an arrangement where people sign up as hosts by welcoming bike tourists into their homes and providing what amenities they can; anything from a place to pitch a tent, a bed, bathroom or a meal. I’ve stayed with half a dozen hosts, and every experience has been amazing. There is something so comforting to know you are headed to a welcoming place with a place to dry out, especially this time of year. Most of my hosts are like minded people, who have toured in the past and experienced the generosity of strangers on their own. It’s a way of playing it foreword.
Just the other night, while checking in to a RV campsite, the guy behind me overheard my conversation with the receptionist. I didn’t want to shell out the $65 dollars for a cabin and opted for a $25 campsite. Just as I was pulling into my spot, he caught up to me an offered me a bunk bed in the cabin he just rented. Of course one must use judgement. It’s not everyday someone just asks you to come sleep in their house or hotel room. In this case we had a quick introduction, realized we both fought fire, and I felt fine setting up in his cabin. It sure felt good as I was drying out all my soaked gear and listening to the wind and rain outside. It’s also a solid reminder of the kindness of humanity. It’s so easy to wall yourself off from everyone inside a car, RV, or home. I wish these acts of kindness were more present in our everyday lives.