Portland, OR  |  503-922-1934

Taking the ride… nothing wrong a little help along the way.

I used to be absolutely against the idea of doing any part of a bike tour by anything but bike.

With an exception for planes, of course…

(It’s hard to plan a tour outside of the AmericasĀ  that doesn’t begin with a flight.)

…and boats:

“The ferry ride from Port Angeles was longer than it looked. I tried to check in early, and was glad I did. Because Canada has a helmet law, I wouldn’t be allowed on the ferry without one. Yikes! What happened to easygoing Canada? I hurried to a Salvation Army a half mile away and luckily found an old one to strap onto the back of the bike. (It might stay back there if I can get away with it.) The water was choppy, but the air was clear, and I could see Victoria in the distance, beckoning above the waves, long before I arrived.”

bikes aboard matey!

… and trains:

“The train station in Barcelona was a mad house. We rolled the loaded bikes painstakingly down a long flight of stairs to a scene of utter chaos. There seemed to be twice as many people along the loading platform than could possible fit on a single train. When the train arrived fifteen minutes late, people pushed toward the doors before they even opened. The next train to our destination was three hours later, so we desperately wedged our bikes toward the doors among the masses. There was more grumbling and some shouting as we pushed separately toward two adjacent doors. Both of our bikes had one pannier strapped onto the top load for a narrower profile, but my bike was still too wide for the opening and I had to thwart passengers and panic to quickly remove the second pannier and throw it ahead of me up the stairs and into the aisle. Passengers behind me continued to shout and push as I struggled to pull the bike up the narrow steps. A man behind me grimaced as he lifted the rear tire and shoved the bike aboard. Meanwhile, Amalia was getting some help through the other door. Passengers were pulling from above and pushing from below and the bike squeezed through the door intact, like a wine cork dropping into the bottle. A few more passengers squeezed in behind us before the horn blew and the doors closed, and suddenly everyone around us settled calmly into their crowded routine commute, as if there had been no excitement at all.”

Czech trains come “beer drinker” equipped.

…and trucks:

“I woke up this morning to incredible heat (and it was early, the sun was only getting started.) I got about 30 km down the road and, since there is no shade in the prairie, took advantage of a lone overpassing cloud to duck off to the shoulder and rest.
The sun was hot, and the brimmed felt hat I’d found on the roadside a month before had blown off the back of the bikeĀ  a week or so ago. I was (am) sunburnt, even though I’ve been wearing sunscreen.
As I pedaled I kept trying to think of positive things like ‘at least this crosswind is cooling me down.’ and ‘however slow I go, a day’s ride is a day’s ride.’ It didn’t matter how happy or unhappy I was about riding though. The fact was that the temperature was 91 degrees, and the sun was beating down, and there wasn’t any shade or shelter of any kind for 25 to 40 km at a time on this road, so stopping for a breather was only a very occasional option.
So I kept pedaling, in this state of nagging discomfort, because there was nothing else to do. It
was probably a couple of hours later that an old flatbed truck pulled up next to me on the highway,
matching my speed of, oh, 10 mph, and a fella leaned out of the passenger side and asked if I wanted a lift to Moose Jaw.
“Yes,” I said, with almost no hesitation, “your timing couldn’t be better.”
So the driver got out and helped me heave my loaded bike onto the back of the truck in a single lump, and I hopped back there with it. I decided, while I sat aboard this truck moving at 110kph, that if I ASK someone for a lift, that might be cheating. But if someone OFFERS a ride at a time like this, well, that’s an act of God. “