Cycling Along The Way...

My photo
Silver City, NM, United States
Riders of the wheel. Racers, Roadies, Mountain bikers, Touring cyclists, Commuters, and others. Diamond frames, recumbents, trikes, and more. Sharing a web of connections often misunderstood or unappreciated by those who don't ride. Herewith, my attempt to share some of the more rational thoughts that flit around inside my head while bicycling, knocking back a brew or three, or just thinking about life. Reviews of bicycles, gear, touring, and more, plus some unsolicited posts about people, politics, and philosophy. Other things, too. Me: retired, gave up my TV in 1988, avid cyclist, several cross country tours completed with more to come. Your thoughts?

Sunday, July 7, 2013

A Quandry With Hosting Bicyclists...

“I hate a song that makes you think that you are not any good. I hate a song that makes you think that you are just born to lose. Bound to lose. No good to nobody. No good for nothing. Because you are too old or too young or too fat or too slim or too ugly or too this or too that. Songs that run you down or poke fun at you on account of your bad luck or hard travelling. I am out to fight those songs to my very last breath of air and my last drop of blood. I am out to sing songs that will prove to you that this is your world and that if it has hit you pretty hard and knocked you for a dozen loops, no matter what color, what size you are, how you are built, I am out to sing the songs that make you take pride in yourself and in your work. And the songs that I sing are made up for the most part by all sorts of folks just about like you. I could hire out to the other side, the big money side, and get several dollars every week just to quit singing my own kind of songs and to sing the kind that knock you down still farther and the ones that poke fun at you even more and the ones that make you think that you've not got any sense at all. But I decided a long time ago that I'd starve to death before I'd sing any such songs as that. The radio waves and your movies and your jukeboxes and your songbooks are already loaded down and running over with such no good songs as that anyhow.” ~ Woody Guthrie

Often, life hands us things that are complicated on the surface yet simplistic when examined. At least, I think it does. Sometimes. Recently, we hosted two people, on separate nights, who are riding the Adventure Cycling Association's Southern Tier Route. Both are on very different missions. Both are looking for things. Both are very different people.

On the surface, these two cyclists are very similar. Around 30 yrs old. Both living in the Los Angeles, CA, area. One had grown up there; the other has lived there for the past 5yrs. College graduates. Uncertain of where to go next. One more mature than the other. Strong riders. Friendly people. Enjoyed their company. One more high energy than the other thus demanding more attention just due to the energy level.

Eileen and I were struck by the difference in energy from these two. But, overall, they were two young men on a journey. The high energy rider posted on his blog about his experiences coming through Safford, AZ, the Apache reservation in Arizona, and a brew pub in Las Cruces. Before reading his post, I had no negative thoughts about this young rider. Sure, he was a high energy person, but I can deal with that. However, after reading the post he put up which was demeaning to two other hosts who let him spend a night with them, not to mention his blanket condemnation of the Apache people, I had a change of heart. True, maybe this trip is part of what he needs to mature. So be it. But what he posted is mean-spirited.

This is the first time I've experienced this with one of the touring cyclists that's stayed with us. Sure, others have stayed who have been good people, but, like life, we just didn't click. Some who have stayed with us, we've really clicked with and are still in touch with them.

The rider who stayed with us next was very different. More mature yet still young and searching for some answers, but much more focused. He spoke of his previous college years, thoughts about medical school, and his family. Big family that was created for various reasons...but a family. He's headed to New Orleans where he'll meet up with his brother and a nephew he's not met yet. From there, it's back to Maryland, where he grew up. And where the rest of his family lives. This rider isn't doing a blog, but I did hear back from him and he's doing fine.

We wish both of these riders well and happy trails. The one rider we hope for some enlightenment/maturity. For both, we hope they find some answers. We will continue to host touring cyclists despite our encounter.

A time to exit with a tune... Woody Guthrie singing "This Land Is Your Land".  The good, the bad, the beautiful, the plain, the ugly, the sublime.