Cycling Along The Way...

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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?

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Andrew Norman Read, English Touring Cyclist From The Netherlands...

"The British are not a very spiritual people, so they invented cricket to give them some idea of eternity." ~ George Bernard Shaw

Over the past month, numerous cyclists have contacted me via Warmshowers (https://www.warmshowers.org/) asking about staying for a night or two. Most, we've been able to say yes to; others, we haven't been able to due to our schedules or because cyclists have contacted us too late and not given us enough time. Andrew is one who we were able to host for a night. He followed on the heels, er, wheels of Jen and Simon (see previous post), who, like Andrew, are English. Andrew now lives in The Netherlands. He's a semi-professional musician and, to support himself in thin times, he has done lots of different kinds of jobs over his lifetime of travels.

A few photos:
    Eileen and Andrew at the counter in our kitchen...

    Andrew prepared to head out for Safford, AZ...

A few years ago, Andrew's father died and left him a bit of inheritance that he's been using to travel by bicycle. When his father was ill, Andrew moved in with his Dad and took care of him until he died. He purchased a custom built Koga touring bicycle with some of the inheritance. It has a Rohloff hub (http://www.rohloff.de/en/products/speedhub/) that has 14 gears and is virtually indestructible, incredibly reliable, and needs very minimal maintenance...essentially, change the oil every 3,000 miles or so. Expensive up front, but very cost effective in the long run. 

Andrew had contacted me before getting to El Paso, TX, so we had time to check our schedules and arrange for him to stay one night despite having just hosted Jen and Simon for two nights. They left on a Monday and Andrew showed up on Wednesday, so it was a quick turn around. Not knowing how he'd do with the climb over Emory Pass, about 3pm, I headed out to check on Andrew's progress. I found him in San Lorenzo, just as he finished coming down the West side of the Black Range. It was around 4pm and I offered to haul him, his bike, and gear to our house to save him the rest of the ride, most of which is just ok. He'd already see the best part of the day's ride coming over Emory Pass. He hesitated momentarily, admitted he was tired, realized it was late and that he wouldn't get to our house until around 7pm, and said ok to the ride by car. No harm or shame. Sometimes, taking a ride in a motor vehicle is just the right thing to do. We unpacked his bike and got it and his gear in the car and off we headed to Silver City. Andrew is a pretty friendly cyclist, actively interacts with people, and had lots of questions about the area and the people. We also chatted about USA politicians, briefly. Seems like the whole world finds it absolutely hilarious, scary, and astounding that someone like a Trump or a Cruz would actually be considered for President by any sane group of humans. As I explained to him, money talks. And, yes, there are enough ignorant people in the USA to support these jackasses.

After getting to the house, we drank a beer or three, then Andrew got cleaned up and, after Eileen got home, we sat down for dinner. Pretty good conversations ensued and around 9pm, Andrew's day of riding and a few beers caught up with him and he headed to bed. Before we knew it, morning was here and Andrew was getting ready to head out. Before leaving, Andrew needed to get a few items (food, etc.) for his trip. We headed to Albertsons, where he picked up the goods he wanted and got back to the house, so he could finish packing and get on the road to Safford, AZ.

We enjoyed Andrew's visit with us and wish him well down the road. His plan is to ride around the USA. He's headed to San Diego, CA, then north to Washington, then East to the Atlantic, then South to San Augustine, FL, where he started his trip. I'm envious. It sounds like a great tour. 

A few more photos:
    Putting the Ortlieb panniers on the Koga...

    A photo of the Koga...

    The world famous Rohloff hub...

    Another good idea...a kickstand front and rear from Koga...

A few short video clips of Andrew getting ready to leave for Safford, AZ:

So, a tune to close with. Andrew spent a few years in Ireland, mostly Galway, I believe, playing Irish music on the street with a couple of other musicians. In recognition of that, here's a tune from Randal Bays, another non-Irishman who plays some damn fine Irish music.  This is Randal with Dave Marshall playing some Irish reels...don't know the names, but enjoy them anyways! http://youtu.be/dkZRztjdB6w And one more with Randal playing guitar...with someone that I don't know nor do I know what the tune is, but WTF, enjoy it...http://youtu.be/r9Y655mjACE. Happy Trails, Andrew!!!