Empowering The Bicycle Traveler


Anybody with a computer and an internet connection can have a blog. A cynic might assume that since the entry barriers are so low  bloggers might be shallow and narcissistic and their blogs trivial and insignificant.  And since traditional journalism has  fact checkers and editors it is, in theory at least, reliable. What’s to certify that a blog or blogger is accredited or has value?
In reality, the blogosphere reveals to me that there are many, many smart, articulate people out there with much to share. People who might not get a chance to share without the internets.

In “The Importance of Respect” from The Stone Mind blog Justin writes ” When we come to a climb without respect or an interest in learning, we see nothing but a goal to be achieved. In such a state, we might wish to skip to the end by any means, as a child who moves his piece to the final square of a board game and mistakes himself the winner. We might want to announce our accomplishment or log it on a scorecard, but what we have really learned cannot be verbalized or assigned a numerical value“.
The sentiment applies to bike touring.  Choosing to travel under my own power means I need to be aware and mindful of where I am. Because I don’t have any choice…I’m not going anywhere very fast. Having self-appointed expectations leads to self-induced disappointments. When I hear somebody say they want to ride the bike across the US I want to ask; Why? If it’s because they love being out on the bike for hours on end and the feeling of freedom that goes with it, then I think that’s great. If they have something to prove to themselves or to somebody else, I think why not stay home and train for a triathlon. There are too many things beyond our control on a bike tour to have unwavering goals. If we get sick or injured or have a major mechanical or simply get discouraged and decide to go home, it shouldn’t be seen as some sort of failure. I just realized that my recent tours have probably been too goal oriented. I gave myself a certain amount of time to cover a certain distance and I set it more or less in stone by purchasing airline tickets in advance. I think I’ll do an open ended tour next time. I’ll just start riding and when I run out of time or motivation, I’ll quit. In between, I’ll try to pay attention and to be present and humble.

Blogging has the power to form connections between people. I used to read the entries of a gentleman living in Bayou Blue, LA who went by the name Old Fool. He wrote about simple chores around his home, about his wife, bicycles and sometimes, obliquely, about politics. I got the feeling there was some anger, but he never came across as hateful.
Old Fool’s last post indicated he was having some difficulty typing, and I recently learned (from another blogger) that he suffered a stroke and passed away in September, 2012. I couldn’t understand how I could feel so sad about somebody I didn’t even know.  But I sensed a humble person, one with a kindred, eremitic spirit. It has been another reminder to me that I have little control over events.
R.I.P. Old Fool.

5 comments… add one
  • G.E. March 2, 2013, 3:46 pm

    I believe that our ability to connect via blogs and through the internet is quite powerful, and even when we don’t officially know a person, we grow fond of bloggers through their words and the impressions we draw from those words of the individual. It gives us a sense of knowing the person, even if we’re only getting a glimpse of his/her life. There is much to be found online – much of it garbage – but as you point out, there is a great deal of value as well.

    • Bike Hermit March 2, 2013, 8:06 pm

      Thanks for taking the time to read and to comment! That means a lot.

  • Linda March 14, 2013, 8:28 am

    It is crazy how we connect to one another through the blogosphere. It never ceases to amaze me how the world shrinks as we develop real virtual friendships with people from far flung time-zones. Now how’s that for an oxymoron?

    • Bike Hermit March 15, 2013, 9:01 am

      This hermit appreciates his real time friends, and to his surprise he is making more of them all the time via bikes and bike touring. It’s exciting to be able to connect with people from other parts of the country/world too though. A real time interaction is more nuanced and spontaneous….but can sometimes be awkward. We can chose how and when we relate to our virtual friends- it just took me 20 minutes to write these lines!

  • Gary September 29, 2013, 3:25 am

    Thank you for sharing. Sounds trite but I mean it sincerely. I’m riding here in Thailand for now, 66 and still learning. G


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