You are thinking – I do not have with whom to go. You are thinking – it's too far and too hard. And how it's so without arranging your accommodation earlier?? I will be attacked and what maybe even robbed. or raped, beaten. In general it certainly will not make it!
Maybe it will really be to hard and you will not make it. You don't need to do it – there is no such obligation! But if you want to and you think bike is “cool” - think, and . experiment. Please read, how the others I know make it happen – oridinary people “but at the same time – so unique”. These just some of the people, I was lucky to meet.
Rustic. Bike and not only wanderer from northern Poland. We got to know each other 10 years ago, when I guided bike group in Masuria lakes. Almost every day someone new was coming adn deaparting since that is the trips formula of the association. Maciek enrolled for the route from Ketrzyn and was to join the next day.
Are you in charge here"a man and a woman in their fifties, Maciek's parents as they turned out to be, watched me carefully. They came to talk.
You know, Maciek is handicapped. he does not have both arms and one leg, he has protheses. He just came up with a crazy idea, that he will join you, but we do not know whether you can handle to be with a group of "normal" bikers.. He cycles on a special horizontal bike.
Whas I more surprised or scared…? I do not know how to determine my feelings. On the one hand, there is the thought, sure, no problem – let him join the group, he can go slower, Nobody here does not dictate the pace of cycling, that is the rule, but then the second thought comes .... wait, wait, how about such a trivial matter as the daily toilet, eating. how does it look like? The areas go beyond the boundaries of intimacy, that most of us are not even considering special, and after all, we use hands without much thinking. How much help he might need, and what will the others say, Will he be welcomed well. maybe someone will not be happy with it? I cannot predict and influence others' reactions.
Fortunately nothing like this happened and Maciek joined our group yet on several occasions. He is handling his things well and rarely asks for help and others help him willingly. And like others he got a reprimand when needed ;). Now for several years I am watching as Maciek travels alone. Oh sorry – sometimes with a dog, sometimes with another cyclist, but most often solo! And when I hear, how I am brave and courageous riding alone it reminds me of Maciek – in Ukraine, in the mountains, lakes, here and there. With a backpack and tent attached to his bike. And I sware, what a big courage it must be, to leave your house, get on your bike, get it somehow to the train (how?) or a bus. withstand all these people looking at you, answer to dozens of questions, but just to go somewhere. Interview with Maciek was published the bike magazine Rowertour, You can read it here.
Eluśka. Like me, you can qualify here as bike madman (madwomen?), thave to get on two wheels , otherwise she would die. Two years ago she had to stop, for good – she underwent surgery of her spine. Her body filled in with a few screws now and she barely could stand a summer season without cycling, but the next year already she took loan and purchased an electric bike, and flew with it to Georgia. And this year to Kyrgyzstan and back to Georgia. Alone. Just to cycle, meet people and talk with. Simply.
– Well, when the distance was big and I knew, I will not make it I used to rent a car, that would get me and my bike somewhere further, or uphill. There have alwyas been someone, to help. There was no problem.
Tom. His loud laughter pierce above all others I;ve known and is absolutely contagious. I will always associate it with roads in Lithuania and Latvia, that we cycled together a couple of years ago in the larger group. His laughter I was even planning to record as a ringtone for my mobile. Even then, due to a mysterious disease, that attacked his muscles it was not easy for him , but still it was better to cycle than to walk. I also remember the trip in Crimea, Ukraine, When I was dying from heat pushing my bike uphill, there was a car that passed me and I saw a bicycle sticking out or it. Ewaaaaaa, heeeeej! I heard the voice of Tom – obviously he found a way to overcome the obstacles. Now he is stil cycling in Poland and Europe, could've been a little slower, and with a little help of his friends , but he is traveling by bike. And infects other with his laughter. Tom (i Mira), you are super, keep it like this!
Hania is my most recent "discovery". Just as Ela she has serious back problems. She has alrady cycled before on short trips around home , but this year she bought the whole camping equipment, I even advised her a little. She said, It's high time and she should have done it long time before, and in the summer she packed her bags, attached her tent and sleeping bag on the rack, and departed for two weeks to cycle the Polish Baltic sea coast. All by herself surely.
– I've noticed, that I always take backroads with the bike, Usually through the sand and then I have to push it and it is a little hard then. And I liked wild camp much more than those crowded and loud campsites. Six times as I slept like this. It was hot and there was problem with washing, but it was great to put my tent in the woods . I only have to improve washing logistics a little.
It took me many years, before I dared to put my tent in the wild being alone and Hania apparently has innate talent to do it!
One is would call it courage, another lack of imagination and responsibility. Or maybe it's the passion? Call it as you like. Such people like Maciek, Elka, Hania, Tom inspire me and prove, you can do it if you like.
If you know such oridinary-unique personalities share their story!
Best greetings to those I know, and those I don't, and. I am not able to menion all of them . See you on the roads!
ps. Photo comes from Maciek's archive