Sunday, February 7, 2010

People in Passing

Crescent City
10:00 Super Bowl Sunday

It's sunny everywhere I want to go today and forecast to stay that way. The roads will be dry. I'll be able to wear less gear so I'll more comfortable, more able to move around on the bike, use my whole body to guide it around corners that I'll be better able to read without rain or road spray on my face shield.

But later this after noon it'll get ugly out there on the roads. Statistics sadly show that more people (mostly men) drink and drive on Super Bowl Sunday than any other day of the year, including New Years Eve. When the game starts, I'll be on the Interstate.

I've always been a solo rider, an extension of the fact that I'm a fairly solitary person. I like my own company, which is a good thing when you're locked inside your helmet with yourself for hours and days at a time. If a fight broke out in there, it would be ugly.

Even on long rides where the miles must die I take the time to talk to the people I meet along the way. Sometimes they seek me out (mostly kids, sometimes other road warriors), sometimes we're forced together by necessity: the server at the restaurant, the service writer at the bike dealership, the motel desk clerk. Less often it's me doing the seeking, usually asking directions (I've done this entire trip without any maps.)

No matter how the encounter starts, it's always a joy to rediscover how open and friendly people are no matter their age, their location or - and this has been really evident this past year - their circumstances.

When I stopped yesterday to take a picture of the majestic Golden Gate Bridge a couple in their late twenties walked past me. The man was slightly ahead, leading, his beautiful partner behind slightly. As she walked close by me she lifted her left hand and looked at the diamond ring on the third finger. Ah, just engaged!

She came to her man where he stood leaning against the stone wall of the viewpoint and pressed herself against him as he folded his arms around her. She cradled his face in both her hands and kissed him. When she looked at him, it was a look of the purest, most intense love. They glowed, the air around them glowed and the fog that enveloped the great bridge shrunk back in surrender.

Riding restores my peace of mind, restores my youth and the people I meet along the way restore my faith in humanity.

Time for breakfast and sunshine.