Bicycling down the Oregon and California Coast this past summer was fun. There was a constant flow of cyclists, all with interesting stories.
Since leaving the US, we’ve encountered a handful of people out bicycling like us, but the encounters are few and far between. The last time we met a cyclist was nearly two months ago, outside of the Tikal ruins in Guatemala.
That’s what made today such an unusual day. During an early morning stop for water (it was another scorcher of a day) the shop owner asked if we were part of “the group”. He told us of two people ahead of us, passing about an hour earlier. He indicated that the day before, a man on a unicycle stopped in his store, traveling in the same direction.
We were a bit incredulous about someone touring on unicycle but we had him describe it again and finally draw a picture of what he saw the man riding. There’s definitely a nutter ahead of us on a unicycle. I dubbed this mysterious man “The Unitard.”
A short while later we saw a fully loaded tourer approaching from the opposite direction. We stopped and had a wonderful chat with Joceline, a French guy who quit work, flew to Tierra del Fuego and was biking north. He’d been on the road for about a year. While talking, we attracted a gaggle of school children who asked us a lot of questions about our trips and gear.
One little girl spoke a little English but was too shy to speak. She would whisper what she wanted to say in her friends ear, who would repeat it. “What is your name?”, “Where are you from”. I actually think the first girl was an awesome ventriloquist — I never saw her lips move.
Joceline told us of a group of ten people he encountered earlier that morning. They were lead by a Brazilian guy in his 70s and they were raising funds for a cause.
About an hour later we encountered four stragglers from the group of ten as they were finishing some cold drinks in the shade of a small store. Unfortunately, we never learned the name of the cause or the name of the organizer. However, I suspect their leader is Mestre Acordeon, who is responsible for introducing Capoeira to the United States. His studio is in Berkely, California. While staying in San Francisco, I read an article about his planned trip.
I thought we might cross paths before the end of the day in Choluteca, the next city where his group planned to stay. I had a flat which delayed us. As I was repairing it, another bicycle tourist rolled up from the opposite direction. Bill was from the state of Michigan and was on a round trip tour. He was on his way back to Cancun, Mexico to fly home.
After going months without meeting another bicycle tourist we ran into three separate groups in one day.
Unfortunately, we never saw the group of ten again that day. We did manage to hole up in a cheap hotel, enjoy the semi-functional air conditioning and began to rehydrate.