Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Biking, and an evening with a bicycle traveler

As a member of the online Warm Showers List, I was privileged last evening to host another long-distance bicycle tourist. Jose, from the Chicago area, had called me the day before, asking if he could camp on my lawn as he passed through the Capital District. Knowing it was going to be a damp night, I offered him my spare room instead, along with a garage for his bike, dinner, and breakfast. I've had a few other requests like this since I joined the list, and they're all different. What's always the same is that we're all bicyclists, and there's no shortage of good conversation and sharing our stories of life on the road.

Jose left Seattle in June, on his way to Boston, a cross-country trip. But his trip doesn't end there. He's hoping to touch all 48 continental states, a journey that he estimates will take him the better part of two years, and over 12,000 miles. Only 25-30 years old, he quit his 10-year job, and threw everything into this trip. Amazing stuff, even to one who has biked coast-to-coast himself.

We spent a lot of time talking over dinner and breakfast, and then it was time for him to go. He needed to get from my home in Rotterdam to NY-7 east out of Troy, so I rode with him through Schenectady to the Mohawk-Hudson Bikeway near the GE R&D Center, and on to the Niskayuna Railroad Station where we parted ways. He'll be picking off a corner of Vermont over the next few days, and then heading south to US-20 across Massachusetts, having followed US-20 much of the way across the country already. Trying to stay ahead of winter, he'll be headed down the east coast after touching each of the New England states. He takes it as a compliment when people call him "crazy".

Jose has a blog, and I for one will be following him the rest of the way. He's also trying to raise money for a charity to fund a water well for a village in Cameroon, Africa, and there's a link there as well. I wish him the best of luck, and admire him for following his dream.

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