Tomorrow we fly to San Jose to see our friends, retrieve our equipment, and get ready to roll north.
Every bike uses different muscles. Our machine is in California. Jeffrey is in New York. So don’t expect too much from my chauffeur on his first few days. He will do his conditioning on the road.
Jeffrey is uneasy before these adventures. Terrain, weather, motor vehicles, are beyond our control. Much will be unfamiliar. Much can go wrong. The future can’t be known.
But we have a lot going for us. We have the unquestioned right to be in the U.S. Cops are our friends. We are well supplied with gear and credit cards. Jeffrey speaks English. In a world where books are judged by their covers, Americans find his mien disarming: pale skin, modest dress (shirts with collars and buttons, no Spandex), indeterminate accent, and quiet self-propulsion . . .
. . . on a machine flying the Stars and Stripes. People assume the best of him. No one fears an old “white” guy on a recumbent bike.
And our absence from our safe home, and from Jeffrey’s true love (Jeffrey is such a sap!), will be for weeks. Not for ever.
Imagine the feelings of Jeffrey’s fellow humans who flee Central America. Their right to breathe in the U.S. is questioned. They fear police; American criminals take advantage of that fear. They have no property, no money, and no means to acquire either. They don’t speak English. Their skin tone excites prejudice. Many people assume the worst of them. Government enforcers, public and private jailers, and a significant minority of American politicians and their constituents, are eager to lock them up and then to expel them.
If you feel our pre-Ride fear—if you admire, even a little, our bit of courage—think of our asylum-seeking neighbors, from every country of persecution, whose terror drives them to risk their lives. To face deserts and barbed wire, bandits and cops and jails. To put their kids in peril, because the danger of fleeing is less than the danger of staying. To leave their homes, their families and communities, perhaps forever.
Open your heart to them.
We’ll be in touch from the Pacific Coast.