On bike tours, as in life, it is often a stranger who imparts on you the most valuable pieces of wisdom. Such was the case for me today in rural Georgia. After a morning of excitement in the form of charging pit bulls, overexcited golden labs and beautiful scenery, I stopped for a quick break at a lonely mini mart perched on the intersection of two lazy secondary highways.
As I sat drinking a cold juice in the shade of the building’s eaves, a slightly bedraggled gentleman sauntered up muttering under his breath. After being a [cycling] transient for 5+ months, I am now quite used to interacting with the down & out types that one often encounters while living on the road. I smiled politely and said hello, but before I could return to my beverage he began to comment on my bike.
“Ya’ll ridin dem bikes, ya’ll be crazy!” he exclaimed. “Not crazy, it’s a challenge,” I replied. “Well ya’ll sure do look good. Everyone one of you on a bike. Is that why you be doin this? To look good?”
My answer was reflexive. My mouth spat out the words before my brain was done conjuring them, “No, I ride to feel good.” And with that my new friend nodded in approval, tossed his soda into the trash and continued on down the line.
It was heartening to see a stranger agree that a healthy body is a result of treating yourself with respect – giving it the exercise and movement that it craves. I’m out here riding to feel good about my body, to feel good about the SFT and to encourage others to feel good too. As it turns out, looking good is just a pleasant side effect.