The kindness of strangers

Just a short little story to share because I have had way too much to drink tonight and we’re not even going to discuss the number of cupcakes I’ve ingested, other than it’s a sum that rhymes with “regret.”

Earlier today, I did another forty mile loop on my bike. I did one yesterday as well, since I’m trying to hammer out as much mileage as I can each weekend in preparation for cycling my first full century – that’s 100 miles in a single day. (By the way, I’m dedicating my first century to UNICEF UK and raising funds for them. You should totally go donate. Even a single dollar, which is just one penny per mile I’m going to cycle on July 21st, can make a huge difference in the life of a child.)

Anyway, since these were miles 98-138 for my week and  quads were feeling a bit whiney, I’d dropped from my peloton and was riding the last twenty miles effectively solo. About five miles from my end point, I ran out of water. This does not sound like a big deal, but when it’s going to be another 20 minutes and it’s 97 degrees in Houston, that becomes a problem. (Think about it this way. I rode 40 miles today and drank approximately 3.5 liters of water while doing so.)

The stretch of road I was on was fairly lonely. I recalled having seen a gas station, so I turned around to go there, and… it was boarded up and extremely creepy up close. But I did see people around, a bunch of [motorcycle] bikers gathered outside what was apparently a biker bar. Before lunchtime. A bar surrounded by several groups of gangly, feral kittens. I approached, since I know bars do tend to contain water to go with the alcohol.

“You here for church?” one of them asked me.

I was a bit flummoxed, to be honest. And they did, indeed, all have Bibles. I said no, but thank you, I was just hoping to trouble them for water. And a nice older gentleman in a leather vest filled up my Camelbak with cold water from behind the bar.

After I thanked them, one lady told me to be safe out there. The drivers are crazy, and, “it’s important you ride safe. It’s safer for all of us.”

I’d never really heard it put like that, but she put it down there simply, that cyclists and motorcyclists should view each other as natural allies. I liked that, and I hadn’t expected it at all.

The drivers in Texas sure are crazy, but it’s also true that generally, the strangers are very kind. And I wanted to share that as well.

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