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How to navigate to "Straying Home," my e-book about adolescent self-discovery through global travel. Just click on a Chapter tab, 1 to 5, immediately below.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

THE GOOD, THE BRAVE, THE GENEROUS: stories from THE GREAT DIVIDE BIKE RACE 2016

Last week, Dave Reeck returned home after some extraordinary riding on his bike for over 1,500 miles down the North American continental divide. He rode from cushy Banff, Alberta to Steamboat Steams, Colorado.

Dave was participating in the Great Divide 2016 bike race, along with some 180 other contenders. Even as he rode, reports of global chaos, bigotry, regional war, and blood flowing in the streets of Nice engulfed the world and each of us as individual news readers. 

How can we keep our heads up and and our emotional lives healed? 

To help my readers and myself I will cite some of the generosity that Dave encountered on the Great Divide bike race, 2016.

 
Dave Reeck and some of his gear


Incredibly, Dave’s extra-strong front tire went flat on the first day out of Banff! He handled this emergency initially by sewing the tire  with a special needle and thread. However, on the gravel roads and single path trails the repair failed.

Good Samaritans 1 and 2: in the wilderness 10 miles north of Elkford, British Columbia. Snow, a visit by a bear, and later another, and evening was coming on. Dave camped there in the snow. Shortly, Randy Karsten, another Great Divide rider, happened by. Randy lent Dave his tire sewing kit. Dave rode a couple of miles, but then the tire went flat again.

At this time Dave was on a back-country road. A truck approached, stopped, the driver gave Dave a ride to a hotel into Elkton. The next day a driver transported Dave to the nearest bike shop, about twenty five miles away at Fernie, B.C., where he bought a new tire, needle and thread. The first big crisis was solved and Dave continued his journey. Dave credits complete strangers with friendly and generous help. 

Good Samaritans 3. A few days later, in Western Montana in the midst of high mountains, lovely meadows and crystal clear lakes. Late one afternoon Dave decided to camp overnight instead of paying an exorbitant price for lodging. In his search for a camp spot he noticed some children playing near a large lodge. He stopped to play with the kids a bit. The parents appeared and talked with Dave. Trusting him, they offered him an overnight lodging in their home-in-the-large-lodge. Not only a comfortable place to sleep, but also access to a clothes washer.



Good Samaritans 4 and 5. Still in Montana, another small town and supper in a small restaurant. Dave reached for his wallet; the wallet wasn’t in his pocket! Dave concluded that he’d lost it on the road. Gregor, a fellow rider and Good Samaritan 4, paid for Dave’s meal and Dave snuck out to camp on the lawn.

Next day Dave called his wife, Marcie, to report his financial emergency. But by this time, Marcie had been contacted by Elizabeth Wick, who had Dave's wallet in Montana. The Wick family had come along the road Dave traveled earlier and spotted the wallet lying on the gravel roadbed. These folks located Dave’s Facebook page and notified his family and friends about finding the wallet. Through their generosity and honesty Dave reunited with his wallet. He could continue his journey.

At the conclusion of his journey Dave wrote,  “P.S. special thanks to the trail angels and riding companions – it was a joy meeting you, the very best thing on my adventure." These and other stories are told very ably by Dave himself on his site. I urge you to read more by the Great Divide rider-and-writer himself.

Dave is a great bicycler and a terrific personality. He rode from a position of strength. Still, when he needed help good human beings stepped up.

It helps me to remember that human kindness and cooperation is so much greater a force than people harming people we encounter in the news and in our lives. Remembering marvelous Good Samaritan stories, your own or those told you by others, will help relieve your “violence fatigue” from which we all suffer this weekend and during these days.


Photos and stories courtesy of Dave Reeck

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