Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Day 21 - 6/28/16 Chesterland to Elyria, OH

Today was my latest start yet.  I didn't leave Chesterland until 1:00pm.  I was totally fine with that though.  Mary Kay stuffed me full of stuffed crepes and then she even rode the first 18 miles with me to Cleveland.  It's really nice to have a riding buddy.  It reminds me of when I was younger when all my friends and I would just ride around with no real place to go.  Cleveland was not my favorite place to ride.  

There were no bike lanes in the street so I found myself riding on the sidewalk a lot where I was dodging broken glass like some kind of video game.  I also got stuck at more red lights today than in all my days of riding on this trip.  After breaking out of the city, the scenery gently faded back into the farmland that I've become familiar with except, now it's as flat as a bowing alley. Elyria was ny destination to stay with Larry.  

What a guy.  Another kind soul I can add to the list I've met in Ohio.  Larry is 73 years old and lives with his cat, Opie.  He may seem like your typical retired man but Larry actually rode his bike across the country 4 years prior to me meeting him.  He did his cross country ride with a group of 19 in some sort of guided tour where meals and sleeping arrangements are prepared and a few vans actually carry the luggage of all the riders.  

Because they got to ride unencumbered, this group of 19 were crushing between 80 and 100 miles a day and they made it from California to Delaware is 45 days.  As a fellow vegetarian, he took me out for an incredible dinner of tofu steaks in Oberlin, yet another rural college town that resonates with my heart the same way Amherst, Massachusetts does.  On the way we listened to Simon and Garfunkel and found out how similar our taste in music is.  Later, Larry told me about all the cycling clubs he's belonged to over the years and how bicycling has been embedded in his life since he was just a teenager.  

My eyes just keep opening wider and wider to all the wonderful things cycling can bring into a persons life.  I just want to say to anyone even considering any length of a bike tour to just go out and do it.  For me, in just 3 weeks, it's been an experience I will never forget and I still have thousands of miles to go.

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