Riding a bicycle that has bags loaded over two racks, things strapped, stuffed, and dangling off of nearly every inch of empty space draws a certain amount of attention from locals. Frequently, we are asked about our destination, the weight … Continue reading
I write throwing sidelong glances at a tiny screen, one leg crossed over the other, one foot stuck through the spokes of the back wheel of my bicycle, with my back against one of those new refrigerators designed to look … Continue reading
We made it to Simferopol and met a friend. Upon arrival, he seized all the rolls of film I have been lugging around, exposed but unprocessed, since we began this whole trip, only to take them into his friend’s shop … Continue reading
Broke a rack, blew up a cable housing, bent a derailleur, had all the hardware in a crankshaft replaced, ripped holes in shirts, socks, pants; used a lot of duct tape and limped to nearest cities where we were wholly … Continue reading
The Carpathians; inhabited largely by tradition, cattle farmers , wild berries and the ever present cool mountain fog. We climb into the heart of Ukraine’s only mountain range, and frolic along its highest ridgeline, by way of steep, curly, and … Continue reading
We arrived in L’viv, Ukraine during the early part of a Sunday evening at the tail end of an annual jazz music festival after climbing hill after green hill, leapfrogging with other cyclists out for a ride on a nice … Continue reading
Unfortunately, this post must coincide (maybe even precede) my account of my time spent in Russia. I write this from a hotel room maybe one mile from the Poland-Ukraine border, on the Ukraine side. It is the kind of hotel … Continue reading
Russia. An incredibly vast and diverse land and people. It houses a language that caresses my dumb American ears. My time here is almost up, and I unfortunately have been so occupied with experience that writing has been largely neglected. Please accept my apologies for the quality of photos, as I struggle not only to find a place to develop film but also a place to scan photos in.
I solemnly swear to write more on this wholly hospitable country and my travels within it very soon. In a few days, I will pack, again, and return to Helsinki to meet my bike partner and we will ride, ride, ride.
Before I free the sails, I must send my sincerest gratitude to all of those who provided me (and Alan) with aid, encouragement, advice/experiential knowledge, patience and distraction. I hope I will be able to refrain from an intolerably dry list of names:
To the kind folks at Mountain Trails, Gene, Lydia, Arthur, Diane, and Rowdy the Dog, in Winchester, VA for special ordering things, patiently answering the same questions for weeks, organizing trips for equipment test runs, lending me personal equipment to test before making purchases, consulting, advising, distracting me with delightful IPAs from the local pub during proposed “staff meetings”, allowing me to spend almost as much time in the shop as they do; sitting, reading, knitting and entertaining my favorite Rowdy the Dog; and for providing invaluable encouragement and support. Please note that no list could adequately thank these folks.
Matthew Wikswo for his unfathomable analytical capacity, incredibly warm hearth, and for his utilization of his position of power for the greater good.
The folks at Shenandoah Bicycle Company in Harrisonburg, VA for providing service excellent enough to make the one hour shlepp for any bicycle needs. I hope they like ginger snaps.
Tim Gyovai at New World Pasta in Winchester for a mind blowing, ultra informational tour of the local pasta plant, not to mention sending us off with more pasta than we could carry.
To Mike Goff, Bob Green, Bob Peak, Maria Baker, Petar Krastev, Evgenii Zemskov for enthusiastically acting as pro bono consultants.
To Bryan and Deb Simon for their comprehensive research for our first aid needs, for sending us a box full of supplies and for cooking us a delicious dinner in their beautiful home.
To the people employed by the Fayetteville Public Library who did everything within their power and then some to obtain the multitude of obscure text I required during the research process.
To Darina at Quickstartbulgarian.net for giving me access to a great six lesson audio/visual program to help build a foundation for the Bulgarian language as well as lessons on Bulgarian culture. Aside from spending time with Bulgarian speakers, this program has been the best thing I have run across in my research of the Bulgarian language.
Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation for their important roll in the facilitation of connections between those who travel to the far corners of the earth and those who require information from paths less traveled.
To Dave and Linda Lay at Linda’s Mercantile who have been more than accepting and supportive of my transience as an employee, and who worry about me while I am gone as they would their own daughter.
To the sweet face of the manager of my personal shipping department for his infallible optimism and charm.
To his wife for her level head and brilliant problem solving skills.
To Alan, for being a pillar of infallible strength and patience; for planning, researching and organizing; for being not only willing but also excited to spend 40+ days of one-on-one time man hauling across frozen lands with one very inexperienced skier; and for being the best friend a girl could ever have.
With love, farewell.
I stand resting both hands on the swollen wood before me as if bracing myself, watching thin roves of fog slip from their matron bulk and race away. The delayed and dulled roar of the mighty New below mingles with … Continue reading