It was a Monday early afternoon and I absolutely had to go to get some things at the grocery store. It was going to be a “quick in and out” if that is even possible!
I was standing at the meat coolers, looking at the bacon on sale, and a young woman in biking clothes with a thin,very toned body, moved aside as I directed my cart to the bacon.
“Excuse me”, she said. “No problem,” I answered. Then I moved on.
“I’ll bet she’s a biker,” I thought.
As I left the store, I spied her and her male companion by their bikes. I decided to welcome them. Sabrina is 38 and from Switzerland. David, a New Yorker, was 51 years old.
I informed them that Larned’s beautiful Schnack Park will accommodate bikers — that it has a large pool, and restroom facilities. But I supposed they were stopping in Larned for just a brief break.
Sabrina explained that they ride early in the day to avoid the heat, and that they had already ridden 60 miles.
They had a tailwind, and the weather was cool. It was time to quit. They were pleased to hear about the park, and asked directions.
I drove home with my food; put it away, and decided to run down to the park and check on them. They were lying on the picnic table benches under the shelter, resting.
Summoning all the courage I had, I got out and walked to the table.
I invited them to dinner at our house, and told them that we had a large garden.
“Are you vegetarians?” I asked. They were. My plan was to grill salmon, and put together some veggie dishes.
Before I could explain what I planned to serve, David said, “Yes, Yes, Yes.”
I gave them directions to the house and invited them to come about 6. They didn’t want a ride in the car because they don’t leave their equipment unguarded. Everything they have is on the bikes.
When Sabrina and David arrived, we immediately hit it off. I asked questions. I had the ingredients for hummus, so Dave made hummus in our blender, and we stood around eating chips and hummus.
“I love biking. It’s not an athletic effort particularly. We are in no hurry. It doesn’t matter how far we bike each day. We are here to enjoy the scenery and meet people.” Sabrina said.
The two met on a biking website where bikers find traveling companions, and decided to bike America together. They started in Washington, D.C. when she flew in from Switzerland, and their plan is to bike to San Francisco where they will meet up with friends of David’s.
“Sometimes, when it gets hard, I feel like throwing away my bike, but not too often”, she added.
Both are “free souls” and artistic. David has a PHD in communication, and plays the violin in an orchestra in upstate New York, and he also has been a Science teacher in the Virginia public schools.
Sabrina worked in a bike shop. She plays the guitar and studied social anthropology in college. They both quit their jobs and will find work when they get back to their respective homes. Brave souls.
“My mother told me that it’s all downhill from the East Coast to the West. Afraid that’s not true. The U.S. might be experiencing a downhill slide, but it’s not the kind of downhill that she meant. We are peddling uphill as we cycle west, and we feel it,” added David.
It didn’t take long to grasp his sense of humor. I had to listen to catch his quick remarks. He’s a “whatever will-be, will-be” guy. But Sabrina is the type A personality and she keeps them on a schedule.
Their bicycles are totally loaded down. Coming down the road, the cycles look almost square, with the bags packed on each side of the back wheel, and on top of the carrier.
I asked what their best experiences have been.
David loves “Cookie’s Café” in Golden City, Mo. because they have 25 different homemade pies. He likes to bike so that he can eat more!.
I realized that they had all their supplies with them so we invited them to spend the night. They were thrilled. By then I figured out that they were not dangerous, and besides, Sabrina washed the dishes! They took their shoes off when they came in the front door, and were very thoughtful.
Yup. Great guests.
They were up at 4 a.m. the next morning and I waved them down the driveway as they set out in the dark at 5:15.
I can’t imagine.
“A Woman’s View” is Judi Tabler’s reflection of her experiences and events. She is a wife, mother, writer, teacher, grandmother, and even a great grandmother. Contact Annie at pprarieannie@gmailcom