Here on Bike and Build we depend a lot on the kindness of strangers. Every place we spend the night allows us to stay for free. They usually provide dinner and often ever cook us breakfast. The folks we have come upon along the route have gifted to us soda, ice cream, and not one, but two birdhouses! After life in the Seattle Freeze (I exaggerate), I have been bowled over by the generosity of people we will never see again.
On our notorious 70-mile ride from Poughkeepsie to Roscoe, New York, we met some folks who really went above and beyond anything I could have imagined.
C.K.L. and I were sweeping that day, which rant we rode in the back to make sure everyone got in to the host site by the end of the day. It was a long, challenging ride.
We joined up with E.F. and J.C., both of whom had suffered some mechanical issues earlier in the day, just I time to conquer the infamous Hunter Road, which went over one of the tallest and steepest mountains in the Catskills. It was late in the day and we were tired and sore, but we made it over!
However, we still had more than 20 miles to go and some ominous clouds were rolling in. Suddenly, thunder crashes overhead and the heavens opened up on us. The Rafa got slick, our brakes got wet, and the sky got dark. Visibility was next to nothing. The J.C. got a flat tire. We were in a very bad way, to say the least.
As E.F. and I helped J.C. change her flat, C.K.L. rode ahead to seek out shelter. As the storm picked up in intensity, I grew more worried, unt, out of nowhere, a Kia Soul appeared. The man behind the wheel said that he lived up the road and C.K.L. was waiting on his porch. He promptly loaded J.C.’s bike into his trunk, while E.F. and I rode on toward our refuge.
When we arrived, our savior’ wife was waiting with warm, dry towels. It was heavenly.
As we dried off, our savior asked us what we needed. “Water? Warm Gatorade? I’m afraid the only cold beverage I have is beer. You want a beer?” That last offer was tempting, but we declined. Instead, his wife brought us steaming mugs of blueberry tea. Then, a plate of cheese and crackers appeared as if out of thin air.
As I sat wrapped in a dry towel, sipping on hot tea, and munching on cheese, while the lightning flagged and the rain poured down around us, I was floored by the generosity of these complete strangers. I didn’t know their names, nor did they ask for ours, but they opened up their home to us and gave us what they had. They also gave me a little piece of hope.