Yesterday he drops into the shop, smile all a blaze, and tweaks the next seven hours undeniably for the better. He’s riding an old american made ross, chromed out like the moon, from Seattle to Kalispell and finishing off in White Fish on the western front of Glacier for seasonal trade. If I didn’t love blogging so much I’d leave with him.
He took hwy 2 over the pass. When I asked him what Stevens is like at the moment all he mentioned was, “chilly, but I got to fish all the way down.” He’s been taking his time; he wants to roll into Glacier by the start of June, so it’s been four days to Wenatchee, three days to Spokane, however many he likes more. He pulled a tube with 12 patches on it; “goat heads brother, bike spent half the day in the W with its legs in the air.” Later on he’s rolling with some speed downhill, dodging some glass and he takes a pot-hole, the ping of a broken spoke is audible. The rim ends to fail.
Well, Wilson needed a new wheel. He’s rolling an eight on the back that was pretty icky too so a cassette and some new pads were looking like a dry spot, just tent size.
Last April Wilson took a jaunt around the Olympic peninsula, ”Beautifully rainy, man! And then a car decided to merge into me.” He got 48 stitches in his forehead, four pins placed in this left foot, one in his big toe, three in his right hand, and his pinky doesn’t bend any more. “They told me to give up riding,” but ninety-two days later he took off again, and rode round our rain forset once more. “I used to make the loop every year. I grew up in the desert so Washington was like a fountain.”
Wilson spent all day helping out. Assisting patrons with all sorts of repairs his friendly demeanor was positively positive, and in accordance we had a great day in the shop. He told us stories of his hitching days; “My motto used to be: Daytona by christmas. Every year it’d be Sue Falls, Omaha, Chicago, Nashville, Memphis, Pensacola; that’s where you can get work.”
Adding a 1×4 to his rack, he’s got his tent rolled up in a tarp and a sleeping bag off to the left. In the backpack he has strapped on is a fleece blanket, four pairs of socks, two t-shirts (cotton suckas!), canvas jacket, tree saw, fishing gear, bike tools, and a single bowl. He rides in jeans and boots, “If I haven’t seen it in a day, I try to throw it away.”
What can I say, Wilson is the story of the self-reliant codependent individual. We were just here, happening at the same time. We had the program in place, work for trade, and he had the desire to do what was needed to get himself where he wanted. If I were a biologist, I’d call it mutualism. The fitness of pedals2people was increased, aka, he helped us to recreate what we do. We always need volunteers, and Wilson was certainly that. But maybe I needed Wilson’s demeanor more than anything else. And, as I tend to get nostalgic about the good people I’ve bumped into, and I think I’ll have no trouble remembering the feeling in the shop that Saturday too, I’d like to hold that in mind for the next shop day, for every day. Try to find what else people are doing for people elsewhere, here, anywhere. How else can we help. Dozing off is great, but I like waking up too.