Sitting on a bicycle seat is much more fun than sitting on a toilet seat, which was my seating arrangement for the past two days. We awakened to a brisk 59-degree morning. After leaving our condo with an extra layer of clothing on, we headed out again to continue our trek to Maine. Time is slipping by so the pressure is on to leave early, make quicker stops along the way, and pedal to our hearts’ content. The latter was easy to do today–especially in Massachusetts. I almost fainted when we reviewed our day today, and Tim said, “I think the best riding was in Massachusetts today.” Our first thirty-five miles were on country roads through Berlin, Bolton, Harvard, Ayer, and several other small towns. The traffic was light, the air was crisp, and some of the foliage had a hint of fall to it.
When we crossed into New Hampshire, the route was a little difficult to navigate. There were more turns than usual, slowing our pace. As we were contemplating lunch, a woman driving by in the opposite direction gave us her address and told us to stop by for lunch! She had biked across the country with her sister in 2007 and had mentioned how kind people had been to them throughout their entire trip. Her house is on this adventure cycling route and she said she “picks up strangers (cyclists) all the time.” There is an instant camaraderie with other touring cyclists that brings an almost instant trust. Not too many people are crazy enough to do such a trek across the country. When you find others that love it as much as you do, you want to help them out and be a part of the adventure any way you can. We had a quick and delicious lunch, learned about some of her treasured memories of her trip, and we were on our way.
It happened again tonight when we arrived in Exeter, NH. We had stopped in front of the Hampton Inn to check rates, and we were pondering whether we should just keep biking to Portsmouth, which was only fifteen miles away. It was getting late and we had already bicycled eighty-four miles. While Tim was on the phone checking accommodations for the night, a man offered to drive down the road and check out “the other” hotel’s rates for us. He and his wife came back with a more favorable rate for us and they shared how they had ridden coast to coast in 1988. Sharing stories about bike touring is heartwarming. No two tours are alike, and everyone who tours can’t put the experience into rich enough words. So there is a knowing between bike tourists that no one will really ever “get” unless they experience it for themselves. And talking to three bike tourists today made for a very rich and satisfying day on the road.