THE MAN WHO CYCLED THE WORLD
Mark Beaumont’s The Man Who Cycled the World is an engrossing book for anyone who is a cyclist or who likes to travel. He includes just the right amount of detail to keep the reader present in the moment whether Beaumont is enjoying a good meal, enduring bodily or emotional discomfort, or happily interacting with someone who appears on his route.
The book is divided into seven parts, each covering a leg of his journey around the world to set a racing record for the Guiness Book of World Records. Beaumont, a young man from the Scottish Highlands, starts and finishes his journey in Paris. He has a large support crew, the most active of which is his mother, “Mum.” She works tirelessly to coordinate meetings with people, check out his routes, and enable him to find any needed services. He has his share of flats, necessary bike repairs, and other emergencies, but I thought the number of these was surprisingly few for such a difficult journey, and the help that he receives from total strangers is truly heartwarming. Of course, there are always the unscrupulous few who are out there to take advantage of the unwary. He runs into some of these in Louisiana.
I admire Beaumont’s perseverance and grit in completing this difficult undertaking, and I remember his determination when I start to flag on my own rides.
Today, Wednesday, February 13th, at 11:00 am, there was a group of 15 to 20 cyclists on Iron Horse Trail just north of San Ramon Valley Blvd. It was a mixed gender group with some people showing gray hair under their helmets, so they were old enough to behave more courteously. These are the type of people who give cyclists a bad name.
They were stopped on this section of Iron Horse Trail as my husband and I approached on our bikes. They made an opening through the middle for us, but one guy who was not paying attention pulled across that opening despite some of his companions yelling, “Bikes, bikes.” He finally got out of the way, but then he shouted at us that we should have rung our bells and he made a big noise with his bell. Thinking that a voice warning is less alarming and more exact than ringing a bell, we do not have bells. Besides this person was clearly in the wrong and instead of apologizing, he tried to blame us.
A short time later, my husband had to pull over to adjust his bike seat, and this group sailed past us, shouting at us for stopping even though we were well over to the right on the path. These people were such a hazard because they were commandeering the entire trail. I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to ride single file. not in twos or even threes. We were relieved when they turned off of the path.
It was a beautiful morning, and our ride started with the pleasant smiles and greetings of a couple who parked next to us at the San Ramon Transit Center. But this group of Yahoos later on the ride injected a sour note into an otherwise perfect morning.