A nice woman in Portland, ME stopped me and Jenny as we rode down Main Street to ask us if she had done something wrong the day before and then proceeded to tell us the story of an aggressive driver who had shouted insults at her the day before as she rode down the street. Nothing unites like adversity.
Tim and Shira in Vancouver, BC loaned me and Jenny beautiful bicycles during our visit; they had never met us before, but we had a mutual friend in NYC who made an introduction. Tim works for MEC in Canada and is developing a line of bicycles for them. I got to borrow a prototype track bike that turned a lot of heads as we rode around the city, Jenny was loaned a beautiful road bike. Tim and Shira also welcomed us into their homes, took us to dinner, and gave us gift cards to visit the JJ Press coffee shop. Shira works with the folks at JJ Press and the coffee was fantastic.
In Minneapolis, a nice young man who was out for a morning ride with his young son rode with me and Jenny for a few miles and described where to pick up local trails, where to get good coffee, how to find Hiawatha Cyclery and then went on in loving detail about how much he liked living in Minneapolis.
While we were in Traverse City, Jenny's family hooked everyone up with bicycles and we went out for a group 30 mile ride. We had family and friends from Michigan, Chicago, New Haven, Brooklyn, London on a 30 mile ride. The mix of bikes, everything from old steel Treks to new carbon fiber racing bikes, was as varied as the riders. We crawled along happily through the countryside and suburbs, some of us in spandex, some of us in jeans.
The cycling community really exists; it includes a lot of generous, enthusiastic people. I think about cyclists I have met who are obsessed with their narrow sliver of the sport and wonder if they miss out by refusing to engage people who fall outside of their own demographic.