I don’t like religion but I like religious people. They always seem to pick me up when I hitch hike. Monday morning: I bought a new rear tire (Continental prix 4 season) because of my SECOND faulty Schwalbe, which I returned to the shop again. I also bought a frame pump because I’m sick and tired of running out of c02’s and also having to spend money on them every time I get a flat. So I set out to Sherwood with a new tire and a new pump. I got a flat 60 miles later. Continental Prix 4 seasons=wimpy light weight piece of crap. I ran over a large chunk of gravel on hwy 99 going from Eugene to Sherwood, and the brand new tire blew out. Even the Schwalbe would have survived that minor blemish in the road. I’ve had 10 flats in the last 11 days. I was not happy.
Saturday was a hard day, riding down from Sherwood to Eugene, where I spent Saturday and Sunday night on Will and Larry’s floor. Sunday’s ride was short, but I did a few long sprints and my legs felt more sore and tired than I had wanted them to be considering I had 115 miles the next day–the ride home to sherwood.
Monday Morning again:
I left the shop after buying my new tire and pump, made it to Corvallis and had to stop at Burger King for two hamburgers because my energy was so low. Then I continued on. “Only 75 more miles,” I thought. A little later, “Only 70 miles to go.” A little later, “Only 69 miles to go.” It went on like this until I heard a whoosh of air escape my rear tire and the rim met the pavement for the 147th time this week.
I got off the bike, took the tire off, replaced the tube, started pumping, realized I had bought a shrader pump instead of a presta valve pump, chucked my old tube into a farmer’s field, spouted out a couple sentences of foul language to the bike gods, and angrily ate the pancakes from my back pocket as I contemplated throwing my bike in the drainage ditch on the side of the road. I did not throw my bike of course, because this wasn’t the Giro. Instead, I stuck my thumb out and got a ride from a very nice religious guy. He drove me the 50 miles home, right to my doorstep, while we talked about faith and hope. He (Rob) was a pastor, and was working to raise money for a mission in South America, where he and some other people were going to go save some heathens, no doubt. I’ve never liked the idea of “saving” people by converting them. What are they being saved from? Hell? because they don’t believe in a Christian god? Because I sure don’t. And I don’t want to be saved. But, I was today. Just like the poor guys down in South America that Rob and his fellow Christians are going to go help out. The tribe he’s going to go help probably figure, “Hey, free food and medical supplies, sure I’ll listen to the nonsense this guy is spouting about. I’ll even pretend to pray if it’ll get me a Snickers bar or two.”
I’ve come to realize that it doesn’t matter why someone does something nice for you (religious reasons, guilt, or compassion) it only matters that they’re doing it. Thank you, Rob.