A large chunk of my year long journey, and maybe the most adventurous, will be riding a bike from Lisbon to St. Petersburg. I wanted to make sure everyone knew the background story of the bike I'm riding b/c it's a special one.
The previous owner of the bike was Mikey Baker. The youngest brother of my best friend growing up. In 2010 Mikey started his own bike touring trip. I remember him leaving Johnstown, OH at the time and thought he was crazy. He left for New York with $300 and a bike that wasn't meant for weight or distance (to be fair, I had no idea either).
After 3,000 miles on a bike that didn't want to go any further, he ended up pretty much stalled in Searchy, Arkansas. He met two strangers, John and Brian, at a local McDonalds and they lead him to a bike shop to fix his flat tires and other injuries. While at the bike shop Mikey spotted his $1,300 dream bike that was meat for these types of tours, except Mikey had no money. John and Brian then secretly introduced him to Angela Lowe. Angela and her husband Chris understood that Mikey could no longer travel on the current bike and gifted him the Jamis Auroa Elite that allowed him to finished his dream of San Francisco, California. Without Angela and her husband's intervention, Mikey would have been pretty much strained in Arkansas.
On these types of long trips everyone is in search of something, adventure, solitude, peace of mind, something. Mikey found what he was looking for in Jesus Christ. I can tell you so far on my journey, there's no other explanation for the unbelieable things that happen besides that. God is real and he knows just when to intervene.
After Mikey heard I was going to do a long tour in Europe, he then gifted the bike to me under two conditions, that I tell the story of the bike to whoever wants to know and that I gift the bike to someone else once I start the next leg of my journey around the world. It's one of the kindest gestures that I've ever received. My sincerest gratitude to you, Mikey! Hugs-N-Hand pounds.
I've only been riding her for a month now so I can't call her my own, yet, b/c I don't quite know her well enough. I can't call her my own because she's had several owners who have their own hardships and triumphs much greater than mine. Here's what I do know. She's strong, meant for weight and distance. She's sleek and fast but gritty enough to handle the city streets, a blue collar mountain community, or the salinity of a port town. She's the one thing I've been able to count on here on the road.
I look forward to the day I can call her mine, but even more than that, calling Ms. Jamis someone else's.
If you'd like to hear the rest of Mikey Baker's story, go here.