Saturday, April 08, 2006

I'm so envious!

This post has nothing to do with Korea - although I guess I could work in some comparison with the Dok-do riders and a pair of real adventurers.

Two men from my hometown rode through Mexico and Central America for the winter. They apparently covered about 9,000km on their bikes during the trip.

Barrie Faulkner was the one who really encouraged me to ride and taught me that distance riding is as simple as just getting on the bike and putting time in. You don't have to be a super-hero or Lance Armstrong to cover vast distances, you just have to be patient. I coached his son Nat in swimming nearly twenty years ago.

I have pasted large portions of the Bracebridge Examiner story as their archived articles disappear after three weeks.

Bracebridge resident Barrie Faulkner, 58, lost about 15 pounds, carried more than 100 pounds of supplies and rode across 9,400 km of Central America and Mexico on his bicycle this winter.

He returned home March 12 with a tan, a smile and hundreds of stories to tell.

Faulkner and his son Nat, 27, started their three-month trek in San Diego, California on December 19. They finished in Panama City March 10 after travelling at a pace of about 120 km a day through the Mayan ruins and third world countries.

"I don’t think I could take a single day and not write a chapter in a book people would want to read," Faulkner said. "You wake up in the morning and don’t know what kind of adventure you’re going to have."

To finish the trip, Faulkner rode from the Pacific Ocean, to the Atlantic Ocean and back in a day, a 170-km ride across Panama with 8,000 feet of uphill climbing.

The father and son were chased by thousands of wild dogs and surrounded by vehicles of armed men — who turned out to be escorts worried about their safety — but were never harmed.

"We had armed men in a vehicle in front of us and armed men behind us travelling six kilometres an hour up a mountain for about two hours. I said we’re either really safe right now or really up a creek," Faulkner said. "When we started we were told we’d get mugged 10 times and stabbed. I never felt in danger. Everyone’s just overcautious. If we dropped a coin, somebody would point at it and let us know. Go. Ignore all the people telling you all this stuff. Just don’t be stupid and wear jewellery and try to pick up the local girls who belong to somebody else."

Everywhere along the ride, Faulkner said he gathered stories about people who worked hard, had little, but kept smiling, including one stop where townspeople led him to the central well and suggested he camp there. He gave four pieces of candy to a group of children, who later showed up with fried tortillas, blankets and an offer to use their showers. The boys also tried to draw a copy of Faulkner’s Canadian flag.


GI Korea said...

That does sound like quite a fun adventure. I wish I had the time to do something of that scope.

Masuro said...

I can't ride 1200 kilometres but I'll meet you in Jumunjin some sunny day. :)