Her latest cycle tour is a ride through the Americas with fellow bicycle traveler Lars Bengtsson of Lost Cyclist fame.
If you missed out on the intrigue of Helen’s 20 month ride from the UK to Cape Town, it’s well worth your time to check out her Take on Africa website.
Here’s how she sums up her first solo long-distance bike touring experience:
During the 20 months on the road, I had close encounters with many wild animals including snakes, scorpions and termites, an angry lion on the road, a jackal that ripped through my tent and stole food, and many elephants. I had to deal with corrupt officials and turn down numerous marriage proposals. But most notably of all, it is the kindness, hospitality and generosity of strangers I met along the way that I’ll remember.
Helen’s always got a fresh take on the places she pedals past. Here’s what struck her about biking the Golden State:
She didn’t call us crazy!
I could barely remember another time in the US when, having seen our bikes or telling people what we’re doing (which is riding bikes…just quite a long way), the response hasn’t been ‘Are you crazy?!’
In the small grocery store, hidden among the gated apartment blocks of Primm, away from the casinos, hotels and gas stations, the petite lady at the counter simply said, “That’s great. You’ve got to take these opportunities when you can because you never know what’s in store tomorrow.”
If it wasn’t for her distant smile I might have thought she was referring to the fact that we were rapidly emptying her store of goods. Already there was an empty shelf where the bread and chocolate had been. The introspective look suggested a missed opportunity. I can’t imagine many people’s dreams are to work in a grocery store on the edge of the Nevada-California state border. But I’ll never know because I nodded agreement with an introspective smile which suggested I know how lucky I am, took the change and walked out the door, leaving the lady staring into the distance… or was it to the confectionery isle? Maybe she was referring to her store after all.
Helen (and Lars) have many miles of tough cycling ahead of them as the spin their wheels all the way to South America. Follow along one of the very best bicycle touring blogs out there and enjoy the beautiful photos and entertaining and insightful travel tales.