Wednesday, March 9, 2022

Cape to Kapp: Prejudices Everywhere (Kindness Too)

Teresie Hommersand's recently wrapped here Cape to Kapp, finishing her ride at the North Cape in Norway. Four years in the saddle, across 25,000 kilometers, through 26 countries. Distance and time are just two of the measures of a journey. Maybe the most memorable parts of any journey are the people you meet along the way and Teresie has made so many friends and have had to rely on the kindness of many many strangers to help her through it. So much welcoming and blessing. Yet she has also observed how often people have negative opinions of people in neighboring countries and cultures. (All photos copyright Teresie Homersand)

On this extended journey, I've gained experiences and developed perspectives that I'm sure I otherwise could not get. That's how unique traveling by bike is.

One of the recurring experiences is I've am often been warned by the locals in the country I am in about the country I am about to go to. 
"Oooooo, you have to be so careful. The people there are not good."
"Something bad can easily happen."
"Sudan!? Ai, ai ai!"
"Turkey? Oh my. You know what happened to this tourist when she was hitchhiking alone through Turkey? She was raped and killed!'

The last person I met before crossing the border to Albania, a Greek man who offered me water, told me nothing new: 'They'll steal all your stuff!'. 

"Crazy lady!!! There are a lot of seriously dangerous things in Afrique!"

As I've reached further and further north, the warnings and comments have been less about my safety, and more about that the people in the neighbouring country being not that nice. Not that friendly. 
"Good luck knocking on someone's door in Austria!"
"I doubt you'll find much warmth in Germany."

Needless to say, I have been welcomed and found warmth EVERYWHERE. 
In every country, in every culture, in every religion. 
By 90 year old Austrian grandmother's (treating me to their family wine and perfected apfelstrudel). 
By Muslim families (who during Ramadan gave me food although they were fasting and without me asking or fishing for it in any way). 
By Maasais in Kenya (that invited me to join them and the village in celebrating a boy and girl's graduation and circumcision). 
By Beduins in Egypt (sitting together, sharing a meal on a large straw mat under the stars in the desert). 
By families in Albania (where the kids were teaching me Albanian and the adults insisting on me sleeping inside instead of camping outside). 
By Ethiopian mothers (handing me freshly baked bread to take with me on the journey forward). 
By Sudanese men (thanking me for coming to Sudan to see want it's actually like). 
By a Bosnian hotel owner (offering me a hotel room without me insinuating anything, saying it's not nice to camp outside in the cold and rain). I've been met with care and love everywhere. How sad we think something different is the case.

Why do we think we are nice, but "other people" are not?

Prejudice means 'a preconceived opinion that is not based on reason or actual experience'. How often do we act based on this? Not that long ago when I was posting about my journey in a sailing group on Facebook as part of trying to find a lift with a sailboat over to Sweden someone commented 'Crazy lady!!! There are a lot of seriously dangerous things in Afrique!' This way of thinking and speaking is so common. It's engrained. I'm also guilty of this. Discriminating and creating distance between people. Hurting ourselves and others in doing so. LIMITING ourselves and others.

If anything, this journey has been the biggest reminder and final confirmation of what your neighbour is actually like!

Needless to say, I have been welcomed and found warmth EVERYWHERE. In every country, in every culture, in every religion.

Our Dream Riser Bikepacking Handlebar Gets Some Siblings


The original Dream Riser Bar hit a chord with bike packers and other riders with its comfortable 25° sweep, which not only keeps your controls away from a big handlebar bag, but just feels very natural. It also had an unusual 50mm rise to help get the bars up, which is sometimes better for all day exploration.

The two new versions are significantly different.

• The Dream Lowdown has a 20° backsweep and 25mm rise. The rise is very common. The backsweep still noticeably more natural feeling than the average 9° backsweep riser.

• The Dream High-Rise has a 30° backsweep and an "up there" 70mm rise. A strong contender for turning old mountain bikes with their low stacks into more upright and practical get around town bikes.

A modern 780mm width. Trim if needed.