Telling the story of the Cuckoo Birds recalls another biking story (and we have a few). This one took place in China. This was a grueling trip where the ten bikers were all serious bikers, and 100 miles plus a day was not uncommon. That I kept up with them each day speaks to my competitive character and nature. “Anything you can do, I can do better!”
A young attorney from Houston was also a competitive biker wearing all the paraphernalia a serious biker wears: shorts, shirt, glasses, helmet, gloves, and shoes. He also rode an 18-gear mountain bike. As far as biking goes, that’s as good as it gets. We became buddies during long stretches of countryside whenever Lenette rode in the shag wagon for a while.
This trip took place soon after Tiananmen Square, so the Trip stayed mainly in the countryside and avoided the major cities.
Bikes in China are like feet in the States. We all have feet, but in China, everyone has feet and bikes, and masses riding bikes flow everywhere. Needless to say, our bikes had to be touched and examined by everyone we encountered. I often gave my bike to the young and not-so-young to ride, and they did it with oohs and ahhs.
One evening, we biked out of a small village at about dinner time when many people were with us on the road heading home. A young man riding a single-gear bike rode up to my friend and motioned that he wanted to race up a long hill we were approaching.
My friend got the message, and the two of them began to accelerate, and away they went!
The hill was steep, but that was no problem for either of them. On his single-gear bike, the young man led at first but was soon caught by the young American. Neck and neck, they flew up the hill, neither giving an inch to the other. Hundreds of bikers, maybe thousands, became aware of what was happening and cheered their countryman up the hill.
Left gasping for air, the young attorney lost by a few feet. They hugged each other, and the American gave his young Chinese competitor his colorful hat, which produced cheers from the crowd of onlookers and another hug from the Chinese competitor. The competition was how the world ought to be. Honest competition and appreciation for those we compete with.
I try my very best—Sometimes I win, sometimes lose—Life is that way, too