The 2017 Finish Well Ride is peaking over the horizon. Twenty-nine days remain until that first of many long days of pedaling first over plains, then over mountains, then over more mountains until I finally arrive at the northernmost point where supporters of Bet Shalom can be found (and if there’s a farther point north, I don’t want to know.)
So what am I thinking right now?
I’m thinking: “WHAT AM I THINKING?!?”
My 4,000 km ride is turning out to be closer to 5,000 km. It’s too late to change the promotional material, but then what’s a thousand extra kilometers if you’re going to do 4,000, right?
I’ve got a lot of contacts still to make and press releases and videos to send. I’m starting to wonder if any churches besides the few contacts I have along the way are going to provide shelter for this weary traveler and her crew, and who knows if I’ll get anywhere near my $75,000 USD fundraising goal.
But right now none of this weighs on me as much as the dilemma of what to name my bike.
It’s not a new bike. I received it as a donation for my 2009 ride from Zihuatanejo to Oklahoma City.
In fact, my first time to ride it was the first day of that journey. Maybe at the time it was too new and sleek and professional to receive a name.
Now it’s past its prime and we’ve become friends.
It deserves a name, just like Meg, the second-hand mountain bike I bought more than 20 years ago in Taos, New Mexico.
I named her after the broken down mare in the Robert Burns poem, Tam O’Shanter.
For all the world Tam O’Shanter’s mare was just an old nag, but for Tam O’Shanter she was “my good mare Meg, a better never lifted leg.”
After the mountains of northern New Mexico, after the rain-soaked journeys of southern Spain. After frigid rides in England and the scorching ones in the African out-of-the-way places, my Meg earned her name and her epithet.
I even brought her to Mexico for a while and she carried me on my first long adventure here: the trip up through the Sierra Madre to see the Monarch butterflies in the Michoacan Highlands.
Her last big ride with me was the first one I rode up from Zihuatanejo to Oklahoma in 2003. Even though she was mainly just an extra on that trip, she didn’t get offended. She gave plenty of good miles when I asked it from her.
Meg never failed me.
But, alas, Meg is not up for this journey. She wasn’t up for the last one either, for that matter.
Since 2009 I’ve had a red bicycle.
Even as I write that last sentence I’m sorry I never named it. How can this red racer that has carried me more than 8,000 miles go without a name for so many years?
These days its red paint is chipped and some pieces have been replaced (and more will be replaced before I take off from Oklahoma City), but this red bicycle has kept its figure and it’s ready to ride another long one, or at least it doesn’t believe anyone who says it can’t.
Now you see why this bike needs a name?
What will it be?