How Bike Trail Magic is Made: #MyTrailAngel Stories
For the month of May, we asked you to share your #MyTrailAngel stories from your bike travels. We are celebrating the role of the extraordinary people in ordinary places who sustain and inspire bicycle travelers on their journeys. Thank you to everyone who contributed their stories and thank you to all the Trail Angels out there who go above and beyond to welcome bike travelers.
On a rainy rest day in Kanthalloor India, Annalisa Vandenbergh (@milesofportraits) and her friend were welcomed by Rajan, Girija, Aswathy, and Lekshmi into their tea hut with hot chai. As the rain persisted, they offered chocolate, plum wine, strawberries, coconut cake, carrot stew, and idiyappam –– a typical Keralan dish made up of clumped rice noodles.
“‘Where is your guide?’ They're not the first to ask this question and for us, the answer has become pretty clear. The people of India are our guides.”
Mary McGowan (@rebelwithoutacar) lost her wallet on the first day of her 1,300-mile bike tour last summer in Canada. When she stopped for a snack, she met Joseph who, when he learned about her predicament, insisted that she accept his money.
“With tears in his own eyes, he explained to me that he and his wife had been married for over 40 years and had wonderful adventures together all over the world before she passed away. He told me, 'Those were the happiest years of my life. Now it's your turn to go and see the world.’”
Full story at: http://rebelwithoutacar.com/2020/05/30/mytrailangel/.
"He told me, 'Those were the happiest years of my life. Now it's your turn to go and see the world.’”
Steve Powell was leading an Adventure Cycling tour up a 25-mile, 4,000 foot climb through lava fields along Mauna Loa volcano, complete with headwinds. Local cyclists Kane and Lynnette showed up with an ice chest of cool drinks, and "instantly transformed an arduous climb into a much more enjoyable adventure.”
Every year since then, Kane & Lynette have not only continued the water stops for the tour, but they have also recruited other family members and friends to help.
After a tough ten days of touring, Justin and his wife Jennifer rolled into Berea, KY were invited to join the Poulette family’s dinner. When they found out it was his birthday, they bought him a cake and sang happy birthday.
“This family restored our hope in kind and generous people out there.”
Willie Weir had just asked his now-wife, Kat (right), to marry him while on their first tour through the Balkans. In Romania they were invited by Rarita and her husband into their home, and Willie says, “When they discovered Kat wasn't feeling well, they insisted that we sleep in their bed ... while they slept in their kitchen. The hospitality worked wonders.”
They lost touch until twenty-four years later, when Rarita reconnected with them through Facebook.
Keith Reid (@reed523) and his friends were traveling through Canada and were invited in by a family living in a long-closed church and celebrating the holiday weekend. “Many, many beers later, the monster of a man James (guy in yellow, roofer by trade) disappeared and came back around the woodpile with this chainsaw. I sat there dumbfounded, wondering how I was going to tell the fathers of the two young women I was with that we were all slaughtered Texas chainsaw massacre style. James said, ‘I just wanted you to see a Canadian kindling saw!!’"
"5 am next morning, he handed me a cup of almost solid coffee and gently whispered, ‘We just want to thank you for stopping here and sharing your trip with us, this was one of the best times we ever had.’"
“The biggest problem with touring in New Zealand is that if you stop, someone in a car will stop and ask if you are OK. it's really annoying.....lol. New Zealand is like the world should be.” - Gary Smith
Ally Mabry (@a_mabry) shared: “If you’ve ever ridden the Baja Divide, then #MyTrailAngel is probably also your trail angel. Pancho might not have much compared to American standards of living, but he’s got a heart more golden than anyone I’ve ever met, and he’s become a legend to hundreds of bikepackers.”
Sadly, in sharing this story on Facebook, Ally learned that Pancho had passed away last year. ¡Gracias a Pancho por su generosidad ilimitada!
Michael Romac’s tubeless tire was leaking while on a remote section of the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route when a couple pulled up in a van doubling as a full bike repair shop, giving him the tube he needed.
“I told them they were trail Angels and they laughed, saying with a knowing tone, ‘We're no angels!’"
Johnny Lam (@milestonerides2013) and his brother-in-law rode the Southern Tier in 2017, stopping in Jackson, Louisiana, where Perry Templeton invited them to stay in her backyard. She offered her bunk house with a tenting platform and an outdoor shower, also giving Johnny a new cable and tools to repair his bike. They then shared a meal and bike travel stories.
"She made things really memorable for us and she is an avid bike tourist herself. Her spot is so close to Natchez Trace, I plan to go back to see her and ride the Trace soon."
“I used to tell my riding partner every day, ‘Let's get going early, so we can be done early... That's when the magic happens.’" Thomas, @twopearsstudio (Instagram)
Wendy Ward Schnorr was only 27 miles into her first day riding across the U.S. when her friend crashed and injured her leg. This couple (unnamed) provided them with ice, transportation to urgent care, bike storage, dinner, and an overnight stay.
“They were the first saviors, of many, on our 58 day ride in 2016. We were blessed many times with helpful people!”
Wendy Ward Schnorr
Janet Anspach-Rickey (@luv2cyclerickey) and her seven friends faced an unexpected day of heavy rain in the southern Arizona desert. While buying lunch at the Dollar General they met Rosa, who invited them into the St Francis of Assisi Mission to dry off, warm up, and eat lunch. Brother David and Father Emmit made them a pot of hot coffee and refused payment.
Janet and her friends encountered three more trail angels that day. “Days like this restore your faith in humanity.”
These are only a handful of the many amazing stories we've received. If you have a
#MyTrailAngel story and photo you'd like to submit, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Check out our
bicycle tourism resources for more on bike travel hospitality and tips for welcoming bike travelers to your community.