October 28, 2011
In a little town in Northern Romania, two boys laughed as they wheeled up and down the street. I'm sure they would have been pedaling bikes if they'd had them. They didn't. But they had a wheelbarrow. It had a metal wheel that squeaked so loud you'd swear a 700-pound hamster was exercising in its cage. They took turns pushing each other around. The smaller boy had quite a difficult time pushing his larger friend up the hill, which only made them laugh harder.
No doubt the ride would have been smoother if their wheelbarrow was equipped with a shock and a top-of-the-line long distance touring tire. No blisters on their hands if they had custom gel gloves. And they could have mapped their progress up and down the street if they had a GPS-enhanced wheelbarrow-ometer. They didn't.
Their smiles challenge me. Okay Mr. Traveler, can you have as much fun as we do?
We are assaulted with so many choices and upgrade options. How can you proceed until you get the ultimate touring bike? The best digital camera? The lightest tent? The perfect panniers or tricked-out trailer?
Sometimes it's good to be reminded that you are way ahead if you simply have a bike.
Go out and pedal with as much joy as two boys sharing a wheelbarrow. I double dare you.
Photos by Willie Weir
SIGHTS AND SOUNDS is posted every other Friday. Willie Weir is a columnist for Adventure Cyclist magazine. His books, Travels with Willie and Spokesongs, will inspire you to hit the road, and might change the way you approach bicycle travel. He lives in Seattle with his wife Kat. You can read about their adventures at http://yellowtentadventures.com.