Stranger

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June 10th

I saw my dad talking to a man from the old world or a different world that never existed who broke every rule we think sacrosanct on a bike tour or any long journey. They talked for twenty minutes as I bobbed my head in agreement to whatever, on the side of a ridiculous Aldershot hill. He wore a polo shirt navy blue with tobacco stains as big as pancakes on the pocket. He said he was 59,  he looked 70. This year he was only biking across BC though he rode through Canada twice before on his old mountain bike, no drop bars, brake handle sutured together with red electrical tape. His panniers  were filmed with 200 grams of hill dust and oil and a million car’s exhaust. A single wheel trailer crept behind, twenty years old, once it had been silver and on it lay his three person ten pound tent wrapped in canvas, canvas and a helmet hand painted once ages ago and now fading into twenty blue shades. Helmet wasn’t on him since he walked up hills, too hard with the trailer. Dad couldn’t find a campground to stay in from him since he never stayed in campgrounds, just waited till dusk then folded into the bushes. In all the years he travelled he never had any trouble being a guerilla. Next year he would go across Canada again, always solo.

On the ground in a tent right now on the other side of Aldershot from Victoria. As I biked down a 40 metre hill on highway 11 a group of boys somewhere in their 20s roughly glided past me and threw an orange cardboard box with something heavy in it at my face. Reacting strangely quickly I moved my head so it bounced off my helmet. They were in a white ford truck that had one of those the glass covering over the back. I’d never seen them before of course. When I realized that it wasn’t an accident but a calculated thing, maybe they hated cyclers, what they thought I stood for (an Easy Rider ending), that I seemed happy, that they had considered, hesitated then carried out hurting someone, possibly trying to knock them into traffic, I started to follow them.  I yelled hey like Black Francis and zoomed to where a red light had prevented them from their cowardly get away. Seeing that I wasn’t flat on the road that I was pursuing them they cut through 2 lanes of traffic turned right and yelled random bile out the window while doing the finger thing. Every impulse inside wanted to continue the chase but I knew my crazy neck might break as I leaped frogged through traffic with a heavy trailer and panniers.

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