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Hoka Hey 2013 Rider 779 – Solitary, Without the Confinement Part 4

Solitary Rider


Riding is our passion. The enjoyment we feel while tooling down the highway is tainted by only one thing; that being the ever present possibility of going down. The unexpected encounter with several hundred bottles of water in the middle of the road reaffirmed that possibility.Solitary Rider 779 - Finish

Of the possible courses of action that ran through my head during that last instant not a one seemed to provide a scenario that would result in a satisfactory conclusion. Fortunately, my front tire knew which way to go and it effortlessly weaved its way through the matrix of refreshment and came out the other side. I’m still wondering how I could have managed to get through without hitting at least one bottle. The only conclusion I came up with is that my angles were on duty and fully dedicated to my safety.

Close encounters like this were numerous. Nocturnal creatures, some large and some small, seemed to find their way into my path on a nightly basis; I was not at all interested in making their acquaintance.

My wife would say I’m not a social person. She may be right, but I did enjoy meeting some of the people I encountered during the ride. All the Hoka Hey Challengers come to mind, but others as well. Like the 65 year old guy I rode up on in the middle of Nowhere, S Dakota who was riding his bicycle from his home in Eastern S Dakota to Rapid City. When asked why he would do that he responded with a question, “Why would you ride in a big circle for 8,000 miles?” I had no real response to his question. He said since he was able to do it then it made perfect sense to just do it; simple answer but accurate. The workers at the checkpoints were great people; anything we wanted they jumped on it. Whereas I didn’t actually meet the guy hauling water I will surmise he was taking water to his people because that was the only way they got it. May not be an accurate assumption, but that is the thought I will stick with.

My favorite chance meeting came after riding through a New Mexico mountain pass in the worst hail storms I have ever ridden in. No place to pull over and no place to hide. The hail and the rain had just stopped when I rolled into a small town nestled in a wide spot in the road. I pulled up to a “mom & pop” restaurant and relished the feeling of not being pelted by hail stones. I was about to step off the Solitary Rider 779 Texas Eveningbike when an elderly couple walked out of the restaurant. We made eye contact and, after a brief discussion between them (words I obviously could not hear) they turned and walked back into the restaurant. Can’t say that I blamed them; I’m sure my appearance was reminiscent of a bag of dead rat hair that had been dipped in swamp water. I looked in the mirror to verify what I felt to be the case and was rewarded with the sight I expected. Yea, I couldn’t blame them at all and just smiled to myself and wondered if they were, at this very minute, dialing 911. I sat for a minute looking at the many hail stones covering the ground and wondered if I should venture into the restaurant for a cup of coffee and risk being arrested. About that time the couple walked back out of the restaurant and handed me a cup of coffee. They said it has apparent to them I was in serious need of a cup. The coffee warmed my body and the conversation with them, coupled with their kind act, warmed my heart. After a bit they wished me safe passage and I went on my way knowing I would never see these selfless people again, but will certainly never forget them.

Every rider has stories. Some are shared with others for no other reason than they were there when it happened. Other stories are shared with friends and associates by tall tales, but words seldom tell the real story. It is hard to describe emotions and feelings with words alone. Most of the time riders enter into, interact with and survive such encounters with no witnesses, so we just tuck the episode away in our minds. Later, while riding another stretch of that endless road we relive those moments and it brings a smile to our face. Not sure what that says about us.

Every rider who attempts the Hoka Hey is a little more self assured, a little more self reliant and a little more independent and they are not cut from society’s “typical” cloth. We are a breed apart and we wear that badge with honor. It is these people, the ones who push their abilities beyond their preconceived limit and take the Hoka Hey Challenge, the lone driver who takes water to his people, the support staff at checkpoints who give extra hours to lend assistance, the 65 year old man who does something because he can and the ones who selflessly go out of their way to show kindness to a droned “rat” for no other reason than kindness’ sake… these are the people that make America great.

I learned about myself; those inward things I did not know before. To explain the entire experience in four short articles is impossible to do; expect a book very soon. Suffice it to say all the lessons learned during Hoka Hey 2013 will be used during Hoka Hey 2014.

Care to join me? Learn more at

Missed the first articles, read Hoka Hey Part 1 or Hoka Hey Part 2 or Hoka Hey Part 3.

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