This post is dedicated to all of my young friends who are busy growing up while Lothar and I are busy riding our bikes. I know that you know who you are.
I have a friend who is hitching a ride with me on my bike. His name is Welican-the-Pelican, or just plain Weli for short. He just volunteered for the job of reporting our progress on our big bike adventure. So I’m going to introduce him to you. Soon you will be able to check-in with him to find out where we have been and where we are at now, just watch for my next post.
First, I have a little news for you about our travels.
We left home in Smithers, British Columbia, on June 8, 2015. We have been riding our bikes for just over six months. Time is whizzing by really fast. I can’t believe that we have already pedalled somewhere around 9,000 kilometres, probably much closer to 10,000. But I care more about the journey than how many kilometres we have ridden. When I say ‘journey’, I mean our experiences: what we have seen, heard, smelled, tasted and felt; who we have met and now know better; and what we have learned. Knowing exactly how many kilometres we’ve ridden isn’t the important part. But it is fun to have a rough idea of just how far we have travelled simply by pedalling our bikes.
What is really amazing to me is that we’ve travelled from our house in Smithers all the way to where we are now in Charleston, South Carolina. One of the best lessons that I have learned on this trip is that if I just keep pedalling a comfortable distance on most days, a few kilometers add up to lots and lots of kilometers, crazy fast!
So who is Welican-the-Pelican, anyway? And where did he come from?
When I left Smithers I had one bright orange flag on my bike. It stuck straight up in the air so that the wind played with it as I rode. A bright, waving flag on a bike makes it easier for people that are driving to see people that are riding their bikes, like us. That one broke so now I have a yellow one that does the same job. Lothar has the same kind of flag.
When we got closer to Prince George the paved shoulder on the side of the road that we were riding on got narrow. There wasn’t much room for us to ride so cars and trucks were moving much closer to us than they were before. So we thought having flags that stick out sideways to go with our flags that stick straight up would make it easier for drivers to see us and give them a heads up to drive around us. We went shopping for more flags but we could not find any. Then we started asking people if they could find anything that we could use as flags. My cousin found a red plastic bag and short flag pole for Lothar and a beautiful orange flag that was on Christopher’s kayak for me. They’re both brightly coloured flags so now we are much easier for drivers to see.
So that is how I picked up my hitch-biker. He is the little white pelican that flies on Christopher’s flag. Each morning, I tuck Weli’s flag pole under the big black bag on the back of my bike so it sticks out sideways pointing at the road. Then Weli waves around wildly in the wind all day long. His job is to remind people to give me lots of room when they pass me.
I am doing my best to bring Weli safely back to his home in Prince George, British Columbia.
I think Christopher probably misses Weli. So I want to get him back home safely. For now, Welican-the-Pelican is on duty with the busy job of reporting on our progress for our big bike adventure.
We all have Christopher to thank for letting Weli hitch-bike a ride with us. Thank-you, Christopher!
Weli is a white pelican. Did you know that real American White Pelicans migrate?
The word migrate has a few meanings but here I am talking about the meaning in #2:
1 : to move from one country, place, or locality to another
2 : to pass from one region or climate to another usually on a regular schedule for feeding or breeding
3 : to change position or location in a living thing or substance <parasitic worms migrating from the lungs to the liver> (Merriam Webster, Word Central)
I feel like Lothar, Weli, and I are migrating too! Only we’re doing it differently than real pelicans. We don’t fly. We don’t go fast. We don’t travel in a straight line or even a sort of straight line. We’re on a slow wandering kind of migration.
Now that we’ve pedalled as far as we have, I can say, oh Canada, you are a big country!