Sharon's Ride Around The World

"The Road Most Traveled"

Baja, Mexico Mid January

For the next 18 days, our route takes us down Baja on Mex 1. It's really the only road in town--the only paved route going north to south. Mex 1 is a narrow highway with little or no shoulder. On most days, you're competing with trucks and buses for a small strip of pavement. At one point, and 18-wheeler came so close, I felt I was in the cab with the driver. On these days, I find myself clenching my teeth and hoping my limited cycling skills will keep me out of a ditch--or worse.

It's no wonder, then, that on Mex 1 we would pass one shrine after another dedicated to loved ones who have died on this road. Many of these shrines are simple testaments--a metal cross, artificial flowers and perhaps a candle. It seems most of the people missed are locals--except one.

It's midday as we leave a little restaurant near Fosa el Tigre and Bob Hansen sees a monument made of granite---one with a picture and candles. Bob decides to stop and take a look. What he finds will change the reason he's riding. The elaborate, granite mounument is for a Japanese cyclist. He was 28 years old and was attempting to pedal his way around the world. There are two pages of his journal left at the monument--an indication he hadn't gotten very far when a car hit and killed him.

Bob decides to leave a message at the monument. He will dedicate his year long journey around the world to that Japanese cyclist. He is a sober reminder that it takes more than time and money and strength to make a trek like this one. He is a sober reminder that sometimes the best intentions end badly. But he's also a reminder that there is going to be a measure of risk with the life we want to lead.

It made me wonder how safe we would many times I would find myself clenching my teeth and hoping for the best on days when the road seems made for only one form of transportation.

Postscript: Soon after we passed this monument, one of our riders was hit and injured by a car. He was taken to a hospital and had surgery on his leg. He's hoping to rejoin us in the coming months.



DATE: 1/15/2000

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