Sharon's Ride Around The World

The Day We "Broke" the Internet


March 30

I'm riding my bicycle with more than 200 "type A's". We are like locusts on wheels...rolling into town, devouring everything in sight and then moving on.

Type A's I've learned, must stay connected. The first question these people ask in a place like the birthplace of Raphael isn't "Where are his paintings?" It's "Is there an internet cafe?"

The hotel we stayed for the night had an internet service. So many people used it they broke the computer. This is what happens when there are so many of us and so few of you.

In the city the size of Rome we kept bumping into each other. Odyssey riders wear a distinctive yellow helmet (I like to call us lemonheads) and it was here in Rome I noticed a change in lemonhead behavior. I think we're all getting a bit travel weary and weary of seeing each other. When we would pass a fellow rider, we wouldn't stop and chat...just a simple wave. Who knows, maybe in a few months we'll be giving each other obscene gestures.

We're also learning our trip can change in a heartbeat. Some riders have tired of it all and have flat out left. Others have been injured...everyone now knows we don't know what's around the bend. That's one reason the cycling is no longer the main focus of my year long adventure. I love to bike, it's a great way to see the world...but I don't want the world to pass me by. So, I take days off to be a tourist.

So far, my bike has been in the back of pickups, boats, planes and trains ( I've crammed three bikes in a french train's bathroom because the conductor didn't have space for them anyplace else). To me, there is no shame in not riding every day every mile. I've been trying to convince a friend to do the same. He kept resisting and got injured. I told him I hoped this would change his mind--reminding him that I've never fallen off a bus seat.

Sticking around Rome instead of leaving like my fellow lemonheads, I got to know the guy at the Old Bridge Gelato Shop. Gelato is wonderful Italian ice cream. We called him "Johnny Gelato". Johnny took a liking to us. Each time we stopped by, the cones got larger. On our sixth and last visit, they were the size of my head.

Johnny Gelato was a reason to stay...he was also a reason to get back on the bike. When I work off those six gelato cones, I'll be a tourist again.


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