Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Cycling Proselytizers

Think you're a committed cyclist? Hardcore in any weather and all? You do your R-12 events every month for a year (that's at least a 200k every month), and think that is something?

Well, move over bub. Let me introduce you to some cyclists that even RUSA record-breaker Vincent Muoneke (and a hearty Congratulations to you, Vincent!) would be obliged to respect.

Meet Byron Ramos, Couper Millar and Bradley Gabor, pictured above l to r. These three missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints are on a two year, seven days a week in all weather door-to-door campaign on their bicycles throughout south Washington State. They cycle from house to house proselytizing for JCLDS. Their mission is for two years, and is unpaid.

I spied this trio in Milton-Freewater, Oregon a town I posted about when we did the Oregon Randonneurs 300k last summer. They were outside a restaurant, and I picked them out by their natty clothes and ties. I figured who else would ride with dress clothes on a nasty day but somebody on a mission, and I was right!

Byron, Couper and Bradley were very patient with my incredulous questioning, and I thank them. Can you imagine riding every day of the week for two years? As I motored away I couldn't help but imagine the reactions they got from all the folks whose doors they knocked upon. The bicycle is a disarmer. From my limited touring, I've learned that most folks respect that you've earned your way to the very spot at which you've met them on your bicycle.

So, these three got me thinking about other ways to visit the world by bicycle. I hope they now realize that they've inspired me to think bigger about the possibilites of the bicycle. Not to mention my respect for their commitment. Awesome.

Having said all that, I just got to say that the JCLDS position on California's Prop 8 is one that I find very disturbing. Keith Olberman does a fine job of stating my failure to understand why some insist on perpetrating their values on others when no harm to others would occur. It just baffles me, and I believe such discrimination against any of us divides us and pits us against the loving world we all seek and need.

Nonetheless, you just have to admire Byron, Couper and Bradley. There is much to learn from such commitment. I wish them all the best weather with friendly door knockees, only downhills, no flats and no dogs! And when that doesn't all work out, I hope they know they've earned the respect of this curious cyclist!

Keep it loving and inclusive of all, every day in all weather and any circumstance,