We run into other touring cyclists on the road quite often, and it’s always a great time when we join forces for a while.
Recently we hooked up with two really cool guys each solo-touring through Costa Rica (and beyond) and got great interviews with each of them about cycling, living on the road, the incredible hospitality of Latin America, and much much more. I’m very excited about our ever-growing accumulation of film footage featuring other travelers we encounter and what specifically moves each of them; that theme will definitely be playing a role in our final film.
We’re so grateful to have met Denis at this time in his many long years of traveling. Among his great travel stories and the sharing of his philosophy about and addiction to cycling, about how it benefits the soul, he had the courage and wherewithal to recount to us in harrowing detail his recent terrible encounter with thieves in Nicaragua.
While camping alone one night he was woken by a group of multiple young men, one wielding a machete, who proceeded to beat him badly when he didn’t immediately comply to their demands. They stole a few important things, but worse, left him hospitalized and unable to even walk for two weeks’ time. Most of all he misses the sense of pristine comfort he had developed in Latin America.
With incredible maturity and unbelievable compassion Denis expressed that he holds no ill will towards the men who hurt and robbed him. He understands that good people can be driven to do bad things because of unfortunate circumstances.
Returning bloodied, bruised, and defeated to his home country, Russia, was never even a consideration. He stuck it out in the less-than-wonderful rural Nicaraguan hospital, got his legs churning again, got back on his bike, and pedaled to Costa Rica where we met him.
Thanks for sharing your story and for all the good times, man. See you further down the road, I’m sure.
Alaskan-born Ross is, in a sense, the purest of travelers. I of course mean this as a compliment, but really it’s a nicer way of saying ‘this dude is incredibly cheap’, admiringly so.
On a rocky dirt road in the jungle we came upon Ross in his dusty Jordan high-tops (a gift from a baller Mexican host) and his battle-worn bike in relative shambles. His back rack had cracked and thus couldn’t handle the weight of the large old toolbox (acquired from his father’s garage) he was using for a rack-topper pack. We each grabbed one of his four…big white buckets…which had been strapped to his frame with old stretchy inner-tubes, and carried them to our mutual destination. Completely free, recycled, makeshift panniers (bike bags) which are sturdy, waterproof, and make for great portable seats. Pretty cool.
We interviewed Ross about what one actually requires in order to get out there and travel (hint: almost nothing, certainly not a lot of money); about how amazing it is that people in Latin America with so little take us in off the streets and open up their small homes and feed us because that’s just the way they are; about exploring the graffiti scene down the span of the hemisphere; about sneaking across multiple borders (successfully and unsuccessfully); about why heavy metal is his favorite riding music; about how hip-hop is life—”flowing (rhymes) is just breathing, man”; and plenty more.
Ross has been writing his own super dense raps over the years while traveling, and I had the great pleasure of recording more than an hour and a half of him spitting them over some 90′s instrumental beats, and that will certainly be fun to play with…