Monday, May 3, 2010. 7:52 PM
Opononi, Northland, New Zealand
I’ve taken to hitchhiking lately. Especially since I’m on my own, and I’ve defeated my ego which derives pride from a cheat-free bike tour, I don’t mind skipping some bits. There’s too much of the world to bike everywhere, so I choose and skip at will, and besides, it’s a great way to meet random (awesome) people.
Disclaimer: this is a fleshing-out of a rant I jotted down while riding and trying to hitch with no luck yesterday.
Trying to hitchhike with a bicycle reveals the close minded. I was actually getting annoyed with the humanity in Northland, because yesterday I tried to hitch everything that moves as I pedaled the final 80km to the furthest point North, and nobody stopped.
Funny thing is I didn’t really care whether I got a bite or not. It’s two days ride up, two days back down, one road. And as I don’t like spending the whole day (or two) retracing steps, I resigned to hitch one way, either way. I won’t deny the satisfaction of completing a challenging ride on my own, as it really is a good feeling. It was also a good feeling to shout “Thank you for the rejection!” as each car passed. But I got to thinking, as I do on these long trips:
As I put out a thumb (admittedly while riding), I reasoned that this unusually stiff response had to do with ignorance. Either all these tourists were too fresh-off the boat (we are just north of the big port, Auckland) to know how it works here, man! Or they thought that my big bike and I couldn’t fit into their wee auto. This, I decided, was what they were all thinking. Little do they know, though, that my bike is a folding bike! I’ve fit into some tiny-ass autos. No-trunk small. Any Subaru will do.
I found it sad that these folks were underestimating their potential to do good. I can’t help because that bike won’t fit. This know-it-all mentality reduces one’s potential to do good. Thinking how to help liberate them from this small-thinking, which reduces our mutual well-being – cuz I’m a good hitch! – I resolved to make a hitching-teeshirt. Maybe YES WE CAN FIT! will help.
Any clever slogans from the peanut gallery?
PS – In case you’re wondering if I got my ride down, yes I did. Upon my arrival at New Zealand’s northernmost campground, I had my doubts, as everyone here had already rejected me at some point today. But that didn’t stop me from schmoozing and asking around. One fellow I waved at as he pulled-in came over and said hi, I saw you with the thumb out today, see you made it alright! I explained that I had decided to hitch one way, got any room? And we worked it out. Today we had a grand old time, driving down the 90 Mile Beach in his 4WD Bongo (it was meant to be), and now we’re camping, and I gave him his first feijoa fruit! Mmmm! So the lesson here is that it’s never too late to open up and let me in.