two bike sisters part company

Leah and I will no longer be cycling together.  Leah wanted a solo perspective and initiated the decision, and I wanted to spend a couple of weeks here in Nicaragua with my friends who were visiting from England.  I do not plan to cycle on my own, and am making plans with other cyclists.  We’ve spoke a lot about some of the things which haven’t been right about us being together, and the only way forward was to not ride together.  It’s hard to explain all of this, so instead I would prefer to write about our amazing 6 months together, and how we even begun this adventure.

WOW

 

I had been dreaming about this trip for years.  It was sort of easier to dream when it seemed a distant and sort of impossible reality, reading books of other people’s adventures whilst sat on the London Underground, wishing I was somewhere else if it wasn’t for my job and the need for more money.  By last December I was getting close to having enough savings, and my job contract was due up in April.  I’d been boring family and friends for so long, I don’t know if people believed I would go.  It was at this point it started to feel really scary; I would lie in bed at night worrying about having to set off alone, how scary it would be to leave, or how scary it would be to not fulfil my dreams because I was afraid.

I decided to put a post on the cycle tourist website crazy guy on a bike looking for a bike buddy, this was the only thing stopping me from actually putting the wheels in motion.  And then Leah replied, and I will never forget that flutter of excitement that I felt when I could tell I had found someone like minded, fun, with similar outlook on life that I would want to ride with, and most importantly someone who had the same dreams.  We skyped once, and did a lot of g-chat and realised we wanted to plan the trip together, it was an amazing feeling.  We spoke most days, making decisions together trawling through blogs and kit reviews, making decisions about our own bikes, parts, and all pieces of kit we would need.

I flew in to LA-X airport and meeting Leah in real life I had no anxiety about whether we would get on, it was like we already knew each other because of the amount of time we had spent talking.  Her friends were great, they said ‘she’s one of us!’ and I was really welcomed by her family.

Over the past 6 months Leah and I have shared our dreams, our lives, our food, our beds, our tents, our friends.  The pictures are not lying when you see how much fun we have and how happy we are.  In the end we didn’t have a huge bust up, and we didn’t really say goodbye, more like ‘see you later on the road, sister’.  Leah is really strong, brave, determined and witty (I think American’s would call it a smart ass).  She is supportive and understanding of people and most importantly she had such a strong sense of fun and adventure. (actually, perhaps more importantly she loves coffee and food as much as me!)  You can tell from the amazing photos she takes that she sees the beauty and fun in everything.  It is this differing perspective that has made this journey so amazing, more than my dreams could have imagined.

We call each other ‘road sisters’ and I can’t think of a better title.  When you share the most personal things with someone- the most scary and low times like painful saddle sore, or having the worst stomach bug imaginable whilst trying to ride your bike, never knowing where you might sleep that night to the most amazing experiences of strangers giving you ice lollies on the side of the road, to sleeping in a monastery with monks, crossing borders and experiencing the most amazing changes in landscape, people, food and culture.  There have been so many times that we said ‘this wouldn’t have happened if we were riding with someone else’, and how we both got to spend our birthdays really sums up our shared experience, Leah’s at a waterpark in Baja California on 17th May and mine in Oaxaca and Chiapas on 3rd October.

I feel so incredibly lucky to have met Leah, in doing so I was given the courage to start this trip which has changed the course of my life forever.   I feel so lucky that we were able to share our dreams, to learn so so much, about life on the road, about human kindness, about ourselves and each other, and that I have been able to get to know this most amazing person.  I am eternally grateful.

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