People are kinder than you think
Especially the motorcyclist community. Whoever painted us as simple gun wielding, drug dealing hooligans is a total idiot.
What I thought’d happen
Unusual but no expectations today
What actually happened
I have a new pannier, bag and warm clothing. And my bike purrs like a walrus.
Today I arrived in Riga and met up with Peter, a friend I met in Helsinki. Peter happens to be CEO of Adidas Sailing and a huge motorcycle enthusiast.
He also happens to be based in Riga. So I dropped past to say hello on my way through, showed him my bike and showboated the story of the past few days. Perhaps he felt somebody needed to look out for such an unfortunate, foolhardy adventurer, or perhaps he was blown away by my cool recklessness and irresponsibility, either way he dropped everything to help fix my situation. I have never experienced such kindness before, let alone from somebody I’ve just met. This photograph I took in Bergen is appropriate here.
In the midst of all the work he had to do, Peter rang his mechanic and organised for one of his employees, Artus, to drive me home to pick up my bike and then to the mechanic’s workshop to translate Latvian for me. I was originally going to head over to Berlin from Latvia (to my crazy Polish mechanic) to service my bike, but servicing it in Riga meant I could void the detour. I could head straight down through Lithuania, Poland and beyond. Weeeee.
We dropped it off in the morning and I picked it up the next afternoon. It was a dream to ride after the service. I realised I hadn’t pumped my tires up once in the time I had been riding, it was like trying to handle a PMSing woman. Not going to happen. No wonder I had fallen off so many damn times.
And what’s more not only did Peter organise that all for me, he could see how grovelingly poor I am and performed some shaman magic to wave the fee. What a guy. Seriously.
A new pannier
After I picked the bike up I drove back to his office. We brought it into the warehouse where he stores his motorcycles in Latvia. He actually happens to have the same bike as mine, albeit a different year, and in slightly less beat up condition, so he offered to fit one of his panniers from this bike onto mine. This would help balance my bike up. Seriously. What a jerk.
Whilst it sounds easy to fit a new pannier onto the same model bike, it’s just not. Never ever think that fitting luggage on a bike is easy. Ever. Artus and Peter stayed back after work for hours dismantling the pannier off his bike, and thinking of strategies to fit it on mine.
Shamefully I admit Id’ve probably given up before we even started. Partly because mechanical stuff stresses me out but also because this really did look like fitting the impossible. But thankfully not everybody’s a pessemistic piece of trash like me, and together with their powers combined Peter and Artus managed to screw it on with a bolt and zip ties.
So now I have two panniers again. PRAISE THE LORD.
Downsizing and upgrading
Peter also gave me a bigger, flat bottomed waterproof bag that fits all of my luggage. Now everything I have, including my sleeping bag, tent and mat are all in one bag. This means I don’t have to climb a billion stories a trillion times in order to carry my luggage into hostels.*Deep exhale of relief.
He also let me store some of the gear I don’t need in his warehouse. Aka the 65lt hiking pack I hardly use.
So now I have two panniers, less weight on the back and a flat bottomed bag that doesn’t roll down into my back. HOORAY.
What I learned today:
- We’re all too scared to trust a stranger.
- Some strangers can be kinder than people you know.