Roadside Encounter


In which I learn I’m not as dashing as I thought I was…


I see myself as an outdoorsman.


I have the scruffy beard, the camping gear, and the willingness to get outside for several hours on a howling windy day. Outdoorsman, and ruggedly dashing, absolutely.


I load up the bike with my gear, and set out for sparsely populated areas.


I soak in the outdoors, celebrate natural features, and ponder deep things in quiet places.


And I travel those dusty gravel roads… because that’s what us ruggedly dashing outdoorsmen do.


Since I am independent and self-contained, I don’t sashay into a coffee shop. I take my refreshment on the roadside.


I settle in for a rest. There’s hardly any traffic on this road, but I am surprised to see a USPS truck drive by. The driver waves and smiles. I wave and smile a ruggedly dashing smile.


A little while later, the USPS truck returns from the opposite direction and stops in front of me. The woman driver greets me with a smile and says, “Would you like something to eat?”

I am stunned.


I politely refuse, and point out that the very reason I’m stopped is to have a little snack…the very one that I have with me.

She presses holding several packaged food items in her hand, “Are you sure? I have these and I don’t need them.”

I tell her again that I have everthing I need, and will probably go home and have lunch soon.

There is a pause while she processes that information, and then she says, “Oh.”

IMG_3446When she drives away I realize that she must have mistaken me for some kind of hobo. I can’t figure out what would have given her that idea.


37 thoughts on “Roadside Encounter

  1. “When she drives away I realize that she must have mistaken me for some kind of hobo. I can’t figure out what would have given her that idea.”

    It’s the Hobo Bike. It always confuses ’em.

  2. Good post and good photography — as usual. I’m not sure non-bikers would understand, but we often are moved by photographs of just the pathway ahead and nothing more.

  3. Hobos don’t have Carradice bags, though that may not be obvious to the casual observer just as the differences between a 1965, 1966, and 1967 E type Jaguar are not apparent to any but the truly shriven.

  4. I know the feeling Chris. Indeed my wife has often remarked that I could start a new clothing brand of ‘homeless chic’. The line between being socially acceptable and happily dishevelled is fine.

    • Laugh about it? That’s an understatement.

      When I returned home, she smiled at me and said, “Let me take a picture of you with your bike!” Which I interpreted as, “My, aren’t you ruggedly dashing?”

      So I rolled the bike to a spot, and proudly struck a pose while she snapped the photo. When she looked down at her phone to check the image, she smiled even bigger. My brain was thinking, “My woman thinks I’m awesome!”

      Then she said, laughing out loud, “You’re a freak!”, and within 90 seconds the image was posted on Facebook so the entire world could laugh at me.

  5. Har, har, har, har, harrr!! Thanks for the laughs on a cold, snowy afternoon! Now, this gives me something to really ponder. πŸ˜‰

  6. and props to the USPS driver. Although her charitable actions were mis-directed, her kindness to what she viewed as a stranger in need is a wonderful thing. Great story all around. thx.

  7. I had a similar encounter a few years back. I was sitting on a park bench with one of my touring buds, and a guy walking by looks at us, looks at our bikes, & asks (only half in jest) “are you guys homeless?”. The bikes were loaded down with 4 bags plus misc. stuff strapped on, & we’d be out a few days, so it wasn’t totally off the mark. We just chuckled & assured him we weren’t without resources.

  8. Chris, really great post and a subject I have considered myself…perspective is in the eye of the beholder and though her perspective was inaccurate her kindness and offer were inspirational. Around a local park here in Sunland are a great variety of transient folk travelling by two wheels and when they see me they cock and eye towards me attempting to ascertain whether I am of their clan? So it has me evaluating my appearance in only the most superficial way. I plan for now to give the classy hobo vibe it’s due course.

    And just so the record is straight you are dashing classy hobo my friend.


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