He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority.”
Acts 1:7 (context)
Back when I converted my Specialized Hard Rock into an Xtracycle, I posted a picture on Flickr of my solution to the super-long-chain sagging issue. This is the picture:
At the time, I received a number of questions from other Xtracycle riders asking what that thing was and where to get one (it’s an idler, by the way, custom made by TerraCycle in Portland, and it’s the single most expensive part on my Specialized). One of the people who asked about this was a guy named Matthew, who lived in Tacoma, wrote a blog called Tacoma Bike Ranch, and rode his Xtracycle on the 3-day, 3-mountain-pass-surmounting Courage Classic. Pretty unique guy.
Last week, I did a tabling event in Tacoma. By chance I encountered a guy also tabling there, representing the Harmon Bike Club and touting the Courage Classic. He rode up on an Xtracycle and his name tag read, “Matt.” It took me most of the evening to realize that this was the same Matthew with whom I had exchanged emails over a year ago when I still lived in Massachusetts. When I told him that, he exclaimed, “My world just got a lot smaller!”
If his world just got smaller, mine’s shrinking too rapidly to measure, because this has happened a few more times since that encounter: First, I was riding the Sound Transit 550 Express from Seattle to the Bellevue Transit Center yesterday afternoon and the bus driver looked incredibly familiar. Finally, after staring (fairly obviously, as it turns out) and wracking my brains, it came to me. He had volunteered at the Bicycle Alliance Volunteer Work Party the previous Thursday, and much of the volunteers’ discussion had centered around his experience as a Metro bus driver. I’d sat and chatted with the volunteers for long enough to remember his face, but (alas) not his name. Just before my stop, I walked up to the front of the bus and said, “Were you at the Bike Alliance Volunteer Work Party last week?” and sure enough, yep. We had a nice little conversation before I got off.
Then, today a third random encounter — this time very brief — occurred on the bike trail. I was riding home on the Burke-Gilman Trail as usual, and as I came up on the turn you take to go to the Cascade Bike Club offices, an approaching cyclist caught my eye. She wore a long, pale blue-green pea coat (if pea coats can be pale blue-green; they may by definition be black. I’m not sure. I never wore one) and it had long tails that flew out to the sides as she rode along. It was quite eye-catching. As I passed, I glanced at her face and thought she looked familiar — a feeling I’m getting comfortable with, as you can imagine. A second later I realized she was Robin Randels, the Cascade Bike Club Classes Coordinator who had organized and assisted at the LCI Seminar that I assistant taught at a couple weeks ago. I shouted, “Robin!” and she shouted something else that clearly indicated I was right and she had (probably) recognized me, and I shouted “Hey!” That’s about the extent of the conversation you can have when two people are traveling at 15+ mph in opposite directions.
On a slightly different but similar vein, I met an AmeriCorps intern at Transportation Advocacy Day in Olympia back in January. She’s interning at the Cascade Bike Club, but not through the Northwest Service Academy. Anyway, we got to talking, and it turns out that she’s really good friends with Jon, one of the AmeriCorps interns in my group/pod/whatever. Another “small world” connection.
I’m just waiting to see what happens next. Who else will I meet and recognize out of context? It could be anybody!