The Argonauts: An Exploration of Life

Tom’s Bicycle Tour of Africa

Home is where the bicycle is.

Tom Lais Bicycle Tour Logan Pass

Editor’s Note: I’ve met few men who love bicycling as much as Tom. That’s actually an understatement. Tom just thinks and sees the world like a bicyclist. “What if everyone commuted to work on a bicycle…?” “What if they made a bike path here…?” Or, “What if…?” He loves cycling so much that he retired from his job, sold his home to help pay for his adventures, and then threw his hat over the fence to go to Africa, and much more. That’s another understatement and a story for another time! I’m not recommending you do any of those things, but — Wow! — what a great example of determination and courage. I’m rooting for you, Tom. PS. Tune into his adventures live. See the links below.

Location: Africa

Tom's Bicycle Tour of Africa MapA view of Tom’s route through Africa on his GPS device. See Tom’s location in real-time on MapShare.

Sometimes I look back and wonder how my little legs did it. Sometimes I just wonder at wonder.

I decided I needed to complete something before I ran out of time. At age 61 I discovered bike touring. I came home from a long bike tour to a shallow place. Nothing I did fit me. So, I decided to take off on another tour to un-spindle my worried thoughts. I feel more at home on my bike than anywhere I have lived. I figured Africa was a tough trip and it was now or never.

The bike dipping was in Costa Rica. The ride back up the hill was very steep and long. But entertaining.
I am going on a vacation turning off the news and finding love in my heart. Not a moment of my life needs to be wasted on worry.

As I prepare for this trip, I find so many parts of my life converging. You know how when you are riding and there is a runner in front of you and another coming from the other direction and by some strange law of physics you all meet at the same point. That’s what I get from all this crazy life I have chosen.

Leaving everything behind is a weird and frightening feeling. In my own home, I had the go-to things and much much more. Now just figuring where I charge my phone is a question.

This poem by rumi has guided me:

The Guest House

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.

Be grateful for whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

~ Jellaludin Rumi, translation by Coleman Barks

 

Tom and bicycle inside travel backpack

Tom with his bicycle inside a custom backpack.

Bicycle touring supplies for Africa spread out on table and much more not shown.

Bicycle touring supplies for Africa spread out on table. It doesn’t even fit in one picture.

Tom Lais Bicycle Tour Dipping Wheels Costa Rica

Tom Lais dipping his wheels in the ocean in Costa Rica on his Tip to Tail tour from Alaska to Argentina. (See above also.)


You can follow Tom’s bicycle tour in Africa here tourdelais.com.
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