I had an amazing encounter yesterday with a guy named Elvis while riding bike on PCH.
The story starts back in November of 2011 when I read a post on the Brooks Saddle blog (Elvis Munis Takes the Long Road to Promote African Development). Inspired by what I read I connected with his page on Facebook and have been loosely following along.
Now I have to admit, I didn’t see anything in my stream for a long time so I sort of forgot about the trip. On Saturday morning however I noticed a picture on Facebook of Elvis standing near the Pacific. After further examination I realized that I had been in that exact spot near Carlsbad. I realized their was a good chance he would be passing through OC on Sunday on his way north so I quickly left a comment. After some back and forth I made plans to ride out and meet him the next day somewhere on PCH.
That night I was sharing the story with my friend Ron who happened to be riding south from Dana Point the next morning. While waiting on PCH Sunday morning I got a call from Ron letting me know that he had found Elvis riding with a guy named James, they were making their way through Camp Pendelton together. I agreed to ride down to Dana Point to meetup with the pack (on Single Speed MASI
We met up and enjoyed a meal together in Dana Point. It was amazing listening to his stories about riding up through South America, about meeting cartel in Columbia and being warned about some of the dangers in Mexico. Also hearing about mechanical issues suffered in the middle of nowhere with no proper bike shop nearby.
I also enjoyed hearing more about his cause. His goal is to raise enough money to send 10 Tanzanians to college to learn about conservation. He went on to talk about the importance of conservation in Tanzania, how the country relies so heavily on safari tourism which I had never really thought much about. I believe in conservation sure but I never really put it together with prosperity the of a nation. Makes complete sense that if one of their biggest industries is tourism that they need to educate future generations on the importance of conservation.
After our brunch I got to lay down some miles with Elvis riding with he and James up to Seal Beach. It was great to see so many other cyclist ride up and chat with him about his trip. He was always ready to hand out a small card with the URL and very gracious.
At a gas station near Seal Beach we said our goodbyes. I ended up putting in 75 miles on the single speed in the heat but as Elvis said “this heat feels like vacation compared to riding from Yuma” which he had done just a few days prior.
His 2 year journey will cover 28,000 miles and 47 countries. WOW
You can read more about Elvis or contribute: Chiletokili.com.