We left this morning at sunup. Friend Julie was behind the camera.
We pedaled through the rain. And we had a 14 mph tailwind! The value of the tailwind was emphasized when Jeffrey made a wrong turn and had to backtrack into the wind. The wind-driven rain on his face was almost as painful as hail.
Most of the route was on dedicated bicycle paths and on busy streets with bike lanes. But for the rain, the trip was generally civilized.
Jeffrey particularly liked the snail’s gold-green shell. So California!
Since we parked the Sprint 26 last May, its front derailleur cable rusted. We couldn’t access the lowest gears. It’s our good luck that Otoniel immigrated from Honduras and became the top bicycle surgeon in Hayward, CA.
Dr. Otoniel performed a cable transplant and got us back on the road. We commiserated with him over the Hondurans who flee the murder capital of the world, and are jailed and bullied and deprived of legal counsel when they exercise their right to request refuge in the United States.
Joe and Jim at the hardware store talked to us about cycling. Then the conversation turned to the reasons for the Ride.
They were shocked to learn that asylum applicants can have legal counsel only “at no expense to the government.” Both were incredulous that a shoplifter and a murderer are entitled to a lawyer, but not a 5 year old unaccompanied refugee child. As for most Americans, this violates their sense of fairness.
With Toni and Roseanne, retired educators walking on the Martin Luther King Regional Shoreline, we had a wide-ranging discussion about refugees, asylum, the right to counsel, and the mistreatment of neighbors whose paperwork problems lead to their exile from our country, their home.
Jeffrey explained that in our view, after people (irrespective of immigration papers) become part of our community, we cannot toss them aside. People, even felons, at some point become our people, our felons, and their problems are our responsibility.
Our last stop today: Oakland.
We rode through beautiful parks; passed tent encampments and streets lined with dilapidated RVs housing the poor; saw streets littered with huge oranges that fell from nearby trees; and pedaled past industrial zones, high tech campuses, fancy housing developments and slums.
And we couldn’t forget that this week, the Oakland area was the target of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) raids. These raids were conducted without regard to the family or community ties of the people arrested.
Most people in areas of high immigration, including Oakland, welcome and accept their neighbors without regard to immigration status.
Yet—as in presidential elections when the people’s choice is overridden by the Electoral College, as when military weapons are made available to untrained civilians despite the people’s opposition—the xenophobic minority is pandered to, and the people’s wishes are ignored.
Today our faith in Americans got a boost . . . and our disgust at our unrepresentative “democracy” rose too.
Our friend Jennifer met us in Oakland, put our gear in her office, and brought us to her home near the Indian Rock overlook in Berkeley.
Tomorrow morning we’ll return with her to Oakland and continue the Ride.
go Jeffrey go!!!!😘