A few months ago, I found myself sitting in an all-you-can-eat Chinese buffet in Fresno, California. I’d just ridden through Yosemite National Park (after spending 10 days riding through Colorado, Utah and Nevada) and was making my way down south to Los Angeles to catch my flight home when the hunger pangs struck.
Fresno seemed like the best chance I’d have to fuel up before blasting to the City of Angels, so I pulled into the first agreeable looking establishment and set up camp at a table closest to the spare ribs.
While I was ordering a drink off the waitress, I was approached by a guy who had been drawn over by the sound of my English accent. We got chatting, and he called over his mate who also happened to be British.
Realising that I was eating alone, they invited me to join them at their table, and when they discovered that I had nowhere to stay that evening they insisted that I went back to their place for a few beers where there’d be a sofa bed with my name on it.
Who was I to refuse an offer of alcohol and free lodging? So, I quickly agreed and followed them through the city to their neighbourhood. As we got deeper and deeper into their neck of the woods, there was a noticeably ‘bad’ feeling about the place, and I started to wonder to myself ‘what if these guys are serial killers?’
I’d either watched too many TV shows, or listened to concerned friends too often and their paranoia had started to sink in. I was a guy riding alone on a bike worth around £20,000 – an easy target, right?
On arrival, they allowed me to park my bike out of sight in their back garden and cracked me open a cold beer. Nerves were starting to settle, but there was still that nagging voice in the back of my head asking me ‘what if…?’ So, I decided to text my girlfriend telling her the address I was staying at, and if I didn’t call her by 7 am the next morning to phone the Fresno Police and send them to my rescue.
My scepticism of the kindness of strangers proved unfounded, and my hosts let me use their shower, drink their beer and watch a new episode of Game of Thrones before setting me up for a comfortable night on their sofa bed.
In the morning, they awoke at 6 am with me and made me coffee, sending me off to catch my flight with a smile on my face.
Now, what’s the point in this story? We hear so many tales of how there are bad people out in this world, and I have no doubt that it puts many riders off from chasing their dream and exploring different countries.
The reality is, however, that there are far more nice people out there, so broaden your mind, throw your leg over the saddle, and go and meet them!