1 Bike, 1 Guitar, 10,000 Kilometers
A Reflection on the Ride of a Lifetime
It was winter 2015, I hadn’t taken time off from my teaching position in quite a while. In Adult Education, they offer summer classes as well as night classes. I was doing it all. Life was getting stagnant and I was looking for inspiration to shake my life up. That’s when I came across the trailer for the movie Ride the Divide, about a race that starts in Banff, Canada and goes south through the mountains all the way down to the Mexican Border. I figured if those cyclists can do it, I can do it too. I wouldn’t be racing though, and in addition to cycling the designated route, I thought of throwing in a haphazard cross Canada on the way. A friend asked me if I felt ready. I replied that out of everyone I knew, if I had to pick someone that I believed would be best suited to do this, it would be me. Everything checked out; my “tough it out” personality, my social and financial circumstances, my flexible job and home arrangement, and being someone who cycles 365 days of the year. Yes, I was as ready as I’d ever be.
While planning for the trip, some discouraged me from bringing a guitar. “Why don’t you bring a harmonica or a ukulele instead?” I had some concerns myself. I had already done a short 60 km ride with a full sized guitar in its hard case before, and I agree that the weight would be too much on a multi-day ride. When I came across the durable lightweight KLOS Guitar, this romantic idea of biking around the country with a guitar became very possible. Now that weight wasn’t a problem, there was still the question of where I would put it.
I started the trip with the guitar strapped vertically to my rear rack in a dry bag made for kayaks. It fit perfectly. I did realize quickly however that because the guitar was secured so tightly, I never actually felt like making the effort to take it out for the 5 minutes I wanted to play. Although I didn’t want to carry anything on my back but water, fearing discomfort on a long trip, I made an exception for the guitar. In the end, it proved to be no burden at all and very accessible.
My bike was my best friend. Not only would it see and breathe the same landscapes as me, it would also share in the physical effort required to get me there. Every pedal stroke, my bike did it too. Every bump, every climb. Whenever I was patching up the wheel or tinkering with my brakes, it felt like I was applying a dressing on my wounded horse.
My guitar was a very different friend. It wasn’t essential. It didn’t help me find my way back to the trail when I was lost in the scorching afternoon sun in Montana. It didn’t sanitize the river water when I was down to my last drop of water. It didn’t seem to be helpful at all. What it did do however was enrich my experiences with people I’d meet along the way. Being someone who keeps mostly to himself, I appreciated how easily people approached me, partly thanks to the guitar. I found it funny when I entered a bike shop in Regina, that they were more intrigued about the guitar than my trip. Best of all however is no matter how lonely I got, I was just a familiar tune away from home. Simply knowing the guitar was within arms reach was comforting.
- Nima Aliahmad
About the author
Nima Aliahmad hails from Montreal, Canada and is one of the earliest KLOS Guitars' customers, now brand ambassadors. In the summer of 2016 he biked from Montreal to San Diego, a trip that lasted 84 days, 9,800 kilometers (6,089 miles), with 63,862 meters (40 miles) of elevation gain. He carried his KLOS guitar throughout the entire trip, and as he recounts above, it changed the nature of his trip. You can find more details about his trip here.