Sojo, my most beloved, colorful bike of the Sofa King line, will be retired this year after tens of thousands of miles logged onto her aluminum frame, many of them loaded.
A decade ago, in the twilight of my ever-questioning, bumbling college years, Annie Dillard’s essay Sojourner was a muse to me and the only proper name dedication for my new touring bike which I was about to ride down the coast with my father.
In her conflicted allegory about the human condition (staring mangroves), Dillard wallows in nihilist sludge a bit implying that, like mangroves, our ‘fate and direction are random.’
Yet Dillard doesn’t just wallow. I would find that quite boring. Toward the end of Sojourner, she finds an angle on her subject (humanity) that speaks to me.
‘We are rooted in [a great and solacing muck of soil, of human culture]; we are bearing it with us across nowhere. The word “nowhere” is our cue: the consort of musicians strikes up, and we in the chorus stir and move and start twirling our hats. A mangrove island turns drift to dance. It creates its own soil as it goes, rocking over the salt sea at random, rocking day and night and round the sun, rocking round the sun and out toward east of Hercules.’
In the name of turning ‘drift to dance,’ I named my bike Sojourner because I desired to use it as a vehicle to wander and wonder and try to understand the world through a lens of joy and curiosity- even if it seems like a steaming pile at times.
That I did….in all over the United States and beyond, through countless landscapes, adventures, and types of weather.
So thank you to Sojo for seeing me through ultimate physical -which are actually mental- challenges, as well as through anger and fear (which are easy, ugly little things). I’ve felt on top of the world bursting with love while riding her through solemn cracked deserts and looming forests that make you believe in some sort of god, at least for that one second. Thank you, Sojo, you were perfect.